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- 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.
- Drift Into Eternity now available for Linux on Steam
The "Top 100 of the Indie of the Year Award 2015" game Drift Into Eternity is now available for Linux in the Steam store. The announcement describes the game as being an "open beta" due to lack of testing. The full version of the game requires a payment. A almost fully working demo version is available for Linux (and Windows). The only difference between it and the full version is the ability to submit or save scores, you can not do those things with the demo version. Everything else should, in theory, work. In practice the game doesn't actually launch.
- Manjaro Linux will not be installing the proprietary FreeOffice by defaultIt appeared as if the popular Linux distribution Manjaro was going to include a free version of the non-free proprietary office suite FreeOffice crippleware from German SoftMaker Software GmbH instead of the free office suite LibreOffice in the upcoming 18.1 version of their operating system. This is now off the table due to massive push-back from a handful of vocal people.
- Linux Steam market share is on the rise
The percentage of Steam gamers using GNU/Linux dropped like a stone last month. A 0.08% reduction in June left Linux distributions with a marginal 0.76% of total Steam usage. That number increased by 0.03% in July and the GNU/Linux marketshare on Steam now stands at 0.79%.
- Honorary Doctor Richard Stallman to do Speaking Tour in Russia
The father of the free software movement will be speaking at the TechTrain Expo in Saint Petersburg on August 24-25. He will then proceed to Moscow and speak at an undisclosed location connected to the Moscow Polytechnic University. Admission to the TechTrain Expo requires a ticket, admission to his talk in Moscow will be free of charge.
- GNU C Library version 2.30 released with Unicode 12.1 support
glibc one of the more essential parts of any GNU/Linux distribution. There's no bash, no X, no KDE Plasma, no nothing without it. The new version of the GNU C Library fixes to security issues with assigned CVEs. There's also Minguo calendar support for Chinese Taipei and the Unicode entry for the new Japanese era added to the ja_JP locale which was added to Unicode 12.1.
- Mesa 3d 19.2 Release Plan Announced
The Mesa 3d graphics stack which powers the user-space aspects of all Linux graphics drivers will release a new stable version on August 27th - unless there are unforeseen problems or delays. The development tree will be branched off and released as 19.2rc1 on Tuesday 6th.
- Freedesktop Quietly adds Intel Code of Conduct Enforcer
The Freedesktop organization were pushed into adopting a Code of Conduct in April, 2017. The same three people have been responsible for enforcing this broad, unclear and subjective policy since that time. A fourth person from Intel was very quietly added to the authoritarian enforcement team on July 19th.
- Latte Dock 0.9 for KDE Plasma released
Latte Dock is an alternative to standard panels offered by the popular and very feature-rich KDE Plasma desktop environment. It looks very similar to something we have vague memories of seeing when visiting someone using a thin laptop made by an American fruit company.
- AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs will not be able to boot modern Linux distributions for another "few" weeks
3000-series AMD Ryzen CPUs return broken data when RDRAND is called. That causes boot failure modern Linux distributions using systemd >=240. AMD was very quiet about this major flaw in their CPUs until Windows users noticed that some Windows game called Destiny II crashes due to it's reliance on the RDRAND instruction. AMD finally admitted the problem and promised a BIOS fix on July 12th.
- Pay As You Go Linux PCs are here - and you Better Pay or it Locks Up
Endless OS piqued our interest due to it's use of OSTree+Flatpak package management instead of the typical .rpm or .deb repositories most distributions use. That's not what got our attention when we looked at this Linux distribution. Endless Solutions offers laptops and "mini" desktops pre-loaded with their Endless OS which will lock up if you don't pay your bill. There appears to be a modern word which describes software which behaves like that.
- Linux Kernel 5.3-rc2 released
A second release-candidate for the upcoming Linux Kernel 5.3 is now available. There's a lot of smaller fixes in the various sub-systems. Nothing major stands out apart from a large amount of amdgpu fixes. 5.3 is the first kernel with support for AMDs new Navi GPUs so some ironing out in that area during the release candidate cycle is to be expected.
- Xfce 4.14pre3 Released
The third pre-release of the next stable long-term version of the classic GNU/Linux desktop environment Xfce is now available for your enjoyment. This third version of Xfce's port to the GTK+3 toolkit is as good as the final version in terms of features, is a Final Freeze. The final 4.14 version scheduled to be released on August 8th will only contain fixes for the very few remaining bugs.
- Python 3 plugin support for GIMP 3 is ready
- KernelShark 1.0 released
The KernelShark graphical interface for the kernel's internal tracer Ftrace has reached version 1.0. This version is a complete rewrite in Qt. The original version from 2010 used GTK+ 2.0. The new version has more features and nice big buttons which hopefully makes it easier to use. If you want detailed information about what your machine is doing on a low level then KernelShark may be for you.
