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- Microsoft WordPad 2020 Will Contain In-App AdvertisementsThe current "Insider Preview" version of the WordPad word processor bundled with the Windows 10 operating system contains subtle advertisements for Microsoft's online office suite. Free software alternatives do not have that problem and they will, unlike the Microsoft alternative, work without an Internet connection.
- Wine 5.0 Is Released With Multi-Monitor Support, Vulkan 1.1 Support and New XAudio2 re-implementationThe Wine compatibility layer for running Windows software on GNU/Linux systems has come a really long way Wine 4.0 was released exactly one year ago on January 22nd, 2019. More than 7400 changes by 1718 people went into the Wine 5.0 release. Wine is now at a point where it can be used to run the vast majority of Windows applications, and games, with no issues.
- Per-Process Bandwidth Monitor Bandwhich 0.10.0 Is ReleasedBandwidth is a different kind of cli bandwidth monitoring tool for Linux and macOS written in Rust. It can show per-process and per-connection bandwidth usa by matching traffic to processes using /proc (or lsof on macOS). It has been in development since November 2019. The latest release adds IPv6 support and the ability to choose what tables are shown in the interface.
- Norwegian Study Finds The Online Advertisement Industry To Be "OUT OF CONTROL"The Norwegian Consumer Protection Agency "Forbrukerrådet" has spent millions of Norwegian government oil and tax money on a study which finds that the online advertising industry is "OUT OF CONTROL". The study focused on well-known smartphone applications. All of the apps examined were found to be collecting and sharing data in direct violation of European law.
- GParted 1.1.0 Is ReleasedThe latest version of the best graphical disk partitioning tool for GNU/Linux can recognize ATARAID members, calculate JFS disk sizes accurately and move locked LUKS partitions. GParted is available as both a distribution and a stand-alone utility. Only the disk utility has been updated to v1.1.0, updated versions of the GParted distribution are not yet available.
- Firefox 72.0.2 Is ReleasedFirefox 72.0.2 disables double buffering for video playback on Windows after several reports of video stuttering. It also fixes a bug which prevented it from opening files with a whitespace on Windows, a hang when opening the
about:loginspage to view stored passwords on all platforms and a rendering issue causing CSS tags to be ignored in some cases.
- Vulkan 1.2 Specification Finalized, Linux Support In PlaceThe Khronos Group has published the final specification for version 1.2 of the Vulkan graphics API. It adds 23 extensions to the core API and it brings features like timeline semaphores synchronization and a formal memory model. Mesa already supports most of the extensions which were added to the core specification and Mesa 20, expected to be released towards the end of February, will have full Vulkan 1.2 support.
- Linux 5.5rc7 Is ReleasedLinux 5.5 will be released next week barring any huge and important last minute patches. Now much was changed in rc7 since the last release candidate with the majority of patches arriving the last two days. There is nothing ground-breaking in the changelog, only minor fixes in the various sub-systems.
- AMD Confirms "Big Navi" GPU Coming In 2020AMD has published a video interview with AMDs CEO Lisa Su at CES 2020 on their YouTube channel where Dr. Su confirms that AMD will be bringing a "Big Navi" GPU product to market in 2020. She did not provide any details what so ever beyond that. The only thing we can say for sure is that it will have more than the 40 compute units the currently biggest RX 5700 XT Navi GPU has.
- SeaMonkey 2.53.1 Beta 1 Is Released: Not Fully Abandoned AbandonwareFreeBSD declared Seamonkey (and Pale Moon) to be "abandonware" in April 2019. The SeaMonkey Internet Suite is still alive as evidenced by a new beta release on January 18th, 2020. The web browser component uses the rendering engine from Firefox ESR 60.3 and the e-mail component uses code from Thunderbird 60.3. The user interface is still the same classic interface Seamonkey has had for 20+ years with one minor difference: The latest release uses GTK3 to draw it.
- Xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin 2.3.5 ReleasedThe latest version of the optional "whiskermenu" for the Xfce desktop environment has 6 bug fixes and updated documentation. A better fallback value for menu opacity is one of the high-lights in this release.
- Mozilla Fires 70 Employees, Apple Offers New JobsThe Mozilla Corporation has laid off 70 employees, experienced programmers and senior engineers, due to business difficulties and declining revenue. A dwindling Firefox marketshare combined with a failure to make money on its subscription services has reduced Mozilla's revenue to the point where layoffs are necessary.
- Wine 5.0-rc6 Is Released With 21 Bug-FixesWine 5.0-rc6 is the last release-candidate before 5.0 release next week "barring any last minute issue". 21 bugs have been fixed since Wine 5.0-rc5. Wine 5.0 is shaping up to be a great release for those who want to run Windows games on their GNU/Linux machines. A lot of progress has been made since Wine 4.0 was released in January 2019.
- Red Hat Recommends Disabling Hardware Acceleration on Intel Integrated Graphics Due To Hardware FlawRed Hat has issued guidance for the latest Intel CPU hardware bug which, unlike Meltdown and other widely publicized hardware flaws in Intel CPU products, affects the GPU part of Intel chips (if they have one). The proposed "solution" is a bit dramatic: just disable hardware acceleration and you'll be fine - unless you would like to watch videos or play games or do anything else in a graphical environment for that matter.
- CentOS 8.1 Released With New Security Tools For Servers And ContainersCentOS 8.1 (1911) is a free rebuild of the commercial GNU/Linux distribution Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1. The latest version supports live kernel patching and live conversion of LUKS1 images to LUKS2. Most of the improvements in this release are for containers and hybrid cloud deployments. Commonly used server-packages like Node.js, PHP, nginx and Ruby have been updated to newer versions.
- GNU sed 4.8 Is ReleasedThe GNU project has released a new major version of the sed stream editor after more than a year of development. The latest version has "s/many new exiting features/one noteworthy bug fix/g".
sed -iwill, as of the latest version, set the correct umask when files are saved.
- Latest Linux Kernels Fix Security Flaw In The Intel Processors With iGPUsLinux 5.4.12 as well as updates to the stable branch kernels released on Tuesday have a security patch for Intel processors with Gen9 graphics which addresses a vulnerability that could be used for "information disclosure via local access". Older Intel chips are also affected. The details for CVE-2019-14615 have not been made public.
- First Xfce 4.14 Maintainance Release Available, ScreenSaver Security Hole Remains Wide OpenThe light-weight GNU/Linux desktop got its first maintenance release over the last two days with new versions of most of the base components like xfce4-settings, xfce4-session, xfce4-panel, xfdesktop, libxfce4ui and libxfce4util. The releases address smaller bugs and do not include any new features.
- LibreDWG 0.10.1 Brings GNU One Step Closer To Liberating AutoCAD FilesDWG (short for drawing) is a proprietary file format used by the commercial AutoCAD design software from Autodesk Inc who is hell-bent on preventing compatibility with free software. Liberating the DWG file format has been a Free Software Foundation "High Priority" goal since 2008. The release of LibreWDG 0.10.1 brings them one step closer to that goal.
- Linux 5.5rc6 Is Released, 5.5 Final Is Coming In Two To Three WeeksLinus Torvalds that the holiday season has meant limited activity from both the testing and development side. A longer than usual release-cycle for kernel 5.5 is therefore more likely than not. The majority of changes since the last release-candidate are on the network side with some updates to USB, MID and sound drivers. The problems with the Intel i915 iGPU driver which have plagued the kernel for several major releases remain.
- Department of Homeland Security Urges Firefox And Thunderbird Users To UpgradeThe American Department of Homeland Security has issued a National Cyber Awareness System alert urging Firefox users to upgrade to the latest versions of Firefox, Firefox ESR and Thunderbird due to a vulnerability which is being actively exploited in the wild.
