All posts by Arun Prakash Jana

About Arun Prakash Jana

Open Source enthusiast and avid blogger. Loves programming, chess and classical music.

Linux_Foundation_logo

Linux Foundation to donate portion of membership fees to Code.org

The Linux Foundation announced its mid-year individual membership drive and promotion. For each new membership between 01 June to 11:59 p.m. PT on June 30, 2014, Code.org will receive $25.

Code.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion of computer science by making it available in more schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Its vision is to provide the opportunity of learning computer science to every school student. Code.org identifies with the Linux Foundation’s mission to increase opportunities for people to learn programming of all types.

Amanda McPherson, CMO at The Linux Foundation explains – “Many of today’s Linux professionals got started as students, tinkering with computers and writing simple programs during college. By helping extend individual membership contributions this month to Code.org, we hope the community can support Linux and the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds while helping to increase access to computer science education for the next generation of Linux developers and SysAdmins”.

Learning and education are top priorities at The Linux Foundation too. It recently announced the first ‘Introduction to Linux’ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which is free for all. More than 140,000 people already enrolled for the first class that begins this August. It also offers and organizes various training programs.

The Linux Foundation memberships support the advancement of Linux and open source community. As additional perks, members also receive exclusive benefits that include 20 percent off LinuxCon and CloudOpen registration; up to 10 percent off Linux Foundation training; a Linux.com email address (e.g. [email protected]); employee purchase pricing from Dell, HP and Lenovo; up to 35 percent off O’Reilly books and e-books; and a variety of other discounts.

The membership fee per year is $99. For students it is $25 and includes the same benefits as individual members. To sign up, visit:
https://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/join/individual

ownCloud Logo

ownCloud gets new CMO

ownCloud announced in their blog that Claudine Bianchi has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The move aims to secure a stronger position in File Sync and Share for the most popular open source software in this category.

Bianchi brings her strong marketing expertise and success in driving the growth of B2B companies to ownCloud. She has delivered close to $1 billion in market value for investors through IPOs, successful acquisitions and new ventures. She has been working closely with sales and product teams for more than 20 years to leverage the latest marketing techniques to drive revenue and build brand awareness. Before joining ownCloud she was the CMO at ViewDo Labs, a spinout of Axceler which was acquired by MetaLogix, the leading Microsoft SharePoint ISV. She has also been the seniormost marketing executive at many start-up companies which later turned into industry leaders.

ownCloud is a reliable name in self-hosted file sync and share with 1.3 million users worldwide. Explaining why she got interested in ownCloud Bianchi says – “I was attracted to ownCloud by its compelling opportunity in the very hot enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market, as well as the energy and innovation of the ownCloud team”. She also adds that “the Company has already built a strong reputation in the open source community for secure, enterprise-class file sync and share and is poised for rapid growth as it moves into the commercial market. With the combination of excellent technology and products and a passionate, smart, energetic team, ownCloud is a company destined for great success.”

The ownCloud management is very excited to have Bianchi on board and hopes that she and other significant hires this year will boost the expansion efforts of the company.

ubuntu_trusty_libreoffice

LibreOffice 4.2.5 RC1 announced with many improvements

The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 4.2.5 Release Candidate 1. Many bugs have been fixed since the 4.2.4 final release improving the usability and stability of the product.

Important fixes and changes include:
– Text rotation fixes
– Set-all language menu addition
– Support to import gradfill for tet colours
– Adjust output file extension when exporting
– Handle brightness+contrast from msoffice
– Fix for a coverity analysis report of an uninitialized pointer field
– Crash when pasting impress page into another impress page fixed
– Improve mapping between ATK and UNO roles
– Fixed COW when writing a nested structure during RTF import
– Crash found when exploring fixed
– Fix deletion of paragraph following table
– Comment width now limited
– Limited the range shrinking in charts to really large ranges
– KFileDialog crash fix
– A freeze during file save fixed
– and many more (changelog)…

You can download the packages from the official page.

Remember that this is a Release Candidate and though expected to be stabler than Beta may still have some issues which need to be fixed before the final release.

