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- Meet The New Linux Foundation Technical Advisory BoardThe results from the 2020 Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board election are in. The boards new members consists of representatives from IBM/Red Hat, Google, Intel, Canonical and Facebook.
- The Qt 5.15 Disaster On Multi-Monitor SetupsLinux distributions have begun rolling out Qt 5.15 and it is a total disaster for everyone using a multi-screen setup on Linux, Windows or macOS. Qt 5.15 breaks every single Qt and KDE application with a toolbar with a button that brings up a multi-choice menu if the application running on a system with more than one display connected and the application is not on the far-left display.
- Firefox 80 Released With 10 Security Fixes And A Higher Version NumberFixes for three "high", four "moderate" and three "low" impact security holes in Firefox is all the latest Firefox release has to offer beyond a new capability to "be set as the default system PDF viewer". The marginalized near-bankrupt Mozilla Corporation appears to be unable to put more than larger version numbers on the table after it was forced to fire 250 employees earlier this month.
- Apple Devices Are Finally Getting WebP SupportEvery web browser except those made by the the American technology company Apple have supported WebP images for years. The WebP image format, released in 2010, will finally be supported by iOS and macOS devices when Safari 14 is released next month. That opens the door for using WebP to serve pictures and computer graphics on the web. Apple is not going as far as allowing their users to play WebM video.
- AMD Radeon Open Compute Framework 3.7 ReleasedAMD released a new version of their Radeon Open Compute framework this weekend. This is the first ROCm version with official support for Ubuntu 20.04. There is also support for OpenMP 5.0 and direct GPU-to-GPU communications in the ROCm Communications Collective Library.
- Linux AV1 Hardware Video Decoding Support Ready For Intel Tiger LakeThe Intel Tiger Lake processors coming in September 2020 will be the first Intel processors with integrated graphics capable of decoding, but not encoding, AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) in hardware. Linux support for AV1 hardware decoding was merged into the libva VAAPI in March. Fei Wang submitted patches allowing ffmpeg to take advantage of that support yesterday. That makes it trivial to add AV1 hardware decoding support to end-user players like VLC and mpv.
- India Announces RISC-V Innovation ContestIndia has announced a contest for students and start-ups aiming to increase the awareness and use of Indian RISC-V processor designs. India wants semiconductor self-sufficiency and they are using the free and open RISC-V architecture to archive that goal. Indian citizens can register and propose projects until September 15th.
- AMD Launches Ultra-budget A520 Motherboards For Third and Fourth Generation Ryzen On A BudgetAMD has launched a new A520 motherboard chipset that replaces the now rather old A320 ultra-budget chipset. A520 motherboards have PCIe 3.0 going to all the PCIe slots. PCIe 4.0 is not supported. The vast majority of the announced A520 boards have 4 SATA ports, Realtek ALC887 audio and 1 Gigabit Realtek network connectivity. Third and fourth generation Ryzen APUs and CPUs are supported by A520 motherboards, first and second-generation Ryzen chips are not. A520 AM4 boards are available in the $70-80 price-range.
- Strawberry Music Player 0.7 Brings Qt 6 Support, 12 Bug-Fixes And Many ImprovementsThe latest version of the Strawberry music collection organizer and player has quite a few new features as well as many bug-fixes for those who want a learn Qt-based music collection manager that is easy to use. Norwegian developer Jonas Kvinge has been hard at work since version 0.6.13 was released in July last year.
- Mozilla Fires 250 Employees, Blames COVID-19 For Years Of MismanagementThe only web browser standing between full spectrum dominance of Chromium-based browsers and a realistic choice suffered a huge set-back last week when the Mozilla Corporation fired 250 employees. Years of declining marketshare and income is forcing their hand. Mozilla Corporation CEO Mitchell Baker claims COVID-19 is why Firefox's overall market share has dropped from 31% in 2010 to 4.26% in 2020.
- Linux 5.9 rc1 Is Released With Support for Upcoming AMD GPUs and Corsair RGB HubsThe merge window for Linux 5.9 is slammed shut with the first release candidate becoming available yesterday. The next Linux kernel will support using zstd compression for the kernel and initramfs images, 64-bit inodes on tmpfs file systems stored in memory and a whole range of new hardware. Support for two upcoming AMD graphics card families code-named "Sienna Cichlid" and "Navy Flounder" as well as support for the Corsair iCUE Commander Pro "smart" fan and RGB controller stand out as particularly interesting.
