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

Top Story

  • Wine 6.3 Built-in vs DXVK 1.8: A Comparison Of Two Very Different DirectX Implementations
    Wine is not an emulator, it is a re-implementation of the Windows APIs. Wine implements DirectX 9-11 by translating the DirectX APIs to OpenGL API calls. There is an alternative DirectX implementation called DXVK that can be used with Wine. It translates DirectX API calls to Vulkan. Most Linux users who play Windows games on Linux think DXVK is faster than Wines built-in translation layer. Is it, and if so, how much faster is DXVK?

Breaking News

  • Avidemux 2.7.8 Is Released
    The latest version of the Avidemux video editor/converter for Linux, Windows and macOS has tons of new video filters, basic HDR support when working with Matroska and WebM containers, 24-bit uncompressed audio support in several file formats and a lot more.
  • Thunar 4.16.4 Is Released
    The latest version of the Thunar file manager for the Xfce desktop environment has seven bug-fixes and updated translations for four languages.
  • Xfdashboard 0.9.0 Is Released
    xfdashboard is a GNOME and macOS style application switcher and launcher primarily for the Xfce desktop environment. The latest version has nothing revolutionary from a end-users perspective, but there are some bigger changes beneath the hood.
  • Jack Dorsey Is Auctioning His First Tweet As An NFT On The Ethereum Blockchain
    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is auctioning away a non-fungible token (NFT) for his first Tweet. The current bid is $2.500.000, payable in Ethereums ETH currency, for a 1-of-1 "autographed" version minted on the Etherium blockchain.
  • KDE Plasma 5.22 Will Feature Adaptive Transparency
    The KDE Plasma desktop will have three new opacity settings for the panels starting with the upcoming 5.22 release: Adaptive, Opaque and Translucent.
  • Digital Currencies Like Bitcoin And Etherium And Tokens Based On Them Are Practically Useless As Of March 2021
    Digital crypto-currencies, based on free open source software, promised banking for the poor and the unbanked, cheap and quick transactions, micro-transactions and a financial revolution. Several cryptocurrencies have great success as speculative instruments and stores of value, but that's it. All the bigger ones have become practically useless for just about everything else and so have all the smaller ones that don't have their own blockchain.
  • Chromium Is Moving To A 4-Week Release Cycle In Q3 2021
    The BSD licensed web browser Chromium and the proprietary Google Chrome web browser product based on it will switch from a four week release cycle to a six week cycle in Q3 2021.
  • QBittorrent Support For BitTorrent 2.0 Is Looking Good
    The popular multi-platform bittorrent client qBittorrent has gained support for libtorrent 2 and the BitTorrent 2.0 protocol in the git master tree at GitHub. There is no time-frame for a stable release using it.

Quote of the week

"I was actually without electricity for six days of the merge window, and was seriously considering just extending the merge window to get everything done."

Linus Torvalds on the Linux 5.12 merge window

Latest software reviews

  • Denemo
    GNU Denemo is a free open source multi-platform music notation program and sequencer. It supports the most common audio file formats and it can also export scores, or sheet music, as PNG and PDF files. Denemo can handle typesetting via the LilyPond music engraver.
  • Quantum
    Quantum by Outracks vs Nazareth Creations is a Windows PC demo released at The Gathering demo party in April 2009. It uses DirectX 9 to render the graphics.
  • Whalebird
    Whalebird is a desktop application for social media websites running Mastodon, Pleroma or Misskey software. It has limited support for multiple sites (cross-posting and things like that are not implemented). All the features you get when you use a social media site based on the supported platforms directly are available in Whalebird. Whalebird is strait-forward and easy to use. It is a good alternative to using the websites it supports directly using a web browser.

