KDE e.V Receives Generous Handshake Donation, Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Out, Geoclue 2.5 Now Available and Asking for Help, New Code of Conduct Proposal and Internet Freedom Festival

News briefs for October 15, 2018.

KDE e.V. announces it received a $300,000 USD donation from the Handshake
. According to the KDE
blog post
, it plans to use $100,000 USD of the donation specifically toward development
of the Calligra office suite. Also, KDE celebrated its 22nd anniversary yesterday—Happy Birthday KDE!

Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 is out. This
over the air update of version 16.04 includes a more stable experience and new features, such as the
Morph QtWeb Engine browser, Qt automatic scaling, Kirigami 2 and community
art used for wallpapers, notification tones and ringtones.

2.5 is now available
, and coder Zeeshan Ali is asking for help. Geoclue uses
the Mozilla Location Service (MLS), which was launched in 2013 in connection with its
Firefox OS project that has since been abandoned. The service is still
running, and users can contribute data, but it isn’t being maintained or
developed any longer. Zeeshan
Ali writes
, “If your company relies on MLS
(directly or through Geoclue) and you’d want to secure the future of Open
Source geolocation, please do get in touch and we can discuss how we could
possibly achieve that.”

Red Hat developer Ivan Chavero yesterday submitted a new patch
for the Linux Code of Conduct. Phoronix
that the proposal “drops the
mention of ‘a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age,
body-size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and
expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status,
nationality,personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and
orientation.’ In place Ivan proposes, ‘our community an effective and
enriching experience to any sentient being in the Universe.'”

The Internet Freedom Festival—”5 Years Joining Forces to Fight
Censorship and Surveillance”—is being held in Valencia, Spain, April
1–5, 2019. The call for proposals is open until November 9, 2018. See
the IFF website for more
details, as well as news and updates from the community.

Source: Linux Journal

Chrome OS Stable Channel Gets Linux Apps


How to get started with Linux Apps for Chromebooks.

After months of user testing in developer and beta channels, the Crostini
project at Google finally delivered the goods, Linux apps for most users
of Chromebooks in the stable channel—definitely worth the wait. While
this still is aimed primarily at developers using Chromebooks, I think
there’s a good chance these Linux apps will be used and enjoyed by the
general public using Chromebooks as well. There’s still a bit of a learning
curve to overcome before that possibility is realized, but if you
already are a user of any Linux distro, it will feel very familiar. Here’s
an overview of how to install it and what to expect afterward.

After getting the update to version 69, go to Settings and scroll
down a bit, and you’ll see the option to turn on Linux apps. Figure 1
shows this first step. Note that this isn’t available on all Chromebooks; if
you’re using an
older one, you’ll have to wait a while before this function is available. If
you don’t see the option to turn on Linux apps, your Chromebook
currently lacks that functionality. But, if you have a Chromebook
produced in the past two years, you probably will see the option.

Figure 1. Linux Apps Option

Figure 2. Installing Linux Apps

After it’s done installing, you see the terminal appear. From here, you
can do as you would with any terminal. I chose to sudo apt-get
GIMP, Open Shot, Handbrake, Firefox and the GNOME Software Center,
which I used to download and install Audacity. The GNOME Software
Center provides an easy-to-manage GUI method of finding the more
popular Linux apps, but if you prefer the terminal method of using apt-get
, that works just as well and provides more app choices than the GNOME
Software Center.

One more thing to note about the GNOME Software
Center is that you likely will not see any apps in it after first installing
it. You need to reboot first before the apps appear.

If you want to run
Firefox on a Chromebook, there are actually two ways to do it. One way
is to download and install Firefox from the Google Play Store as an Android
app. Now with Linux apps via Crostini, you also can download and install
it from the terminal using apt-get install, but it needs to be the extended
support release version, Firefox-ESR.

Figures 3–5 show some of my installed apps up and running.

Source: Linux Journal

Episode 2: Microsoft and Patents

Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft and Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network about Microsoft’s recently announced membership with the Open Invention Network patent community.

Useful links:



Source: Linux Journal

Canonical Announces Plex as a Snap, DuckDuck Go Reaches 30 Million Direct Searches a Day, Purism’s Librem 5 Phone to Ship with GNOME 3.32 Desktop, Libre Computer Project Launches the La Frite SBC and Google Releases Oboe

News briefs for October 12, 2018.

Canonical yesterday announced that Plex has arrived in its Snap Store. You
now can download the
multimedia platform
as a snap for Ubuntu, KDE Neon,
Debian, Fedora, Manjaro, OpenSUSE and Zorin. For more details, see the Ubuntu

DuckDuck Go, the privacy-focused search engine, has reached the milestone
of 30 million direct searches a
. According to The
and Search
Engine Journal
, DuckDuck Go’s market share is estimated to be .18%, compared
with Google’s 77% and Bing’s 5%; however, DuckDuck Go’s traffic is up 50%
from last year.

