- AmoebaAmoeba is a PC demoscene demo by the still active Norwegian demo group Excess released at the Underscore demoparty in May 2002. It won 1st place in the demo competition. It is noteworthy for being the first demo party competition winner with Linux binaries and source code included in the release archive. It is still pretty cool and still worth a watch nearly 20 years after it was created.
- Software freedom isn’t about licenses – it’s about powerA restrictive end-user license agreement is one way a company can exert power over the user. When the free software movement was founded thirty years ago, these restrictive licenses were the primary user-hostile power dynamic, so permissive and copyleft licenses emerged as synonyms to software freedom. Licensing does matter; user autonomy is lost with subscription models, revocable licenses, binary-only software, and onerous legal clauses. Yet these issues pertinent to desktop software do not scratch the surface of today’s digital power dynamics.
- Macs & MacOS: Greener Grass?Linux and Windows can be installed interchangeably on PCs, leading consumers to find what works best for them. The constant unknown about MacOS brings a certain appeal to it - like standing outside an exclusive club, wondering what’s inside.
- Privacy vs "I have nothing to hide"Freedom means “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint” and liberty means “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” As a Middle Eastern, I understand how much my freedom is valuable and important. Us Middle Easterners are very much familiar with struggles one can have to gain freedom.
- GIMP 2.99.6 Is ReleasedGIMP 2.99.6 is another development release on the road to a big GIMP 3.0 release with a graphical interface based on GTK 3, a brand new API, a new extension format, Wayland support, year 2038+ compatibility, multi-layer selection and much more. It may be worth a try if you want to know what GIMP 3.0 will be like, but it is nowhere near ready to replace the stable GIMP 2.10.xx branch.
- Tor 0.4.5.8 Is ReleasedThe latest Tor daemon has two minor fixes, one for compatibility with the Linux kernels seccomp sandbox and one for newer versions of GNU Autoconf. Tor relay operators who are still haven't upgraded from a Tor version prior to Tor 0.4.5.7 should upgrade to 0.4.5.8 since Tor <=0.4.5.6 has two different denial of service issues.
- New Versions Of The GNUstep Base Library, GUI library, GUI Backend And GNUstep Gorm Are ReleasedThe GNU project has released several new versions of libraries that are a part of a mysterious project of theirs called "GNUstep". The "GNUstep" is not a desktop environment or a window manager or an application suite, it is, apparently, just a collection libraries you could use to make those things. The latest GNUstep libraries may be worth exploring if you are a developer who wants to use a graphical toolkit that's not Qt or GTK to create applications that are suitable for those square computer monitors with a 800x600 pixel resolution that were trendy in the early 1990s.
- AMDVLK 2021.Q2.2 Driver Is Re-Compiled And Re-ReleasedAMD has released new binary versions their AMDVLK 2021.Q2.2 driver that was originally released on April 28th. We have no idea what, if anything, is different in the new re-release, We can only speculate that the only change in the re-release is that the "new" version is compiled with an updated version of AMD's LLVM compiler fork.
- AMD Radeon Open Compute 4.2 Is ReleasedThe latest AMD ROCm compute stack has nothing new for Linux desktop users, and there is no mention of OpenCL in the release notes. It is still incapable of providing compute capabilities to desktop applications like Blender. Data center customers can enjoy new platform macros and several other improvements to the ROCm tools and libraries.
- Mousepad 0.5.5 Is Released With Client Side Decorations And SpellcheckingThe latest Mousepad text editor for Xfce brings client side decorations, plugin support with a new spell check plugin that uses gspell to provide long-missing spell check functionality to mousepad and integration with the Xfce settings manager. There's also some code refactoring and minor changes beneath the hood.
- GNU Chess 6.2.8 Is ReleasedAntonio Ceballos from the GNU Chess engine team is "glad" to announce a new GNU Chess release with "Bug fixes mainly in the input processing". That's the entirety of the changelog since version 6.2.7 was released almost one year ago. The GNU Chess engine was initially released in 1984. It has grown smart during it's 37 years, and you may find that you will have a very hard time beating it.
- Termite Is Dead. Dev Lashes Out At GNOMEVideo from DistroTube: The popular VTE-based terminal emulator known as Termite is now officially dead. The main dev has decided to stop working on Termite. He is telling everyone to switch to Alacritty and help contribute to that project. He also has some not-so-nice things to say about the GNOME project, which maintain VTE.
Quote of the week
"VTE is a terrible base for building a modern, fast and safe terminal emulator. It's slow, brittle and difficult to improve. VTE is treated as simply being the GNOME Terminal widget rather than a library truly intended to be useful to others. They've gone out of the way to keep useful APIs private due to hostility towards implementing any kind of user interface beyond what they provide."
