Monthly Archive:: May 2020

Bringing Objective-C to Windows 98 SE and NT 4.0

After bringing Objective-C to the Amiga, why not to some older Windows versions as well? Yesterday, I got the idea to port ObjFW to Windows NT 4.0. Considering the lowest supported Windows version so far was Windows XP, this seemed like it would not be too much work. However, the biggest problem was getting a toolchain that still supports Windows NT 4.0! After the compiler no longer created binaries that had missing symbols on Windows NT 4.0 and a few minor changes later, all tests were running successfully. Later that evening, I wanted to take things further and thought: If we have Windows NT 4.0 now, why not Windows 98 SE as well? So now it was time to port everything else to the A APIs and voilà, all tests are running successfully.

Cloudflare dumps reCAPTCHA as Google intends to charge for its use

Internet web infrastructure company Cloudflare announced plans to drop support for Google’s reCAPTCHA service and move to a new bot detection provider named hCaptcha. Cloudflare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince said the move was motivated by Google’s future plans to charge for the use of the reCAPTCHA service, which would have “added millions of dollars in annual costs” for his company, costs that Cloudflare would have undoubtedly had to unload on its customers. Makes sense, and any less dependence on Google – especially when it comes to services like this, which people barely notice but do play a role in data collection.

NuShell: the shell where traditional Unix meets modern development, written in Rust

Shells have been around forever and, for better or for worse, haven’t changed much since their inception. Until NuShell appeared to reinvent shells and defy our muscle memory. It brought some big changes, which include rethinking how pipelines work, structured input/output, and plugins. We wanted to learn more about NuShell so we interviewed both of its creators: Jonathan Turner and Yehuda Katz.

NVIDIA Ampere unleashed: NVIDIA announces new GPU architecture, A100 GPU, and accelerator

While NVIDIA’s usual presentation efforts for the year were dashed by the current coronavirus outbreak, the company’s march towards developing and releasing newer products has continued unabated. To that end, at today’s now digital GPU Technology Conference 2020 keynote, the company and its CEO Jensen Huang are taking to the virtual stage to announce NVIDIA’s next-generation GPU architecture, Ampere, and the first products that will be using it. Don’t let the term GPU here fool you – this is for the extreme high-end, and the first product with this new GPU architecture will set you back a cool $199,000. Any consumer-oriented GPUs with this new architecture is at the very least a year away.

Chrome introduces tab grouping

There are two types of people in the world: tab minimalists who have just a few tabs open at a time and tab collectors who have…significantly more. For minimalists and collectors alike, we’re bringing a new way to organize your tabs to Chrome: tab groups. This feature is available now in Chrome Beta. It looks interesting, but since I keep strict tabs on my tabs, I rarely have more than 5-8 tabs open at once, so I don’t really need this feature. Any input from tab hoarders in the audience?

Microsoft is beginning to phase out 32-bit support for Windows 10

Microsoft is beginning what will be a very long and drawn-out process of no longer supporting 32-bit versions of Windows 10. Beginning with Windows 10 version 2004, which is already available to OEMs and developers, the company is no longer offering a 32-bit version of the OS to OEMs for new PCs. The change is indicated on the Minimum Hardware Requirements documentation. Hardly surprising. We’re well past the point where new machines need 32bit Windows.

Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 Release released

Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-12! OTA-12 is immediately available for many supported Ubuntu Touch devices. It is easily our largest release ever, featuring a number of new features while saying goodbye to some old friends. There’s quite a few changes, but device support is still a bit of a problem. I’d love to test this out though, and I happen to own two of the better supported devices.

Pi-hole 5.0 released

This is something that users have been asking for for a long time, and we are proud to be finally able to offer this awesome feature. Groups can be created and block lists, blacklist, and whitelist can be applied to groups. Blocklists, blacklist and whitelist can all be individually enabled/disabled. Pi-hole blocks ads on your entire network – you install it on your own hardware and point your router’s DNS settings to it. I’ve been putting off setting up Pi-hole on my home network out of sheer laziness, but with how easy it is I really have no excuse.

TrueOS development ceased

Does anyone remember PC-BSD, the FreeBSD-based distribution aimed at desktop users? After being acquired by iXsystems and renamed to TrueOS, the graphical installer was removed in 2018 because TrueOS served more as a base for iXsystems’ other offerings, such as FreeNAS, And now, in April of this year – we missed it – development has been halted entirely. TrueOS source code will remain available on GitHub for others that may want to continue the work that we started so many years ago. I can’t explain just how much we appreciate you all being loyal fans of TrueOS and PC-BSD in the past. We’re confident that even though this is a hard decision, it’s also the correct decision because of the exciting new projects that we’re all becoming more involved in like TrueNAS CORE. End of an era, but PC-BSD forks such as GhostBSD have taken up the mantle.

xrdesktop 0.14 with OpenXR support released

Today, we are excited to announce the 0.14 release of xrdesktop, the Open Source project which enables interaction with traditional desktop environments, such as GNOME and KDE, in VR. xrdesktop makes window managers aware of VR and is able to use VR runtimes to render desktop windows in 3D space, with the ability of manipulating them with VR controllers and generating mouse and keyboard input from VR. Sponsored by Valve, this latest release brings the largest amount of changes yet, with many new features and architectural improvements. Most importantly, the most exciting improvement is that xrdesktop is now able to run on XR runtimes providing the OpenXR API, which enables running xrdesktop on a full Open Source stack with Monado. One day I’ll get a VR headset, but for now, I feel like the cost of a set that isn’t garbage is simply too high, and whenever I see someone playing a game in VR, it looks clunky and cumbersome both inside the game and outside in the real world. This technology has a while to go.