Nvidia

NVIDIA Linux 64-bit driver update adds new GPUs

NVIDIA announced a Short Lived Branch update for the Linux 64-bit drivers, version 337.25. This update adds support for many new GPU models in addition to some critical fixes.

The important changes in this update are:

– Support for new GPUs – GeForce GTX TITAN Z, GeForce GT 740, GeForce 830M, GeForce 840M, GeForce 845M, GeForce GTX 850M
– Fix for X to crash when querying clock offsets for non-existent performance levels.
– Fix for a OpenGL rendering corruption on X screens with 30 bit per pixel color.
– Mode validation failure for 4K resolutions over HDMI in certain situations fixed.
– Enabled support for using Unified Back Buffer (UBB) and 3D Stereo with the composite extension on Quadro cards.
– Fix for OpenGL programs hanging under some low memory conditions.
– GPU errors when hotplugging daisy-chained DisplayPort 1.2 displays fixed.
– Multiple simultaneous X servers on UEFI systems works without any problem now.
– Support for over-clocking and under-clocking GeForce GPUs in the GeForce GTX 400 series and later.
– Reduced CPU utilization and GPU memory utilization of the NVIDIA EGL driver.
– Support for some EGL extensions – EGL_EXT_buffer_age, EGL_EXT_client_extensions, EGL_EXT_platform_base, EGL_EXT_platform_x11.
– Some more fixes, dependency related changes and documentation updates.

The Short Lived Branch gets the maximum number of updates among the 3 driver versions that NVIDIA maintains. It receives the first updates from the devs as well as improvements for games and applications. Other than Arch most major distributions won’t add this branch to their official repositories.

You can download this update directly from the announcement page. Once downloaded, change to the directory containing the driver package and install the driver by running (as root) sh ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-337.25.run. One of the last installation steps will offer to update your X configuration file. You can either accept that offer, edit your X configuration file manually so that the NVIDIA X driver will be used, or run nvidia-xconfig.

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt forked in Switzerland, the home of Collab!

One of the oldest and popular open source encryption solutions TrueCrypt recently shut down abruptly citing security issues and lesser acceptability because of distro integrated encryption and virtual disk solutions in their SourceForge page. All files other than the latest Windows executable are removed. While it is still not clear whether the reason behind the sudden abandonment of the project is truly unfavorable competition and security problems, TrueCrypt has a wide user base and they are not quite happy about this.

However, the good new is that a team of developers has forked out TrueCrypt in Switzerland and plans to maintain and develop it. The new website TrueCrypt.ch promises – “If TrueCrypt.org really is dead, we will try to organize a future.”

The decision of hosting TrueCrypt in Switzerland is easily understood – it has been moved out of US to avoid any US government intervention. The project is non-anonymous as it ensures more trust while handling a security-based project. Thomas Bruderer and Joseph Doekbrijder are the main developers behind this initiative to revive TrueCrypt. They are looking for more contributors. The blog and forum are still under construction. Development has not started yet and TrueCrypt is being distributed unmodified right now. All the downloads of the current versions of TrueCrypt are available. The whole source code is available in GitHub.

The current priorities of the new project are:
– Making the Product available again.
– Finding interested and capable persons volunteering to help. Identify and solve legal issues. Identify Security Threats.
– Fork the project and solve security threats. Form a support association for continued development.

The developers acted quickly on this as “the last 36 hours showed clearly that TrueCrypt is a fragile product and must be based on more solid ground.” They haven’t uncovered any security issues with TrueCrypt 7.1a yet and will continue the audit. They still believe in the need of a Open Source, Cross platform full-disk encryption option.

Linux_Mint_17

Linux Mint 17 Qiana release ISOs available for download

The ISOs approved for Linux Mint 17 aka Qiana stable release are already uploaded and available for download. The release hasn’t been announced yet but here’s your chance to install and enjoy the latest version of the popular Ubuntu derivative! 32 and 64-bit versions of both the Cinnamon and MATE variants are available.

