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Breaking news

  • Linux Kernel Disables Coffee Lakes HPET On The Grounds That It Is "Unreliable"
    Linus Torvalds has pulled a "fix" which disables the High Precision Event Timer on Intel Coffee Lake systems into the git mainline kernel on the grounds that it's "unreliable". You may want to use the nohpet kernel parameter on Coffee Lake and Ice Lake (same problem, not fixed) machines. Those platforms HPET's problems with keeping track of time in low-power states have cast light on some serious not-fixed problems with kernel's clocksource watchdog.
  • Linux Distributions Running On Intel CPUs Are About To Get A Lot Slower
    GNU/Linux distributions have very quietly begun rolling out a microcode update for Intel CPUs which contain "Mitigations for Jump Conditional Code Erratum". Errata is a fancy way of saying defective due to a design flaw. Intel consumer CPUs from 6th generation Skylake up to the latest 10th generation "Come Lake" CPUs as well as Xeon CPUs released in that time-frame have a design flaw which can cause "unpredictable" behavior under certain conditions. The new microcode which works around this design flaw has a 2-20% performance penalty. This comes on top of new performance-hampering security-mitigations for other Intel CPU design flaws which were added to the stable kernel branches this week.
  • Thunar 1.8.11 "Emergency" Release Available, Fixes Startup Crashes on FreeBSD, Fedora and Gentoo
    Last weeks Thunar 1.8.10 release introduced a Pango version check which makes Thunar crash on startup if the machine is using an older version of the Pango library. This 1.8.11 "emergency release" addresses that particular issue.
  • Xfce Video Player Parole v1.0.5 Is Released
    The latest version of the rather simple Xfce video player Parole has working volume hotkeys when watching a video fullscreen and fixed thumbnail cleaning and creation. There's also translation updates. It is still using the GStreamer framework for video playback.
  • Mesa 19.2.4 Emergency Release Available
    If you or the distribution you are using upgraded your Mesa graphics library to version 19.2.3 then this emergency release is for you. It fixes a "critical" bug found in Mesa 19.2.3 which affects all the Mesa drivers. Mesa 19.2.2 does not have this problem so you only need to care if you upgraded during the last two weeks.
  • Two New Motherboards FSF Certificed As Freedom-Respecting: Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite
    Free software enthusiasts may be frustrated with the enormous amount of proprietary non-free closed source software one is required to run in black boxes in order to use a free operating system with free software. The Free Software Foundation is making an effort to certify truly freedom-respecting hardware. They have now given the the PowerPC motherboards Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC a "Respects Your Freedom" Certification.
  • Hospital Management System GNU Health Version 3.6 Is Released
    GNU Health is a 11 year old free software Medical Record, Health Information and Hospital Management system. It can be deployed as a single instance for a local doctors office or a distributed instance for a network of hospitals in a country.
  • Disney+ Will Not Work On GNU/Linux Machines
    In a blast from the past when video sites required Flash and DRM to function we're back to a situation where some streaming video services can not be used on GNU/Linux machines. There is a chromium plugin called "widevine" for Netflix. A Slackware developer who has had access to Disney+ during their pre-release testing period reports that the "widevine" plugin does not work with Disney+. You simply will not be able to view their ruined Star Wars story-line or their ripped off and barely-modified yet copyrighted forever characters like Mickey Mouse on a GNU/Linux machine.

Hot news

  • SimpleMailQt V2.0.0-beta 1 Is Released With Asynchronous Support
    The new version of this e-mail library for Qt developers supports asynchronous e-mail fetching. This is important because the SMTP e-mail standard requires clients to actually wait for replies and this could take time. Having a thread sit there waiting for a response while the application is frozen is no fun. The new version solves that and adds support for the SMTP RESET command as well.
  • KStars v3.3.7 Released With Integrated Astrometric Plate Solver
    KDE Katie.png
    The latest version of the free planetarium program KStars adds a lot of new features for professional astronomers. A program called ASTAP, a free stacking and astrometric solver, has been integrated into KStars. There's also enhancements for using the PHD2 telescope autoguiding software.