Latest software reviews
- SignalSignal is an open source chat app for Android, IOS, Windows, and Linux written in Java. It supports sharing images, video, and other files. It has support for stickers, video calls, video calls, and group chats. It's main target is to be an end-to-end encrypted messenger that works for non-computer savvy people. Signal provides download instructions for 64 bit Debian-based systems and there is a community maintained Flatpac that can be installed on other distros.
- PictureFramePictureFrame, or "PictureFrame.App", is supposedly a image viewer for photo frames built using the GNUstep framework. The latest version 1.1.3 does not seem capable of actually displaying images. PictureFrame is therefore a utterly useless piece of software and a complete waste of time.
- No KelvinNo Kelvin is a PC demo scene demo released by the Norwegian demo group Outracks at the The Gathering 2005 demo party. It won 2nd place in the Combined Demo competition that year. It has a pretty cool sound track and alright graphics for a demo from the early 2000s. The demo runs half-way through in Wine 6.8 and then it crashes. We do not know any solution that would allow you to view the entire demo on GNU/Linux.
- GormGorm is a "Graphical Object Relationship Modeller" for GNUstep modeled after some obscure piece of software released by some obscure American corporation called "NeXT Computer" in the 1990s. It does not scale to modern display resolutions, so it is practically useless on modern hardware. It may or may not be of some interest if you are using a computer from the 1990s.
- LichessLichess is an online, libre chess game. The website supports ranked games, anonymous play, puzzles, localization to Korean, high customizability, and much more.
- Fr-043: RoveFr-043: Rove is a PC demo scene demo for Windows created by the Germans for the BREAKPOiNT 2o1o demo competition. It won second place. You can get the demo to sort-of run in Wine on Linux by installing some DLLs and killing PulseAudio, though you won't get any sound.
- Rmw v0.7.09 Is ReleasedThe handy rmw (ReMove to Waste) shell utility for moving files to a waste folder, instead of immediately deleting them, got another minor bug-fix release today. Filenames now display correctly when using the
-vvgoption. That's it, that's all there is to rmw v0.7.09.
- Mesa 21.1.0 Is Released With Variable Rate Shading Support For AMD GPUs, Performance Improvements And New Vulkan ExtensionsMesa is a swiss army knife of graphics drivers and libraries that are used to provide graphics functionality on all the major GNU/Linux distributions. Mesa 21.1.0 brings Vulkan Variable Rate Shading support for AMD RX 6000 series GPUs, performance increasing graphics optimizations for the OpenGL and Vulkan drivers for both Intel and AMD GPUs, OpenGL 4.6 support in the Zink OpenGL-to-Vulkan translation layer, shader caching for the Lima driver for ARM Mali GPUs and a lot more.
- GNU Zile 2.6.2 Is ReleasedZile is a very minimal Emacs clone that is described in the brief manual page as "Zile Is Lossy Emacs". Zile developer Reuben Thomas is "happy to announce a shiny new 2.6.2 release of GNU Zile" is exactly one bug-fix. And that's it.
- QEMU 6.0 Is Released With A Long List Of New FeaturesQEMU 6.0 is a huge release with a very long list of improvements for everyone using this powerful multi-platform full system emulator to run operating systems for Arm, PowerPC, RISC-V, s390, SPARC, x86 and other systems QEMU supports on Linux, Windows or macOS.
- Bitcoin Core 0.21.1 Is Released With Speedy Trial Taproot ActivationThe latest Bitcoin Core wallet for the Bitcoin network and BTC currency on it contains speedy trial activation code for a technology called Taproot that aims to make different kinds of Bitcoin transactions look mostly the same. Taproot requires a "soft fork" which will take place at block 709632 if enough Bitcoin miners adopt this or other versions signaling Taproot activation.
- Microsoft GitHub Tightens Rules On Security Research And Copyright CircumventionMicrosoft GitHub has published a announcement of new rules around security research, proof of concept exploits, "malware", "harmful content" and code that could be used to circumvent copyright restrictions. A wide range of general-purpose software could fall afoul of the updated censorship policy. The rules new rules will take effect on June 1st, 2021.
- GNU Nano 5.7 Is ReleasedThe latest version of the GNU Nano text editor has more stable output when it is started with the
--constantshowoption, the indicator (
--indicator) now follows actual lines instead of virtual lines in softwrap mode, there's 10 bug-fixes and there is lots and lots of small tweaks implemented by GNU Nano maintainer Benno Schulenberg.
