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- Total War: SHOGUN 2 Is Being Given Away For Free On Steam Until May 1stFeral Interactive is giving away licenses to the proprietary turn-based strategy game Total War: SHOGUN 2, released in 2011, in the Steam Store until May 1st. The game has a native GNU/Linux version and very low system requirements, you can play it on a laptop with integrated Intel graphics. The game's graphics are decent and the gameplay is alright, purchasing a license at zero price is worth it if you enjoy playing turn-based strategy games. There's also huge rebates on DLC packs and battle packs which can be had for a few dollars each while the give-away lasts.
- Focal fossaUbuntu version 20.04 from April of 2020 codenamed "focal fossa" referring to cryptoprocta ferox, as the Latin name goes. A fossa is a cat-like creature from Madagascar. fun fact: The generic name crypto procta refers to how the animal's anus is hidden by its anal pouch, from the Ancient Greek words crypto- "hidden", and procta "anus".
- Chromium 81 Is Released With Many Security Fixes And Mostly Working Vulkan Rendering SupportThe latest version of the free software Chromium web browser, which forms the basis for Google's commercial Chrome product, has 32 security fixes. Three of those are "high" impact and eight of them are listed as "medium". More importantly, the Vulkan support added in Chromium 79 no longer leads to a total disaster when it is enabled on GNU/Linux systems. Vulkan rendering actually works as of this release.
- Qt Could Go Proprietary, KDE Relationship And Qt-Based Free Software In JeopardyThe Qt Company, maker of the popular Qt toolkit used by a lot of free software, announced that they would be restricting LTS releases of the Qt toolkit to paying customers in a widely criticized move back in January, 2020. They are currently strongly considering taking that one step further by restricting all Qt releases to paying license holders for the first 12 months. This jeopardizes the future of the popular KDE Plasma desktop environment as well as the LXQt desktop environment and it puts the wisdom of using the Qt toolkit for free software development in question.
- The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M 2.1.0 RC1 Is ReleasedDevelopment of the Super-Mario like 2D jump and run sidescroller platform game The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M. (TSC) is moving forward with the first version 2.1.0 release candidate following three months of rigorous testing since the release of 2.1.0 beta 2 late January 2020. TSC has wonderful graphics, original music, original levels and it is overall a fun free software game worth trying if you have time to waste playing games. TSC is available for Windows and Linux.
- Linux 5.6.2 Is Released With Intel Wifi FixThere were some small bug fixes in Linux 5.6.1 and mostly small bug fixes in Linux 5.6.2 too except for one rather important fix for those who have wireless Intel WIFI chips. Linux 5.6 broke wifi support for everyone using the
iwlwifidriver for wireless Intel cards. 5.6.2 has a small fix which restores wifi functionality for all the affected users.
- GNOME And KDE Are Merging To KNOME - The Next Generation Linux Desktop EnvironmentDo you like the simplicity and lack of features GNOME offers yet you would also like the customization options and feature-richness KDE has? We have good news, KDE and GNOME are merging their desktop environments into KNOME! KDE+GNOME = KNOME, the future desktop environment for free software users.
- Second Mini Album "Dear My Color" From Korean Pop Sensation 보라미유 (Boramiyu) Is Released And It Is WonderfulThe second mini-album from Korean solo artist 보라미유 (Boramiyu) starts off with the very soothing and charming song love song "우리가 틀렸던 건 아닐 거야". The mini-albums second song, 10분 전, is a very happy and cheerful song which shines with wonderful vocal performance. It just gets better from there.
- Wine 5.5 Brings Bux Fixes For Beat Hazard 2, iTunes, How To Survive And MoreThe latest development release of the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows software on Linux has better WebServices support, better support for debug information in Portable Executable files and 32 mostly application-specific bug-fixes.
- Linux 5.6 Is ReleasedThe latest kernel displays Vcore, Vsoc, Icore and Isoc power values on AMD chips using the k10temp hardware monitoring driver, there's multipath TCP (MPTCP) support, WireGuard network tunnel support for VPN connections, support for passing a configuration file with kernel options upon boot and much more. Intel WIFI support is broken in this kernel so you should avoid it if you are using a laptop or a notebook with a Intel WIFI chip.
- Pale Moon v220.127.116.11 Is ReleasedThe European developer "Moonchild" has released a "major development" update to the Pale Moon web browser yesterday. New features include "promise-based media playback" and 1.25x playback of HTML media elements. There were some minor problem with that release so two more minor point versions were related today.
