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

Top Story

  • 30+ South Korean Governmental Organizations, Local Governments And Schools Have Switched To Linux
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    The South Korean government has been gradually replacing the proprietary Windows operating system with Linux-based free software operating systems during the last four years. Windows 7 reaching end-of-line has accelerated the process. We asked 김형채 (Kevin Kim), the leader of the South Korean HamoniKR Linux Distribution Project and President of Invesume Inc, the corporation behind it, some questions about the current state of Linux in South Korea.

Breaking News

  • Wine 5.2 Is Released With 22 Bug-Fixes And New Features
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    The Wine Is Not An Emulator development branch is moving full steam ahead after the release of Wine 5.0, which was a major milestone. Wine 5.2, which is a development release, not a bug-fix release for Wine 5.0, has support for using the null (no) display driver as a real driver, better UTF-8 support and 22 bug-fixes. One general fix makes a whole range of new Steam games work in Wine, another makes control buttons in a wide range of applications appear as they should.
  • Mutazione Got A Native Linux Version
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    The "mutant soap opera" game Mutazione from the small game studio Die Gute Fabrik has a native Linux version ready. Mutazione is an original adventure game with has cartoon-like hand-illustrated graphics. It was made using the Unity game engine. It is not free software, buying it will set you back $20 or 18€.
  • Cantata 2.4.0 Is Released
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    It has been a year since the last version of the best Music Player Daemon front-end built on the Qt and KDE libraries was released. The latest version has some new features but it also lacks a rather important one previous versions have: Support for showing the currently playing songs album cover in the playlist window has been taken away due to issues with that feature when Cantata is build against Qt 5.12. That huge disappointment can safely be fixed by changing the cmake configuration file if you compile against newer Qt versions.
  • Firefox 73 and 68.5.0esr Are Released With Security Updates
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    Firefox 73 has a new global zoom setting under "Language and Appearance" which, unlike the regular per-site zoom (changed with ctrl++, ctrl+- and ctrl+0 to re-set), has a "Zoom text only" option. There is also a Windows-specific improvement when "High contrast mode" is enabled on Windows. The most important changes in Firefox 73, as well as Firefox 68.5.0 (The long-term support version), are security fixes.

Quote of the week

"> KVM: nVMX: Emulate MTF when performing instruction emulation

This was committed today, and it's complete and utter garbage:

CommitDate: 7 hours ago

It doesn't even compile. Just in the patch itself - so this is not a merge issue, I see this:

+static void vmx_skip_emulated_instruction(struct kvm_vcpu *vcpu)
+ return skip_emulated_instruction(vcpu);
..
- .skip_emulated_instruction = skip_emulated_instruction,
+ .skip_emulated_instruction = vmx_skip_emulated_instruction,

ie note how that vmx_skip_emulated_instruction() is a void function, and then you have

return skip_emulated_instruction(vcpu);

in it, and you assign that garbage to ".skip_emulated_instruction" which is supposed to be returning 'int'.

So this clearly never even got a _whiff_ of build-testing. The thing is completely broken.

Stop sending me garbage.

You're now on my shit-list, which means that I want to see only (a) pure fixes and (b) well-tested such. Nothing else will be pulled."

Linus Torvalds on the LKML
February 12th, 2020

Latest software reviews

  • 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.

