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

Top Story

  • Gbrainy Is 2.4.2 Released
    Developer Jordi Mas has proudly released a new version of the educational brain teaser game Gbrainy. Gbrainy has logic puzzles, calculation trainers, memory trainers and "verbal analogies" for those who, like the games name implies, want to train their brain. The latest version has updated and fixed translations and that's it.

Breaking News

  • Intel Is Pushing For 1984-Style Revision Of Words Allowed In Linux Kernel Development And Documentation
    Intel Corporation has submitted a long documentation proposal for "inclusive-terminology" to the Linux Kernel Mailing List which forbids commonly used terminology like master/slave and blacklist/whitelist. The Intel-proposed new-speak replacements such red/green seem more confusing than the long-used long-established commonly known terms they would replace. A majority of kernel developers seem to be on-board with Intels new-speak proposals.
  • Linux Mint 20 Blocks And Removes Snap Citing Backdoor To Canonicals SnapCraft Store
    The popular Linux Mint operating system has decided to purge the snap package manager from its repositories and forbid installation of it. The motivation for this drastic move is that the upstream Ubuntu Linux distribution Linux Mint is based on will stealthily install snapd and use that to install Chromium from the Canonical-controlled SnapCraft instead of installing a regular Chromium package like most users expect.
  • Linux 5.8 Brings Per-Core Energy Sensor Support For AMD CPUs
    The new amd_energy can in theory tell you how much energy each core on AMD family 17h and above CPUs consume as well as the total amount of energy consumed by the CPU package. The readings given in Joules and the reported total package figures appear to be fairly accurate. If the per-core energy readings are correct or not is an entirely different question.
  • The Flutter SDK Is Ready To Be Used For Native Linux Software Development
    Flutter is a cross-platform software development kit from Google which is widely used for mobile app development. Google has, in collaboration with Ubuntu Linux maker Canonical, adopted the Flutter UI framework so it can be used to make native GNU/Linux programs. A Flutter SDK alpha-version snap is available for those who want to do Android-style native Linux software development.

Quote of the week

"yes, using the floating point calculations in the display code has been a source of numerous problems and confusion in the past.

The calls to kernel_fpu_begin() and kernel_fpu_end() are hidden behind the DC_FP_START() and DC_FP_END() macros which are supposed to hide the architecture depend handling for x86 and PPC64.

This originated from the graphics block integrated into AMD CPU (where we knew which fp unit we had), but as far as I know is now also used for dedicated AMD GPUs as well.

I'm not really a fan of this either, but so far we weren't able to convince the hardware engineers to not use floating point calculations for the display stuff."

AMD kernel developer Christian König
on the LKML April 2nd, 2020

Latest software reviews

  • SimpleScreenRecorder
    SimpleScreenRecorder is a, despite the name, fairly advanced screencasting program for GNU/Linux systems. It can be used to record the a single screen, the entire display area (on multi-monitor setups), a fixed rectangle, what happens to be below the cursor or OpenGL windows. It can scale video and a desired frame-rate can be set.
  • DeaDBeeF
    DeaDBeeF is a music player which is, in its "About" window, described as "The Ultimate Music Player". And it is if you want a basic easy to use music player capable of playing all the common audio formats. DeaDBeeF does not any kind of music collection database features, there is no file indexing or searchable database. If you like to manually manage playlists using a file file picker or a file manager and you want a easy to use music player then DeaDBeeF may be for you. DeaDBeeF is available for Linux and macOS.
  • Quaternion
    Quaternion is a Matrix client written in Qt. It is capable of showing chat-rooms but it is not at all usable as a general-purpose chat client; it is way too buggy.