- Some Proprietary AMD GPU Source Code Has LeakedSomeone going by the e-mail nickname "palesaferns" leaked a number of Hardware Definition Language (HDL) source code files for the AMD Navi graphics cards to a GitHub repository. That repository was swiftly yet too-lately removed by GitHub-owner Microsoft at the behest of AMD. The released stolen source code tree has code for Navi10 and empty folders for other graphics chips like the "Arden" GPU in the coming XBox Series X which indicates that the leaker is also in possession of those source files as well. AMD has issued a statement saying that they "believe the stolen graphics IP is not core to the competitiveness or security of our graphics products".
- Thunar 1.8.14 Is ReleasedThe newly released Thunar 1.8.13 had several bug-fixes, improvements and a unfortunate regression which broke drag and drop when multiple files are selected. Thunar 1.8.14 is a "emergency release" which reverts the one commit that broke drag and drop. The rest of the improvements in Thunar 1.8.13 remain intact.
- Thunar 1.8.13 Is Released With Unfortunate Bug That Makes It Useless As A File ManagerThe latest release of the Thunar file manager for the Xfce desktop environment has several bug fixes, including crash fixes, and a new bug which breaks drag and drop of multiple files. Select 4 or 10 files in Thunar 1.8.13 and drag them and only one of the files is dragged along thanks to a very unfortunate commit for opening multiple files in a single application. It is very unfortunate that the commit which added that feature made Thunar utterly useless as a file manager and it is quite embarrassing that the Xfce team released Thunar with such a usability-breaking bug.
- Xfce4-screensaver 0.1.9 Is Released With A Critical Security FixXfce4-screensaver has, so far, had a really embarrassing adn very unfortunate bug which allowed anyone to unlock a machine locked with Xfce4-screensaver by connecting a docking station or a few extra monitors. Xfce developer Sean Davis has addressed this major security flaw as well as several other less embarrassing bugs in the latest Xfce4-screensaver release.
- XScreenSaver 5.44 Is Released With 3 New ScreensaversJamie Zawinski, who created XScreenSaver in 1992 and still maintains it, has released a new minor version with three new screen savers and performance tweaks for six of the existing screensavers. There are also new color options for four screensavers and "various bug fixes" in this release.
- Get Tomb Raider For Free On Steam Until March 24thValve's Steam games store is currently having a sale on several Tomb Raider games and bundles with 70-80% rebates on games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation and Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. The 2013 game Tomb Raider and the 2014 game Lara Croft and the temple of Osiris are currently being given away at a 100% discount. There are native versions of Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux, Windows and macOS. The native GNU/Linux version works great and it is totally worth picking it up while it is being given away for free. Lara Croft and the temple of Osiris does not have a native GNU/Linux version but you can play the Windows version on GNU/Linux. The give-away ends on March 24th, 2020.
- GNOME 3.36 "Gresik" Is ReleasedThe latest version of the smart-TV/tablet GNOME "app" environment which is pushed as a default on several GNU/Linux distributions meant for desktops for some incomprehensible reason has a new "app" for managing shell extensions, performance improvements, parental controls and a redesigned clock. There is still no system tray, window manager buttons for anything beyond closing windows or anything else one would expect from a desktop environment.
- Gbrainy Is 2.4.2 ReleasedDeveloper Jordi Mas has proudly released a new version of the educational brain teaser game Gbrainy. Gbrainy has logic puzzles, calculation trainers, memory trainers and "verbal analogies" for those who, like the games name implies, want to train their brain. The latest version has updated and fixed translations and that's it.
- Firefox 74 Is Released With Several Vulnerability FixesThe release notes for Firefox 74 are dull mostly and uninteresting. This is specially true if you use Linux. Firefox 74 can import bookmarks from the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser on Windows and macOS, remove add-ons installed by applications in the add-on manager (about:addons) and there is a new "facebook container" feature for those that use Facebook regularly. The "Security Advisory" for Firefox 74 is far more interesting.
- Xfburn 0.6.2 Is ReleasedXfce developer Rene Kjellerup has released a new version of the Xfburn CD/DVD/BlueRay writer. The new version has code cleanups removing deprecated Glib/Gtk+ Widget definitions, a translatable user interface and translations for a wide range of languages.