Qiana is an LTS release and will be supported with security updates till 2019. The same package base will be maintained till 2016. A quick glance at the significant improvements and changes in this release:

  • Update Manager: huge improvements with more information, better looks, unobstrusive behaviour and faster performance. Faster and more reliable changelog retrieval.
  • Drivers Manager: can now install drivers offline from installation media.
  • Login Screen: refined MDM, improved multi-monitor support, HiDPI support in HTML greeter, improvements in default login theme.
  • Language Settings: a new tool replacing the old one. Unifies locale managements across different desktop flavours.
  • Software Sources: UI and usability improvements.
  • Welcome Screen: redesigned and webkit dependency removed. Uses less resources and launches faster.
  • Cinnamon 2.2:
    – Better looking settings.
    – Simplified and enhanced Screensaver and Power management.
    – Original Date and Time settings brought back.
    – Menu improvements.
    – MPRIS support and Sound Applet improvements.
    – Wacom plugin back as Graphics Tablet.
    – Visually impaired users can use the ability to zoom in and out using Alt+mousewheel.
    – Window manager improvements.
  • MATE 1.8: lighter than before, better documented and better translated. Better integration with Linux Mint. Other MATE improvements:
    – Caja received an option to use IEC units instead of SI units and a new “Open parent location” option in the search view context menu.
    – Marco, the window manager, was given side-by-side tiling.
    – The logout dialog features a progress bar.
    – The image viewer can now shuffle pictures in slideshow mode.
    – The sreensaver now shows the date and time.
    – Clicking the middle mouse on the volume applet now toggles mute.
    – The sticky note applet was given the ability to “undo”.
    – A new “command” applet was introduced.
    – MATE 1.8 features an integrated yelp user guide.
    – MATE 1.8 includes a new mpaste command which you can use to paste text to http://paste.mate-desktop.org
  • System Improvements: lsb_release added -u option to show upstream LSB information as in Ubuntu Trusty, shutdown sequence fixed, Hexchat replaces Xchat as IRC client.
  • Artwork Improvements: Gorgeous collection of backgrounds and photographs from various artists
  • Main Components: Cinnamon 2.2, MATE 1.8, MDM 1.6, a Linux kernel 3.13 and an Ubuntu 14.04 package base.

Excited? Grab the ISOs here!

Cloud computing security graphic

CII announces 2 full-time devs and a security audit for OpenSSL

The Heartbleed issue exposed the financial and operational weaknesses of the OpenSSL project. The Linux Foundation took matters into hand and major tech giants using OpenSSL extended help. Things are finally looking bright and the Linux Foundation’s CII (Core Infrastructure Initiative) announced reinforcements for the highly important and widely used open source security library.

The CII Steering Committee has decided to fund OpenSSL for two, full-time core developers. A security audit will be conducted by The Open Crypto Audit Project (OCAP). The OpenSSL project is also accepting additional donations the contact for which is [email protected]

Other projects to get funding besides OpenSSL are OpenSSH and Network Time Protocol.

The CII Advisory Board has been formed with esteemed industry experts to inform CII about the open source projects which are in need of support. The board includes members from developer, security and legal communities and will play a key role in prioritizing projects.

Tizen

Tizen Dev Conf 2014 open to student developers for free

Good news for budding developers interested in mobile platforms and devices. The Tizen Developer Conference 2014 (hashtag #TDCSF14) due next week is offering free registration to student developers.

If you are a student interested in working on an emerging mobile platform, Tizen can be a great start. It is a Linux based open source and open standards operating system for devices like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, laptops and smart cameras. It’s a project within the Linux Foundation and is governed by a technical group headed by Samsung and Intel among others. Member operators, OEMs and manufacturers include Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel, KT Corporation, NEC Casio Mobile Communications, NTT Docomo, Orange S.A., Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung, SK Telecom, Sprint and Vodafone.

The upcoming event will be the 3rd annual Tizen Developer Conference. Details:
Venue: Hilton San Francisco, Union Square
Date: Jun 2-4, 2014

The conference will see Tizen developers, app developers, ISVs, platform designers, operator, OEMs, hardware vendors, software vendors, open source enthusiasts and anyone engaged in TIzen assemble together and discuss the technology as well as the Tizen ecosystem. Apart from technical interests, it’s a great networking opportunity as well.

