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- Free Software which Censors and Restricts what Sites and services the user is Allowed To Read and use is still Free SoftwareFree Software which restricts the user in certain ways is not a new concept. Gentoo Linux started shipping a modified version of the Bitcoin crypto currency software which restricted who users were allowed to send BTC to using a big blacklist in 2014. The question of censorship in free software is becoming increasingly important as more and more developers are building blacklists restricting what the end-user can do into their software. Does user-restricting censoring software qualify as being free software? We asked the senior authority on this matter and apparently, it does.
- Mesa 19.1.2 releasedThose who play Wolfenstein II will be happy to hear it no longer crashes when using the RADV drivers. There's also a DirectX to Vulkan fix for Intel gen7 iGPUs and some fixes for the Freedreno driver for Qualcomm's Adreno graphics hardware.
- Revisiting Intel CPU bug workarounds with Linux Kernel 5.2The impact of all the workarounds for all the Intel security is not that bad when it comes to every-day workloads like kernel compilation if you risk leaving SMT on. Turning SMT off does have a very real and noticeable impact on performance. Leaving SMT on and sticking with the kernels default settings will only add about a minute to a half-an-hour long compile job compared to turning the workarounds off with mitigations=off
- AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs can't do Random on boot causing Boot Failure on newer Linux distributionsThe fun part is that very old AMD APUs have a very similar well-known problem with it's implementation of the CPU instruction RDRAND. systemd implemented a work-around for it back in May but distributions do not have it since there has been no stable systemd releases since then. The result is that newer distributions - with the exception of Debian 10 - will simply fail to boot on Ryzen 3000 series CPUs due to a bug in those CPUs which causes them to fail to produce random data when RDRAND is called early in the boot process.
- XMPP client Kaidan 0.4.0 released after one and a half years of developmentThis is a big update to this lesser-known Jabber/XMPP client for Linux, Android, macOS and Windows. Major changes includes support for file sharing, downloadable attachments, offline message support and image previews in chats. Too bad it doesn't even compile.
- Linux kernel version 5.2 released big performance improvementsFaster memory allocations, improvements to most file systems like ext4, btrfs and xfs, better support for peripherals - specially those from Logitech and perhaps most scary: x64 FPU optimizations. Those are some of the highlights in the latest Linux Kernel version.
- Debian Buster is ReleasedThe Debian Project has released a new stable version of their distribution. It comes with now old versions of Xfce, GNOME and KDE as well as the Linux kernel and other components; the versions included are, however, newer than the versions Debian 9 Stretch used. Debian 10 Buster uses Wayland as the default display server if you use the GNOME desktop option. It has AppArmor security enabled by default.
- The Linux kernel will not get support for the fsgsbase instructions from Intel any time soonIntel submitted some patches which added support for the four FSGSBASE CPU assembler instructions to the kernel tip staging area two weeks ago. These were promptly shut down by kernel maintainer Thomas Gleixner on the grounds that they have "serious bugs" and they weren't even tested before they were submitted to the kernel mailing list. That is not something anyone wants in very critical kernel pathways.
- Wine 4.12 released with Support for Plug and Play devices drivers and Multi-Monitor SetupsThere's also 27 bug-fixes for games in this bi-weekly Wine release. The list of game-specific bug-fixes includes Tomb Raider 4, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Dune 2000, Golden Krone Hotel and Overwatch. There's also non-game fixes for specific applications like Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Lego digital designer and RT Se7en Lite.
- Valve's got a new shader compiler for AMD GPUs ready for testingValve's "open-source graphics group" has been working on an alternative to the LLVM shader compiler currently used by all free graphics drivers. Their ACO shader compiler, specific to AMD hardware, has now reached a level of performance, stability and maturity where Valve feels comfortable asking for public feedback and testing.
- AMD RX 5700 and 5700 XT GPUs launching with No Linux SupportAMD is launching two new GPUs on July 7th. There is zero Linux Kernel support for these two GPUs and there is also no Mesa support at all. There is no hint of them in the Linux git kernel, not even in header files, and there are no patches submitted to the Linux Kernel Mailing List. The same is true for the Mesa graphics stack. Version 19.1 launched with zero support for these cards and 19.2 isn't due until the end of August.
- New Kernels: 5.1.16, 4.19.57 and 4.14.132 released with mostly network-related fixes5.1.16 has a important fix for a page cache regression which has been present since version 4.20. The earlier long-term support kernels never had that problem. Most of the other changes are network-related. There's also fixes for some rare edge-case crashes which are unlikely to happen unless you run a stress-test in an effort to make the kernel crash.
- GNU Midnight Commander 4.8.23 is outThe GNU project has very quietly released a new version 4.8.23 of the best and most efficient terminal file manager ever conceived. A 10 year old bug concerning hotkeys has been fixed, file tree removal is faster and there's also improvements to it's built-in editor.
- Xfce4-terminal 0.8.8 has been releasedThis bigger than expected update to this light-weight terminal emulator made with Xfce in mind comes days after the release of Xfce 4.14pre2. There are a lot of bug fixes and some new keyboard shortcut defaults.