- Genius Mathematics Tool 1.0.25 Is ReleasedThe Genius Mathematics Tool is one of the oldest GNOME projects still around. The latest version has a graphical interface ported to GTK3 even though the version number would indicate that it is a very minor version. Genius is in principle a fully featured general purpose calculator but it is a lot more similar to programs like Matlab and Octave than it is similar to traditional desktop calculators. Genius 1.0.25 may be worth a look if you are a scientist or professor who enjoys doing very advanced math.
- LibrePlanet 2020 Is CANCELLEDThe free software conference LibrePlanet which was scheduled to take place this weekend has been cancelled due to this years unusually aggressive COVID-19 common cold strain. The Free Software Foundation cancelled the in-person event "with deep sadness" due to "concern for the safety of this community". LibrePlanet 2020 will instead take place online with "virtual conferences" and livestreams.
- New Modern exFAT Driver From Samsung Is Coming In Linux 5.7The Linux kernel has had support for the Microsoft FAT file system since forever but the more advanced exFAT variant was not supported by the kernel until Linux 5.4. That exFAT support is based on a many years old Samsung driver and it is still in staging. A much more modern and complete version of the Samsung exFAT driver is scheduled to land in Linux 5.7 and it will skip the kernel's staging area and go directly to mainline.
- Firefox Is Rolling Out DNS over HTTPS And The Security Benefits Are Not What You May Think They AreThe Mozilla Corporation is rolling out domain name lookups over HTTPS for American users of their Firefox web browser product in partnership with Internet infrastructure giant Cloudflare. DNS over HTTPS is meant to prevent local attackers and internet service providers from monitoring DNS traffic. It does, in theory, shift the potential points of attack from the local DNS provider to one giant centralized organization running DoH DNS servers. In practice it doesn't, a local attacker can very easily make Firefox disable the DoH functionality.
- New Chinese Free Speech Law Limits Chinese Citizens Ability To Participate In Free Software DevelopmentNew Chinese "Provisions on the Governance of the Online Information Content Ecosystem" that came in effect on March 1st makes several aspects of what one could consider to be normal participation in free software projects illegal. Publicly discussing security holes in hardware or software, which could be seen as endangering national security, is no longer allowed. Submitting very badly written patches using a Chinese name has also become illegal since it could damage the middle kingdom's honor. The new provisions do not outlaw free software in general and they do encourage developers to spread "socialist values".
- Wine 5.3 Is Released With 29 Bug Fixes And Better Shell Folder HandlingThe latest Wine Is Not An Emulator development release has 29 mostly game and application specific bug-fixes, better shell folder handling, full support for Unicode normalization and improvements to the not yet complete Universal C Runtime Base (Ucrtbase) support. A few of the game-specific fixes are done by adding new features such as a new IMFSourceReader ReadSample Implementation.
- The Nightly Tor Browser Build Has Support For Namecoin Domain NamesLocation hidden services accessible on the Tor network have been using very unmemorable base32-encoded names since their inception. Remembering a domain name like
kxzxnzfqkig53zcxmb45xkjeultr3rydxsg6763ybt7bq2nvpgy2ihyd.onionis not easy and nobody wants to type that into a web browsers address bar even if they somehow manage to memorize the address. The nightly version of the Tor Browser supports Namecoin domain names which work like and look like regular domain names from a end-user perspective. Moving from long random-looking domain names into shorter and more memorable domain names like
federalistpapers.bitwould make location hidden Tor services a lot easier to use.
- Linux Remains Licensed Under The GNU GPL v2 And New Contributions Remain Subject To ItThe Linux kernel's COPYING file got the small change adding a notice saying "All contributions to the Linux Kernel are subject to this COPYING file" during the 5.6 release cycle. There was, apparently, a risk that someone would be confused trying to understand what license bew contributions to the Linux kernel are subject to 27 years after the kernel moved from a simple three point license to the GNU General Public License v2.
- Chrome and Chromium 80 Have A New Directly To Text Snippet Linking FeatureThe latest version of Chromium (and Chrome) let you link directly to parts of web pages using a shiny new
#:~:text=URL argument which works similarly to the existing
#anchorfeature, or formally a URI fragment, which has been around for decades. It is only worth mentioning because of the way some larger publications are making it out to be some kind of gigantic security concern. It's not. The most logical explanation as to why they claim it is is that it brings them clicks and attention and therefore profit. The only other possible explanation is ignorance and utter stupidity.