- Xfdashboard 0.9.3 Is ReleasedXfdashboard is a nice optional application launcher and switcher for the Xfce desktop environment with a look and feel similar to the GNOME and macOS launchers. The latest release adds a new "recently used" search provider plugin, better window placement for the window overview and some code cleanups.
- GNU Dico DICT Dictionary Server 2.11 Is ReleasedGNU dico is a dictionary server for the ancient yet little-known DICT network dictionary protocol from 1997. You can pair the new GNU Dico 2.11 maintenance release, which only adds a few minor bug-fixes, with the release of a new GCIDE English dictionary and setup your very own English-speaking dictionary server.
- GCC 11.1 Is ReleasedGCC 11.1 has made
std=gnu++17the default C++ language and DWARF 5 the default debugging format for targets that produce DWARF debugging information. There is also very experimental C++23 support, C2X enhancements and a whole lot more.
- Linux Kernel Runtime Guard 0.9.1 Is ReleasedThe Linux Kernel Runtime Guard (LKRG) is a Linux kernel security module developed by Openwall for security enthusiasts, Internet-facing production servers and hosting providers that provides additional run-time integrity and security checks for the Linux kernel. The latest version adds support for CONFIG_HAVE_STATIC_CALL on Linux 5.10+ and a fix for a false positive bug on machines with SELinux enabled, and
make installno longer enables it by default. There is, instead, a message explaining how to start and/or enable it using the systemd service file it provides.
- GNU Linux-libre 5.12-gnu Is ReleasedGNU Linux-libre is a modified version of the Linux kernel that is truly free software thanks to the removal of all the evil binary blobs modern GNU/Linux distributions include. The ideal is very noble, but the practical result is a crippled and practically useless Linux kernel. A Linux-libre kernel based on Linux 5.12 is now available for those find that to be appealing.
- Cryptocurrency Is An Abject DisasterOver the past several months, everyone in the industry who provides any kind of free CPU resources has been dealing with a massive outbreak of abuse for cryptocurrency mining. Someone found a way of monetizing stolen CPU cycles directly, so everyone who offered free CPU cycles for legitimate use-cases is now unable to provide those services. If not for cryptocurrency, these services would still be available.
- Against Software TyrannyImposing substantial constraints on users' running, modifying or sharing software subjugates users and exerts control over their digital lives through unjust, tyrannical powers. Software freedom amounts to not being subjugated nor coerced by software tyrants.
- GNU Debugger 10.2 Is ReleasedThe GNU project has released another fine version of the GNU Debugger (
gdb). This release is the second bug-fix release for GDB 10.0 released in September 2020. It does not contain any new features.
See our news archive for older news stories.
Recent software reviews
- TermiteTermite is a discontinued terminal emulator that was based on the VTE library maintained by GNOME. The developer gave up maintaining it due to a series of problems with the VTE maintainers and GNOME in general in May 2021.
- Fr-025 : t h e . p o p u l a r . d e m ofr-025: the popular demo is a PC demo scene for Windows by the German demo group Farbrausch. It was released at the Breakpoint 2003 demo party held in Bingen, Germany, between April 18th and April 21st 2003. It one first place in the Breakpoint 2003 PC demo competition and it deserved it, it is still a really good-looking demo with a compelling sound-track and nice graphics after nearly 20 years.
- PhosphorysationPhosphorysation by Amnesty is a, size-wise, really big PC scene demo for Windows by the PC scene demo group Amnesty. Simple old-school graphics with thing lines and very bright and shiny colors. It is a bit long and a bit repetitive (three and a half minutes of mostly the same), and the sound track isn't all that, but it's alright, even if it's not great.
- FreonFreon, by Division, is a PC demo scene demo that fails to run in Wine on GNU/Linux. It is therefore completely uninteresting to GNU/Linux users beyond being a nice test-case for DirectX 9 software in new Wine versions.
- GenesisGenesis is a PC scene demo for Windows that was released by the Norwegian demo group Outracks at the The Gathering demo party on April 17th, 2006. It won second place in the PC demo competition that year. The demo has pretty a pretty good sound-track and well done graphics rendered using the OpenGL API. It works fine with Wine on GNU/Linux machines.
- StellariumStellarium is a pretty advanced free software planetarium program with a user-interface that gets so many basic things wrong that you will likely judge Stellarium to be a completely useless and worthless piece of software the the first time you try it. It is actually a quite advanced planetarium program with a lot of advanced functionality beneath the joke of a user interface that is filled with everything but the basic essentials you would need to get any benefit out of it.
- Psps is the ultimate shell tool for listing active processes on Linux and BSD systems. It may not appear that way because of the limited information you get if you just type
psterminal, but there is much more to it thanks to a rather huge number of command line options.
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