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- Microsoft Windows no longer trusts built-in SSD encryption and neither should youMany modern SSDs come with their own built-in encryption system. Enabling it under GNU/Linux is typically quite trivial; most of them will ask the BIOS for a ATA HDD password and use that if one is set. However, there are some valid concerns about the security of these built-in encryption schemes. Hard-coded super-passwords set by the manufacturer is one which should not be ignored.
- Honorary Doctor Richard Stallman will remain the head of the GNU ProjectThe founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project has announced that he will remain Chief GNUisance of the GNU project in an e-mail to the info-gnu mailing list on September 26th, 2019.
- Mesa 19.2 is released with support for AMD Navi GPUsSupport for the AMD "Navi" GPUs released this summer as well as some upcoming AMD GPUs is the big highlight in the latest version of the GNU/Linux graphics stack used by all the free graphics drivers. This, together with kernel support in the newly released 5.3 series Linux Kernels, means that it is finally possible to buy these GPUs and use them on a GNU/Linux machine without having to use git development versions of everything.
- Xfce-Panel 4.14.1 is releasedThe Xfce desktop has gotten it's first update to the relatively new 4.14 branch which is baed on GTK3. The window list is now consistent with xfdesktop and the tasklist will now resize as windows are removed. There's also fixes for the pager and the systray and a lot of translation updates.
- Firefox will do monthly releases starting next yearThe once freedom-respecting and slim Firefox web browser from the Mozilla Corporation will get fresh releases every four weeks starting January 7th, 2020. Mozilla switched to a variable schedule with releases every six to eight weeks back in 2016.
- Richard Stallman has resigned from his position as president of the Free Software FoundationThe FSF has released a very short statement saying "On September 16, 2019, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and from its board of directors.
- Linux Kernel 5.3 is released
The latest Linux kernel is the first kernel with support for AMDs Navi GPUs which were released this summer. It also adds support for a series of special umwait instructions present on upcoming low-power Intel x86 CPUs. These instructions allows CPUs to wait for processes using far less power than NOP (No Operation) loops. Intel has also added Speed Select support for their Xeon servers to this kernel. A new lightweight hypervisor called ACRN may be of interest to those developing very light IoT devices. There is also support for the Chinese x86 Zhaoxin CPU in Linux Kernel 5.3.
- Linux Kernel 5.3 rc8 is released and 5.3 final is coming soon
The next Linux kernel is shaping up to be a interesting release with it's support for existing as well as future AMD Navi GPUs in addition to support for the mysterious CometLake-H and CometLake-LP platforms on the Intel side.
- F-Droid 1.7.1 availableThere's not much new in the latest version of the free software Android appstore. There is no mention of version 1.7.1 in the changelog and there is no news on the f-droid website. A close-up inspection of the gitlab repository indicates that only a donation related file has been changed since 1.7 was released early last month.
- Qt Creator 4.10.0 released with Android targets for CMake and Qbs projectsThe latest version of the cross-platform IDE for developing software with the Qt toolkit has a new "pin" files feature which allows you to make files stay on top and never go away even if you bulk close all files in a project. There's also support for installing all files that are installed by your build system's install step on remote targets.
- Mesa 19.2 rc2 released with support for Navi and "unreleased" AMD chipThe second Mesa 19.2 release candidate is now available for hardcore and bleeding edge GNU/Linux users who want the latest in graphics technology. Mesa 19.2 will be the first Mesa version to support the AMD Navi GPUs released this summer as well as a mysterious "unreleased" AMD chip referred to as "Navi14". There is also improvements in the Intel Iris graphics driver for Intel iGPUs.
- Warzone 2100 3.3 released with better graphics and high resolution monitor supportIt has been 3 years since the last release of the free open source strategy game Warzone 2100 from 1999. Warzone 2100 has been free software since 2004 and it's small hardcore community has been making small incremental improvements ever since. Version 3.2 could not get into scaling which made it unusable on modern monitors. The latest version has a brand new "Display Scale" option which works well on modern 4K displays. There's also better and smoother graphics and the lagging which would sometimes be noticeable when a lot of things were going on is gone. The new version is available for GNU/Linux, Windows and MacOS. There is no Android version.
- Git v2.23.0 is released and availableBig websites like Microsoft github and GitLab Inc is where the vast majority of people encounter git for the first time. It is actually free open source software and you can and should install it on your own server instead of surrendering control over vital code to large multi-national corporations. The latest version of git has many fixes both server and client-side. It is also "futureproof".
- Fedora 31 is branched: Here are the high-lights in the next Fedora versionThe next version of IBMs beta-test distribution for Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been branched off from Fedora's bleeding edge "rawhide" tree. The first beta verison of Fedodra 31 will be released September 29th and the final version will be released in the end of October. The high-lights in Fedora 31 are CgroupsV2 resource control, Python 3 as the default python interpreter and updated versions of the KDE, GNOME, XFCE and DeepinDE desktop environments. There will be no i386 or i686 versions of Fedora 31.
- Worms exploiting Windows Remote Desktop Vulnerabilities knock on port 3389Microsoft has announced that their Windows OS has yet another critical security hole which allows anyone to take control over machines running that operating system if remote desktop services are enabled. The result is that you may be seeing attempts to connect to port 3389 in your firewall. These can be safely be ignored since they are only targeting Windows-infected computers.
- Happy Birthday DebianThe community distribution Debian is 26 years old today. The Debian Project was founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. The first version, Debian 0.01, wasn't released until one month later on September 15th, 1993.
