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

Top Story

  • Linux Desktop Market Share Steady at 0.8-3.5% In July 2020
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    Numbers from the American outfit Netmarketshare indicate that the Linux laptop and desktop market share nearly tripled between March and June 2020 while the Linux market share number from Valve's Steam store remained steady around 0.8%. The numbers for July are out and they show close to zero change between June and July 2020. The discrepancy remains.

Breaking News

  • Brave Browser 1.12.112 Is Released With Re-Vamped Synchronization
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    The Brave Browser will submit your IP to a geo-location service and record what country, and state if you are in the US, you are in if you enable the Brave Rewards "feature". There's also a completely new synchronization code for synchronizing bookmarks, logins and other data between Brave browsers running on different devices and a new 25 BAT minimum limit for withdrawing the already locked to Braves ecosystem Brave Rewards BAT currency tokens. The built-in advertisement blocker is also "improved".
  • Manjaro Linux Lost All Of Their Support Forum Images
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    Their misfortune can be used as a valuable lesson in the importance of backing things up on a regular basis. The Manjaro Linux team has lost all of the 378191 images posted on their forum since its inception. How it happened is unclear. What we do know is that they were content with backing up the forums database on a semi-regular basis but they never made a single backup of any user-uploaded content.
  • Current Etherium Network Fees Are Killing CryptoCurrency Tokens Like The Brave Browsers BAT Currency
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    Creating digital tokens with zero intrinsic value out of thin air so you can sell them to suckers and pocket anything they are willing to pay as pure profit is even more profitable if you can create those tokens on somebody else's blockchain and call it a day. Those bought tokens on the Ethereum blockchain are finding themselves facing unbearably high fees.
  • The Free Software Foundation Folds On Their Only Free Video Formats Policy
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    The FSF has been advocating the use of free file formats for more than three decades. They have so far been true to their own ideals. Multimedia on their website has, until now, been served using entirely free file formats and codecs. The FSF is now embracing the proprietary patent-riddled MPEG-AVC (h264) video codec as well as the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio codec that goes with it as fall-back option in order to reach more people.
  • NAVER Whale Browser 2.8.105.22 Is Released
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    South Korean Internet giant NAVER has made another fine version of their extensive and fully featured proprietary Whale web browser. The latest version has fixes for several small user interface glitches including one that cased "ugly" rendering of a several big websites when dark mode is enabled. The GNU/Linux version is still only available as a Debian package and they have yet to make a English translation for the built-in music player. It is otherwise a fine and quite fast web browser.
  • Chipmaker TSCM Reports Revenues Are Up 33.6% Compared To 2019
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    The Taiwanese chip-maker today reported that they made NT$727.26 billion (24.72 billion USD) between January and July 2020, up 33.6% compared to the same period last year. They made NT$105.96 billion in July alone, up 25% compared to July 2019. They are still on schedule to deliver 3nm microchips to customers in 2022.

Quote of the week

"We must be kind to each other and respect each other when our good faith arguments differ, in order to produce the best solutions together. I pledge to support honest dialog and emerging leaders in the quest to secure the future for free software for generations to come, and not to alter the tenets of the free software vision."

Latest software reviews

  • Konqueror
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    Konqueror is a web browser, file manager and document viewer that used to be at the heart of the KDE desktop environment. It has been neglected and unmaintained for years as of 2020. It is practically useless as a web browser, alright as a file manager and kind of pointless as a document viewer.
  • Exiv2
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    exiv2 is a console image metadata viewer and editor capable of reading, writing and manipulating Exif, IPTC and XMP metadata. It supports all the common image formats such as jpeg, exv, cr2, crw, tiff, webm, png, bmp and many more. It is also available as a C++ library you can use to easily provide metadata-editing capabilities to any free software program. exiv2 is a great go-to Swiss army knife type tool for all image metadata manipulation.
  • Ytop
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    ytop is a system monitoring program for consoles written in Rust. It provides nice graphs over CPU usage, with per-core graphs, memory use and network use. It will also show current temperatures using available lm_sensors data, disk use and a simple process list. ytop is not a process list manager like htop and top, there is a process list but it is just a small part of the window and sorting it or using it to kill processes is not very easy and there is no functionality for re-nicing processes. ytop focuses on showing you nice graphs over CPU, memory and network use as well as other real-time information about the system, it is not very good as a process manager. It is a nice addition to htop or top, not a replacement for those programs.