- Linux Kernel 5.5 Will Not Fix The Frequent Intel GPU Hangs In Recent KernelsLinux users running machines with Intel integrated graphics have been struggling with frequent system hangs and other problems caused by a buggy i915 kernel module for Intel iGPUs for quite some time. 5.3 series kernels went from being completely useless to problematic as of 5.3.14 while 5.4 series kernels remain utterly broken. Several fixes attempting solve some of the more common problems with Intel graphics chips have been merged into the Linux Kernel mainline git tree the last few days. Problems with frequent hangs remain and it looks like Linux Kernel 5.5 will be as problematic as previous kernels for those using Intel integrated graphics.
- Caesar III re-implementation Julius v1.2.0 Is ReleasedJulius is a free software re-implementation of the Caesar III game from 1998. The game assets are not included so you will have to acquire them separately. The game was originally released for Windows and macOS. Julius makes it playable on Windows, Linux, macOS, PS Vita and the Nintendo Switch with some additional features like support for widescreen resolutions. The latest Julius version has a new --display-scale parameter for high resolution monitors and other fixes.
- Mesa 19.3.2 Is Released With SDMA Disabled On Older AMD GPUsThe latest stable version of the Mesa graphics stack has SDMA disabled in the RadeonSI OpenGL backend on AMD GFX8-series graphics cards due to a few reported cases of graphics corruption in OpenGL games on AMD RX 580 graphics cards. The result will be a 0-4% performance-penalty on a older graphics cards ranging from the R9 285 to the RX 580.
- Firefox 72.0.1 Released With Fix For Actively Exploited Security HoleMozilla Firefox 72.0.1 and ESR 68.4.1, released yesterday, have a fix for a problem in the JIT compiler which Mozilla advices they they "are aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw". The releases came only a few days after Firefox 72 was released with floating video windows, notification popup blocking, more cross-site scripting protections and a very long list of fixed security vulnerabilities in previous Firefox versions.
- Mesa 20 Will Have SDMA Disabled On AMD RX-Series GPUsA few bug reports describing corruption on a few OpenGL games on RX 580 GPUs has prompted AMD developers to disable SDMA in the RadeonSI Mesa OpenGL driver on GFX8-series graphics cards. The result will be a 0 to 4% reduction in OpenGL performance in the upcoming Mesa 20 release.
- ZFS Will NOT Make It Into The Linux Kernel Any Time SoonThe ZFS file system uses a license which is incompatible with the GNU GPL which is why there is, and always was, close to zero chance of the ZFS file system support landing in the Linux kernel. "The licensing issues just make it a non-starter for me," Linus Torvalds wrote is a response to a totally off-topic question in a thread about the kernels scheduler. "There is no way I can merge any of the ZFS efforts until I get an official letter from Oracle that is signed by their main legal counsel."
- Xfce and GNOME To Get Support For File Creation TimestampsThe Linux Kernel has had support for file creation timestamps since 2017. Several file systems support the file birth timestamp and KDE as well as the Cinnamon file manager Nemo are able to show it in addition to the modification, creation and access timestamps most GNU/Linux are familiar with. Xfce and GNOME are finally moving forward with support for file creation timestamps.
- AMD Announced 8 Core Laptop APUs and CPUs and a 64 Core Threadripper CPU at CES 2020AMD announced an 8-core mobile APU with a 1.8 GHz base clock and an 8-core mobile CPU with a 2.8 GHz base clock for laptops at this year's CES. There was nothing exciting on the desktop GPU front, AMD announced a new mid-range desktop GPU and two mobile GPUs. They also announced a new 64-core Threadripper CPU at a $4000 price-tag.
- Trusted Memory Zone Support Coming To AMD APUs in Linux Kernel 5.6Support for Trusted Memory Zones on AMD APUs has been merged into the linux-next tree which makes it highly likely that Linux 5.6 will have code which allows the GPU driver to encrypt shared system memory used by the graphics driver. Regular programs running on the CPU will not be able to read or write the TMZ memory areas.
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