Monthly Archives: January 2020

GNU C Library 2.31 Nearing With Experimental C2X Support, Time Changes


GNU --

GNU C Library 2.31 (Glibc 2.31) should be releasing in the days ahead and is now under a hard freeze for this next feature release to this important libc implementation.

Some of the GNU C Library 2.31 changes include:

– Support for enabling the still experimental and incomplete C2X standard support. Compiling C code with GCC’s -std=gnu2x will also enable this experimental C2X library support.

– Support for an authenticated data (AD) bit within the DNS stub resolver.

– No longer exposing the obsolete stime(), preparing to remove the obsolete ftime(), and gettimeofday() no longer returns system-wide timezone information as some of the time changes.

– System call wrappers for time system calls now use time64 system calls where supported. This is part of the 32-bit Y2038 problem handling in Linux 5.6+.

– Dropping SPARC ISA v7 support.

– A security fix (CVE-2019-19126).

– Other bug fixes.

Unfortunately not making this release is the long-awaited RSEQ support for making use of the Linux kernel’s Restartable Sequences.

Look for Glibc 2.31 to ship in the near future and will be picked up for distributions like Fedora 32.


Adobe, Open Source & Diversity: Joseph Sandoval





We sat down with Joseph Sandoval, SRE Manager of Cloud Platform at Adobe to talk about the work he is doing to help diversify the open source community. Despite the fact that Open Source lowers the barrier of entry and anyone can start contributing, open source is not as diverse as it should be. You still don’t see that many African American, Latinx or other minority groups. Why? We also talked about the open source work Adobe is doing.

[Source: TFiR YouTube]



2020’s Top Network-Based Team Collaboration Tools


As workforces disperse, network-based team collaboration technology has become an essential tool for brainstorming, planning, client engagement, and other essential business tasks.

Organizations searching for the best collaboration platform have a wide range of services to choose from. As 2020 gets down to business, here’s a rundown of today’s top collaboration tools offering the capabilities users most appreciate.

Cisco Webex Teams

With Cisco Webex Teams, all work takes place inside dedicated spaces and teams. Messaging, file sharing, video meetings, white boarding, calling, and numerous other tools are designed to bring users together by streamlining tasks and encouraging teamwork.

Richard Buxton, a director at N4Stack, a database, DevOps, and cloud services firm, said he likes how the spaces feature allows him to quickly start or continue conversations via text, voice, or video. He noted that the service also integrates easily with other businesses systems. “For example, if a new incident is logged in our ITSM (IT service management) platform, ServiceNow, I can receive an instant message in Webex Teams and click the link to go directly to the incident,” Buxton explained. “These integrations allow me to connect to other systems without having to get a developer to write specific code.”

Confluence

Confluence is a project-oriented team collaboration tool that aims to help organizations and teams achieve maximum productivity. An array of APIs, apps and integrations allow the development of custom environments for each team. Confluence also features built-in safeguards, including full data backups and disaster recovery services.

“Confluence allows our entire team to have work spaces for every single client we work with,” said Sharla Crawford of Gravity Junction, a marketing and Web development firm. The application helps the organization keep track of client and team meetings, outline marketing strategies, set timelines, reach goals, observe metrics, “and is a hub for resources we link out to help each brand grow,” she added.

Google Drive

While frequently viewed as only a cloud storage and file syncing service, Google Drive also offers a suite of online Microsoft Office-compatible apps that allow users to import, export, and natively edit Microsoft Office files. As a network-based collaboration tool, Google Drive enables users to work collaboratively with colleagues on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time.

“Google Drive is amazing for sharing documents between team members and is simple to use,” stated Robyn Flint, an insurance specialist at ExpertInsuranceReviews.com.

Tanish Pruthi, a marketing associate at Mercer-Mettl, a job candidate assessment service provider, appreciates the tool’s cross-platform portability. “If I’m away from my laptop and have to quickly access a file, I [can] do so on my mobile,” he observed. “The interface is quite beautiful and intuitive on the mobile ecosystem.”

Microsoft Teams

An integral component of Office 365, Microsoft Teams provides a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration services.

