News/5

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  • Linux 5.6 Is Released
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    The 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 v28.9.0.2 Is Released
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    The 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 Leaked
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    Someone 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 Released
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    The 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 Manager
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    The 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 Fix
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    Xfce4-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 Screensavers
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    Jamie 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 24th
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    Valve'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 Released
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    The 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 Released
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    Developer 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 Fixes
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    The 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 Released
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    Xfce 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 Released
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    The 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 CANCELLED
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    The 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 5.7
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    The 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 Are
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    The 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 Development
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    New 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 Handling
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    The 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 Names
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    Location hidden services accessible on the Tor network have been using very unmemorable base32-encoded names since their inception. Remembering a domain name like kxzxnzfqkig53zcxmb45xkjeultr3rydxsg6763ybt7bq2nvpgy2ihyd.onion is 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.bit would make location hidden Tor services a lot easier to use.
  • Linux Remains Licensed Under The GNU GPL v2 And New Contributions Remain Subject To It
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    The 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 Feature
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    The 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 #anchor feature, 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.
  • Sweden Has Ended Democracy With The Passing Of A New Secret Electronic Surveillance Law Which Allows Law Enforcement To Secretly Install Hardware And Software Backdoors On Electronic Devices
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    Sweden has passed a new secret surveillance law which allows law enforcement to secretly install spyware as well as malicious hardware on or in any and all electronic devices on the mere suspicion that someone could be doing something criminal. Warrants are not required to install spyware on computers, smartphones and other "smart" devices like routers, HiFi receivers, refrigerators and smart home assistants. The law goes into effect on April 1st.
  • Mesa 20.0.0 Is Released
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    Mesa 20 is a big release. It has Vulkan 1.2 support for AMD and Intel graphics cards, including older ones, as well as many Vulkan improvements. The new Iris OpenGL graphics driver for Intel graphics cards has become the default for Intel gen8+ graphics chips. AMD users can enjoy a new experimental, and still optional, ACO GPU program compiler from Valve.
  • Humble Bundle Has A Huge Sale With Many Native Linux Games
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    The indie-game focused Humble Bundle games store is currently having another sale with several Linux games available at a 40% to 90% discount as a part of their regular "Indie Hits Sale". This may be a good time to pick up some native Linux games if you have time to play games and you enjoy lesser-known indie-games. Games on Humble are not free software, you will not get the source code and you will have to pay for a DRM-free copy of games which you can download and keep. The most discounted native Linux game, Dex, is just $2 with its 90% discount.
  • Wine 5.2 Is Released With 22 Bug-Fixes And New Features
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    The Wine Is Not An Emulator development branch is moving full steam ahead after the release of Wine 5.0, which was a major milestone. Wine 5.2, which is a development release, not a bug-fix release for Wine 5.0, has support for using the null (no) display driver as a real driver, better UTF-8 support and 22 bug-fixes. One general fix makes a whole range of new Steam games work in Wine, another makes control buttons in a wide range of applications appear as they should.
  • Mutazione Got A Native Linux Version
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    The "mutant soap opera" game Mutazione from the small game studio Die Gute Fabrik has a native Linux version ready. Mutazione is an original adventure game with has cartoon-like hand-illustrated graphics. It was made using the Unity game engine. It is not free software, buying it will set you back $20 or 18€.
  • Cantata 2.4.0 Is Released
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    It has been a year since the last version of the best Music Player Daemon front-end built on the Qt and KDE libraries was released. The latest version has some new features but it also lacks a rather important one previous versions have: Support for showing the currently playing songs album cover in the playlist window has been taken away due to issues with that feature when Cantata is build against Qt 5.12. That huge disappointment can safely be fixed by changing the cmake configuration file if you compile against newer Qt versions.
  • Firefox 73 and 68.5.0esr Are Released With Security Updates
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    Firefox 73 has a new global zoom setting under "Language and Appearance" which, unlike the regular per-site zoom (changed with ctrl++, ctrl+- and ctrl+0 to re-set), has a "Zoom text only" option. There is also a Windows-specific improvement when "High contrast mode" is enabled on Windows. The most important changes in Firefox 73, as well as Firefox 68.5.0 (The long-term support version), are security fixes.
  • Tor Browser Bundle 9.0.5 Is Released And You Should Upgrade To It
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    The latest version of the Tor Browser bundle has Firefox 68.5.0esr with NoScript 11.0.13 and version 0.4.2.6 of the underlying Tor client used to connect to the Tor anonymity network. There are several security issues with Firefox 68.4.1esr which the previous Tor browser bundle 9.0.4 uses. Those using the Tor browser bundle to browser the web using the Tor anonymity network should upgrade.