Purism’s Librem 5 phone will ship with the GNOME 3.32 desktop, which is
scheduled for release March 13, 2019. Softpedia
News reports
that GNOME developer Adrien Plazas invites “GNOME and GTK+
app developers to adapt their applications to work both on their favorite
GNU/Linux distribution and on the upcoming Librem 5 Linux phone, which will
use Purism’s Debian-based and security-oriented Pure OS operating system by
default.” See also Adrien’s
blog post
for more details on Librem 5 + GNOME 3.32.

The Libre Computer Project recently announced its new open-source, libre ARM SBC
called La Frite. Phoronix
the new 512MB model will ship for $5 USD, or you can get the
1GB version for $10 USD. In addition, “the $5 ARM SBC is said to be 10x
faster than the Raspberry Pi Zero” and also includes real HDMI, Ethernet
and USB ports. La Frite, the miniature version of Le Potato SBC supported by
mainline Linux and Android 8, should be available in November. See the Kickstarter
for details.

Google yesterday released Oboe, a C++ library for creating real-time audio
apps. According to the post
on Packt
, one of Oboe’s main benefits is “the lowest possible audio
latency across the widest range of Android devices”. See the GitHub repository to get started
with Oboe.

Source: Linux Journal

Doing Date Math on the Command Line, Part I


If you’ve ever used a spreadsheet, you’ve probably used or seen
functions for doing date math—in other words, taking one date and adding some number
of days or months to it to get a new date, or taking two
dates and finding the number days between them.
The same thing can be done from the command line using
the lowly date command, possibly with a little
help from Bash’s arithmetic.

Source: Linux Journal

FSF Issues Statement on Microsoft Joining OIN, RaspEX Build 181010 Now Available for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, OpenShift Container Platform 3.11 Released, Kernel Security Update for CentOS 6 and RHEL 6, and Qt Creator 4.8 Beta Is Out

News briefs for October 11, 2018.

Following the news of Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network, the Free
Software Foundation issued a statement
calling on Microsoft to “take
additional steps to continue the momentum toward a complete resolution”.
These steps include “make a clear, unambiguous statement that it has ceased
all patent infringement claims on the use of Linux in Android”; “work
within OIN to expand the definition of what it calls the ‘Linux System’ so
that the list of packages protected from patents actually includes
everything found in a GNU/Linux system”; and “use the past patent royalties
extorted from free software to fund the effective abolition of all patents
covering ideas in software.”

RaspEX Build 181010 is now available for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. It
features the Helium Desktop from BunsenLabs Linux, and according to Softpedia
, it’s
“based on the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system
series, using packages from the Debian GNU/Linux 9 ‘Stretch’ and Linaro
open source software for ARM SoCs. RaspEX is compatible with Raspberry Pi
2, Raspberry Pi 3, and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.” See also Arne Exton’s release
for more details.

Red Hat announced the availability of the OpenShift Container Platform 3.11
release yesterday. eWeek
that key highlights with this release “are multiple components
that have been integrated from the CoreOS Tectonic distribution of
Kubernetes, including a new cluster administrator console. Red Hat has also
integrated CoreOS’ Operator concept into OpenShift making it easier for
organizations to deploy cloud native applications.”

CentOS and Red Hat announced an important Linux kernel security update for
CentOS Linux 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 that addresses two
vulnerabilities found in those operating systems: CVE-2018-5391
and CVE-2018-14634.Users
should update immediately.
See the Softpedia
News post
for details.

Creator 4.8 Beta was released
today. This version introduces
experimental support for the Language Server
, added some experimental C++ features and added support for
running debuggers on one or more executables simultaneously. You can
download the open-source version here.

Source: Linux Journal

FOSS Project Spotlight: Tutanota, the First Encrypted Email Service with an App on F-Droid

Seven years ago, we started building Tutanota, an encrypted email service
with a strong focus on security, privacy and open source. Long before the
Snowden revelations, we felt there was a need for easy-to-use encryption that
allow everyone to communicate online without being snooped upon.

Figure 1. The Tutanota team’s motto: “We fight for privacy with automatic

As developers, we know how easy it is to spy on email that travels through the
web. Email, with its federated setup is great, and that’s why it has
become the main form of online communication and still is. However, from a
security perspective, the federated setup is troublesome—to say the

End-to-end encrypted email is difficult to handle on desktops (with key
generation, key sharing, secure storing of keys and so on), and it’s close to impossible on
mobile devices. For the average, not so tech-savvy internet user, there are a
lot of pitfalls, and the probability of doing something wrong is, unfortunately,
rather high.

That’s why we decided to build Tutanota: a secure email service that
is so easy to use, everyone can send confidential email, not only the
tech-savvy. The entire encryption process runs locally on users’
devices, and it’s fully automated. The automatic encryption also enabled us to build
fully encrypted email apps for Android and iOS.

