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Manjaro 17.1.6 Hakoila Plasma - A rollercoaster of Tux

Tue, 2018-03-20 17:59

Wow, there could not be a more bi-polar distro than Manjaro Hakoila. On one hand, it's the state-of-art, bleeding-edge tech demonstrator with some rather brilliant and unique features, belying its Archy roots. On the other, it's rife with bugs and problems that are typical of small distros and badly integrated products. The network and smartphone side of things are particularly bad. You cannot excuse pale fonts or the menu error either, and then, if you've actually read a review, there were a dozen different issues through my test session.

That said, Manjaro 17.1.6 is pretty, inviting, elegant, largely robust and stable, fast enough on ancient hardware, it gives you Nvidia support out of the box, it gives you media goodies, it gives you the Microsoft Office access right there on your desktop, and it's got charm and character that goes beyond the bland copypasta you get elsewhere in the Linux world.

And then, I got meself thinking. I tried a few small but reasonably brilliant distros recently - Manjaro, MX Linux, Antergos. They all have unique, powerful features, all covering different angles. Imagine if they combined their efforts - MX Linux live session data import and its tools, Antergos software wizard, Manjaro office stuff. What a killer distro we could have then! But that's an article for a different time.

Back to Manjaro - I am actually liking this particular edition quite a lot. It's far from perfect, but then, with some hard work and attention to details, this could be an excellent choice for a desktop system. Perhaps more than any other distro did in recent times. Of course, there's still a huge amount of effort needed to make this a fully integrated, offline-online Windows competitor, but it's making steady progress, and I like that. A sure sign of greatness to come. Grade wise, about 7.5/10, just watch out for the buggy parts. And I will extend the testing onto my UEFI-powered Lenovo G50 laptop.

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GStreamer 1.14

Tue, 2018-03-20 17:55
  • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.11 / plugin writing infrastructure 0.2 release

    Following the GStreamer 1.14 release and the new round of gtk-rs releases, there are also new releases for the GStreamer Rust bindings (0.11) and the plugin writing infrastructure (0.2).

  • GStreamer 1.14.0 Released With WebRTC Support, AV1 Video & Better Rust Bindings

    GStreamer 1.14.0 is now available as the first big feature release of 2018 for this widely-used, open-source multimedia framework.

    GStreamer 1.14 packs in many new features including experimental AV1 video codec support for that royalty-free specification, IPC pipeline improvements, RTSP 2.0 client/server support (Real Time Streaming Protocol 2.0), LAME/mpg123/twolame being promoted to the "good" plugin repository now that the related patents have expired for MP3, improved OpenGL integration, initial WebRTC support for real-time communication, and many other improvements.

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The Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu Has Over Windows

Tue, 2018-03-20 17:53

Microsoft’s Windows OS currently owns 90% of the market share for desktop computers so the question of what advantages a Linux distro, specifically, Ubuntu, has over Windows might come as a surprise.

But don’t be fooled, my friends – there are a number of features that make Ubuntu a better OS for your workstation than Windows is.

Here is my list of the Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu has Over Windows.

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Games: HTC VIVE, GOG, Ray-Tracing, Android and More

Tue, 2018-03-20 17:33
  • HTC VIVE Pro Shipping Next Month For $799 USD

    The HTC VIVE Pro should be working on Linux with SteamVR, so we've certainly been interested in this VR headset as it's quite an upgrade over the original VIVE.

  • How Is The HTC Vive Pro Better Than The Original Vive?

    We finally know when HTC’s new-and-improved Vive Pro VR headset is coming, and for how much. But what makes it better than the original Vive that debuted two years ago? Let’s break it down.

  • The dark comedy strategy game Attack of the Earthlings is now on GOG

    For those who needs their fix of strategy games, Attack of the Earthlings is definitely one to look at and it's now on GOG.

    I took a look at it previously, you can see my original thoughts here. Essentially, it's like a slimmed down XCOM-like and it's surprisingly great. I do hope they bring out a big expansion for it, as it's a game that deserves plenty of extra to play through.

  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia now available, doesn’t really rock the boat

    The latest immersion pack, or small piece of thematic DLC, has been released for the massive grand strategy title. I got to try my hand at ruling the British Isles and have a few thoughts to share.

  • Unity Game Engine Plans For Rendering & Performance Improvements In 2018

    Unity Tech made public at the Game Developers Conference their game engine plans for the year.

    This year the game engine developers will be focusing on "next level rendering" with support for better visuals via their lightweight rendering pipeline and high-definition rendering pipeline, a GPU-based progressive lightmapper, and other efforts to increase the visual intensity of games powered by Unity 2018.