  • Thunar 1.6.18 marks the end of Xfce 4.12
    Xfce 4.12, released 28 February 2015, was replaced by the GTK+3-based 4.14 version earlier this year. A few newly released distributions like Debian Buster are still shipping 4.12. The majority have moved on to 4.14 and so have the developers who are already working on the 4.15 development-series which will be released as Xfce 4.16 in October/November 2020. Thunar 1.6.18 will be the last update to Thunar's 1.6.x branch for Xfce 4.12. This indicates that IT'S OVER for Xfce 4.12. There will be no more updates and those who resist upgrading will be left on their own.
  • It's Over, The Linux Journal is Gone
    The LinuxJournal was around from 2004 until they were forced to close their doors for good back in August 2019. Their website was kept alive, without updates, and the very large archive of articles published on the web over the many years of it's existence remained available - until late Friday when it suddenly went dark. That's a sad end for the 25 year old publication which pioneered GNU/Linux reporting.
  • Thunar 1.8.10 Released With Plenty Of Bug-Fixes
    The latest release of the default file manager for the Xfce desktop environment has a very long list of bug-fixes in a variety of areas. Some fix trivial visual errors and some fix crashes when doing something like a refresh on a open remote folder which has been deleted. There are no new ground-breaking features, this is a stable version maintenance release which tackles bugs.
  • Kernel 5.3.9 And Other Stable Series Linux Kernels Are Released With Important Realtek Wifi Vulnerability Fix
    Wifi Chips from Taiwanese Realtek are found in near-zero consumer laptops and a lot of the dirt-cheapest routers and USB networking dongles. They use a Linux kernel driver called rtlwifi which, up to now, had a slight buffer overflow problem which could potentially be (ab)used to run arbitrary code on any Linux-based computer with realtek wireless networking enabled. No proof of concept or other exploits exist. You should probably upgrade your kernel if you are using a Realtek-based wifi device running a Linux kernel regardless.
  • Steams Hardware Survey for October Indicates Linux Gaming Growth Is Not Happening
    The GNU/Linux marketshare among gamers using the Steam has flat-lined at 0.83% with a measly 0.03% growth in September and 0.00% growth in October 2019. Overall GNU/Linux gaming marketshare was likely down for the month as popular newly released games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are not available in the Steam store and they are also not available for GNU/Linux operating systems.
  • Microsoft Edge To Shake Up The Browser Competition On The GNU/Linux Desktop
    Microsoft's announced that they gave up on their own web browser rendering engine a while ago. Future versions of their Edge browser will be based on Google's Chromium web browser and use it's "Blink" rendering engine. Chromium is multi-platform which makes it trivial to port browsers based on it to a variety of platforms. It appears that even Microsoft is able to do this. They have now confirmed that they will be releasing a GNU/Linux version of their upcoming Chromium-based Edge browser.
  • Mesa 19.2.3 And 19.3-rc2 Are Now Available
    Mesa release manager Dylan Baker has released two new versions of the Mesa graphics stack which underpins all graphics on modern GNU/Linux systems. The new stable 19.2.3 version has "a bit of everything" with bug-fixes for just about every component and a "giant pile of relese-script changes". The second release candidate for version 19.3 has "a large number of bug fixes" but there's still "plenty of bugs" left to fix before a final release.
  • Xfburn 0.6.1 is now available
    The CD/DVD/BD burning application Xfburn has been updated to use the GTK+3 toolkit. There's also some minor code modernization under the hood. There's also a lot of translation updates in this latest version of the Xfce desktop's tool for writing data to ancient round storage-media.
  • Xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin 2.3.4 is released
    The Xfce team has released an update to the popular "whiskermenu" panel plugin for the Xfce desktop environment. This is the Xfce menu many distributions use as the default menu in Xfce since it is somewhat more advanced than the stock menu. The new version has some fixes which makes it build against xfce4-panel 4.15.0, which is the first development release in the next iteration of the Xfce desktop - and some translation updates. That's it.
