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- Linux Kernel Could Support Automatic Closing Of CD/DVD Drive Trays On Mount (Again)The Linux kernel would automatically close open CD/DVD drive trays on mount two decades ago. Updates to various kernel subsystems broke that functionality ages ago. This breakage was "fixed" by adding some ugly hacks to the
mountcommand and other user-space utilities from the
util-linuxpackage. Various kernel changes added over the last few years broke those hacks. The util-linux maintainer is flat out refusing to add more ugly hacks to fix it. Michal Suchanek from German Linux vendor SUSE has submitted a series of patches to the kernel mailing list which re-adds proper support to the Linux kernel - where it belongs - many times the last few years. It could finally get through to git master in time for Linux 5.5.
- Libxfce4ui 4.15.0 Is Released, Drops GTK2 SupportThe first version of the Xfce user interface library in the 4.15 series which will eventually become a stable 4.16-release late next year has 10 bug-fixes, a lot of translation updates for international users and build-requirement of GTK3 3.22. GTK2 support is, as expected, dropped as of this release.
- Memory Chips Will See "Strong Demand" (=Rising Prices) In 2020DDR4 RAM sticks are currently very affordable compared to the grossly overpriced state they were in for the entirety of 2018. RAM prices started going down at the start of 2019 and before dropping off a cliff in March. The price-slide continued from there making this a great time to pick up some DDR4 memory. Industry "experts" are predicting that the price-trend is about to change.
- Linux Kernel To Get CPU Idle Cooling SolutionCPUs and system on a chip devices heat up under load. That is a non-issue if you are cooling a desktop computer with liquid nitrogen but it is a problem in space-constrained scenarios. Daniel Lezcano from Linaro has submitted a rather interesting "cooling device" CPU governor to the Linux Kernel Mailing List. It's functionality is as simple as it is beautiful: It will inject CPU idle cycles until the temperature goes down when CPU temperature is above a set threshold.
- Steam's November Numbers Show Linux Gaming To Be StagnantThe number of Steam users playing on a PC running a GNU/Linux distribution remains less than one percent with a 0.02% decrease in November 2019. Ubuntu (18.04 0.17% + 19.10 0.06%), Arch (0.09%) and Manjaro Linux (0.09%) are the most popular distributions among Steam's GNU/Linux users.
- Virgil Griffith Arrested For Talking About The CryptoCurrency Etherium in North KoreaOne of the Etherium foundation members has been arrested in the United States after talking about the LGPL-licensed block-chain based distributed computing platform Etherium and it's crypto-currency ETH in North Korea.
- Wine 4.21 Is Released With DHCP HTTP Proxy Configuration50 bugs are fixed in the latest development release of the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows software on GNU/Linux machines. Several address memory leaks and general fixes. There's also application-specific fixes for Lego Digital Designer, LegoLand and Lego Island 2 - and fixes for Gothic 2, Everquest Classic, Nextiva and Crysis 1 for those who don't play Lego.
- Kernel 5.4.1 And 5.3.14 Are Released Making Linux Users With Intel iGPUs Finally Able To Use 5.3-Series KernelsThe Linux kernel's i915 module for Intel iGPUs has been a mess for quite some time. Reverting all the way back to kernel 5.0.21 has been one solution for low-powered Intel Goldmount "Apollo Lake" SoCs like the Pentium N4200. Kernel 5.3.14 has a patch, also included in kernel 5.4.0, which brings 5.3.x series kernels a step closer to being usable on Intel iGPUs. It makes 5.3.14 usable but 5.4 series kernels have other issues with Intel iGPUs. There's also some fixes for USB and all the Intel CPU-bug mitigations in both 5.4.1 and 5.3.14.
- Europe's Fresh Out Of IPv4 AddressesThe Regional Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia (RIPE) announced that they "ran out of IPv4 addresses" on November 25th, 2019.
- Kali Linux 2019.4 Is Released With Windows Undercover Mode And Xfce As The Default DesktopThe latest version of Offensive Security's Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution for penetration testing and other security-related tasks uses Xfce as the default desktop environment instead of Gnome. It's also got PowerShell available (not included) and a new "Kali Undercover" mode in the form of a shortcut which switches to a Windows-like Xfce theme and the well-known Windows 10 wallpaper.
