News/6

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  • 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.
  • Zhaoxin Kaixian KX-U6780A Shows That China Is Still Behind The West In x86-64 Processor Technology
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    Chinese Zhaoxin's latest flagship Kaixian KX-U6780A processor has multi-core performance on par with the low-end AMD Athlon 3000G processor. It has 8 cores capable of reaching clock speeds up to 3 GHZ, 8 threads, 32 KB L1 cache and two 4 MB L2 caches shared by four cores each. It supports the SM3, SM4, and AVX instruction sets. The KX-U6780A is very impressive when it is compared to previous generation Zhaoxin processors like the ZX-C4580 yet it is quickly exposed as being very outdated when it is compared to top western x86-84 offerings like the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and the Intel i9-9900KS.
  • Godot Game Engine Awarded $250k USD Grant From Epic Games
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    Godot is a free MIT-licensed multiplatform game engine for 2D and 3D games. The Godot developers have been awarded a $250000 "MegaGrant" from Epic Games which will be used to improve the engines graphics and the engines built-in GDScript development language. Vulkan support, which is in the works for Godot 4.0, was not mentioned in the grant application.
  • Systemd-Homed Is Merged And It Will Fundamentally Change Linux Home Directories
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    Lennart Poettering has been working on a fundamentally new way of managing home directories the last six months. The result, called systemd-homed, is now merged into the main systemd git tree. It will fundamentally change how we look at user security, user data and home directories. Linux distributions will be able give each user a secure encrypted personal home directory container with all the user data, metadata and system permission once systemd 245 is released. They won't, adoption will take time. And it will very likely be adopted and be the standard way of managing home directories ten years from now.
  • Lumina 1.6 Is Released For Those Who Want A Sort-Of Really Light-Weight Desktop Environment
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    Lumina is a kind-of light-weight desktop environment written in C++ using Qt5. It has its own desktop program, file manager, text editor, HDR photo manipulator and media player. The Luminas desktops window management is handled by Fluxbox. The Lumina 1.6 release announcement says nothing about what is new in this release and the Lumina git log does not indicate much beyond minor code cleanups and fixes since the last release in April 2019.
  • Linux Gamers Account For Close To 1% In The Steam Hardware Survey For January 2020
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    0.9% of all desktop and laptop gamers using Steam were playing games using a Linux operating system in January according to the latest Steam Hardware Survey numbers. That is the highest ever reported GNU/Linux market share. The majority of Linux users using Steam running Ubuntu 18 LTS with Arch Linux, Ubuntu 19.10 and Manjaro Linux trailing behind. The latest numbers are a bit surprising given that Steam reported a record low 0.67% Linux market share in December 2019.
  • Buffer Overflow In Older Sudo Versions Could Be Used To Get Root On Elementary, Linux Mint
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    Malicious users could potentially use a buffer overflow in specific older sudo versions to gain root access if sudo is configured to provide visual feedback when passwords are entered. This is not the default on most GNU/Linux distributions and it is not the default upstream. Some distributions, such as Elementary and Linux Mint, do enable the optional pwfeedback feature to provide users with visual feedback when a password is entered. You may want to check if you are using an affected sudo version and make sure pwfeedback is disabled if you are.
  • The FSF Has "Respects Your Freedom" Certified A Rebranded Wifi Card from 2010
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    The Free Software Foundation has announced that it has "Respects Your Freedom" certified a re-branded Lite-On WN6503AH 802.11n half-mini PCIe card from 2010. The certification adds to a short list of wildly outdated, grossly overpriced, odd or obscure hardware. If you believe you will enjoy paying $51.5 for a white sticker saying a wildly outdated $7.5 Wifi card is RYF certified then the "Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card" may be for you.
  • Thunar 1.8.12 Is Out
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    The Xfce team has released another minor bug-fixing version of the Thunar file manager. The latest version fixes a startup crash on OpenBSD, a bug where Thunar would try to store the coloum width repeatedly, a fix for situations where files can't be moved to the trashcan and a few more. Translations for several languages have been updated.
  • Nvidia Drops Linux Support For GeForce G8x, G9x, and GT2xx graphics cards
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    Nvidia has announced that they are dropping support for the their legacy 340.* graphics driver. That ends official Linux support for Tesla family G8x, G9x, and GT2xx graphics cards. Those with a laptop or desktop with an affected GPU can keep on using the final 340.108 release with kernel versions up to 5.4 and Xorg versions up to 1.20. No-no upgrading to newer versions of those if you are using a no longer supported GPU and you do not want to replace fully functional hardware due to a lack of driver support.
  • Mesa 20.0.0-rc1 Is Released With Vulkan 1.2 Support and Iris As New Default Intel OpenGL Driver
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    Linux machines with Intel graphics chips are currently using the aging i965 Mesa graphics driver for OpenGL. Intel has been working on a fancy new OpenGL driver called Iris for some time. That driver will be the new default driver for gen8+ Intel graphics chips in Mesa 20. Iris brings slightly better performances compared to the old i965 driver. There will also be full Vulkan 1.2 support in Mesa 20.
