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- AntiX Linux 19.1 Is Released For Those Who Want A Really Light-Weight Linux DistributionAntiX Linux stands out from the crown in it's simplicity and it's ability to run on very old and really weak hardware thanks to it's use of the very light-weight IceWM desktop environment, no systemd or pulseaudio and other design choices which severely limits it's resource-use. The latest release has updated versions of core packages like the Firefox, IceVM and the Linux kernel - and that's it.
- QBittorrent v4.2.1 Is ReleasedThe latest release of the most advanced yet user-friendly BitTorrent client for Linux, Windows and Mac supports rate limiting LAN users and renaming of torrents from it's Web-based user interface. 9 bugs have been fixes since 4.2.0 was released earlier this month.
- HyperBola Linux Ditches Linux, Goes All-In BSDThe Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre operating system has, or had, strict guidelines for what software is allowed in its Arch Linux based distribution. Only stable versions of truly free software were allowed. The HyperBola Linux developers just announced that they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater and re-starting from scratch with OpenBSD as a basis for an entirely new operating system called HyperbolaBSD. The developers cite the Linux kernel's adoption of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), use of the Rust programming language and forced adoption of features in common GNU/Linux components like PulseAudio and systemd as reasons for abandoning Linux and the ecosystem around it.
- SuperTuxKart 1.1 RC1 Is Released With Improved Online Play, Emjois and High-Resolution UI ScalingThe latest version of the free software kart racing game SuperTuxKart has several improvements to online multiplayer gaming such as IPv6 support, better synchronization, better support for addons and other fixes. It adds emojis support in chats. There's greatly improved touch-screen support which is nice but mostly interesting to those using the Android version. There's also improved fonts scaling and user interface elements now scale so they look great on 1440p and 4k displays. It's even got a new arena called "Pumpkin Park". Binaries are available for Linux, Windows, Mac and Android.
- Chromium 79 Has Experimental Vulkan Support And You Should NOT Enable ItThe latest version of the Google-controlled free software browser Chromium is released and available in the testing repositories of the more up-to-date GNU/Linux distributions. It has a brand new Vulkan rendering mode available which can be enabled in the "Experiments" settings which can be accessed using the special
chrome://flagspage. Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was "Well, how does it perform?" so we enabled with the hopes of doing some basic benchmarks. That was huge mistake.
- Alpine Linux 3.11 Released With Kernel 5.4.5, Raspberry Pi 4 Support And MingGW-w64 SupportThe latest version of the thin and slim busybox-based Linux distribution Alpine Linux adds initial support for the GNOME and KDE Plasma Desktop environments, Rust and Vulkan. There are updated packages across the board, new features and a lot of bug and security fixes.
- KDE Video Editor Kdenlive 19.12 Is Released With a New Audio Mixer, Global Effects And Many Performance ImprovementsFour months of "intense work" and two hundred commits went into the latest version of the free video editor Kdenlive which is, as the name indicates, built on the KDE framework. It has a new audio mixer, custom filters, a master (global) effects option for the timeline and many small interface improvements. The developers have made many performance improvements under the hood which makes timeline browsing and other commonly done things snappier. Kdenlive is available for Windows and all GNU/Linux distributions.
- Microsoft Removes Christmas Hat from MIT Licensed VS Code, Closes Issue Tracker To Silence ComplaintsMicrosofts Visual Studio Code editor is free software under the MIT license. It is tightly controlled by Microsoft nevertheless. VS Code had a cute little Santa hat on an icon in the lower right corner to celebrate the Christmas holiday. A German living in Norway found this offensive on behalf a group he does not belong to for reasons that are not applicable and demanded that Microsoft remove the offending Santa hat from VS Code. Microsoft compiled and drama ensued.
- Mesa 19.2.8 And 19.3.1 Are Released With Minor FixesMesa 19.2.8 is the last version of the 19.2.x series of the graphics library which underpins all 3D elements on GNU/Linux desktops. It has several fixes for Intel GPUs and a few fixes in other areas. Mesa 19.3.1 is the first minor release of the 19.3 series. It too has a majority of fixes for Intel GPUs. There are some for AMD GPUs in there as well.