- Wine 4.0.3 Released With 54 Bug-fixesWine Is Not an Emulator but it does let you run a lot of Windows software on GNU/Linux systems using native API calls. It's not always perfect. Version 4.0.3 fixes 54 bugs one could encounter when running Windows software. Most of the fixes are game or application specific. There's bug fixes for games like Fallout 4, King of Dragon Pass, Hardwood Solitaire and Warframe as well as desktop software like Quickbooks and Adobe InDesign.
- Linux Kernel v5.4 Is ReleasedThe latest kernel has a new kernel lockdown mode, a virtio file system, a new device mapper clone target and support for AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs as well as AMD Arcturus and Renoir APUs. There is also initial support for Intel Tiger Lake GPUs. Linux 5.4 finally adds support for the exFAT file system - released by Microsoft in 2006.
- Gnote 3.34.1 Is Released With Updated DocumentationThe latest release of the very simple GNOME-focused note taking application Gnote has updated documentation, more translations and it now works with lower versions of the spelling library gspell.
- Bitcoin Core Wallet 0.19.0.1 Is Released With A New Default Address FormatThe new major version of the Bitcoin Core wallet software for the digital currency Bitcoin/BTC has one very visible change in it's graphical user interface: Addresses are now shown in the bech32 format by default. There are also a few new configuration options and some new RPC calls and a whole lot of changed RPC calls in the new version. Those using it as part of their back-end may want to look over that long list of RPC changes to see if they are compatible with the rest of the deployment. Checking if everything works with bech32 addresses is also a good idea. Version 0.19.1 is, apart from BTC addresses having a completely different format, essentially the same as previous versions from an average end-users perspective.
- CoreCtrl 1.0.7 Is Now AvailableThe latest version of the GPU and CPU performance settings manager CoreCtrl fixes a bug where it in some cases wouldn't start minimized in Xorg and there's also "code cleanups". Owners of AMD GPUs who want something similar to the AMDs Windows control center "Radeon Settings" may find CoreCtrl to be a useful alternative.
- Mesa 19.2.6 And 19.3.0rc4 Are AvailableThe highlight in 19.2.6 is just as small fix for PowerPC. A backport introduced in 19.2.5 prevented the standard Mesa GNU/Linux graphics stack from compiling on that platform. There's also one glsl and a typo fixed in the Vulkan headers. The changelog for the fourth release-candidate for the upcoming Mesa 19.3.0, scheduled to be released at the start of December, is longer. Most of the changes are related to Valve's new ACO shader compiler for AMD graphics cards. There is also one llvmpipe fix.
- Serious Buffer Overflow Vulnerability In The Bitcoin Core Client DisclosedA serious vulnerability which allowed malicious SOCKS proxies to overwrite the program stack in old versions of the Bitcoin Core client was disclosed on the Bitcoin Core mailing list earlier this month. It was fixed years ago and it is only remotely interesting as a indicator of how the Bitcoin Core team works.
- China Is Number 1 In Number Of SuperComputers And All The Top 10 Systems Run LinuxTechnology leader China has the most supercomputers with a total of 228 systems on the Top 500 SuperComputer list as of November 18th, 2019. All of the top ten most powerful machines are running a Linux variant.
- Googles Stadia Gaming Service Is Launching TodayGoogle's new Stadia gaming service will change everything gaming-wise. This is the nightmarish big-brother on steroids future of computer gaming and kids will absolutely love it, demand it and expect it's always ready-to-go resume-where-you-were features to be a standard part of the gaming experience. Parents beware, it is absolutely certain that your kids will want to sign up and use Google Stadia immediately or eventually. Explaining why they should not be using it could be problematic.
- 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
nohpetkernel 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 SlowerGNU/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 GentooLast 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 ReleasedThe 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 AvailableIf 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 LiteFree 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 ReleasedGNU 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 MachinesIn 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.
- SimpleMailQt V2.0.0-beta 1 Is Released With Asynchronous SupportThe 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 SolverThe 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 4.12Xfce 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.
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