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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 Gamescope
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    Gamescope is a bare-bones Wayland compositor that lets you up-scale or otherwise alter games and other graphical applications so they are displayed correctly, or just larger, on modern displays with higher resolutions. It is being developed by Valve-employed Pierre-Loup A Griffais who gave a interesting talk about the current state of Gamescope at the X.Org Developers Conference 2020. Gamescope will currently only work on AMD graphics cards using the RADV Vulkan driver. It can be used under both Xorg/X11 and Wayland.

Breaking News

  • Lenovo's Increasing Their Line-Up Of ThinkPad And ThinkStation Computers With Linux Pre-Installed
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    The Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo is currently offering a handful of computers, and just one ThinkPad laptop, with Linux operating systems preinstalled. That is about to change. Ubuntu-maker Canonical Ltd has announced that Lenovo has certified Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for use on 30 of Lenovo's Thinkpad and ThinkStation computers. Some are already available with either Ubuntu and RedHat Enterprise Linux and more will become available throughout 2021.
  • GNU Parallel Ginsburg Is Released
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    The latest version of the most comprehensive tool for running terminal commands in parallel has new CPU detection code for GNU/Linux, bug fixes and a few changes to the very long and detailed manual page.
  • Microsoft Edge Is Coming To Linux In October 2020
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    ..but it will, initially, only be available to members of some secret club called the "Microsoft Edge Insider community". Microsoft did not reveal when it will become available to the general public, only that "insiders" will be able to choose between a "Beta", "Dev" and a "Canary" channel.
  • New GNU Kart Coming To SuperTuxKart 1.3
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    The lead SuperTuxKart developer has big plans for the future of the best free software kart racing game. Vulkan support is on the to-do list but that won't arrive until SuperTuxKart 2.0. There will be several 1.x released before 2.0 arrives. The next minor release, SuperTuxKart 1.3, will have a new re-vamped GNU kart and a polished and improved "Enterprise" track.
  • Tor Browser 10 Is Released
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    The Tor project has released a new version of their Tor browser bundle based on today's Firefox 78.3.0 ESR release. The Tor Browser 10 bundle comes with a modified and buggy Firefox 78.3.0 build, NoScript 11.0.44, HTTPS everywhere and Tor version 0.4.4.5.
  • Firefox 81 Is Released
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    The Mozilla Corporation has released yet another Firefox version because they are on a monthly release schedule and it's that time of the month again. Firefox 81 adds media controls using the standard MPRIS interface which means things like the KDE media player controls can now be used to control video playback in Firefox. There's also a new bundled theme and 6 security fixes.

Quote of the week

"The chances of a random photon from the sun hitting your scene is tiny"

Jason Ekstrand presenting the Vulkan ray-tracing API
at the X.Org Developers Conference 2020

Latest software reviews

  • GNOME Web
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    GNOME Web, or just "Web" as it appears in desktop menus, formally known as Epiphany before the GNOME team decided to rename everything according to general names resembling their function, is the default web browser in the GNOME desktop environment. It is built on top of the WebKitGTK rendering toolkit which, as the name implies, is based on Apple's WebKit rendering engine. It is, much like the default Edge browser on Windows, only suitable for downloading a better web browser.
  • Unvanquished
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    Unvanquished is a multiplayer first person shooter strategy game where you can choose to be on a human team or a alien team and fight the opposing side. There are bases and structures to protect and maintain, weapons to acquire, resources to earn and enemies, either aliens or humans depending on what team you pick, that need to be eradicated.
  • Qmmp
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    qmmp is a very nice playlist-based media player with support for skins, including those made for old-school programs like xmms and Winamp. It is modular and plugin-based and there are plugins for decoding all the audio formats.

"Of course I added a hidden segfault specifically to annoy Chaekyung, which was the entire goal of this commit, and which is why it will never be fixed. Read() fails and the negative value is added to len, so of course that'll crash."

mpv developer wm4
explaining his reasoning behind mpv commit 602384348e71 which introduced a segfault