There are huge benefits derived from the direct integrations into the Microsoft Office suite, said Colton De Vos, a marketing specialist, at Resolute Technology Solutions, an IT infrastructure, applications and staffing provider. “Teams excels at purpose-based communications by creating new groups based on projects, ongoing initiatives, and tasks,” he explained. “You can attach files directly in chat to keep everything organized and without having to revert back to unwieldly e-mail chains.”

RingCentral Glip

Offering support for team messaging, file sharing, to-do lists, task management, and video chats, RingCentral Glip is a direct offspring of the RingCentral Office cloud-based phone service.

RingCentral Glip makes team collaboration quick and more efficient, especially when you have remote team members (comma) and engage directly with customers, observed Rich Brownlee, director of infrastructure and operations for dental support provider Pacific Dental Services. “Glip allows us to videoconference right in the chat and it stores shared links, which eliminates the need to search for content—all while remaining HIPAA compliant,” he noted.

Slack

A pioneering and widely popular network-based team collaboration tool, Slack offers team-based public and private chat channels that enable users to focus on topics of specific interest. Customizable notification levels allow participants to stay on top of topics without getting buried under irrelevant or trivial messages.

Slack brings teams together around specific tasks, goals, and values, said Anastasiia Kyrykovych, marketing manager for software development company LITSLINK. “Slack is good for addressing workplace challenges as it works fast, provides regular extensions, and updates that are easy to install and integrate,” she explained. “Custom emoticons also add some fun to the work environment and help employees to develop their corporate culture together.”

Trello

Trello’s features—including boards, lists, and cards—are designed to allow users to organize and prioritize projects in various ways. Participants can add comments, attachments, due dates and other types of information directly to cards. The service also supports a variety of automated tasks.

John Moss, CEO of English Blinds, a window blinds retailer, appreciates Trello for both its functionality and appearance. “The color coding, ability to arrange the boards in the way you like, add tags, and so on,” he noted. “It reminds me of old school whiteboards and post-it notes.”

Moss observed that Trello is also highly intuitive. “[This] means that when you bring new people into the collaboration you don’t need to spend ages priming them on the platform, waiting for them to get up to speed, or dealing with a lot of mistakes until they become fully conversant with the service.”

 

 



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Solus Shines With Plasma Desktop Options | Reviews


By Jack M. Germain

Jan 31, 2020 11:40 AM PT

Solus, an independent Linux distro based in Ireland, is built from scratch on the Linux kernel and the flagship Budgie desktop. This week’s release brings the KDE Plasma desktop to the growing Solus family.

Solus Budgie, GNOME, MATE

Solus uses a rolling release that frequently updates system files and software packages to eliminate the need to periodically reinstall the operating system when new ISO or installation files are issued. Updated ISOs are available on a predetermined developmental cycle so new users have immediate access to the most recent content.

Solus started out as a new Linux distribution some five years ago as an independent operating system available for 64-bit computers only and was built around the Linux kernel. Unlike many other Linux distributions, Solus is not based on another Linux family such as Ubuntu, Arch or Red Hat.

The first stable version was released in December 2015. It ran a homemade desktop called “Budgie.”
Budgie is an open source project in its own right. It offers a simplified approach to implementing the look and feel of the older-style GNOME 2 functionality.

I tested early beta releases prior to the first stable release. Along the way, I have revisited Solus to monitor progress with the fledgling new desktop environment as the Solus distro gained maturity, navigated rebranding issues, and ultimately survived the departure of the founding developer who turned over the distro’s development to a new team. A huge advantage for the Budgie desktop is that it is not a fork of another project.

Budgie is designed for easy integration into other distros and is an open source project in its own right. The Budgie desktop environment has an intuitive menu that enables quick access to your installed programs, offering both category and compact views.

In its younger stages, Solus was an acceptable Linux operating system that was simple and stable to use, but having only a homegrown desktop environment as a daily computing platform posed challenges.

As the Solus saga continued, that situation became less of a concern. The Budgie desktop became the Solus flagship as the developer team added other desktop options.

The Desktop Factor

The Budgie desktop is grown up. It shares the spotlight with several well-established desktop choices.

The Solus developers did more than plug in a choice of desktops. The devs made sure that the Solus design and application philosophy remained intact. This consistency is one of the distro’s prize characteristics.