  • Fedora 31 Is Released With Live Images Available For A Varietry Spins
    IBM's subsidiary Red Hat has released a new version 31 of their "community" distribution Fedora which they fully control and use to beta-test for their commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux product. Downloadable images for their "Workstation" desktop featuring GNOME, a "Silverblue" OsTree variant, a KDE edition, a Xfce spin and a LXQt variant as well as a server-image are now available.
  • AMD and Intel Posted Record Profits Q3 2019
    CPU "shortages" on the Intel side of the duopoly helped AMD post the best quarterly results since 2005 while Intel posted a record quarterly result of $19.2 billion. That brings Intel's yearly forecast for the year up $1.5B to $71 billion. AMD posted a Q3 result of $1.8 billion that is ~ 10% of Intel's results, thanks to Zen2 based Ryzen desktop parts and EPYC server chips.
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Firmware Updates Add Network Booting and USB 3.0 Power Saving For Lower Temperatures
    The latest iteration of the popular tiny single-board computer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation has gotten a new firmware update which enabled power-saving in the VLI VL805 controller which manages it's two USB 3.0 ports. There is also a beta firmware which finally enables PXE network booting available.
  • Mesa 19.3.0-rc1 Released With New Vulkan Features
    The first release-candidate in the Mesa 19.3 graphics system cycle kicks off with OpenGL 4.6 for Intel's i965 and Iris graphics drivers as well as a long list of new Vulkan features for the Intel and AMD RADV drivers. There's also initial support for a new Intel "Tigerlake" graphics chip.
  • Firefox 70 Is Released With 13 Security Vulnerabilities Fixed
    The latest version of the underdog web browser Firefox includes fixes for 13 CVE-numbered vulnerabilities. There is also new "social tracking" protection which adds to the anti-tracking features introduced in the previous versions and a new special about:protections which shows what kind of tracking Firefox has blocked lately. WebGL performance is slightly better when using the Basic rendering option; overall performance is essentially the same as previous versions.
  • GNOME Project Hit By Patent Troll, Over $100k USD Defense Fund Raised
    The "patent troll" Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC hit the GNOME project with a high five figure extortion demand over a patent the photo manager Shotwell supposedly infringes upon about one month ago. The GNOME project decided that they would rather fight the patent than pay up. $108,929 out of a goal of $125,000 has so far been raised for a "defense fund" which will be used to try to invalidate the patent.
  • Twitter Posts Huge Revenue And Guidance Misses As The Free Software Based Fediverse Keeps On Growing
    Fediverse logo proposal.png
     The heavily censored US-based social media microblogging platform Twitter crashed 21% on the New York Stock Exchange after issuing a Q3 letter to shareholders with Q4 guidance which hugely misses Q4 revenue expectations. Twitters user-base is dwindling and and it's profits are growing less than expected while the free software based Fediverse alternatives keep on growing exponentially.
  • Gtkmm 3.24.2 released
     gtkmm is a very commonly used C++ interface for the graphical interface library GTK+. It is used by most of the C++ software which uses GTK+ for it's graphical interface. The latest minor version fixes several memory leaks. There's also updated documentation.
  • Xfce4-panel 4.15.0 kicks off Xfce's march towards a 4.16 release
    It took almost half a decade from the release of version 4.12 of the Xfce desktop environment in 2015 to the release of Xfce 4.14 two months ago. Major version Xfce releases have generally been several years apart since it's inception in 1996. This will not be the case with Xfce 4.16; it will arrive much sooner than one would except given Xfce's release-history. The developers secret roadmap reveals that it could be released this time next year. Planned features include a "night light" mode, client side decorations and header-bars in simpler applications. GTK2 will no longer be supported.
  • Sudo bug lets users who are allowed to run commands as another user to run them as root instead
    This sudo bug is either very serious or a complete non-issue depending on your use-case. Sudo is typically used to allow one user to run any command as root. However, some do have specialized setups where one user is allowed to run one or two commands as other regular users. The bug would allow that user to run the commands he is allowed to run as other users as root - which typically means that a root shell is within reach.
