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- The GNU Guix distribution is moving from gzip to lzipThe free as in freedom GNU/Linux distribution is changing their compression algorithm for pre-built binaries from the horribly inefficient but standardized gzip format to a little-known compression format called lzip. This will make updating using pre-built binaries a lot faster since the download-stage is the most time-consuming part of the update process and lzip archives are, on average, two thirds the size of gzip archives.
- Richard Stallman to Visit Germany in JulyThe Free Software Foundation has today announced that the father of the free software movement, honorary doctor Richard Stallman, will be doing a speech on surveillance in Frankfurt, Germany on July 15th. The topic will be "Are we facing surveillance like in China?".
- New Stable Kernel Series Releases 4.4.182, 4.9.182, 4.14.127, 4.19.52 and 5.1.11 Fixes Serious TCP Networking VulnerabilitiesThis time there is actually a good reason to upgrade to one of these new releases of the stable kernel branches which were released just two days after the previous round of stable kernels: They fix three different TCP-based denial of service vulnerabilities which were identified by Netflix. And that's all there is in the patchsets for these new kernels. *BSD users should also pay attention, one of the vulnerabilities Netflix identified affects them.
Quote of the week
"I am not sure what that means, concretely. So all I can say is that China is a tyranny that is a harmful influence in the world."
Latest software reviews
- TORCSTORCS is an old racing car game with acceptable graphics for a game originally developed in 1997. The controls and gameplay isn't ideal and it's not very fun at all. The name TORCS stands for "The Open Racing Car Simulator" and it's website describes it as an "AI racing game and as research platform". Perhaps the developers simply didn't focus on making it a fun game for human entertainment.
- GLtronGLtron is a 3D light cycle version of the snake games who were popular in the early 1980s. Is is named after OpenGL and the movie Tron which inspired the game. It was originally released in 1999 and it has not changed all that much over the years. The graphics is simple and the gameplay is not at all exciting.
- New Kernels: 5.2-rc5, 5.1.10, 4.19.51 and 4.14.126 releasedThe stable kernels are, as always, tagged "All users of the _version_ kernel series must upgrade." but that's not really the case. We got Greg Kroah-Hartman to admit that it's just a standard boiler-plate which means absolutely nothing. That tag would be there even if the entire change-set consisted of fixing a spelling error in a documentation file.
- KDEs GSOC students are making Good Progress towards Many Exciting ImprovementsKDE got a lot of students as part of Google's Summer of Code this year and they are hard at work and making good progress on a wide range of projects. The digital painting program Krita is being ported to Android, digiKam is getting face recognition, KDE connect is getting Windows and Android versions and the video editor Kdenlive is getting a new title tool.
- The Linux Kernel can Kill Your PC-SpeakerThis isn't exactly news, it's been that way since at least 2007. Interestingly, the question "Is it possible to write a kernel module which, when loaded, will blow the PC speaker?" has been asked regularly on June 12th for more than a decade.
- Xfce Screensaver 0.1.5 Now AvailableThe Xfce team is moving forward to a stable release of version 4.14 either late July or early August. A new version of the Xfce Screensaver as well as a new version of the Exo development library are the latest building-blocks to fall into place.
- Snek version 1.0 Announced for Python-Like programming on Tiny Embedded Systems
- GIMP 2.10.12 now available
- VLC 3.0.7 released with a long list of Security Issues FixedIt appears there were buffer overflow issues in just about every module in the VLC media player ranging from decoders to demuxers. These bugs were largely found thank to the European Commission's bug bounty program. There is not much else of interest to Linux users, the vast majority of improvements in this release are specific to the Windows, macOS and Windows versions.
- Mesa 19.1.0 is now availableThe long-delayed major update to the Linux graphics stack has parallel shader compiling for all drivers and many new GL extensions for AMD and Intel GPUs. There is also a whole lot of new Vulkan features added, many of which are specific to AMD GPUs. The two blocker-bugs which cased this release to be delayed are finally resolved.
- New Kernels: 4.4.181, 4.9.181, 4.14.125, 4.19.50, 5.1.9 - just two days after the last kernels releases. And as always, You Must Upgrade NOWIt's not unreasonable to wonder if Greg Kroah-Hartman simply put "All users of the $stablebranch kernel series must upgrade" in a template at some point and simply forgot to remove it. This is the fourth release in a row carrying this scary demand.
