news]], reviews and HOWTO
- Patently Obvious: The Year The Lawyers Came To FOSSThe GNOME foundation was sued by Rothschild Patent Imaging on August 28th, 2019. The lawsuit alleged that the GNOME Shotwell photo manager was infringing on Rothschild patents. The GNOME foundation eventually settled with the Rothschilds in March 2020. Neil McGovern, Executive Director of the GNOME foundation, went through the entire process in a 25 minute presentation at the Seattle GNU/Linux conference this weekend.
- FreeBSD Fridays: Introduction to RISC-V on FreeBSDVideo: Join Mitchell Horne as he discusses the past, present, and future of FreeBSD’s support for the RISC-V CPU architecture. x86-64 is the most well-supported platform FreeBSD runs on. RISC-V support is not yet complete in all areas, but it is rapidly getting here.
- AMD Launches 3 High-End RX 6000-Series GPUs For 4k GamingAMD has announced 3 high-end graphics cards based on the RDNA2 architecture. Their new mid-range RX 6800 card, comparable to a Nvidia 2080ti, will cost $579 when it becomes available on November 18th. AMDs new RX 6900 XT flagship GPU will cost a whopping $999 when it launches on December 8th.
- Prepare To Re-Format If You Are Using An Older XFS FilesystemLinux 5.10 brings several new features to the XFS filesystem. It solves the year 2038 problem, it supports metadata checksumming and it has better metadata verification. There's also a new configuration option:
CONFIG_XFS_SUPPORT_V4. Older XFS filesystems using the v4 layout are now deprecated and there is no upgrade path beyond "backup and re-format". The Linux kernel will support older XFS v4 filesystems by default until 2025 and optional support will remain available until 2030.
- Linux Is Dropping WiMAX SupportIt's no loss. There is a reason why you have probably never seen a WiMAX device or heard of it, WiMAX was a wireless last-mile Internet solution mostly used in a few rural areas in a limited number of countries between 2005 and 2010. There is very little use for it today so it is almost natural that Linux is phasing out support for WiMAX and the one WiMAX device it supports.
- Fedora 33 Is ReleasedFedora 33 comes with GNOME 3.38, LLVM 11, Python 3.9, Mesa 20.2 and Linux 5.8. The default file system is btrfs on the workstation edition and the desktop spins while the server editions uses XFS. Spins with GNOME (the default workstation edition), KDE Plasma, LXQt, Cinnamon and Xfce are available.
- AMD Announces Record High Q3 2020 Profits And $35 Billion Deal To Buy XilinxAMD announced their Q3 2020 quarterly results early due to an all-stock acquisition of the American semiconductor company Xilinx for $35 billion. AMD pulled in $2.8 billion in revenue in Q3 2020, up 58% compared to Q3 2019. Their quarterly earnings were even more impressive. Q3 2020 was AMD's best quarter in history in terms of both revenue and earnings.
- Corbett Report: YouTube Is Purging AgainYouTube has been removing small independent content creators from its platform with regular purges since 2016. YouTube did another big purge this week. Independent content creators who are only on YouTube should take notice and get a presence on alternative platforms. Investigate journalist James Corbett of the Corbett Report is prepared to get purged from YouTube. His videos are available on his own self-hosted website and a number of other video platforms. Most independent creators are not even though YouTube has been suppressing and removing independent creators in favor of large corporate media outlets for nearly half a decade.
Quote of the week
"Let's fight to keep education technology open. We need to, and I think if we don't, there's possibilities for the very large companies to start taking over the education space and once they do that they will also take over the future of the planet and I don't think that's what we want."
Latest software reviews
- PilferShush JammerPilferShush 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 FlowersUranus 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 1Loop 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.
- Recording Industry Association of America Gets Youtube-dl Kicked Off GitHubMicrosoft GitHub has removed all traces of the very useful
youtube-dlutility for downloading videos from YouTube and other websites, including this one, following a questionable DMCA request from the Recording Industry Association of America.
- Wine 5.20 Released With 36 Bug-FixesThe latest development release of the Wine Is Not An Emulator Windows API re-implementation has game specifix fixes for Alice Madness Return, Backpacker 3: Americana, Capella no yakusoku, Metro Exodus, Red Evil and Stellaris. There's also several general fixes that make a long list of games run better in Wine 5.20. Audio mixing and audio handling in general should be better with this release.
- Sensor Fusion Hub Driver For AMD Laptops With Gyroscopes Is Coming To Linux 5.11It's been a long and hard road to acceptance for AMD's Sensor Fusion Hub Linux driver. The first revision was submitted to the Linux kernel Mailing List in January 2020. It took eight revisions and a lot of effort before Jiří Kosina finally accepted it into the
hid.git#for-5.11tree, almost guaranteeing that it will become a part of Linux 5.11.