Hot News

  • Support For Mysterious AMD VanGogh and Dimgrey Cavefish GPUs Merged To The Mesa RadeonSI OpenGL Driver
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    AMD merged support for two new graphics chips into the RadeonSI Mesa OpenGL driver for AMD graphics cards today: CHIP_DIMGREY_CAVEFISH and CHIP_VANGOGH. The patches were written back in July 2020. Dimgrey Cavefish is placed in the Navi (FAMILY_NV) family while VanGogh is something different. Both chips are in the GFX10 family with the features AMD markets as "RDNA2".
  • Krita 5.0 Will Have A Built-In Screen Recorder
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    It has been one and a half years since Shi Yan first submitted a series of patches implementing screen recorder functionality. Those patches have finally been merged into Krita's master source tree. Krita 5.0 will have the ability to create neat time-lapse videos of drawings done in Krita by capturing canvas snapshots when it has been drawn on and the pen has been down for at minimum of two seconds.
  • New Russian Legislation Would Outlaw Tor And Sites Using Encrypted ClientHello
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    The Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media has proposed amendments to a law that would ban "encryption protocols that allow Internet sites or pages to hide their name except in cases established in legislation by the Russian Federation." The proposal targets the Encrypted ClientHello TLS extension but the implications are broader than that.
  • The Big Plans For wlroots
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    wlroots is a library with everything you need to create a Wayland compositor. It is currently used by the Sway tiling window manager. Developer Simon Ser revealed some pretty big plans for future improvements to the wlroots library at the X.Org developers conference last week. Vulkan rendering is among the items on the to-do list.
  • Qmmp 1.4.2 Is Released
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    qmmp 1.4.2 is a small bug-fix for the playlist-oriented Qt-based qmmp music player. The latest release fixes playlist updating, a memory leak, kwin support and header parsing in the mpeg plugin. There is also a updated Greek translation in this release.
  • Nvidia Partially Kills SLI In Their Latest Linux Driver
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    The release-"highlights" for the latest 455.23 WHQL proprietary Nvidia drivers for Linux contains a small note saying "Removed support for the SLI modes "SFR", "AFR", and "AA"." This does not mean that Nvidia is killing SLI completely, "SLI Mosaic, Base Mosaic, GL_NV_gpu_multicast, and GLX_NV_multigpu_context are still supported". Game developers who want to implement SLI in their games can still do it using any of those modes.
  • OpenRGB 0.4 Is Released
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    OpenRGB is a handy graphical program that can, in theory, let you control RGB lights on a wide range of motherboards, graphics cards and even lights on RGB RAM. The latest version adds a nice graphical LED view, background device detecting, standardized keyboard and mouse LED names and support for a lot of new hardware including Corsair Hydro Series coolers and the HyperX Pulsefire Surge Mouse.
  • The Real Risks And Costs Of Using Cloud Services: The Freedesktop.org Inside Scoop
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    Benjamin Tissoires, who works for IBM subsidiary RedHat, shared some interesting and shocking insights into the very real cost of cloud hosting a huge free software community like Freedesktop.org in his presentation "Status of freedesktop.org gitlab/cloud hosting" at the The X.Org Developers Conference 2020. For them, a initially very small monthly cloud hosting bill grew over time and eventually became gigantic. The effect of getting "free" cloud hosting for a period of time were specially interesting: They did not notice that the "sponsored" and temporarily hidden monthly bill was growing rapidly and got a huge wake-up call when monthly bills returned and they turned out to be massive.
  • AMD At The X.Org Developers Conference 2020: No-No Baking Your Graphics Card
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    Linux kernel developer Rajneesh Bhardwaj from AMD's Radeon Open Compute team warned that you should absolutely not bake your graphics card at the X.Org developers conference this week. He explained the dangers and stressed "Don't try this at home!". He went on to detail the many runtime power management advancements the amdgpu kernel driver for AMD graphics cards has seen the last year.

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • OpenRGB
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    OpenRGB is a graphical free software program that, in theory, lets you control RGB lights motherboards, graphics cards and other devices from the Linux and Windows operating systems. Using it to control most of the RGB lights it supports on Linux requires compiling the Linux kernel with a special i2c-dev patch and there is a fair chance won't work even if you do that. It is also possible that it will let you control RGB lights from a simple and easy to use graphical interface.
  • Adriconf
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    adriconf (Advanced DRI CONFigurator) is a graphical Mesa DRI configuration utility for developers, experts and even brave hobbyists who want to change Mesa settings graphics settings on Linux machines running Wayland or Xorg. It allows you to enable filters that change image quality, change debugging settings and, more importantly, change settings that impact performance.
  • Deepin
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    Deepin is a Debian-based Linux operating system from Chinese Wuhan Deepin Technology Corporation featuring a unique and very user-friendly desktop environment called "Deepin Desktop Environment". It comes with a wide range of easy to use applications written specially for it's Deepin Desktop Environment in C++ using Qt and the "Deepin Tool Kit" (DTK). Deepin is very easy to install, it is easy to use and it comes with everything you need to do most tasks you would want to do on a desktop or laptop computer.
  • Kontrast
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    Kontrast is a really simple program that will show you some example text and two color selectors that let you choose a text font color and a background color. Kontrast will give the colors you have selected a "Contrast ratio" score and tell you if they are "Perfect for normal and large text" or "Bad for large and normal text". And that's it.
  • TLP
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    TLP is a simple yet advanced power management script/utility for GNU/Linux that will adjust a lot of power-related settings when certain events like when AC power being disconnected or connected. It does not do any dynamic adjustments depending on system load or battery state or anything like that, it only applies settings on boot and when other clearly defined events take place. It does not have any GUI and it is not for novices. Power users may find it to be a useful tool.
  • MSI Kombustor
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    MSI Kombustor is a GPU stress test and not really benchmarking application created by Furmark on the behest of Taiwanese Micro-Star International. MSI Kombustor can render a variety of scenes using either OpenGL or Vulkan and show how many FPS those scenes are rendered with. It may be useful as a GPU stress testing tool. It is not very useful for GPU benchmarking. There is no way to make it run through all the scenes it can render and produce a overall score.
  • Geekbench
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     Geekbench 5 is a cross-platform CPU benchmarking application that tests single and multi-core CPU performance. The Linux version will run in a terminal and output some information about the system and the name of the benchmarks it runs and finish off by printing a link to a web page where results can be viewed. It is not exactly exciting to watch.

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