- NSA and CIA Warn That The Russians Are Deploying Linux-Specific "Drovorub" MalwareThe Americans have released a 45 page long document accusing the Russians of using Linux malware toolset dubbed "Drovorub" to spy on American interests. The "Drovorub" malware has a kernel module that allows it to hide itself and provide the user-space parts of the toolkit kernel-level functionality by turning
/dev/zerointo a two-way communications channel. It can hide files, processes, network traffic and kernel modules from system administrators which makes it hard to detect. The American document does not mention what attack vectors are used to deploy it on target systems.
- Brave Browser 1.12.112 Is Released With Re-Vamped SynchronizationThe Brave Browser will submit your IP to a geo-location service and record what country, and state if you are in the US, you are in if you enable the Brave Rewards "feature". There's also a completely new synchronization code for synchronizing bookmarks, logins and other data between Brave browsers running on different devices and a new 25 BAT minimum limit for withdrawing the already locked to Braves ecosystem Brave Rewards BAT currency tokens. The built-in advertisement blocker is also "improved".
- Manjaro Linux Lost All Of Their Support Forum ImagesTheir misfortune can be used as a valuable lesson in the importance of backing things up on a regular basis. The Manjaro Linux team has lost all of the 378191 images posted on their forum since its inception. How it happened is unclear. What we do know is that they were content with backing up the forums database on a semi-regular basis but they never made a single backup of any user-uploaded content.
- Current Ethereum Network Fees Are Killing CryptoCurrency Tokens Like The Brave Browsers BAT CurrencyCreating digital tokens with zero intrinsic value out of thin air so you can sell them to suckers and pocket anything they are willing to pay as pure profit is even more profitable if you can create those tokens on somebody else's blockchain and call it a day. Those bought tokens on the Ethereum blockchain are finding themselves facing unbearably high fees.
- The Free Software Foundation Folds On Their Only Free Video Formats PolicyThe FSF has been advocating the use of free file formats for more than three decades. They have so far been true to their own ideals. Multimedia on their website has, until now, been served using entirely free file formats and codecs. The FSF is now embracing the proprietary patent-riddled MPEG-AVC (h264) video codec as well as the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio codec that goes with it as fall-back option in order to reach more people.
- NAVER Whale Browser 18.104.22.168 Is ReleasedSouth Korean Internet giant NAVER has made another fine version of their extensive and fully featured proprietary Whale web browser. The latest version has fixes for several small user interface glitches including one that cased "ugly" rendering of a several big websites when dark mode is enabled. The GNU/Linux version is still only available as a Debian package and they have yet to make a English translation for the built-in music player. It is otherwise a fine and quite fast web browser.
- Chipmaker TSMC Reports Revenues Are Up 33.6% Compared To 2019The Taiwanese chip-maker today reported that they made NT$727.26 billion (24.72 billion USD) between January and July 2020, up 33.6% compared to the same period last year. They made NT$105.96 billion in July alone, up 25% compared to July 2019. They are still on schedule to deliver 3nm microchips to customers in 2022.
- Geoffrey Knauth Elected President Of The Free Software FoundationThe Free Software Foundation has finally elected a new permanent president after FSF founder and long-time president Richard Stallman was squeezed out September last year. Geoffrey Knauth had served on the FSF board for over 20 years before he became president. French free software activist Odile Bénassy was added as a new member of the foundations board of directors.
- The Massive Intel Leak: The Files It Contains And Their ContentThe 16.92 GiB archive filled with internal and "confidential" Intel files leaked Thursday has a total of 240 files. Many of them are archives containing even more files. That's a lot to dig through, it is more than any one woman can hope to dig through in a few hours. We have listed the filenames and, with the help of our readers, given each file a brief description. The files identified so far contain roadmaps, block diagrams, schematics for motherboard partners, BIOS firmware source and binaries, management engine firmware, embarrassingly cringe training videos, various source code, debugging tools, testing tools, user guides, programming guides and a whole lot more.
