All posts by jake

[$] Counting beans—and more—with Beancount

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/751874/rss

It is normally the grumpy editor’s job to look
at accounting software
; he does so with an eye toward getting the business off of the
proprietary QuickBooks application and moving to something free. It may be
that Beancount deserves a look of
that nature before too long but, in the meantime, a slightly less grumpy
editor has been messing with this text-based accounting tool for a variety
of much smaller projects. It is an interesting system, with a lot of
capabilities, but its reliance on hand-rolling for various pieces
may scare some folks off.

[$] A look at terminal emulators, part 2

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/751763/rss

A comparison of the feature sets for a handful of terminal emulators was
the subject of a recent article; here I follow that up by
examining the performance of those terminals.

This might seem like a
lesser concern, but as it turns out, terminals exhibit surprisingly
high latency for such fundamental programs. I also examine what is
traditionally considered “speed” (but is really scroll bandwidth) and
memory usage, with the understanding that the impact of memory use
is less than it was when I looked at this a decade ago (in
French).

Subscribers can read on for part 2 from guest author Antoine Beaupré.

[$] What the beep?

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/751534/rss

A “simple” utility to make a system beep is hardly the first place one would
check for security flaws, but the strange case of the “Holey Beep”
should perhaps lead to some rethinking. A Debian advisory for the beep utility, which was followed
by another for Debian LTS, led to a
seemingly satirical site publicizing
the bug (and giving it the “Holey Beep” name). But that site also exploits
a new flaw in the GNU
patch
program—and the increased scrutiny on beep has
led to more problems being found.

[$] A new package index for Python

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/751458/rss

The Python Package Index (PyPI) is
the principal repository of libraries for the Python programming language,
serving more than 170 million downloads each week. Fifteen years after PyPI
launched, a new edition is in beta at pypi.org, with features like better
search, a refreshed layout, and Markdown README files
(and with some old
features removed, like viewing GPG package signatures). Starting
April 16, users visiting the site or running pip install will
be
seamlessly redirected to the new site. Two weeks after that, the legacy site is
expected to be shut down and the team will turn toward new
features; in the meantime, it is worth a look at what the new PyPI brings
to the table.

[$] Prospects for free software in cars

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/751165/rss

Car manufacturers, like most companies, navigate a narrow lane between the
benefits of using free and open-source software and the perceived or real
importance of hiding their trade secrets. Many are using
free software in some of the myriad software components that make up a
modern car, and even work in consortia to develop free software. At the
recent LibrePlanet
conference, free-software advocate Jeremiah Foster covered progress in the
automotive sector and made an impassioned case for more free software in their
embedded systems.

Subscribers can read on for a report on the talk by guest author Andy Oram.

Security updates for Friday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/751146/rss

Security updates have been issued by Debian (sharutils), Fedora (firefox, httpd, and mod_http2), openSUSE (docker-distribution, graphite2, libidn, and postgresql94), Oracle (libvorbis and thunderbird), Red Hat (libvorbis, python-paramiko, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (libvorbis and thunderbird), SUSE (apache2), and Ubuntu (firefox, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and ruby1.9.1, ruby2.0, ruby2.3).

[$] Fedora and Python 2

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750833/rss

It has been known for quite some time that Python 2 will reach its end
of life in 2020—after being extended by five years from its original 2015
expiry. After
that, there will be no support, bug fixes, or security patches for
Python 2, at least from the Python Software Foundation and the core
developers. Some distributions will need to continue to support the final
Python 2 release, however, since their support windows extend past
that date; the enterprise and long-term support distributions will
likely be supporting it well into the 2020s and possibly beyond. But even
shorter-support-cycle distributions need to consider their plan for a
sweeping change of this sort—in less than two years.

[$] Making institutional free software successful

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750781/rss

Many large institutions, especially government agencies, would like to
distribute their software—including the software of the vendors with whom
they contract—as free software. They have a variety of reasons, ranging
from the hope that opening the code will boost its use, all the way to
a mature understanding of the importance of community, transparency, and
freedom. There are special steps institutions can take to help ensure success,
some stemming from best practices performed by many free-software projects
and others specific to large organizations. At the 2018 LibrePlanet conference,
Cecilia Donnelly laid out nine principles for the
successful creation and maintenance of a software project under these
circumstances.

[$] A look at terminal emulators, part 1

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/749992/rss

Terminals have a special place in computing history, surviving along
with the command line in the face of the rising ubiquity of graphical
interfaces. Terminal emulators have replaced
hardware
terminals
, which themselves were upgrades from punched
cards and toggle-switch inputs. Modern distributions now ship with a
surprising variety of terminal emulators. While some people may be
happy with the default terminal provided by their desktop environment,
others take great pride at using exotic software for running their
favorite shell or text editor. But as we’ll see in this two-part series,
not all terminals are created equal:
they vary wildly in terms of functionality, size, and
performance.

Security updates for Friday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750573/rss

Security updates have been issued by Debian (memcached, openssl, openssl1.0, php5, thunderbird, and xerces-c), Fedora (python-notebook, slf4j, and unboundid-ldapsdk), Mageia (kernel, libvirt, mailman, and net-snmp), openSUSE (aubio, cacti, cacti-spine, firefox, krb5, LibVNCServer, links, memcached, and tomcat), Slackware (ruby), SUSE (kernel and python-paramiko), and Ubuntu (intel-microcode).

Security updates for Thursday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750432/rss

Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7, graphicsmagick, libdatetime-timezone-perl, thunderbird, and tzdata), Fedora (gd, libtiff, mozjs52, and nmap), Gentoo (thunderbird), Red Hat (openstack-tripleo-common, openstack-tripleo-heat-templates and sensu), SUSE (kernel, libvirt, and memcached), and Ubuntu (icu, librelp, openssl, and thunderbird).

[$] DNF 3: better performance and a move to C++

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750238/rss

It has only been a few years since DNF replaced Yum as the default Fedora
package-management tool; that was done for Fedora 22 in 2015, though
DNF had been available for several earlier Fedora releases. Since that
time, DNF development has proceeded; it started a move from Python/C to all C in
2016 and has made multiple releases over the years. From an outsider’s
perspective, no major changes seem necessary, which makes the announcement
of DNF 3, and a move to C++, a bit surprising to some.

[$] Recent improvements to Tor

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750312/rss

We may need Tor, “the onion router”,
more than we ever imagined. Authoritarian states are blocking more and more web
sites
and snooping
on their populations online
—even routine tracking of our online
activities
can reveal information that can be used to undermine
democracy. Thus, there was strong interest in the “State of the Onion”
panel at the 2018 LibrePlanet conference, where
four contributors to the Tor project presented a progress update covering the
past few years.

Subscribers can read on for a report on the panel by guest author Andy Oram.

[$] An introduction to projectM

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/750152/rss

Many people have seen music visualizations before, whether in a music
player on
their computer, at a live concert, or possibly on a home stereo
system. Those visualizations may have been generated using the open-source
music-visualization software library that is part of projectM.
Software-based
abstract visualizers first appeared along with early MP3 music players as a
sort of nifty thing to watch along with listening to your MP3s. One of
the most powerful and innovative of these was a plugin for Winamp known as
MilkDrop, which was
developed by a
Nullsoft (and later NVIDIA) employee named Ryan Geiss. The plugin was
extensible by using visualization
equation scripts
(also known as “presets”).

Subscribers can read on for a look at projectM by guest author (and
projectM maintainer) Mischa Spiegelmock.