One of the unique factors that the Solus distro brings to the Linux table is its independent nature. At its core are the Linux kernel and a growing collection of applications built around its own in-house package management and software center systems.

The inclusion of the KDE Plasma desktop should attract veteran Linux users looking for a more flexible desktop experience. Meanwhile, this latest Solus upgrade brings more usability and options that make Solus easy to use for Linux newcomers.

Solus 4.1 Plasma desktop edition

Solus 4.1 adds a Plasma desktop edition that retains the KDE look and feel without losing the Solus style consistency.

– click image to enlarge –


Early Flaws

My initial reviews noted Solus’ potential for growth. I saw some merit in using Budgie as an alternative lightweight desktop environment integrated into the GNOME 2 framework. In its initial stages, however, the Budgie desktop environment was more like “Budgie Bungled.”

The Budgie desktop was too simple to encourage continued use, I thought. I was disappointed with its slow development. It continued to suffer from a lack of functionality and completeness.

I was much more pleased with Budgie’s integration and performance over the years in other Linux distros. The Budgie desktop was less limited in performance elsewhere. Over time, Budgie in Solus improved. So did the Solus distro as a whole.

History Revisited

Ikey Doherty was the lead developer of what originally was named “Evolve OS” and later morphed into Solus OS in 2015. The morphing included the new Budgie desktop.

Early in its development, Doherty had to rebrand his original distro to resolve a conflict with another Linux distribution. Now the Linux project is called “Solus.”

Over the summer of 2018, due to unclear circumstances, Doherty relinquished his leadership and affiliation with the Solus community. Under Doherty, the distro was based in the UK. The current development team now is based in Ireland.

Moving On

Prior to the change in leadership, Solus lacked the glitz and glitter found in distributions with more seasoned desktop environments. Animation was nonexistent.

Fast-forward to Solus 4.0, which appeared last October and proved to be a mature distro that was alive and well. One of the early hallmarks of Solus was its simplicity. That was evident in every aspect of use.

It became a factor in the distro’s growing popularity. Performance gains and more functionality were evident in version 4.0 under the new developer community. Solus offered a fresh approach to uncomplicating the computer desktop.

That says a lot, given the sometimes sordid developmental path of the almost 5-year- young Linux distribution. Its series 4 release name — “Fortitude” — speaks volumes about the new developer team’s success with updates and improvements to each of the distribution’s supported desktop environments: Budgie, GNOME, MATE — and now KDE Plasma in the current 4.1 upgrades.

The custom Budgie desktop environment in the version 4.0 release sported a new minor release to version 10.5.1 of the Budgie desktop 10.5 series. Budgie received several enhancements, gaining improved menu handling, new font options, and the ability to work with multiple modern versions of the GNOME software stack.

Solus 4.1 Plasma desktop widgets

The Plasma desktop lets you display desktop widgets, a feature the other desktop options do not provide.

– click image to enlarge –

Progress Shows

The Budgie desktop in Solus 4.0 and 4.1 advances the cause of simplicity and elegance. It grew with the user in mind. It has a plain and clean style.

In this latest release, version 4.1, the Budgie desktop is still easy to use. It is a feature-rich, modern desktop designed to stay out the user’s way.

One key advantage for the Budgie desktop is that it is not a fork of another project. The Budgie desktop environment offers an intuitive menu that enables quick access to your installed programs, offering both category and compact views.

Budgie makes it easy to add, remove and modify panels, along with their properties and displayed applets. It gives you quick access to system settings and power options such as restart, suspend and shutdown.

The introduction of the GNOME and MATE desktops added more flexibility and variety to the Solus offering, however. Solus now has one more big reason for new users to check out this impressive Linux distribution. This same reason also might influence Budgie users to switch environments and try something new.

The Plasma Factor

This latest edition to the growing family of Solus desktops — KDE Plasma — is a welcome option. The flagship Budgie desktop provides a neat, clutter-free view. Its bottom panel bar and slide-out display for settings from the right edge of the screen reinforce the Solus mandate to keep things pretty and neat.