  • Mesa 20.0.0-rc3 Is Released With Barely Nothing New Since rc2
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    The puny size of the latest Mesa 20 release candidate indicates that it will likely be the last before the final Mesa 20 release. A handful of fixes for Vulkan, the optional ACO Vulkan shader compiler for AMD cards and two small fixes for Intel graphics is all that is new since the last release candidate. Mesa 20 will have Vulkan 1.2 support on Intel and AMD graphics cards and the new Iris OpenGL driver is now default on gen8+ Intel graphics drivers.
  • Wondering What Is On A Child's Computer? The United Kingdom's "National Crime Agency" Can Help
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    The United Kingdom's "National Crime Agency" wants to help you understand what scary programs like Kali Linux, which could be on your child's computer, really are. They have made a highly informative and totally factually accurate poster which you, as a parent, should read so you can understand what kind of dangerous computer programs your child might be using.
  • 30+ South Korean Governmental Organizations, Local Governments And Schools Have Switched To Linux
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    The South Korean government has been gradually replacing the proprietary Windows operating system with Linux-based free software operating systems during the last four years. Windows 7 reaching end-of-line has accelerated the process. We asked 김형채 (Kevin Kim), the leader of the South Korean HamoniKR Linux Distribution Project and President of Invesume Inc, the corporation behind it, some questions about the current state of Linux in South Korea.
  • Proton 5.0-1 Is Released With Wine 5.0, DXVK 1.5.4 and FAudio 20.02
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    The latest version of Valve's Wine bundle for Steam has Wine 5.0, DXVK 1.5.4, FAudio 20.02 and better compatibility with games using the Denuvo "anti-piracy" scheme in this release. Wine 5.0 has a lot of improvements, including proper multi-monitor support, which should make a lot of Windows games in Steam's rather large games catalog run better and smoother.
  • Xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin 2.4.0 Greatly Improves The Alternative Xfce Desktop Menu
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    The latest version of the optional Whisker menu for the Xfce desktop environment has a tree view for categories with sub-folders, an option to show menu items as icons with text below similar to file managers, a new option to hide menu item by right-clicking on them and choosing "Hide application" and much more. The new icon view, which worked fine up to a day ago is, unfortunately, all messed up in this release.
  • New Nvidia 440.49 Linux Driver Brings DisplayPort Multi-Stream Audio Support
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    The latest Nvidia driver for Linux has PRIME synchronization support on Linux kernel 5.4+, multi-stream DisplayPort audio on kernel 5.5 and display hotplug support for NVIDIA High Definition Audio (HDA). There are also several fixes including one for DXVK.
  • Steam And Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Set New Concurrent User Records Sunday
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    The now eight year old game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which Valve made free to play last year, set a new all time high for concurrent users on Sunday with a 24 hour peak at 901,681 players. The Steam store and launcher set a new all time high with a peek of 19,107,803 concurrent users.
  • Mastodon 3.1.0 Is Released With Bookmarks, UI animations And More
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    The latest version of the free Mastodon social media software has a ton of new features including follow request notifications, group actors, new animations in the web user interface, download buttons in the audio and video players and a lot more. There's also many new server-side features. Several social media websites running the Mastodon have already upgraded to 3.1.0.
  • Rackspace's Free Hosting For Free Software Program Has Ended
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    Rackspace had a very nice "free hosting" program for free software projects going the last 10 years. It's over, they ended the program and everyone who signed up for free hosting are getting bills for full retail rate starting with January 2020. It is time to move elsewhere if you thought they would host your free software project for free forever.
  • Kdenlive 19.12.2 Is Released With Bug Fixes And Qt 5.14 Compatibility
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    The latest minor bug-fix release of the free software Kdenlive video editor is compatible with the new Qt 5.14 toolkit. Earlier versions compiled againts Qt 5.14 would just crash when creating a new project. There are also code cleanups and bug fixes in several other areas. It still has a long way to go in terms of stability. This release is at least a step in the right direction.
  • Microblogging Client Choqok 1.7.0 Is Released
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    Choqok is a very old desktop microblogging client which was initially released all the way back in 2008. Development sort-of died off in 2010 and little happened until 2016. Three new versions were released that year and then developed sort-of died with the release of Choqok 1.6.0 in October 2016. A brand new version 1.7.0 was released this week after three and a half years of silence. The latest version allows up to 280 character long posts on Twitter and that is about it in terms of new features. The social media microblogging services Friendica, open collaboration services, GNU social, Mastodon and pump.io are supported in version 1.7.0.

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