  • Ray-Tracing Is All The Rage At This Year's Game Developers Conference

    The annual Game Developers Conference (GDC 18) kicked off yesterday in San Francisco and one of the most popular topics this year is ray-tracing.

    Microsoft announced their new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API for DirectX 12. DXR is an extension of the rasterization-based Direct3D API and provides for new shader types suitable for a world of ray-tracing, etc. The end goal is obviously to produce more realistic and life-like video games while DXR is a supplemental approach towards the grand vision of ray-tracing. Microsoft developers are promising that their DXR ray-tracing API will work with current generation hardware. There has been interesting ray-tracing game experiments going back many years, but it's always been too computationally intensive for being able to perform well in real-time for games on PC hardware.

  • Play Android Games In Play Store Without Downloading Them, Here Is How

    Google has redesigned Google Play Games app, and its latest addition is the Google Play Instant feature that allows users to play trial games without downloading them.

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Porting Fedora to RISC-V

Tue, 2018-03-20 17:04

In my previous article, I gave an introduction to the open architecture of RISC-V. This article looks at how I and a small team of Fedora users ported a large part of the Fedora package set to RISC-V. It was a daunting task, especially when there is no real hardware or existing infrastructure, but we were able to get there in a part-time effort over a year and a half or so.

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First impressions of the Gemini PDA

Tue, 2018-03-20 16:58

Last March I discovered the IndieGoGo campaign for the Gemini PDA, a plan to produce a modern PDA with a decent keyboard inspired by the Psion 5. At that point in time the estimated delivery date was November 2017, and it wasn’t clear they were going to meet their goals. As someone has owned a variety of phones with keyboards, from a Nokia 9000i to a T-Mobile G1 I’ve been disappointed about the lack of mobile devices with keyboards. The Gemini seemed like a potential option, so I backed it, paying a total of $369 including delivery. And then I waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, one year and a day after I backed the project, I received my Gemini PDA. Now, I don’t get as much use out of such a device as I would have in the past. The Gemini is definitely not a primary phone replacement. It’s not much bigger than my aging Honor 7 but there’s no external display to indicate who’s calling and it’s a bit clunky to have to open it to dial (I don’t trust Google Assistant to cope with my accent enough to have it ring random people). The 9000i did this well with an external keypad and LCD screen, but then it was a brick so it had the real estate to do such things. Anyway. I have a laptop at home, a laptop at work and I cycle between the 2. So I’m mostly either in close proximity to something portable enough to move around the building, or travelling in a way that doesn’t mean I could use one.

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Openwashing: Attivio, Networking, and Black Duck

Tue, 2018-03-20 16:03

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Endless OS Version 3.3.13

Tue, 2018-03-20 15:24

Improved Chromium behaviour with low memory. The Chromium browser now frees up the memory used by other tabs much more effectively when you’re running very low on memory. This means you have to wait a little longer after you switch to one of these tabs, but keeps the system running more smoothly and helps to prevent crashes.

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Ubuntu 18.10 Will Boot Faster, Thanks to LZ4 Initramfs Compression

Tue, 2018-03-20 15:10

Canonical's Balint Reczey recently proposed the implementation of LZ4 compression to Ubuntu's initramfs (initial ramdisk) instead of the older gzip compression used in previous releases of the wildly used operating system. LZ4 is a lossless data compression algorithm that offers extremely fast compression and decompression speed.

During some initial tests on an old laptop, the developer reports that the initramfs extraction time decreased from approximately 1.2 seconds to about 0.24 seconds. The creation of the initramfs also received a speed boost of 2-3 seconds, decreasing from roughly 24 seconds to about 21 seconds, despite of slightly bigger initramfs files.

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Fresh Benchmarks Of CentOS 7 On Xeon & EPYC With/Without KPTI/Retpolines

Tue, 2018-03-20 15:07

While every few weeks or so we have ended up running benchmarks of the latest Linux Git kernel to see the evolving performance impact of KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) and Retpolines for Meltdown and Spectre V2 mitigation, respectively, a request came in last week from a premium supporter to see some new comparison test runs on CentOS 7 with its older 3.10-evolved kernel.

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Reviewing logins on Linux

Tue, 2018-03-20 15:04

The last command provides an easy way to review recent logins on a Linux system. It also has some useful options –- such as looking for logins for one particular user or looking for logins in an older wtmp file.

The last command with no arguments will easily show you all recent logins. It pulls the information from the current wtmp (/var/log/wtmp) file and shows the logins in reverse sequential order (newest first).

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Feed the dog and close the door with an open source home automation system

Tue, 2018-03-20 11:16

As voice assistants, smart bulbs, and other devices increasingly become household staples, more people than ever are bringing smart technology into their homes. But the bewildering assortment of products on the market can present challenges: Remembering which app to use and trying to link things together with automation can get complicated quickly. In this article, I’ll show you a few ways I used an open source home automation platform, Home Assistant, to bring all my devices together.