Hot News

  • Mpv drops GNOME support
    Most of the developers of the GNOME desktop environment have the strange idea that GNOME is somehow a "platform" that is separate from, and not a part of, the overall GNU/Linux ecosystem. One direct result of this self-isolation has been the regular breakage of non-GNOME software when it is running in GNOME. This has affected free software project like mpv, SuperTuxKart, SDL and many more. One mpv developer who has had enough of GNOME nonsense made mpv print a "no support" message and exit if it was running under GNOME earlier today.
  • Suddenly Seeing Random KDE Programs Scale And Become Huge While Others Do Not When Launched Outside Of KDE Plasma? This Variable Can Save The Day
    KDE Katie.png
    Recent KDE framework versions combined with Qt 5.14+ will randomly up-scale some KDE programs while other programs remain the same sane sizes they've always been when KDE programs are used outside of the KDE Plasma desktop. This unfortunate issue affects users of desktop environments like Xfce, IceWM and LXQt on several distributions including OpenSUSE and Fedora. Adding export QT_AUTO_SCREEN_SCALE_FACTOR=0 to $HOME/.bash_profile or another file read when the desktop session is launched can save the day.
  • Xfce4-time-out-plugin 1.1.1 Is Released
    Xfce developer Andre Miranda is proud to announce a new version of the "time-out" panel plugin for the Xfce4 desktop environment. This plugin will lock your screen, forcing you to take a break, every X minutes. The latest release fixes a bug where the lock countdown would start if its configuration was changed.
  • Dooble Web Browser 2020.07.07 Is Released
    The mysterious developer "textfield" has released a new version the Dooble web browser which is desribed in the bundled as a "weather bug browser". The Dooble browser uses the mature Qt5 webview module to render web pages. It supports tabs and most other features you would expect from a simpler modern web browser. The latest release adds HiDPI and Qt 5.15 support.
  • Video Trimmer 0.2.0 Is Out
    Russian programmer Ivan Molodetskikh has released another fine version of his "Video Trimmer" for GNU/Linux which is, as the name implies, a simple tool for trimming video clips. If you have a four minute video and you would like to quickly save the first or last two minutes of that clip then the latest version of Video Trimmer may be exactly what you need.
  • Zettlr Markdown Editor 1.7.1 Is Released With Vim And Emacs Input Modes
    The latest version of the Zettlr Markdown editor has a completely new file core, new code block languages, a interactive tutorial for noobs, shiny new icons and, more importantly, an emacs input mode. There is also a new Vim input mode in this release. Zettlr is available for GNU/Linux, macOS and Windows.
  • SLOS-GIMPainter Brush Package Can Make GIMP A Better Painting Tool
    A Chinese comic book artist going by the name SenlinOS has released a brush package for the GNU Image Manipulation Program for those who use GIMP to do more than just image manipulation. SLOS-GIMPainter provides a rich set of brushes as well as easy to use brush presets. It is a great add-on for GIMP users who love to draw.
  • Linux Desktop Market Share Could Have Doubled, Or Stagnated, In Q2 2020
    There is no sure way to tell exactly how many people are running a GNU/Linux variant on their desktop or laptop computer. Some industry players like Valve release fairly reliable data on a regular basis so we can get an fairly accurate idea of what the GNU/Linux gaming market share looks like. We can also get a ball-park idea of what the overall GNU/Linux desktop market share looks like from players like Netmarketshare. Their numbers indicate that the GNU/Linux desktop market share DOUBLED in Q2 2020.
  • Firefox 78 Is Released With 14 Security Fixes
    Eight "high", four "medium" and two "low" impact security vulnerabilities were fixed with the release of Mozilla Firefox 78. This version is both a regular release and a Extended Support Release (ESR) expected to receive minor bug fixes for a twelve months. There are a few new features in this release, none of which are particularly noteworthy.
  • Is Back After Hours Of Downtime Due Post Containing Islamic Terrorist Material, one of Japan's larger social media sites and the world's largest using entirely free software, is back up after being down for several hours yesterday. It turns out that their hosting provider was "asked" to take the site down because of a problematic post in Arabic calling for Jihad. The Japanese have a very low tolerance for Islamic terrorist material.
  • Older Ubuntu Server Version Have Gained Support For AMD Rome Processors
     The Linux kernel has had full support for AMD EPYC processors, code-named "ROME", since version 5.4. All the latest versions of modern distributions have the code required to utilize these second-generation high-end server processors. That has so far not been the case with older Long Term Support versions of Ubuntu. Canonical has now back-ported the required code to older kernels and given all their LTS versions support for AMD EPYC CPUs.
  • Glib-networking up to 2.64.2 accepts any TLS certificate as valid for any domain
    You should make sure your system is using a up-to-date version of glib-networking if you are using GNOME and/or the Balsa e-mail client. The glib-networking library up to and including version 2.64.2 has an implementation flaw that allows a server to present a certificate for any domain and have glib-networking accept it has valid as long as the server neglects to provide a server identity. A server could present a certificate valid for example.tld and have glib-networking accept it as valid for yourbank.tld.
  • New Hong Kong Security Law Could Slow SuperTuxKart Development
    A new security law imposed on Hong Kong by China could slow development of the free software kart racing game SuperTuxKart down to a grinding halt. One of the two main developers is located in Hong Kong and he, who we choose not to name at this time due to potential repercussions from China, may be forced to re-locate to the United Kingdom. This would significantly impact his ability to improve the free software SuperTuxKart kart racing game.
  • Total War: SHOGUN 2 Is Being Given Away For Free On Steam Until May 1st
    Feral Interactive is giving away licenses to the proprietary turn-based strategy game Total War: SHOGUN 2, released in 2011, in the Steam Store until May 1st. The game has a native GNU/Linux version and very low system requirements, you can play it on a laptop with integrated Intel graphics. The game's graphics are decent and the gameplay is alright, purchasing a license at zero price is worth it if you enjoy playing turn-based strategy games. There's also huge rebates on DLC packs and battle packs which can be had for a few dollars each while the give-away lasts.