- Wine 5.02 Brings 46 Bug-Fixes To The Stable Wine BranchWine 5.02 is a new "stable" release for the Long Term Support distributions using the stable branch of the
Emulator translation layer for running Windows software on other operating systems. This release brings a total of 46 fixes for a whole range of games and applications including Hype The Time Quest, Age of empires II, Bad Mojo Redux, the Rockstar Games Launcher, Dark Souls 2, iTunes and many more. Most of the improvements in the latest Wine 4.14 development release are not present but that does not mean it is not a welcome upgrade for those using distributions shipping the stable Wine branch.
- Wine 5.14 Brings 26 Bug-Fixes To The Wine Development BranchThe latest development version of the
Emulator translation layer for running Windows software on other operating systems has a total of 26 small game and application specific bug-fixes. There's also a new Webdings font and some of the MSVCRT libraries have been converted to Portable Executable (PE) binaries. There are few improvements to the wined3d DirectX 9-11 to Vulkan translation layer in this release.
- 20 GiB Internal Intel Document Motherload Is Now Available In Dark Corners Of The InternetSomeone who is apparently sitting on a whole lot of internal Intel documents has released what is described as the first in a series of treasure-troves filled with internal Intel documents. We are not just talking about a document or three, the first part in the series is a whopping 20 GB. There's confidential code, documents, debugging tools, drivers, training videos and other technical material in the first part of what we expect will be a very interesting series of leaks. Many of the files are fairly recent, quite a few of them are from May 2020.
- Mesa 20.1.5 Is Released With 29 Bug-Fixes And SDMA Disabled On Vega GPUsThe fifth bug-fix release to the stable 20.1 branch of the Mesa graphics library all GNU/Linux machines use to provide 3D capabilities has 29 mostly very small bug-fixes. Only one change will have larger impact: Vega graphics card join the rest of the AMD line-up in having SDMA disabled. That will result in a slightly higher CPU overhead.
- Mozilla Is Rolling Out Redirect Tracking Protection In Firefox In A Somewhat Concerning FashionThe Mozilla Corporation included a new feature called "Enhanced Tracking Protection 2.0" when they released Firefox 79 but they did not enable it - until now. The new "enhanced" tracking protection blocks known redirect domains used by-pass third party cookie blocking and set cookies anyway. This is good news but they way they are rolling this new feature out is rather concerning. There may be a devil or two in the details.
- Linux Desktop Market Share Steady at 0.8-3.5% In July 2020Numbers from the American outfit Netmarketshare indicate that the Linux laptop and desktop market share nearly tripled between March and June 2020 while the Linux market share number from Valve's Steam store remained steady around 0.8%. The numbers for July are out and they show close to zero change between June and July 2020. The discrepancy remains.
- Linux 5.8 Is Released And It The Largest Release Of All TimeLinux 5.8 brings a lot of changes on the networking side with major re-work of the Mellanox network drivers, Atheros wireless drivers and Bluetooth drivers. There's also big changes to the AMD graphics drivers and several other areas. This kernel release is overall the biggest ever in terms of changes. Some of those changes warrant caution, you may want to wait for a few minor point releases before you upgrade to Linux 5.8.
- Firefox 79 Is Released With 10 Security FixesThe latest version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser has very little to offer GNU/Linux users beyond ten security fixes, four of which are "high impact". Mozilla's "WebRender" rendering engine enabled for Windows users with Intel and AMD graphics cards as of this release but it is not enabled on Linux where Firefox users still get "Basic" rendering regardless of what GPU they have. You can force-enable WebRender on Linux if you really want it.
- We Are Still Waiting For Microsoft Edge For LinuxMicrosoft announced that their Chromium-based Edge web browser would be available multiple platforms, including Linux, in a presentation called "State of the browser: Microsoft Edge" back in November 2019. We are still waiting for a Linux version to materialize. It seems that Microsoft has either forgotten about, or abandoned, the Linux version of their Edge web browser.
- HTTPS Security Certificates Will Soon Have To Be Limited To A One Year Long Life-Time To Be ValidA proposal to limit HTTPS certificates to a maximum length of one year was down-voted in the CA/Browser Forum late last year. That vote does not matter because those who control the web browsers control the web universe. The major web browser vendors have decided that TLS certificates issued after September 1st will be treated as invalid if they have an expiration date beyond one year into the future. Web server administrators should take notice.
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