- AMD finally submits kernel patch for broken RDRAND on older AMD APUsIt only took 5 years for AMD to submit a kernel patch which doesn't even fix RDRAND being broken on older AMD APUs after suspend. Their kernel patch "fixes" the problem by completely disabling the RDRAND instruction on all family 15 and 16 APUs and CPUs from AMD - even those not affected by this particular issue.
- Tor Snowflake launched as a censorship countermeasure for the The Onion Router networkThe Onion Router's many nodes are banned by quite a few tyrannical regimes around the world. Tor has a feature called "bridges" which helps by-pass local censorship. Bridges are computers who act as middle-men between end-users and the Tor network. They are not listed in the Tor directory and they are meant to be hard to learn. It is, of course, possible to pretend you are a lots and lots of end-users in order to learn all the bridges. Tor's new "Snowflake" browser-plugin aims so make Tor even more censorship-resistant by allowing anyone with that browser plugin to act as a proxy for Tor's bridges.
- Treasure-trove of internal Google documents showing censorship and bias leaked by insiderA now former Google employee who went on camera talking about Google election meddling and other illegalities in June has made a 300 MB compressed archive filled with internal Google documents available through Project Veritas. The documents include censorship blacklists and plans which outline a clear political agenda.
- Linux Kernel 5.3-rc4 releasedThe forth release-candidate of the upcoming Linux Kernel 5.3 is the largest release candidate "in years". A lot of the changes since rc3 are network-related and quote a few of those are related to WIFI drivers like the iwlwifi driver for Intel wireless network cards. There's also a notable amount of changes related to Logitech input devices. There's also new Spectre v1 swapgs mitigations in this kernel; fixes for Intel CPU security flaws keep piling onto the already huge pile of fixes for Intel's highly insecure Swiss-cheese products.
- Xfce 4.14 ReleasedThe leading GNU/Linux desktop environment Xfce has released a new stable version after almost 5 years of development. The latest version is based on GTK3 instead of GTK2 and it uses GDBus instead of GLib under the hood. There's entirely new components like Xfce's new screensaver and many small and large improvements to the existing applications in Xfce 4.12 such as the file-manager Thunar, the video player Parole, the Xfce4-terminal terminal emulator.
- Xfce Image Viewer Ristretto 0.10.0 releasedThis is the first version of Ristretto which is based on GTK3+. It is essentially the same as the GTK2 version. It has some bug-fixes and translation updates but nothing new in terms of features, the port to GTK3 is the big high-light in this release.
- IBM subsidiary Red Hat has joined the RISC-V foundationThe move was not entirely surprising given that IBM is one of the RISC-V foundations founding members. There is no announcement of Red Hat distributions like Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux becoming available for RISC-V any time soon. However, this does signal that they have plans in that direction.
- Bitcoin Core 0.18.1 ReleasedThe new minor version of the Bitcoin Core wallet software for storing and managing the crypto-currency BTC has some minor bug fixes, performance improvements and updated translations. Tor users will be happy to learn that this Bitcoin Core version does not hang for ages when it's shut down while it's connected to the Tor network. Bitcoin Core 0.18.1 is available for GNU/Linux, Windows and macOS.
- Xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin 2.3.3 releasedXfce's team describes the Whiskermenu as "An alternate menu". That may be true in theory but in practice it's the default standard menu on most distributions. The new version has translation updates for Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Galician, Icelandic and Nepali. It also removes a partial crash-fix for crashes caused by garcon.
- It's Over, The Linux Journal is Closing DownThe Linux Journal was the first magazine to write about the Linux kernel and operating systems based on it back when it launched in 1994. It was published as monthly printed magazines until September 2011 when it switched to publishing digital monthly editions. It was almost over in 2017 when the Linux Journal announced that it was closing it's doors. However, Private Internet Access stepped in with funding and the Journal kept going. Now, 25 years since it published it's first edition, it's over and the staff is let go.
- Mesa 19.1.4 is now available with fixes for hair oddities in Max Payne 3 on AMD/RADVThe latest version of the graphics library which underpins all GNU/Linux graphics when free drivers are used has a lot of other fixes for Radeon graphics cards. There's also fixes for nv50 and nvc0 based NVidia cards in the free nouveau driver and some fixes for Intel integrated graphics.
- KDevelop 5.4 releasedKDevelop is a powerful Integrated Development Environment built on the KDE framework which works great in any desktop environment. It's great for developing in a number of languages including C++, Python and PHP (if you consider PHP to be a real programming language). The new version has a brand new scratchpad feature, a new build system and analyzer support from Clang-Tidy. There is, of course, also a lot of bug fixes and smaller improvements.
- Linux Kernel 5.3-rc3 releasedThe third release candidate for Linux Kernel 5.3 is "smaller than usual". There has been a lot of fixes for the Intel i915 driver as well as many power management fixes for newer AMD GPUs since 5.3rc2. There is not much else of interest between those release-candidates.
- The Japanese have NTP synchronized wall clocksThe Network Time Protocol is the standard way of synchronizing clocks on the Internet. All modern Linux machines can use this method and many distributions enable the systemd timesyncd service for clock synchronization using NTP by default. Regular wall-clocks found in homes have so far been relying on either GPS, radio signals or humans manually adjusting the time. The Japanese have now come up with standard wall and bedside table clocks which can synchronize time using the standard NTP protocol.
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