Hot News

  • Geoffrey Knauth Elected President Of The Free Software Foundation
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    The Free Software Foundation has finally elected a new permanent president after FSF founder and long-time president Richard Stallman was squeezed out September last year. Geoffrey Knauth had served on the FSF board for over 20 years before he became president. French free software activist Odile Bénassy was added as a new member of the foundations board of directors.
  • The Massive Intel Leak: The Files It Contains And Their Content
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    The 16.92 GiB archive filled with internal and "confidential" Intel files leaked Thursday has a total of 240 files. Many of them are archives containing even more files. That's a lot to dig through, it is more than any one woman can hope to dig through in a few hours. We have listed the filenames and, with the help of our readers, given each file a brief description. The files identified so far contain roadmaps, block diagrams, schematics for motherboard partners, BIOS firmware source and binaries, management engine firmware, embarrassingly cringe training videos, various source code, debugging tools, testing tools, user guides, programming guides and a whole lot more.
  • Wine 5.02 Brings 46 Bug-Fixes To The Stable Wine Branch
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    Wine 5.02 is a new "stable" release for the Long Term Support distributions using the stable branch of the Wine Is Not An Emulator translation layer for running Windows software on other operating systems. This release brings a total of 46 fixes for a whole range of games and applications including Hype The Time Quest, Age of empires II, Bad Mojo Redux, the Rockstar Games Launcher, Dark Souls 2, iTunes and many more. Most of the improvements in the latest Wine 4.14 development release are not present but that does not mean it is not a welcome upgrade for those using distributions shipping the stable Wine branch.
  • Wine 5.14 Brings 26 Bug-Fixes To The Wine Development Branch
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    The latest development version of the Wine Is Not An Emulator translation layer for running Windows software on other operating systems has a total of 26 small game and application specific bug-fixes. There's also a new Webdings font and some of the MSVCRT libraries have been converted to Portable Executable (PE) binaries. There are few improvements to the wined3d DirectX 9-11 to Vulkan translation layer in this release.
  • 20 GiB Internal Intel Document Motherload Is Now Available In Dark Corners Of The Internet
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    Someone who is apparently sitting on a whole lot of internal Intel documents has released what is described as the first in a series of treasure-troves filled with internal Intel documents. We are not just talking about a document or three, the first part in the series is a whopping 20 GB. There's confidential code, documents, debugging tools, drivers, training videos and other technical material in the first part of what we expect will be a very interesting series of leaks. Many of the files are fairly recent, quite a few of them are from May 2020.
  • Mesa 20.1.5 Is Released With 29 Bug-Fixes And SDMA Disabled On Vega GPUs
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    The fifth bug-fix release to the stable 20.1 branch of the Mesa graphics library all GNU/Linux machines use to provide 3D capabilities has 29 mostly very small bug-fixes. Only one change will have larger impact: Vega graphics card join the rest of the AMD line-up in having SDMA disabled. That will result in a slightly higher CPU overhead.
  • Mozilla Is Rolling Out Redirect Tracking Protection In Firefox In A Somewhat Concerning Fashion
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    The Mozilla Corporation included a new feature called "Enhanced Tracking Protection 2.0" when they released Firefox 79 but they did not enable it - until now. The new "enhanced" tracking protection blocks known redirect domains used by-pass third party cookie blocking and set cookies anyway. This is good news but they way they are rolling this new feature out is rather concerning. There may be a devil or two in the details.
  • Linux Desktop Market Share Steady at 0.8-3.5% In July 2020
    Tux.png
    Numbers from the American outfit Netmarketshare indicate that the Linux laptop and desktop market share nearly tripled between March and June 2020 while the Linux market share number from Valve's Steam store remained steady around 0.8%. The numbers for July are out and they show close to zero change between June and July 2020. The discrepancy remains.
  • Linux 5.8 Is Released And It The Largest Release Of All Time
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    Linux 5.8 brings a lot of changes on the networking side with major re-work of the Mellanox network drivers, Atheros wireless drivers and Bluetooth drivers. There's also big changes to the AMD graphics drivers and several other areas. This kernel release is overall the biggest ever in terms of changes. Some of those changes warrant caution, you may want to wait for a few minor point releases before you upgrade to Linux 5.8.
  • Firefox 79 Is Released With 10 Security Fixes
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    The latest version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser has very little to offer GNU/Linux users beyond ten security fixes, four of which are "high impact". Mozilla's "WebRender" rendering engine enabled for Windows users with Intel and AMD graphics cards as of this release but it is not enabled on Linux where Firefox users still get "Basic" rendering regardless of what GPU they have. You can force-enable WebRender on Linux if you really want it.
  • We Are Still Waiting For Microsoft Edge For Linux
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    Microsoft announced that their Chromium-based Edge web browser would be available multiple platforms, including Linux, in a presentation called "State of the browser: Microsoft Edge" back in November 2019. We are still waiting for a Linux version to materialize. It seems that Microsoft has either forgotten about, or abandoned, the Linux version of their Edge web browser.
  • HTTPS Security Certificates Will Soon Have To Be Limited To A One Year Long Life-Time To Be Valid
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    A proposal to limit HTTPS certificates to a maximum length of one year was down-voted in the CA/Browser Forum late last year. That vote does not matter because those who control the web browsers control the web universe. The major web browser vendors have decided that TLS certificates issued after September 1st will be treated as invalid if they have an expiration date beyond one year into the future. Web server administrators should take notice.
  • Xfwm4 4.14.3 Is Released With X-Resource Extension Support
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    The latest version of the Xfwm4 window manager for the popular light-weight Xfce desktop environment fixes a use-after-free after reading setting strings, adds support for more error messages sent from the X server and it is now capable of taking advantage of the X server's X-Resource extension.
  • Manjaro Linux Lead Developer In Hot Waters Over Donation Slush Fund For Laptop And Personal Items
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    Philip Müller, one of the lead Manjaro Linux developers, wanted to buy a new €2000 laptop for another developer. Jonathon Fernyhough, the former treasurer tasked with ensuring that the funds donated by the community are not misused for personal enjoyment, said no. Müller reacted by replacing Fernyhough with himself who, he likely believes, is more inclined to buy that shiny new laptop.