  • Intels upcoming i3 CPUs raise the bar for entry-level CPUs to four cores and four threads
    The top of the line consumer desktop CPUs from Intel up to a few years ago were called i7's and they had four cores and four threads. SiSoftware has a listing of a benchmark of a mysterious new Intel "Comet Lake" CPU named the i3-10100 CPU and it is apparently a 3.60GHz 4 core 8 thread part with 4x256KB L2 cache and 6 MB L3 cache. This pushes the standard for "entry level" processors up to a level near top-end i7 CPUs from just a few years ago.
  • Free Software Enthusiasts are The Worst when it comes to AdBlocking
     One may assume that a website with ten times as many visitors as another sort-of comparable website would be more profitable but that's just not the case when one of the websites cater to free software enthusiasts who are, in fact, the most privacy-aware and advertisement-hostile people of all. That is a corner-case where the ten times more popular site barely generates half the revenue.
  • Facebook's digital currency Libra appears to be falling apart as major players leave before commitment deadline
    Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, and eBay all withdrew from the Libra Association on Friday following PayPal's resignation last week. The Libra Association is scheduled to hold it's first meeting on Monday and it's members will be asked to make serious commitments in that meeting. It appears that the largest payment processors were not willing to make any commitments.
  • New stable kernels: 5.3.6, 4.19.79 and 4.14.149 are now available
    The new stable-series kernels have a small fix for a performance regression which has radically decreased performance on multi-core systems running lots and lots virtual machines since January 2017. The Chinese found eight times higher performance on their system when the patch which caused the regression was reverted.
  • Firefox 69.0.3 with nothing new for free software users
    The latest minor version of Firefox which was released on October 10th has a fix for Windows 10 users with Parental Controls enabled and a fix for those using Yahoo's e-mail service. There is absolutely nothing new for those who use variants of the GNU/Linux operating system.
  • GNOME Internet Radio Locator v2.0.8 is now available
    GNOME Internet Radio Locator by Norwegian developer Ole Aamot is a free radio tuner which allows you to tune into radio stations using a world map view or a handy search-box. It has been in rapid development the second half of the year with new versions being released almost weekly the last few months. Version 2.0.8, released October 7th, is worth a look if you like to listen to a small variety of international radio stations.
  • GNOME 3.34.1 is now available
    The first minor bug-fix release of the 3.34 series GNOME desktop environment is now available.
  • The Free Software Foundation is working to gain a "shared understanding" with the GNU Project
    The corporate media witch-hunt against Honorary Doctor Richard Stallman resulted in him being ousted from the Free Software Foundation which he founded in 1985. He was, however, not removed from the GNU Project where he remains "Chief GNUisance". The FSF and the GNU project have so far had the shared values and goals; it appears that this is changing.
  • Steams hardware survey numbers for September 2019 show GNU/Linux gaming stagnation
    The Steam hardware survey numbers for September 2019 are out and they do not paint a picture of rapidly growing gaming platform. An increase in GNU/Linux marketshare of a mere 0.03% brings the total GNU/Linux marketshare on Steam to 0.83%. That is slightly higher than the 0.79% figure posted in June but it is also lower than the 0.84% figure back in May.
  • SuperTuxKart 1.1 could be released "anytime"
    Version 1.1 of the popular free kart racing game SuperTuxKart for GNU/Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Android is essentially ready. Developer sources tell us that the git version is as good as ready to become a v1.1 release and that the release could happen "anytime". The new version has IPv6 support, new skins, better touch-screen controls and quite a few bug-fixes and improvements under the hood.
  • GNU Screen v.4.7.0 is released with support for Unicode 12.1.0 tables
    If you like to work on more than one thing at a time in a terminal emulator's tab then screen (or tmux) may be for you. The latest version of the GNU Screen terminal multiplexer adds support for OSC 11, SGR 1006 mouse mode, Unicode 12.1.0 and there are also some cross-compilation fixes and a cleaned up manual page.

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