Finally, end-to-end encrypted email is starting to become the standard:
58% of all email sent from Tutanota already are end-to-end encrypted, and
the percentage is constantly

Figure 2. Easy email encryption on desktops and mobile devices is now possible for

The Open-Source Email Service to Get Rid of Google

As open-source enthusiasts, our apps have been open source from the start, but
putting them on F-Droid was a challenge. As with all email services, we have used
Google’s FCM for push notifications. On top of that, our encrypted email
service was based on Cordova, which the F-Droid servers are not able to

Not being able to publish our Android app on F-Droid was one of the main
reasons we started to re-build the entire Tutanota web client. We are privacy
and open-source enthusiasts; we ourselves use F-Droid. Consequently, we
thought that our app must be published there, no matter the effort.

When rebuilding our email client, we made sure not to use Cordova anymore and
to replace Google’s FCM for push notifications.

Source: Linux Journal

Microsoft Joins the Open Invention Network, NVIDIA Announces RAPIDS, Asterisk 16.0.0 Now Available, BlockScout Released and Security Advisory for Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch”

News briefs for October 10, 2018.

Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), an open-source
patent consortium. According to ZDNet,
this means “Microsoft has essentially agreed to grant a royalty-free
and unrestricted license to its entire patent portfolio to all other
OIN members.” OIN’s CEO Keith Bergelt says “This is everything
Microsoft has, and it covers everything related to older open-source
technologies such as Android, the Linux kernel, and OpenStack; newer
technologies such as LF Energy and HyperLedger, and their predecessor
and successor versions.”

NVIDIA has just announced RAPIDS, its open-source data analytics/machine learning platform, Phoronix reports. The project is “intended as an end-to-end solution for data science training pipelines on graphics processors”, and NVIDIA “laims that RAPIDS can allow for machine learning training at up to 50x and is built atop CUDA for GPU acceleration”.

The Asterisk Development Team announces that Asterisk 16.0.0 is now available. This version includes many security fixes, new features and tons of bug fixes. You can download it from here.

BlockScout, the first full-featured open-source Ethereum block explorer tool, was released yesterday by POA Network. The secure and easy-to-use tool “lets users search and explore transactions, addresses, and balances on the Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and POA Network blockchains”. And, because it’s open source, anyone can “contribute to its development and customize the tool to suit their own needs”.

Debian has published another security advisory for Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch”. According to Softpedia News, CVE-2018-15471 was “discovered by Google Project Zero’s Felix Wilhelm in the hash handling of Linux kernel’s xen-netback module, which could result in information leaks, privilege escalation, as well as denial of service”. The patch also addresses CVE-2018-18021, a privilege escalation flaw. The Debian Project recommends that all users of GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” update kernel packages to to version 4.9.110-3+deb9u6.

Source: Linux Journal

Creating the Concentration Game PAIRS with Bash, Part II

Dave finishes up the PAIRS concentration game, only to realize it’s too
hard to solve!

In my last
, I tossed away my PC card and talked about how I was a fan of the
British colonial-era writer Rudyard Kipling. With that in mind, I do
appreciate that you’re still reading my column.

I was discussing the memory game that the British spy plays with the
orphan boy Kim in the book of the same name. The game in question involves
being shown a tray of stones of various shapes, sizes and colors. Then
it’s hidden, and he has to recite as many patterns as he can recall.

The card game Concentration is clearly inspired by the same pattern
memorization game, and it’s considerably easier to set up: shuffle a deck
of cards, place them face down in a grid, then flip pairs to find matches. In
the beginning, it’s just guessing, of course, but as the game proceeds, it
becomes more about spatial memory than luck. Someone with an eidetic memory
always will win.

Using letters makes things easy, so I suggested a row, column, notational
convention like this:

    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12  13
1: [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-]
2: [-] [-] [-] [A] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-]
3: [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [E] [-] [-] [-] [-]
4: [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [-] [Z]

You can represent uppercase letters as a shell array like this:

declare -a letters=(A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R
                    S T U V W X Y Z)

Unfortunately, Bash doesn’t support multidimensional arrays, so you’re
going to have to represent the grid as a one-dimensional array. It’s not
too hard though, because the grid is straightforward. Here’s an index
formula if firstvalue is the first digit and rest is the remainder of the
index value:

index=$(( ( ( $firstvalue - 1 ) * 13 ) + $rest ))

The letter “E” in the above grid, at 3,9, would show up in the array
as ((3-1)*13)+9 or slot 35.

Shuffle Those Values

The script from my last
already initializes everything in sequential order
and defaults to 2 * 13 slots (for simplicity in debugging). The work of the
script is really in the shuffle, but it turns out that there’s a pretty
elegant little shuffle algorithm (shown in a kind of sloppy C for illustrative
purposes) floating around the internet that can be tapped for this task:

shuffle {
   for (i = n-1; i > 0; i-) {
     int j = rand() % (i+1);
     swap( array[i], array[j]);

Translating this into a shell script and using better variable names,
here’s what I created:

Source: Linux Journal