- Linux Kernel 5.0.15 broke Support for all Older Bluetooth Devices and there's no fix in sight
If you are using older or cheaper newer Bluetooth devices and you are wondering why they no longer work: it is because of a change in the kernel's way of aligning encryption keys which prevents devices using earlier versions of the Bluetooth standard from connecting.
- Xfce4 Panel Stopwatch Plugin v0.3.1 releasedThe Xfce team is proud to announce a new version of the gtk3 port of the "stopwatch" panel plugin. This marks yet another milestone on Xfce's march towards a stable 4.14 release which is still on schedule to be released mid-August 2019.
- New Kernels: 4.14.124, 4.19.49, 5.1.8 and 5.2-RC4. And as always, You Must Upgrade NOWStable branch kernels 4.14.124, 4.19.49 and 5.1.8 as well as a release candidate 5.2-rc4 for the upcoming 5.2 was released today. The kernels come with the "All users must upgrade" notice which has been attached to all the latest kernel releases. And there is, as always no indication or even a hint as to why we "must" upgrade NOW.
- Ice Window Manager 1.5.5 releasedAnother minor point release in the 1.5.x branch of the IceWM window-manager is released. A few updated translation files is the only change since version 1.5.4 so there's not very much to get excited about if you are using the development-branch.
- Kdenlive video editor version 19.04.2 releasedA total of 77 bugs are fixed in the second minor release in the 19.04 series of the powerful and feature-rich KDE video editor Kdenlive. Compositing issues, misbehaving markers and grouping inconsistencies are among the more noticeable bugs fixed. There are also some improvements specific to the Wintoddler version.
- Mesa 19.1.0 RC 5 and stable branch 19.0.6 available, 19.1.0 final is delayedThe who blocker bugs which has been in Mesa 19.1.0 release candidates since RC2 remain open. The latest stable branch release 19.0.6 was meant to be the last of the 19.0.x series but 19.1.0 is delayed due to the release-blocking bugs so there will be one last stable 19.0.7-release before the final version of 19.1.0 becomes available.
- South Korean Government and Army will be switching to Linux
- KDE will soon get a light-weight WYSIWIG markdown viewer
- Most popular LinuxReviews articles in May 2019
- Krita 4.2.1 released
- Firefox to offer "Tracking Protection" by default
- New Kernels, 5.1.7, 5.0.21 and 4.19.48 are released
- Sunmi's fabulous song "Gashina" has reached 100 million views on YouTube
- Mageia 7 RC released
- The Tor network is either under attack by or very popular in Iran
- Linux Kernel 5.2-rc3 released
- Gbrainy v2.4.1 released
- Xfce is now the most popular desktop (among new Manjaro Linux users)
- Linux market share on Steam grew by a whopping 0.02% in May
- IEEE freezes out Huawi and affiliated individuals Ending it's function as a Global Standards Body
- New Kernels released and You Must Upgrade NOW
Check out the news archive for more news.
Recent software reviews
- Plasma DiscoverPlasma Discover is a all-in-one software manager and "app store" built around KDE Plasma which works in any desktop environment. It is user-friendly and it has an attractive look. It supports multiple package management systems as well as snap and flatpak which means it is usable as an alternative to the default software manager on most Linux distributions.
- KnightsKnights is a really nice chess game with support for playing against multiple computer chess engine opponents as well as online play against human opponents. It supports board themes, a few are included and numerous others are available as downloadable addons.
- XBoardXBoard is a chess game for Linux computers. It has been around for a very long time. It's graphical interface is not very fancy and it does not have a trendy look. It's great for playing chess against a computer opponent but it's not that great if you prefer online play. XBoard supports connecting to online servers but it's only possible to do so using command-line parameters.
- Naval BattleNaval Battle (KBattleShip) is a fun battleship game built on the KDE libraries. It can be played single player or multi-player over the network as long as you've got a friend willing to play (there is no central game server).
- PidginPidgin (originally known as "Gaim") is a multi-platform multi-protocol instant messaging client which allows you to connect to pretty much all the different messaging services. You can use Pidgin to talk to people on Discord, Google Hangouts, IRC, Matrix and many other services from Pidgin as long as you have an account at those services. It can support secure messaging over insecure messaging networks using a Off-The-Record plugin as long as both parties have support for that overlay protocol.
- The secret battle of encryption algorithms - In this video from LibrePlanet 2019 Amanda Sopkin explains some cryptography basics and dilemmas.
- Overtaking Proprietary Software Without Writing Code - "a few rough insights on sharpening free software". This lecture was given by Olivier Cleynen at the CCC in December 2007. The points in it were very good and remain relevant more than a decade later.
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