Earlier iterations of the Plasma desktop would not have fit that Solus mandate easily, but the latest Plasma layout is a handy complement to the Solus design style. Its bottom panel is almost a functional duplicate of what the Budgie panel bar offers.

Another nicety, at least for me, is the way Plasma handles an essential computing tool — virtual desktops. I found Budgie to be a bit too restrictive in navigating around workspaces. I disliked GNOME for being a tad bit too clunky in that regard. Plasma takes more of the middle ground.


Plasma has what no other desktop environment so far has duplicated. It has a traditional virtual desktop process. It also has what amounts to a “super workspace” system called “Activities.”

The Activity feature works separately from virtual desktops. You can use both together or one rather than the other. The Activity display offers several features not available to plain workspaces.

For example, you can show a different background image in each Activity “desktop.” You also can have different screen widgets for each Activity desktop, as with the main Solus Plasma screen.

Yet another benefit of the Plasma environment is the KDE family of tools and applications.

Solus 4.1 Plasma Activities panel

Plasma’s unique Activities panel provides another layer of virtual workspaces that let you display different backgrounds and desktop widgets in addition to the standard Solus desktop screen view.

– click image to enlarge –


Under the Hood

All of the Solus 4.1 releases have ISOs using Zstandard (zstd) compression for the SquashFS images. Compared to the xz compressed ISOs from previous releases, the ztsd compressed size is slightly larger. However, zstd files decompress significantly faster. This results in a faster installation process.

Solus 4.1 Plasma Edition features Plasma Desktop 5.17.5, the latest of 5.17 series. It is complemented by KDE Frameworks 5.66, KDE Applications 19.12.1 and QT 5.13.2.

The Solus developers did not just drop in a standard Plasma desktop. Like all of the Solus desktop environments, the Plasma edition refines the Plasma Desktop experience.

For instance, this edition introduces Solus Dark Theme, a custom theme that is darker than the standard KDE Breeze-Dark and comes closer to the style of the other Solus editions. Other Plasma modifications include changing the position of the Show Desktop widget inside the system tray and creating a custom layout of the Digital Clock widget.

The Solus Plasma Edition ships with Solus-specific integrations for KDE Applications and Frameworks, as well. That reinforces the Solus style consistency I mentioned earlier.

Solus 4.1 ships with the latest release of systemd, v244. This latest version introduces numerous features and prepares for future improvements to Solus around EFI support.

Bottom Line

Solus is one of the leading alternative distros to other more mainstream Linux OSes. The 4.1 upgrade, especially the Plasma edition, clearly set the standard that other Linux distributions should follow.

If you are a gamer, take note of this: Solus 4.1 just made gaming simpler. Solus 4.1 ships with increased file limits to enable ESync support. This release also raises the file limits in the PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) package to
Lutris’ suggested value. This lets you spend less time configuring your system and more time playing games.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please
email your ideas to me, and I’ll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.





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Official Evernote Client Coming to Linux » Linux Magazine


Evernote has been one of the more popular note taking apps for quite some time. Since the beginning it was labeled a cross-platform application. However, the one platform missing from the list was Linux. Evernote has always been available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. But that will soon be changing, as Evernote recently announced an official Linux client is on the way.

In a blog post, Ian Small, CEO of Evernote, said, “The re-engineered web client (in limited release), the new mobile clients (in first preview), and the (as yet unreleased) new clients for Windows, Mac, and (yes!) Linux, along with the ongoing re-architecture and data migration we’ve been doing in the cloud, will set up Evernote to be able to innovate and ship with quality at a pace we haven’t seen in a long time.”

The Evernote note taking client offers features like:

  • Handwriting search – Find your text in any note.
  • Templates – Makes for faster and better note taking.
  • Notes sync – Keep your notes available on all devices associated with your account.
  • Offline notes (premium account required) – Makes all of your notes available anywhere, anytime (even without an internet connection).
  • Uploads (premium account required) – Up to 10 GB monthly note uploads.
  • Large notes (premium account required) – A 200 MB maximum note size.

Although there are other third-party Evernote clients for Linux (such as Nixnote, ForeverNote, and Tusk), this will be the first official client for the platform. As of now, there has been no word on if the Linux desktop client will be released as an Electron or a native application. Nor is there a timeline for the release. 



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