DragonFly BSD 5.8 released

DragonFly version 5.8 brings a new dsynth utility for building your own binary dports packages, plus significant support work to speed up that build – up to and including the entire collection. Additional progress has been made on GPU and signal support. This release’s been out for a while, but I haven’t highlighted it yet, so here we go. They’re already up to 5.8.1 by now.

GNOME Shell performance improvements in Ubuntu 20.04

The release of Ubuntu 20.04 brings GNOME Shell 3.36 and improved performance in some areas. In this article we will describe the improvements that were contributed by Canonical. As most Ubuntu users tend to stick to LTS releases they mostly will be upgrading from 18.04. If that’s you then you will also notice a larger set of performance improvements introduced in 19.04 2 and especially in 19.10 4. So you might like to read what those are first. Did you know moving the mouse used to involve JavaScript? Well, now you know moving the mouse used to involve JavaScript.

The AMD Ryzen 3 3300X and 3100 CPU review: a budget gaming bonanza

As we’ve shown in the review, this means that we get some CPUs. The Ryzen 3 3300X and Ryzen 3 3100 are odd elements to the Ryzen family, especially the 3100 with its awkward CCX and core configuration, but both parts offer a lot of performance for their pricing. At $120 and $99 respectively, using AMD’s latest Zen 2 microarchitecture and the power efficient 7nm TSMC process, AMD is defining a new base line in budget performance. AMD now leads in budget, mid-range, high-end, crazy server processors, and game consoles.

GCC 10.1 released

This release makes great progress in the C++20 language support, both on the compiler and library sides, some C2X enhancements, various optimization enhancements and bug fixes, several new hardware enablement changes and enhancements to the compiler back-ends and many other changes. There is even a new experimental static analysis pass. GCC is already 33 years old. That’s one heck of a legacy.

OpenIndiana Hipster 2020.04 released

OpenIndiana Hipster 2020.04 has been released. All OpenIndiana system software was rewritten in Python 3. Installation images now don’t deliver Python 2.7 interpreters or libraries, however some software still requires Python 2.7. We’ve moved to GCC 7 as the default compiler. OpenIndiana Hipster is a rolling release distribution of illumos, which in turn traces its roots back to OpenSolaris. The original intent of illumos was to replace the closed source parts of OpenSolaris with open source ones, but after Oracle discontinued OpenSolaris, illumos grew into a full-blown fork of OpenSolaris.

systemd, 10 years later: a historical and technical retrospective

10 years ago, systemd was announced and swiftly rose to become one of the most persistently controversial and polarizing pieces of software in recent history, and especially in the GNU/Linux world. The quality and nature of debate has not improved in the least from the major flame wars around 2012-2014, and systemd still remains poorly understood and understudied from both a technical and social level despite paradoxically having disproportionate levels of attention focused on it. I am writing this essay both for my own solace, so I can finally lay it to rest, but also with the hopes that my analysis can provide some context to what has been a decade-long farce, and not, as in Benno Rice’s now famous characterization, tragedy. The end of this massive article posits a very interesting question. What init system does Chrome OS use? And Android? Do you know, without looking it up? Probably not. What does that tell you?

Microsoft confirms Windows 10X is coming to laptops amid big jump in Windows usage

Microsoft is confirming today that it’s planning to refocus Windows 10X on single-screen devices. “The world is a very different place than it was last October when we shared our vision for a new category of dual-screen Windows devices,” explains Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Windows and devices chief. “With Windows 10X, we designed for flexibility, and that flexibility has enabled us to pivot our focus toward single-screen Windows 10X devices that leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn and play in new ways.” Microsoft isn’t saying exactly when single-screen devices like laptops will support Windows 10X, nor when dual-screen devices will launch with the OS. However, Windows 10X will launch on single-screen devices first. “We will continue to look for the right moment, in conjunction with our OEM partners, to bring dual-screen devices to market,” says Panay. If there’s one person that can pull off moving Windows forward, it’s Panay. I feel like this move points towards Windows 10X becoming the default version of Windows people will get when they buy a new PC – a Windows 11, if you will. It will have a new UI, and run Win32 applications inside containers. I’m interested to see if they can finally pull it off.

ICANN votes down controversial .org sale proposal

Adi Robertson at The Verge: The organization that oversees internet domain names has rejected a proposal to transfer management of the .org top-level domain from a nonprofit to a private equity group. ICANN said it wouldn’t approve the sale of .org operator Public Interest Registry because it would create “unacceptable uncertainty” for the domain, citing concerns about debt and the intentions of the for-profit firm Ethos Capital. Good news.

Inkscape 1.0 released

Inkscape 1.0 has been released. A major milestone was achieved in enabling Inkscape to use a more recent version of the software used to build the editor’s user interface (namely GTK+3). Users with HiDPI (high resolution) screens can thank teamwork that took place during the 2018 Boston Hackfest for setting the updated-GTK wheels in motion. This is just the tip of the iceberg of this massive release.