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

Top Story

  • The Current State Of Older AMD Graphics Hardware On Linux: What Driver To Use And What To Expect
    There is more than one graphics driver for AMD graphics card included in the Linux kernel. Those of you who use older AMD graphics hardware have two kernel drivers to choose from. The default driver is called radeon and tends to support everything except Vulkan. It is possible to enable Vulkan support on older AMD graphics cards by using the newer amdgpu instead of radeon. Doing so could be safe but it could also break your machine's ability to return from hibernation.

Breaking News

  • Linux Desktop Market Share Steady at 0.8-3.5% In July 2020
    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
    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
    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
    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.

Quote of the week

"(unconfirmed source) usa embassy in china selling stuff (furniture...) now

Lol stk 1.2 may release when usa declare war on china!"

Anonymous Asia-based SuperTuxKart developer, August 3rd, 2020

Latest software reviews

  • Ytop
    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.
  • GNOME System Monitor
    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
    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.

Hot News

  • HTTPS Security Certificates Will Soon Have To Be Limited To A One Year Long Life-Time To Be Valid
    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
    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
    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.
  • GNOME Proposal Aims To Make GNOME Applications More Environment Friendly By Optimizing Them
    Endless OS developer Philip Withnall held a presentation at this years annual GUADEC GNOME conference where he proposes that GNOME applications get labels telling end-users about their carbon footprint. He had one additional proposal for making GNOME applications more environmental friendly, which was barely mentioned as a footnote, that makes a whole lot more sense: Optimize the GNOME applications so they are more responsive, faster and less CPU intensive.
  • Thunar 4.15.1 Brings A Pause Button On Copy/Move File Operations And Much More
    The Thunar file manager for the Xfce desktop environment went strait from version 1.8.15 to 4.15 in order to make the version number indicate which Xfce release it is for. Thunar 4.15.1 has since been released to address some unfortunate regressions in 4.15. The latest Thunar version made for Xfce 4.16, scheduled to be released in October/November, has a broad range of bug-fixes as well has long-sought new features like a pause/resume button on the file operation dialog boxes. Here's what's new.
  • Black Lives Matter For Linux
    Black Lives Matter For Linux is a exclusive original LinuxReviews-produced game that will turn your screen black for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in solidarity with the Marxist #blacklivesmatter movement. Our simple C implementation uses OpenGL to create a fine black screen. We are also offering a three line shell script implementation. The Windows version of this game available in the Steam store is a commercial product that is only available at a price. Our versions are free as in free software. Please enjoy.
  • The State Of Vulkan Rendering In Chromium 84: Say Goodbye To All VRAM, RAM and Swap, Chromium Will Eat It All
    The Chromium web browser and other web browsers based on it got Vulkan rendering support late last year. The result of enabling it on GNU/Linux machines resulted in disaster when it became available in Chromium 79. It has gotten better five versions and half a year later but it is still very far from being perfect. You can enable it in recent Chromium versions and use it for normal web browsing but there are some big caveats you should be aware of and consider before you turn the Vulkan rendering switch on. Chromium can and will eat all your GPU RAM, all your system RAM and go after swap partitions for good measure if Vulkan is enabled.
  • The Wine 5.13 Development Release Offers 22 Application-Specific Bug Fixes
    Exec wine.svg
    The latest version of the Wine Is Not an Emulator compatibility layer for running Windows software on GNU/Linux and other non-Windows systems has game-specific fixes for, Call of Duty, Call to power II, The Witcher 2, Metal Gear Solid V, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Warframe and several applications.
  • Thunderbird 78 Has Finally Got Built-In Calendar And OpenPGP Support
    Thunderbird has been relying on two popular extensions for what should be and now is basic built-in features: Enigmail for OpenPGP message encryption and Lightning calendar support. These features are now finally built into the latest Thunderbird release. There is a dark and problematic trade-off: All the existing Thunderbird extensions have now been deprecated and replaced with new "MailExtensions" and the built-in OpenPGP support is disabled by default because it is "a work in progress". OpenPGP e-mail users may not want to forgo this "upgrade".
  • We Are Finally Using The Do-Not-Track Web Browser Header
    Modern web browsers can send a Do-Not-Track (DNT) header to websites when they request web pages. We now use this little-used HTTP header to decide if you should be served advertisements or not. You may want to tell your web browser to send that header if you visit this website regularly. None of the major browsers enable it by default.
  • WebTorrent Desktop v0.23 Is Released
    The latest release of the "WebTorrent Desktop" video player and file transfer tool for the BitTorrent and WebTorrent protocols features better unsupported codec detection, support for more audio formats, support for files with multiple audio tracks and there are many smaller bug fixes.
  • Libtorrent-rasterbar Now Features WebTorrent Support In The Master Branch
    The WebTorrent protocol is similar to, but not compatible with, the regular bittorrent protocol. A specialized bittorrent client is therefore required to seed or download video files from websites utilizing the WebTorrent protocol. A feature request asking for WebTorrent support in the popular qBittorrent client has been open since 2015. Fulfilling that request has so far not been possible due to a lack of WebTorrent support in the libtorrent-rasterbar library qBittorrent and many other bittorrent clients utilize. That will change by the end of the year and make it possible, and trivial, to add WebTorrent support to bittorrent clients like qBittorrent, Deluge and Wyzo.
  • 100 TiB SSDs Have Arrived
    Think again if you think a RAID arrays with a dozen 8 or 10 TB hard disc drives are your only option if you want to store a whole lot of data. A 3.5" 50 TiB NimbusData ExaDrive SSD drive can be yours for $12,500 and a 100 TiB SSD can be yours for a cool $40,000.
  • Ad-Tech Industry Complains That Google Has Too Much Control Over Web Standards
    20 web advertising companies wrote a long joint letter to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Advisory Board earlier this week. They are asking the board to start listening to the smaller web stakeholders and stop their fast-tracking of web standards pushed by Google. The attack on Google and the W3C is really about a Google-backed push towards eliminating third party tracking cookies. It doesn't actually matter because in reality it is Google, not the W3C, who set the web standards.

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • KDE System Monitor
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.
  • Parcellite
    Parcellite is small and lightweight basic-features-only GTK+ clipboard manager. It has a clipboard history, supports synchronization of mouse selection and clipboard events (ctrl+c), persistent history, hostkeys and clipboard-based actions. It works well under Xfce, LXQt and fluxbox. Support for system tray icons either by the window manager or the desktop environment is preferable but not required, the clipboard history can shown using any defined hotkey.
  • WebTorrent Desktop
    WebTorrent Desktop is a simple graphical bittorrent client written in JavaScript. It is notable for supporting the WebTorrent protocol in addition to the standard bittorrent protocol. It is a very simple bittorrent client. It is not very configurable and it lacks many of the basic features more powerful bittorrent clients have. WebTorrent Desktop has a built-in video player that can be used to watch a somewhat limited number of videos while they are being downloaded.

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