Hot News

  • Tor Browser Bundle 9.0.5 Is Released And You Should Upgrade To It
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    The latest version of the Tor Browser bundle has Firefox 68.5.0esr with NoScript 11.0.13 and version 0.4.2.6 of the underlying Tor client used to connect to the Tor anonymity network. There are several security issues with Firefox 68.4.1esr which the previous Tor browser bundle 9.0.4 uses. Those using the Tor browser bundle to browser the web using the Tor anonymity network should upgrade.
  • Mesa 20.0.0-rc3 Is Released With Barely Nothing New Since rc2
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    The puny size of the latest Mesa 20 release candidate indicates that it will likely be the last before the final Mesa 20 release. A handful of fixes for Vulkan, the optional ACO Vulkan shader compiler for AMD cards and two small fixes for Intel graphics is all that is new since the last release candidate. Mesa 20 will have Vulkan 1.2 support on Intel and AMD graphics cards and the new Iris OpenGL driver is now default on gen8+ Intel graphics drivers.
  • Wondering What Is On A Child's Computer? The United Kingdom's "National Crime Agency" Can Help
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    The United Kingdom's "National Crime Agency" wants to help you understand what scary programs like Kali Linux, which could be on your child's computer, really are. They have made a highly informative and totally factually accurate poster which you, as a parent, should read so you can understand what kind of dangerous computer programs your child might be using.
  • 30+ South Korean Governmental Organizations, Local Governments And Schools Have Switched To Linux
    Flag of South Korea.png
    The South Korean government has been gradually replacing the proprietary Windows operating system with Linux-based free software operating systems during the last four years. Windows 7 reaching end-of-line has accelerated the process. We asked 김형채 (Kevin Kim), the leader of the South Korean HamoniKR Linux Distribution Project and President of Invesume Inc, the corporation behind it, some questions about the current state of Linux in South Korea.
  • Proton 5.0-1 Is Released With Wine 5.0, DXVK 1.5.4 and FAudio 20.02
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    The latest version of Valve's Wine bundle for Steam has Wine 5.0, DXVK 1.5.4, FAudio 20.02 and better compatibility with games using the Denuvo "anti-piracy" scheme in this release. Wine 5.0 has a lot of improvements, including proper multi-monitor support, which should make a lot of Windows games in Steam's rather large games catalog run better and smoother.
  • Xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin 2.4.0 Greatly Improves The Alternative Xfce Desktop Menu
    Xfce4-icon.png
    The latest version of the optional Whisker menu for the Xfce desktop environment has a tree view for categories with sub-folders, an option to show menu items as icons with text below similar to file managers, a new option to hide menu item by right-clicking on them and choosing "Hide application" and much more. The new icon view, which worked fine up to a day ago is, unfortunately, all messed up in this release.
  • New Nvidia 440.49 Linux Driver Brings DisplayPort Multi-Stream Audio Support
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    The latest Nvidia driver for Linux has PRIME synchronization support on Linux kernel 5.4+, multi-stream DisplayPort audio on kernel 5.5 and display hotplug support for NVIDIA High Definition Audio (HDA). There are also several fixes including one for DXVK.
  • Steam And Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Set New Concurrent User Records Sunday
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    The now eight year old game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which Valve made free to play last year, set a new all time high for concurrent users on Sunday with a 24 hour peak at 901,681 players. The Steam store and launcher set a new all time high with a peek of 19,107,803 concurrent users.
  • Mastodon 3.1.0 Is Released With Bookmarks, UI animations And More
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    The latest version of the free Mastodon social media software has a ton of new features including follow request notifications, group actors, new animations in the web user interface, download buttons in the audio and video players and a lot more. There's also many new server-side features. Several social media websites running the Mastodon have already upgraded to 3.1.0.
  • Rackspace's Free Hosting For Free Software Program Has Ended
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    Rackspace had a very nice "free hosting" program for free software projects going the last 10 years. It's over, they ended the program and everyone who signed up for free hosting are getting bills for full retail rate starting with January 2020. It is time to move elsewhere if you thought they would host your free software project for free forever.
  • Kdenlive 19.12.2 Is Released With Bug Fixes And Qt 5.14 Compatibility
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    The latest minor bug-fix release of the free software Kdenlive video editor is compatible with the new Qt 5.14 toolkit. Earlier versions compiled againts Qt 5.14 would just crash when creating a new project. There are also code cleanups and bug fixes in several other areas. It still has a long way to go in terms of stability. This release is at least a step in the right direction.
  • Microblogging Client Choqok 1.7.0 Is Released
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    Choqok is a very old desktop microblogging client which was initially released all the way back in 2008. Development sort-of died off in 2010 and little happened until 2016. Three new versions were released that year and then developed sort-of died with the release of Choqok 1.6.0 in October 2016. A brand new version 1.7.0 was released this week after three and a half years of silence. The latest version allows up to 280 character long posts on Twitter and that is about it in terms of new features. The social media microblogging services Friendica, open collaboration services, GNU social, Mastodon and pump.io are supported in version 1.7.0.
  • Zhaoxin Kaixian KX-U6780A Shows That China Is Still Behind The West In x86-64 Processor Technology
    Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
    Chinese Zhaoxin's latest flagship Kaixian KX-U6780A processor has multi-core performance on par with the low-end AMD Athlon 3000G processor. It has 8 cores capable of reaching clock speeds up to 3 GHZ, 8 threads, 32 KB L1 cache and two 4 MB L2 caches shared by four cores each. It supports the SM3, SM4, and AVX instruction sets. The KX-U6780A is very impressive when it is compared to previous generation Zhaoxin processors like the ZX-C4580 yet it is quickly exposed as being very outdated when it is compared to top western x86-84 offerings like the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and the Intel i9-9900KS.
  • Godot Game Engine Awarded $250k USD Grant From Epic Games
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    Godot is a free MIT-licensed multiplatform game engine for 2D and 3D games. The Godot developers have been awarded a $250000 "MegaGrant" from Epic Games which will be used to improve the engines graphics and the engines built-in GDScript development language. Vulkan support, which is in the works for Godot 4.0, was not mentioned in the grant application.