- Alibaba announces 16-core RISC-V chip and promises to make it Open Source
Chinese Alibaba started their Pingtouge 平头哥 chip subsidiary late 2018 due to concerns after the US announced a boycott of ZTE. The Xuan Tie 910 is their first chip. It is a 16 core RISC-V chip with a max boost frequency of 2.5 GHz. Pingtouge claims their RISC-V chip is 40% faster than the best currently available RISC-V chips.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Beta Available
IBM subsidiary Red Hat has released a Beta of the first minor version of their eight generation operating system. The focus is on the cloud. There's new web management features and better container security and no mention of any desktop-related features what so ever.
- Bitcoin Core 0.18.1 rc1 Released
Bitcoin Core is the full blockchain client software for the dominant Bitcoin chain listed under the ticker "BTC" on most digital currency exchanges. The first release-candidate for it's next stable version 0.18.1 is now available. This version fixes a problem with version 0.18 where it just hangs on shutdown if it is connected to the Tor network.
- Dropbox will again support filesystems beyond ext4
The cloud storage service Dropbox dropped Linux support for all filesystems except ext4 back in 2018. The latest 77.3.127 beta version of their client lists support for a variety of other commonly used Linux filesystems - but there is no mention of nfs or ntfs.
- GNU Parallel Ryugu released
Ole Tange has released another update to the GNU Parallel command-line utility for spawning multiple jobs in parallel. The new version promises 40% faster start-up on GNU/Linux systems by using a more efficient method of determining the parent shell. There's also bug fixes and manual page updates.
- The BROWSER Act could give Americans Privacy Protections similar to those the EUs GDPR legislation guarantees
The BROWSER Act has little to do with web browsers and everything to do with preventing big technology from collecting personal information without consent. Senator Marsha Blackburn has been trying pass this bill which would give US citizens data protection rights similar to what the fascist unions GDPR legislation provides since 2017. She is attempting to get the bill passed on a regular basis.
- SUSE has appointed Melissa Di Donato as new CEO
Swedish-owned Linux vendor SUSE, who controls the OpenSUSE "community" distribution, has named Melissa Di Donato as their new CEO. She has a background as a COO at SAP. That company's cloud revenue grew by 40% year-over-year according to their Q2 2019 quarterly statement. The vast majority of SAPs cloud services are built on SUSE technologies.
- Mesa 19.1.3 released
The latest version of the Mesa graphics stack has a long list of fixes for Linux Vulkan users. There's also been some fixes for the NIR shader compiler backend. This is a bug-fix release, major updates like support for AMD Navi GPUs will not arrive until Mesa 19.2 which is scheduled to be release late August.
- GOOGLE ENGINEER BLOWS WHISTLE: "Are we going to just let the biggest tech companies decide who wins every election from now on?"
Project Veritas has made another expose on Google's censorship and bias. A Senior Google Engineer is on camera stating that big tech is "dangerous" and "taking sides". The US congress recently held hearings on Google's search engine bias and censorship where Google executives assured the US congress that there is no such thing. Google engineer Greg Coppola thinks otherwise.
- Biostar BIOSes enabling PCIe Gen 4 on AMD 400-series Motherboards are available
Taiwanese computer giant Biostar has released BIOS updates for several 400 series motherboards which enables fourth generation PCI Express on the first x16 slow as well as the M.2 NVMe slot if a Ryzen 3000 CPU is used.
- Huawei is moving to promote their EROFS read-only filesystem from the kernel staging area
Huawei's read-only filesystem EROFS has been stuck in the kernel staging area for almost a year. It is in many ways similar to Squashfs; it's function is to provide a efficient space-saving read-only filesystem. Developer Gao Xiang feels that 10+ million Huawei phone installations is enough to demonstrate that EROFS is mature enough to be granted a proper place in the mainline kernel. We failed testing the Chinese technology.
- Linux Kernel 5.3rc1 and new Stable branch Kernels released
The Linux Kernel team have released stable branch updates as well as the first release candidate for Linux 5.3. There are some interesting IRQ related fixes for 5.2.2, 5.1.19 and 4.19.60 and not much interesting fixed in 4.14.134 and 4.9.186. Support for AMD Navi GPUs is biggest high-light in 5.3rc1.
- VLC video player has gaping security hole and there's no fix available
The Germans have discovered that the latest stable 18.104.22.168 version of the VideoLAN media player has a head-based buffer over-read in the demux code for mkv containers. Simply opening a carefully crafted video file using the mkv container is enough to have evil code executed on the system. The vulnerability affects both GNU/Linux and Windows machines.
- Windows users of KDE applications: Do not uninstall.exe
The KDE Project has issued a Security Advisory which states that removal of KDE software which was installed using non-default parameters can result in random user data being deleted. KDE-related "uninstall.exe" files created before Julty 10th, 2019 have this problem.
- Thunar 1.8.8 released
The latest version of the powerful Thunar file manager for the leading Linux desktop environment Xfce fixes six bugs. There is also translation updates for seven languages. There is nothing new in terms of features, just small fixes in preparation for the launch of Xfce 4.14 stable.
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