Various tracks available at the conference are:

– Platform development, for those working on Tizen source code.
– App development, with sessions on HTML5 and the native APIs.
– Tutorials and community, which includes porting Tizen to new devices, how to use the SDK, how to create Tizen system images, etc.
– TV, for more info on the Tizen TV architecture and app development.
– IVI, which covers In-Vehicle Infotainment.
– Ecosystem, which includes porting from other platforms to Tizen.
– Wearables, for those developing apps for wearable devices.
– IoT, which covers Tizen for Internet of Things.

Find the detailed schedule here. There are awesome developer giveaways – Gear2 & NUC!

Registration is open. Use the code TDCUNIV14 to get a student discount. Note that students will need to show proof of status during the badge pick up.

Git_Logo

Git 2.0.0 released, brings significant changes

Git, the advanced version control system used by the Linux kernel (and many other projects) just reached version 2.0.0. The announcement comes after a week delay in the release due to some last minute issues.

There are a lot of updates over version 1.9 and many bug fixes in the latest release. However, the most important thing to note is that there are backward-incompatible changes in this release, which means there are operational differences with respect to version 1.x.

Important changes that developers using git should be aware of are:

  • “git push” defaults to “simple” semantics when no arguments are provided. So it pushes:
    – only the current branch to the branch with the same name, and only when the current branch is set to integrate with that remote branch, if you are pushing to the same remote as you fetch from; or
    – only the current branch to the branch with the same name, if you are pushing to a remote that is not where you usually fetch from.
  • When “git add -u” or “git add -A” are run inside a subdirectory without any paths specified, the commands operate on entire directory tree. To specify only subdirectory, use “git add -u .” or “git add -A.”
  • “git add ” is the same as “git add -A ” now and removals will be included by default. Use “git add –ignore-removal”.
  • The “-q” option to “git diff-files” has been removed.
  • “git request-pull” lost a few “heuristics” that often led to mistakes.
  • The default prefix for “git svn” has changed in Git 2.0. Use “–prefix” option to specify anything different.
  • “git commit –cleanup=<mode>” learned a new mode, scissors.
  • Many commands that create commits, e.g. “pull” and “rebase”, learned to take the “–gpg-sign” option on the command line.

It’s probably a good idea for developers to go through the full changelist first before starting to use git 2.0.0.

Surface_Pro_3

Ubuntu on Surface Pro 3 – not smooth yet but promising

Microsoft has made Surface Pro 3 tablet PC available for pre-order from May 21 and it didn’t take long for Linux enthusiasts to try Ubuntu 14.04 on it. And the results are quite promising! Surface pro 3 flaunts a decent hardware spec and it will definitely be a delight for any Linux user to run Ubuntu on it when all the components are supported.

The first sensible step is to take a system image backup of the Surface pro 3. The image size will vary depending on what is installed on the device but the process is reasonably fast. A separate drive with Windows 8.1 is also required to restore the image because once Linux is installed, the repair and restore function will be lost.

To install, connect a bootable pen drive with Ubuntu, press the Volume Down and Power keys till the Surface logo shows up, then release both. Once the USB boots up, you can reach the familiar Ubuntu install screen (with live and install options). The Ubuntu installation procedure remains the same.

Post installation most of the components work out of the box. WiFi works but detects only 2.4GHz networks. The touchpad on the Type Cover works, but not the keyboard. The virtual keyboard in the accessibility setting can be used for typing but it is still lacking in features on Ubuntu. The best option is to connect a USB keyboard. The pen works as a pointer and pressing it down works as a left-click, but as Bluetooth is not working out of the box the buttons on the pen do not work. There might be some issues with the pressure-sensitivity of Ubuntu’s pen implementation. While it is fast and smooth, the experience without type cover is not optimal. Just like the keyboard, the dock might also not work out of the box. As touch and WiFi work out of the box, KDE’s Plasma Active would be a better choice compared to Ubuntu on this device. However, the latest stable Kubuntu installation has issues on Surface Pro 3.

By the time the Surface Pro 3 is available at the outlets most of the issues might get fixed if the device grabs enough attention from developers. Here’s a short video of Ubuntu running on Surface Pro 3 recorded during the experiment.

[Source: Geek.com]