  • Direct3D To Vulkan Translation Layer DXVK 1.5.3 Is Released
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    The latest version of the DXVK Direct3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan translation layer for WINE has bug-fixes specific to Mafia II, Skyrim and Torchlight and a fix for a "critical" Direct3D 9 regression introduced in version 1.5.2 which was released a week ago. Vulkan 1.1 support is now a requirement to use DXVK.
  • Remotely Exploitable Root Vulnerability In OpenSMTPD Disclosed
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    OpenSMTPD is a e-mail server developed as a part of OpenBSD. It is available for GNU/Linux and most other UNIX-like systems. Security researches at the cloud provider Qualys have found a serious gaping hole in OpenSMTPD which allows an attacker to gain root privileges by sending a carefully crafted e-mail message. You absolutely have to upgrade to OpenSMTPD version 6.6.2p1 if you or your organization is using it on your e-mail server.
  • Free Software Licenses Are Losing Ground To Permissive Open Source Licenses
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    Big and small software projects are turning their back on free software copyleft licenses like the GNU GPL in favor of the more permissive MIT and Apache licenses. Free software licenses were the dominating open source licenses seven years ago. Less than a third of all open source projects are using a free software license today.
  • It Never Ends: Two More Intel CPU Vulnerabilities Disclosed
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    The list of security vulnerabilities due to hardware flaws in Intel processor products is very long and it just got longer. Intel has issued a "Data Leakage Advisory" where they admit two additional locally exploitable vulnerabilities which could be used to get secret information from processes running on a computer.
  • Linux 5.5 "Kleptomaniac Octopus" Is Released
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    Linux 5.5 has a reworked fair scheduler, better live kernel patching, parallel microcode updates, NVMe temperature monitoring using hwmon, support for overclocking and 8K resolutions on AMD Navi graphics cards, support for LEDs on Logitech keyboards and several other improvements.
  • The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M. 2.1.0 beta 2 Is Released
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    The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M. came about as a fork of the Super Mario clone Secret Maryo Chronicles in 2014. It has original levels, graphics and its own unique concept. The latest version has a great new title theme, scripting extension packs and updated documentation. It is available for Windows and GNU/Linux.
  • Xow 0.3 Is Released With Rumbe Support For Wireless XBox Dongles
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    Xow is a user mode driver for the wireless XBox One USB dongles created by a 17 year old student from Germany. It supports both the huge and tiny USB adapters for XBox controllers. The latest version adds full rumble functionality, support for "elite" controllers and udev rules which allow the driver to be ran as a regular user are added.
  • Util-linux 2.35 Is Released With hwclock Re-Licensed To GNU GPL v3
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    The Linux utility package util-linux provides a number of core programs that are essential to any GNU/Linux distribution. It provides tools like dmesg, hwclock, kill, lscpu, man, mount, mkswap, su and a lot of other basic tools. The list of changes since 2.34 was released is quite long. One of those changes is barely mentioned: hwclock has been re-licensed to GNU GPL v3.
  • Web Browser Showdown: Six Browsers On Four Computers
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    We tested six web browsers on four different computers to find out which web browser provides the best performance. Brave and Chromium are the clear winners when it comes to WebGL and WebAssembly performance. That is specially true on weaker hardware. The picture is not that clear when it comes to casual web browsing.
  • KDE Plasma 5.18 Wallpaper Winner Announced
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    The KDE project held a wallpaper contest for the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.18 release. The wallpaper "Volna" by Nikita Babin will be the default wallpaper on distributions who do not replace KDEs default with their own. The win earned Nikita Babin TUXEDO Infinity Book 14 from German TUXEDO computers.
  • Rocket League Is Ditching Linux Support
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    Psyonix, the makers of the popular commercial Rocket League game, have announced that they are ending Linux and macOS support with a final update in March 2020. The final update will remove all online functionality from the Linux and macOS versions. That includes online matchmaking, private matches, tournaments and in-game events. Those who have paid good money for Rocket League with the assumption that they bought the full version of the game and not some limited shareware version can get a refund.
  • Linux 5.6 Will Support Per-Die Temperature Readings On AMD Zen2 Processors
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    The latest generation AMD processors have per-die temperature sensors. A series of patches by Guenter Roeck with support for Core Complex Die (CCD) temperatures on Ryzen 3000 (Zen2) CPUs and Vcore and SOC voltage and current sensors on all Ryzen CPUs have been merged to the linux-next tree.
  • GNU make 4.3 Is Released
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    The GNU project has very quietly released a major update to the make utility used to compile the vast majority of free software programs. It has been almost four years since make 4.2 was released in May 2016. The latest version supports specifying a -j job number in Makefiles, the job limit under Windows has been raised from 63 to 4095 and support for newer versions of the GNU libc and musl C runtime libraries is added.
  • Microsoft WordPad 2020 Will Contain In-App Advertisements
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    The 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-implementation
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    The 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 Released
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    Bandwidth 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"
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    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.

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