- Linux marketshare on Steam is Dropping Like A StoneValve has made a lot of investments in the Linux ecosystem funding developers of a range of projects like the Mesa graphics stack and KDE Plasma's window-manager kwin. The efforts are not bearing fruit. The Linux marketshare on their platform dropped by 0.08% in June leaving Linux distributions with a marginal 0.76% of total Steam usage.
- OpenPGP keys are being spammed to the point where GnuPG is "useless"The GNU Privacy Guard has been a standard way of encryption communications in the free software world for two decades. It never got any mainstream appeal and most people have never heard about it. That does not mean it's irrelevant, much of the free software infrastructure and many free software developers rely on it. It appears that someone has decided to make life rather difficult for certain GNuPG-using developers by spamming their keys with lots and lots of signatures. You may want to avoid updating keys from public key-servers if you rely upon GnuPG/OpenPGP.
- Xfce 4.14pre2 ReleasedThe second pre-release of the upcoming GTK3 port of the popular Linux desktop environment Xfce is now available for your enjoyment. There's minor updates to most of the components that make up the Xfce 4 desktop and major updates to a few components like Xfce's window-manager xfwm4. 4 panel-related bugs are squashed and a few settings-related bugs are corrected. All of the components have gotten a lot of translation updates making this release a lot better for non-English speaking users.
- Linux Kernel 5.2 rc7 Released using a Shoe-String Internet Connection
The changelog for the latest release candidate for the upcoming 5.2 kernel is mostly uninteresting. There's a "Fix the microcode load on CPU hotplug for real" and "Fix out-of-bounds read when setting fail state" for those using CPU hot-plugging. There are of course a lot of other bug-fixes and improvements since rc6 but most appear to be rather trivial.
- Xfce file manager Thunar v1.8.7 releasedXfce is on schedule to release a new version of the best Linux desktop with 4.14 pre-release 2 coming in just a few days. Pieces are falling into place with a new version of xfconf being released a few days ago and a new Thunar file manager released today.
- Krita 4.2.2 is outIt's been three weeks since the last bug-fix release to the 4.2.x series of the very popular free digital painting program for Linux and Windows. Things have been moving quite fast this summer and 4.2.2 has a very long list of fixed bugs. There are no new major features in this version, those will come when 4.3 is ready.
- Version 0.4.1 of the user-friendly KDE-focused Music Player Elisa ReleasedIt is still early in the development of the simple and not-yet easy-to-use music player Elisa. It does have a lot of potential and steady progress is being made. The latest versions has much better accessibility support for those with poor or no eye-sight, improved keyboard navigation and a better file-browser.
- Ubuntu bows to Steam and Wine pressure: Will keep supporting "key" 32-bit libraries one more versionThe Canonical corporation did not take Steam's decision to abandon ship and Fedora's invitation to partner with Valve and make Fedora the recommended Steam platform lightly. Canonical has now promised to keep "selected" 32-bit libraries available in the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS versions.
- New Older Stable-Branch Kernels released with Steam fix: 4.4.184, 4.9.184 and 4.14.131 are now availableThe Linux kernel changes which fixed the SACK vulnerabilities broke Steam and some other networking software. Linus Torvalds was immediately all over it since one does not simply break user-space. A patch was immediately added to git and the Greg released updated 5.1 and 4.19 kernels within a day. However, the patch for those kernel branches could not be directly applied to older kernels. These new versions of the older long-term supported kernels cleverly fixes the problem that caused Steam to be unable to connect to it's servers.
- Mesa 19.0.8 released with fix for major blunder in 19.0.7It turns out 19.0.7 wasn't meant to be the last 19.0.x release due to a rather major blunder in that release: A screw-up in calls to dri2_surf which made several drivers totally unusable.
- GNU Parallel "HongKong" releasedThe GNU Project has released a new version of the handy command-line tool GNU Parallel code-named HongKong. The latest version of this 10 year old tool which lets you easily run a series of single-threaded commands in parallel on a multi-core system can accept a perl expression as an argument to it's
- Mesa 19.1.1 and 19.0.7 are now available19.0.7 is the last bug-fix release of the Mesa 19.0 series. It's over, 19.0 is done. It has several fixes for RADV back-ported from the 19.1 series. The new point release for the 19.1 series has smaller fixes for most of the graphics drivers (RADV, ANV, Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g).
- Personal finances manager Skrooge 2.20.0 releasedA new version of the popular personal finance manager Skrooge is now available with some bugs fixes and the ability to import accounts from German AqBanking that don't have IBAN numbers.
- Google Insider Blows Whistle and Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent "Trump situation" in 2020 on Hidden CamA new video by Project Veritas sheds some light on why Google's search engine is showing less and less relevant results and more irrelevant propaganda which they prefer you see. It has a revealing undercover video of a high-level Google Executive, an interview with a Google Insider and some documents showing how Google's in reality a publisher and not a provider of a neutral search-engine or a neutral platform in the case of YouTube.
- KStars 3.3.1 releasedThe minor version maintenance release of the under-rated astronomy program KStars has a new Observatory Module for those who happen to have their own astronomy observatory. There's also a change to the stream window where Frames Per Second has been replaced with Frame Duration.
- Happy 17th birthday BitlBeeThe IRC gateway program BitlBee which allows you to talk to people on a wide range of instant messaging services from your favorite IRC client is now 17 years old. Many of the protocols it originally supported are dead but the program lives on with support for modern networks.
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