- KDE-Powered Kubuntu Focus Laptop Coming in January 2020The Kubuntu Council, MindShareManagement Inc, and German TUXEDO Computers have collaborated to create a "officially authorized" laptop pre-loaded with Ubuntu's KDE spin Kubuntu. The Kubuntu Focus Laptop comes with a 6-core Intel i7-9750H CPU, 32 GB RAM, a 1 TB Samung 970 NVMe drive and a 16.1" 1080p IPS display which, even though this laptop is aimed at free software enthusiasts, is powered by a NVidia GTX 1060 GPU. A proprietary binary blob driver is required to make this laptop function properly.
- Linux Kernels 5.4.5 and 5.3.18 Are Released With Security-Related Networking FixesThe new stable-kernel versions 5.4.4 and 5.3.17 were released on Tuesday. Then the kernel developers decided to release yet another minor version late Wednesday - just a day after the prior release. This tends to happen when there is an urgent need to fix a security issue. A close-up inspection of the patch-set between 5.4.4/5.4.5 and 5.3.17/5.3.18 reveals that a lot of corner-case network-related issues were ironed out in the latest kernel releases.
- US Senators Shocked To Learn IPs Can Be Used For GeoLocationSenators Josh Hawley and Chris Coons were shocked and furious to learn that Facebook is able to show location-specific advertisements when smartphone users have turned location data off. They sent Facebook an angry letter to Facebook demanding a middle-school level introduction to how the Internet works. Facebook sent a 8 page long response letter on December 12th which outlines how they collect location data. The first three pages are public. The senators were not pleased with Facebooks response.
- Krita Gets $25,000 From Epic GamesEpic games, known for the proprietary Unreal game engine, has given the developers of the Krita paint program a $25,000 grant to improve Kritas development process.
- Momentum Botnet Infects Linux-based Routers And Smart Devices, Uses Them For DDoS AttacksCloud provider and security research firm Trend Micro reports that they are seeing "notable malware activity" on "devices running Linux" from a botnet called Momentum. The actual devices in question are IoT devices, security cameras, routers, copy machines and TV top-set boxes running a variety of exploitable software on top of a Linux kernel.
- Google Summer of Code 2020 AnnouncedGoogle has announced that their GSoC program will keep going for it's 16th year in 2020. This a program where free software projects can have Google pay students to work on their software as long as they provide a helpful mentor and follow some basic guidelines. Big and small free software project participated in it in 2019 with fruitful results for KDE, GNOME and other projects.
- Calligra Plan 3.2.2 Released With 4 Bug-FixesThe latest version of the KDE Office Suite Calligra's project planning tool Plan has four bug-fixes. Calligra Plan can be used stand-alone or together with the full Calligra office suite which contains a word processor, a spreadsheet, a vector drawing program and a database creator.
- Linux Kernel 5.5 RC2 Is ReleasedThe second release-candidate for kernel 5.5 has a lot of fixes for the kernel drivers for AMD and Intel GPUs and there are also some small fixes for the free nouveau Nvidia GPU driver. There are no new major features, those were added in the merge-window before the first release-candidate.
- AMD Joins The Blockchain Game AllianceThose who sold shovels during the California gold rush made a lot of money. It is therefore not strange that AMD would join Ubisoft and a long list of startups in a "Blockchain Game Alliance".
- Wine 5.0-rc1 Is Released. This Ends Active Development, Feature-Freeze And Bug-Fixes AheadThe Wine Is Not An Emulator compatibility later (WINE) project has made its first release-candidate for its upcoming 5.0 release. This marks the end of the active development release cycle and the beginning of a weekly release cycle with small bug-fixes only until Wine 5.0 is released. 37 bugs have been fixed since the last development release.
- BSD-Licensed NGINX Webserver In Copyright Dispute, Creator Arrested and InterrogatedThe Russian Police raided NGINX, Inc's Russian offices and arrested and interrogated Igor Sysoev, author of the popular NGINX web server which powers more than a third of all websites on the Internet, on Thursday. They did so after receiving a complaint from Russian search engine Rambler which states that they own the copyright to NGINX because Sysoev was employed there when he initially wrote it in his spare time.