Older news:

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • 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
    Naver whale logo.png
    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
    Tor.png
    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
    Chromium-icon.png
    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.
  • Xfce4 Task Manager
    Xfce4-whiskermenu.svg
    Task Manager is a simple Xfce program capable of showing the processes running on a system along with grahpics showing total CPU usage, memory usage and swap usage. It is simpler than top and htop in terms of features. It be used to terminate, identify or prioritize processes. The very basics a task manager should have are covered but it does lack more advanced features like GPU monitoring, listing a processes open files and things like that.
  • Xfce 4.16
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    Xfce 4.16 is the next iteration of the popular light-weight Xfce desktop environment. It is scheduled to be released sometime in the fourth quarter of 2020. It will have client side decorations for all the configuration dialog boxes, a more advanced optional Whiskermenu, animated panel when it is set to auto-hide and it could get support for hybrid sleep when the power button is pressed or a laptop lid is closed. There will likely be more changes before Xfce 4.16 is released around October/November 2020.
  • GFXBench
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    GFXBench is a graphics benchmark suite. A OpenGL only version (GFXBench 4) is available for GNU/Linux. There is also a version 5 for Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. GFXBench 4 has three different scene rendering tests (Car Chase, Manhattan, T-Rex) which it can test in various ways (on-screen, off-screen, etc). Detailed results are shown for each individual test. It produces scores for each individual test but does not produce any overall score for all the tests it runs.
  • Terminator
    Terminal.png
    Terminator is a terminal emulator based on an old version of GNOME terminal which lets you easily meaningfully arrange arranging multiple virtual terminals in a grid within window. It has a really handy feature which stands out as unique and practical: It allows you to type in one terminal and send the keystrokes in that terminal to either all the open terminal windows or just the terminal windows within a tab. The rest of its feature-set is on par with other modern terminal emulators.
  • Lumina
    Lumina desktop logo.png
    Lumina is in theory but not in practice a very lightweight desktop environment written in C++ using Qt5. The Lumina desktop environment is made up of a desktop with a toolbar, a file manager, a non-working media player, a simple picture viewer and some configuration utilities. It uses Fluxbox for window management. Lumina does not use any of the common Linux-specific frameworks (systemd, D-Bus, Policykit, etc). Lumina is supposed to be fast and light-weight. It is, in practice, nothing close to "lightweight". It is absolutely not a good choice for weak or limited hardware or any hardware for that matter.

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