Hot News

  • Don't Try Or Use Linux 5.12-rc1
    Linus Torvalds has renamed Linux 5.12-rc1 to 5.12-rc1-dontuse in git and the release has been pulled from due to an extremely unfortunate bug related to swap files, not swap partitions, that could cause random files to be overwritten with garbage data. You may want to revert to a previous kernel if you've already upgraded to Linux 5.12 rc1.
  • It's Yeriday
    Kim Ye-rim (김예림), better know as Yeri from the wonderful South Korean k-pop group Red Velvet, was born on March 5th 1999. It's not yet March 5th in most of the world but it is March 5th in South Korea. That makes today Yeriday! We wish Yeri a happy birthday and a happy Yeriday.
  • The Free Software Foundation Should Re-add Richard Stallman to the Board
    Dr. Richard Stallman is missed by many who perceive him to have been wrongly treated; putting Stallman back in the Board (at the very least) would help the image of the Free Software Foundation more than the newly-announced work with Community Consulting Teams of Boston
  • Free Software Calling
    Fewer people are willing to “put up with the shit” given by so-called ‘Big Tech’, seeing that it’s mostly about social control rather than enablement or emancipation.
  • The Free Software Foundation Has Entered Into A Consulting Agreement To Improve Its Image
    The Free Software Foundation has entered into a pro bono consulting agreement with the Community Consulting Teams of Boston to get a "marketing assessment" and recommendations for how they can "improve communications and outreach".
  • GNU Denemo 2.5 Is Released
    The GNU Projects updated version of the leading free software music notation program. It adds export of multi-movement scores to the MusicXML format, support for comments in Lyric verses, keyboard-driven menu navigation and several bug-fixes.
  • Friendly Reminder From The Linux Mint Team: Update Your Computer (And Teach Others How)
    Clem from the Linux Mint team issued a reminder that we should all update our computers last month. It is good advice because "Security updates are very important". We can add that you should teach friends and family how to update their system if you install GNU/Linux on their machines, and the Linux community needs to make upgrades between major versions of GNU/Linux distributions a whole lot easier.
  • Wine 6.3 Built-in vs DXVK 1.8: A Comparison Of Two Very Different DirectX Implementations
    Wine is not an emulator, it is a re-implementation of the Windows APIs. Wine implements DirectX 9-11 by translating the DirectX APIs to OpenGL API calls. There is an alternative DirectX implementation called DXVK that can be used with Wine. It translates DirectX API calls to Vulkan. Most Linux users who play Windows games on Linux think DXVK is faster than Wines built-in translation layer. Is it, and if so, how much faster is DXVK?
  • Linux 5.12 Mostly Restores Long-Horrid AES-XTS Performance Introduced By CPU-Bug Mitigations
    AES-NI XTS hardware encryption and decryption performance on Linux has been severely crippled since the Spectre V2 mitigations were introduced to the Linux kernel nearly two years ago. Linux 5.12 has fixes that mostly restore AES-NI XTS performance on the AMD side and those changes slightly increase aex-xts performance on the Intel side.
  • AMDs AMDVLK Vulkan Driver For Linux Remains Horribly Slow At Compute Compared To The Mesa RADV Driver
    AMDVLK v-2021.Q1.4, released late last week, was a huge yawn with a Mad Max specific performance quirk and the API verison updated to Vulkan 1.2.169. The last half dozen releases were equally boring. It is therefore not shocking that the performance-differences between the AMD AMDVLK Vulkan driver and the Mesa RADV driver are the same today as they were half a year ago: The graphics performance is near-identical, with AMDVLK being slightly slower, while the gap between their respective compute performance remains significant.
  • DXVK 1.8.1 Is Released With Better DirectX 9 Performance On AMD GPUs
    The DirectX to Vulkan translation layer DXVK, popular among Wine uses who like to play Windows games on Linux, got a huge speedbump for DirectX 9 games using MSAA on AMD graphics cards using the Mesa RADV driver in the latest 1.8.1 release. There's also workarounds for Mafia II and Warhammer Online.
  • KStars v3.5.2 Is Released
    Developer Jasem Mutlaq has released another fine version of the user-friendly yet very advanced astronomy program KStars. The highlights in the new version are mostly for those who happen to have their own observatory. KStars is still a great little program for anyone who wants to brush up on the constellations or have an interest in the night sky.
  • Vulkan 1.2.171 Is Released With Ray-Tracing Fix And BlackBerry QNX Support
    The Khronos Group has released an updated specification for the Vulkan graphics/compute API. Vulkan 1.2.171 has a new VK_QNX_screen_surface extension specifically for the BlackBerry QNX real-time operating system used in many cars and a improvement for raytracing pipeline creation.
  • Hardware Unboxed Has Been Shadow-Banned From YouTube
    The somewhat popular Australian hardware review channel Hardware Unboxed, with 730k subscribers, has been shadow-banned from the Google-owned video hosting platform YouTube. This illustrates the importance of diversifying by creating your own video hosting platform using free open source software if you are completely reliant on one or two big-tech platforms.

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • Wine Launcher
    Exec wine.svg
    Wine Launcher is a front-end for Wine and Wine variants like Proton. It supports sandboxes for individual games, installed games can be installed using squashfs to save space and it supports using different Wine variants for each game. System-installed Wine, Proton and other Wine variants are supported.
  • PilferShush Jammer
    PilferShush Jammer is a completely useless and, from a security perspective, dangerous application that claims to be able to prevent other applications on an Android device from using the microphone. It doesn't. It does absolutely nothing in that regard.
  • Uranus Flowers
    Uranus Flowers is a PC scene demo created by the The Bad Sectors demo-group. It won fourth place in the Tokyo Demo Fest 2014 in the combined demo/intro competition. The demo is notable for being light-weight enough to run on a Raspberry Pi and a Raspberry Pi version as well as Linux and Windows versions are included in the release archive.
  • Loop 1
    Loop 1 is a PC demo by The Bad Sectors which is notable for having a Linux version in addition to the Windows version. The demo on 7th place in the demo competition at the Function 2020 demoscene party held September 18-20, 2020, in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Matomo
    Matomo is a highly advanced free GNU GPL licensed web traffic analytics server written in PHP with a lot of features. You will have to install it on a server, preferably one capable of handling a bit of a load of you plan on using it to do web traffic analysis using JavaScript tags on one or more websites with high traffic volume. There's also a HTTP tracking API available.
  • AWStats
    AWStats is a free very configurable and highly advanced log analyzer written in Perl. It can be used to create detailed statistics using web server logs, mail logs or FTP server logs. AWStats creates a statistics file from parsed logs (using a cron job or system timer) that can be used to either create web traffic reports on the fly or static HTML pages with a timer/cron job. The reports cover a wide range of areas.
  • Analog
    Analog (CE) is a web log analyzer that creates pretty simple reports using a web servers logs. It will show a lot of data based on the logs. Some of the information it shows is slightly useful, a lot of it is not.

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