Older news:

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • Xfburn
    Xfburn is a CD/DVD/BlueRay disc authoring program written with the Xfce desktop environment in mind. It can be used in any desktop environment. It can be used to burn ISO images, create audio discs and data discs. It supports CDs, DVDs and BlueRay discs. It does not support authoring playable video DVD or BlueRay discs. Xfburn is fine if you still have a CD/DVD/BlueRay writer and you want to demonstrate how that ancient technology works when you are giving a tour of your museum or something like that.
  • ClamAV
    clamav is a GPL licensed free software anti-virus solution for GNU/Linux and BSD systems. It has a command-line anti-virus scanner and a daemon which can update the anti-virus database automatically. clamav can and should be a standard part of e-mail and file server setups.
  • OBS Studio
    OBS Studio is a free software screen recording and live streaming application for Linux, Windows and macOS. It can record web camera streams, single windows, single monitors or entire desktops. It supports hardware accelerated video encoding using VAAPI on Linux. It is the single best and most feature-complete application for both screen recording and live screaming.
  • Spectacle
    Spectacle is a simple and easy to use screenshot utility written with KDE in mind. It is the default application bound to the PrtSc (printscreen) key in KDE Plasma. It can also be used in any other desktop environment. It has all the features you could possible want from a screenshot application which makes it a good choice to set as a default action when the PrtSc button is pressed in any desktop environment.
  • Polari
    Polari is a extremely simple IRC client designed specificially for GNOME. It uses the practically abandoned Telepathy communications framework to communicate with IRC servers. Polari will, by default, not run in the background so you get messages if it is minimized. There is no system tray support since GNOME 3 does not have any system tray. There are no configuration options what so ever and no useful options in the mobile-phone style hamburger menu beyond Quit which is something you will likely want to do after testing it and discovering how much of a joke of a IRC client it is compared to any other IRC client made the last two decades.
  • Nano Adblocker
    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
    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
    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.
  • 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.

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