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How 11 open source projects got their names

Tue, 2018-03-20 11:12

"So, two open source developers walk into a bar..." Arduino derives its name from one of co-founder Massimo Banzi's favorite bars in Ivrea, Italy, where the founders of this "hardware and software ecosystem" used to meet. The bar was named for Arduin of Ivrea, who was king of Italy a bit more than 1,000 years ago.

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Mozilla News/Views

Tue, 2018-03-20 10:05
  • What we learned about gender identity in Open Source

    To learn more, we launched a Diversity & Inclusion in Open Source survey earlier this year, which sought to better understand how people identify, including gender-identity.

    Our gender spectrum question, was purposely long — to experiment with the value people found in seeing their identity represented in a question. People from over 200 open projects participated. Amazingly, of 17 choices, each was uniquely selected, by a survey participant at least once.

  • Why we participate in support

    Users will not use Firefox if they don’t know how to use it, or if it is not working as expected. Support exists to retain users. If their experience of using Firefox is a bad, we’re here to make it good, so they continue to use Firefox.

  • WebRender newsletter #16
  • A good question, from Twitter

    Why do I pay attention to Internet advertising? Why not just block it and forget about it? By now, web ad revenue per user is so small that it only makes sense if you're running a platform with billions of users, so sites are busy figuring out other ways to get paid anyway.

  • This Week In Servo 108

    We have been working on adding automated performance tests for the Alexa top pages, and thanks to contributions from the Servo community we are now regularly tracking the performance of the top 10 websites.

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Blockchain: DigitalBits, Aventus, Cryptocurrency

Tue, 2018-03-20 10:03
  • DigitalBits launches open-source blockchain-based marketplace for loyalty points

    Their value — or at least their versatility — could get a boost if The DigitalBits Project is successful. This community endeavor, soon to become a nonprofit foundation based out of the tiny European country of Lichtenstein, is today launching an open-source blockchain-based infrastructure that supports trading loyalty points or rewards or transferring them to other individuals.

  • Aventus Announces Development of Open-Source Protocol Foundation

    Aventus, the blockchain ticketing startup that raised 60,000 Ether via a crowdsale in 2017, has announced the next stage of development for its non-profit foundation. The Aventus Protocol Foundation will serve as an entity tasked with supporting open-source projects built using the Aventus protocol. This encourages the growth of the Aventus ticketing ecosystem while protecting the rights of holders of AVT, the native Aventus token.

  • An Overview of Cryptocurrency Consensus Algorithms

    One of the most important aspects of a decentralized cryptocurrency project is the consensus algorithm it employs. A consensus algorithm is crucial to the implementation of a digital currency because it prevents the double spending problem, a challenge that has historically limited the development of digital currencies until the recent development and adoption of the blockchain ledger method. Because cryptocurrencies are implemented as public, decentralized ledgers that are append-only, they must employ a consensus algorithm to verify that there “is one version of the truth” and that the network cannot be overwhelmed by bad actors.

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Microsoft Openwashing and Revisionism

Tue, 2018-03-20 09:56
  • Microsoft joins effort to cure open source license noncompliance [Ed: Pushing Microsoft lies under the false pretenses that Microsoft plays along with the GPL (it violates, smears and undermines it)]
  • Microsoft joins group working to 'cure' open-source licensing issues [Ed: Mary Jo Foley uses this initiative to whitewash Microsoft after it repeatedly violated the GPL and attacked it publicly, behind the scenes etc. And watch the image she uses: a lie.]

    It's kind of amazing that just over a decade ago, Microsoft was threatening Linux vendors by claiming free and open-source software infringed on 235 of Microsoft's patents. In 2007, Microsoft was very openly and publicly anti-GPLv3, claiming it was an attempt "to tear down the bridge between proprietary and open source technology that Microsoft has worked to build with the industry and customers."

  • Today's channel rundown - 19 March 2018

    The six have committed to extending additional rights "to cure open source license noncompliance".

    The announcement was made by Red Hat, which says the move will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors.

    In a statement, Red Hat referenced widely used open source software licenses, GNU General Public License (GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License, which cover software projects including the Linux kernel.

    GPL version 3 offers distributors of the code an opportunity to correct errors and mistakes in license compliance.

  • Tails Security Update, Companies Team Up to Cure Open Source License Noncompliance, LG Expanding webOS and More

    According to a Red Hat press release this morning: "six additional companies have joined efforts to promote greater predictability in open source licensing. These marquee technology companies—CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP, and SUSE—have committed to extending additional rights to cure open source license noncompliance. This will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors and increased participation in open source software development."

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