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • GNOME System Monitor
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    GNOME System Monitor (gnome-system-monitor) is a simple task manager and process monitor made for the GNOME desktop environment. It can show a list of processes, graphs showing CPU, memory and network usage and mounted file systems. It lacks any support for showing I/O load, GPU load, temperatures or anything else beyond the very basics.
  • Xfce Task Manager
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    The Xfce Task Manager (xfce4-taskmanager) is a task manager and system monitoring program made with the Xfce desktop environment in mind. It has a simple list of running processes and two simple non-resizable graphics showing CPU and memory usage at the windows top area. It can show all processes as either a list or a tree by changing a configuration option. It does not have any functionality for showing network utilization, disk I/O or anything else beyond a plain process list and CPU and memory graphs.
  • KDE System Monitor
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    The KDE System Monitor (ksysguard) is a task manager and system monitoring program made with the KDE Plasma desktop environment in mind. It has two default tabs for showing a process list and system load graphs by default. Its functionality can be expanded using a wide variety of downloadable plugins.
  • Xfwm4
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    Xfwm4 is a optionally compositing window manager for the Xfce desktop environment. It supports themes, configurable keyboard shortcuts, placing windows always-above other windows, sticking windows to multiple desktops and it has configurable compositing support that can be turned on or off.
  • Monero
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    Monero (XMR) is a decentralized digital currency with a very high degree of user privacy. It has a obfuscated blockchain which makes it very hard to tell the source, destination or amount of any given transaction. New Monero currency is generated using a proof of work mining algorithm. The algorithm has been changed several times. It is currently mined using the randomX algorithm.
  • XMRig
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    XMRig is a crypto currency mining program for crypto currencies like Monero (XMR). Many anti-virus scanners consider it to be malware. If you have found it on your system and you are wondering what it is malware then it is likely a part of a malware infection. Xmrig supports mining using the RandomX, CryptoNight, AstroBWT and Argon2 algorithms. It can mine using both the CPU and the GPU depending on what algorithms is used.
  • Mpstat
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    mpstat is a very handy terminal utility for of showing per-processor or per-core system statistics such as user process load, system load, I/O statistics, IRQ activity and other useful information.
  • Radeontop
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    Radeontop is a simple terminal program that shows you how much of various resources are used on a modern AMD graphics card using simple bar graphs. It will give an overview of the total "Graphics pipe" load as well as graphs showing utilization of various GPU pipelines like the texture addresser, shader export, sequencer instruction cache, shader interpolator, color and depth blocks and the scan converter.
  • Lemmy
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    Lemmy is a free website content management system made for federated forum-style link collection sites similar to Reddit and Hacker News. Users can post stories and links and have other user vote them up or down or comment on them. The federated nature of Lemmy allows users on one site website running the software see and comment on stories running on another. Each site can have their own local rules and moderation policies (with some hard-coded limitations).
  • Internet Explorer
    Internet Explorer was a web browser made by Microsoft in the early 2000s. It quickly became the dominant web browser once Microsoft started bundling it with their Microsoft Windows operating system.

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