- Linux Support for Variable Refresh Rates On Gen12+ Intel GPUs Is On The WayIntel developer Manasi Navare has submitted a series of patches for the Linux kernel that brings support for variable refresh rates on Intel's latest graphics chips to the Linux kernels i915 driver. The feature is only enabled on Tiger Lake, Sapphire Rapids and newer Intel graphics chips.
- Richard Brown: MicroOS Desktop, The Road to Daily DrivingopenSUSE Chairman and MicroOS Release Engineer Richard Brown presented OpenSUSE's minimal MicroOS Linux distribution as a potential desktop operating system at the openSUSE+LibreOffice Virtual Conference 2020 last week in a half an hour long presentation. MicroOS is a minimal Linux distribution primarily made for cloud services, IoT devices, containers and those types of use-cases. It could potentially also be used as a light desktop system similar to ChromeOS and an alpha version of MicroOS for Desktop is available. There are some problems to be solved on the road to a stable release as Richard Brown explains.
- US Department Of Justice Lawsuit Against Google Could Kill FirefoxA US Department of Justice lawsuit against Google on the grounds that they are a "monopolist" could result in the death of the one realistic free software web browser alternative that's not based on the Google-controlled Chromium code-base and its Blink rendering engine. Mozilla will need to find some other partner willing to pay them $400 million a year if they are forced to cancel their sweet "royalty" contract with Google.
- Modern Web Standards Are Leaving Niche Web Browsers BehindThere's plenty of web browsers to choose from on desktop computers but there's not much of a choice if you look beneath the surface. There's a ton of web browsers based on Google's Chromium code-base, a few mostly iOS and macOS browsers based on Apple's Webkit engine and then there's Firefox with it's own Quantum rendering engine. There also Pale Moon with it's own Goanna rendering engine. It is increasingly falling behind the bigger browsers and more and more websites are broken in it as web developers deploy web standards other browsers, but not Pale Moon, support.
- The Closed-Source NVIDIA Linux Driver Is Incompatible With Linux 5.9 And Support Won't Come Until Mid-NovemberThe latest Nvidia graphics driver for Linux, v455.28, won't work with the latest Linux kernel. This may be due to an intentional change on the Linux kernel side that blocks third party shims from using GPL-only symbols. Regardless of the root cause, anyone using Nvidia on Linux should stick with Linux 5.8 for now. Nvidia has promised that an updated driver compatible with Linux 5.9 will arrive mid-November.
- When "progress" is backwardsLately I see many developments in the linux FOSS world that sell themselves as progress, but are actually hugely annoying and counter-productive. Counter-productive to a point where they actually cause major regressions, costs, and as in the case of GTK+3 ruin user experience and the possibility that we'll ever enjoy "The year of the Linux desktop".
- Microsoft Edge For Linux Is HereMicrosoft kept good on their promise to release a Linux version of their Edge web browser product in October 2020. It's here with packages available for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSUSE. The browser itself is not very unique or special, it's mostly just Chromium wrapped in a Microsoft-skin. There are some Microsoft-specific features tied to Microsoft's web services, and that's about it. Performance is about the same as what you get with other Chromium-based web browsers.
- Firefox 82 Is Released With Four High-Impact Security FixesMozilla Firefox 82 is faster on websites using flex CSS layout, there's a new picture-in-picture button that you may or may not find annoying enough to disable and there's four high-impact and two medium-impact security fixes. There's no performance improvement in synthetic benchmarks.
- AMDVLK 2020.Q4.1 Is Released With A New Vulkan Extension And Three Game-Specific FixesAMD has released a new version of their AMDVLK Vulkan driver for Linux with support for one new Vulkan extensions and game-specific fixes for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Second Extinction and X-plane. Performance is still overall worse than the AMD RADV Vulkan driver that comes with Mesa 20.2.0 and performance is much worse in specific graphics benchmarks and image up-scaling.
- Ongoing (Albeit Secret) Campaign of Patent Extortion Against GNU/Linux Distributions Using Software Patents, Even Expired Ones in EuropeGNU/Linux distros attacked by software patents, even in Europe where no such patents are supposed to exist (or have any legal bearing)
Check out the news archive for more news.
Recent software reviews
- AWStatsAWStats 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.
- AnalogAnalog (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.
- WebalizerWebalizer is a primarily Apache log file analyzer that creates a simple report with some small graphs and a high-level overview of page-views, unique visits, files, kilobytes transferred and the total amounts of file hits. It's fast, and it supports a history file that allows you to simply throw old logs away once webalizer is done with them. It does have some shortcomings like the inability to separate browsers user-agent strings by device and operating system.
- SlimjetSlimjet is a non-free Chromium-based freeware web browser with a built-in ad-blocker and many extra-sauce features like a YouTube video downloader, "hi-speed" download manager, "photo enhancement" and several other things that don't normally come with a web browser. The GNU/Linux version says "Aw, Snap!" and that's it, that's all it does.
- Fancontrolfancontrol is a simple bash script that lets you control your fans on Linux machines. It is part of the lm_sensors package. It is not very easy or strait-forward to setup but it does work really well once you've got it working on your machine.
- 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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