- TSMC Claims They Are "On Track" To Deliver 3nm Chips in 2022Current CPUs and GPUs and smartphone SOCs are mostly made on a 7nm production node at either Samsung's facilities in South Korea or TSMCs facilities in Chinese Taipei. TSMC started using a 14 nanometer node in 2014. They introduced their 7nm node in 2018, only four years later. TSMC claims they will be able to mass-produce 5nm computer chips Q2 2020 and they claim to be "on track" to deliver 3nm chips in 2022. Their American competitor Intel is still struggling with their 10nm process.
- New Stable-Series Linux Kernels 5.4.3, 5.3.16 and 4.19.89 Fixes KVM Crash VulnerabilityThe latest round of Linux kernels fixes a minor problem with KVM which allows anyone using a KVM-enabled virtual machine to to crash the host system. The problem, assigned CVE-2019-19332, was a lack of a out-of-bounds check in KVM_GET_EMULATED_CPUID. Providers of virtual machines should consider upgrading.
- Beautiful OpenBSD Root Exploit PublishedCloud provider Qualys published a beautiful Local Privilege Escalation exploit for recent versions of the OpenBSD on Wednesday the 12th of December. Any regular account can get full root access on a default installation. The OpenBSD developer team, lead by Theo de Raadt, were so embarrassed by this that they created a patch which fixes the vulnerability in less than 3 hours.
- Mesa 19.3.0 Is Released With ACO shader compiler for AMD GPUs And OpenGL 4.6 SupportThe ACO shader compiler for AMD's Vulkan graphics driver RADV, developed by Valve, is the biggest highlight in this latest release of the Mesa graphics stack for GNU/Linux desktops.
- Wasteland 2 Director's Cut Is Available For Free on GoG The Next 26 HoursThe Gog games store is having a Winter sale and they are giving away the game "Wasteland 2 Director's Cut", which is available for Linux, Windows and Mac, for the next 26 hours in order to attract new customers. Most of the other games in their catalogue are sold at discounts ranging from 10 to 70%.
- Linux Version Of Microsoft Teams Is Now AvailableMicrosoft have made a "public preview" a native Linux version of their Teams collaboration software available as .deb and .rpm packages. The announcement describes it as "the first Microsoft 365 app that is coming to Linux desktops".
- DXVK DirectX To Vulkan Translation Layer Development Halts To A GrindThe main developer of DXVK will no longer be adding features the optional DirectX 10/11 to Vulkan translation layer for WINE "because DXVK has become a fragile, unreliable and frustrating maintenance nightmare." DXVK is a crucial part of Valve's Proton layer used to run Windows games on their Steam games store.
- KDEs "Season of KDE 2020" Student Program is Open For EnrolmentThe KDE e.V. non-profit organization behind the K Desktop Environment has a student program similar to Google's Summer Of Code program. Students can participate in 40 or 80 day community projects and they do not have to be code-related. Students who want to write code can do that and get help from an experienced mentor. Those who prefer to work on other areas can choose a project related to KDEs documentation, websites, translations or other areas that are related to KDEs free software efforts.
- The American Senate Wants Secure Encryption With Government BackdoorsUS District Attorneys and Senators are convinced that Google and Apple are simply being difficult when they claim that it's a binary choice between actually secure encryption and government backdoors. You can, somehow, have your cake and eat it too. Don't worry if you see no practical way of doing this, a US senator just promised that he will figure out how to make seemingly impossible mathematics possible.
- Gooroom Cloud OS v2.0 RC1 Is Released With Focus Server-Side "Apps"The latest version of the Debian-based South Korean Gooroom operating system is even more like Google's ChromeOS than the previous versions were. All the regular software packages from Debian can be installed on Gooroom but that's not where it's focus is. This is foremost a "cloud"-based OS where closed-source proprietary "apps" are used from it's own re-branded Chromium web browser.
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