Linux news – NixFAQ roundup December

Late Happy Holiday for you all and what a bad year we have survived. This pandemic did the biggest damage in earth’s recent history. We cannot guarantee next year will be any good as the pandemic is still going and growing, but we sure wish you will stay good and fit. This is the last NIXFAQ news roundup of 2020, and from 2021, it will get improved.

So this news roundup, we will cover the best of December and weirdest of December. We already discussed the newest releases in a previous article, so we are going to skip software releases in this article. So buckle up for some interesting and important news of the month.

If you think 2020 can’t get any weirder

KFC announced a new gaming console (actually PC) partnering with Coolermaster and one other tech partner. One of the largest food companies teased the KFConsole after PS5 release on twitter and everybody had a friendly laugh at KFC’s joke. Turns out it ain’t no joke after all, because KFC announced it.

And this console is not a dumb device either spec-wise. This is a Core™ i9 9th gen highest end CPU that can reach up to 5GHz clock speed. This console PC can deliver up-to 240 FPS with 240Hz refresh rate through the GPU output, which is of-course swappable. You got Ray-tracing, VR, 4K, maybe HDR?

And then the elephant in the room, a chicken heater! They included a chicken warmer which can warm your foods. Although gimmick and not an over-grade heater, it uses CPU and GPU heat and passes it to the warming chamber. This is a brilliant approach to me personally. Anyway, we do not have information about when it will be on sale and where it can be bought from. All we know is that it is real, and it will make your mouse and keyboard very greasy.

Zoom is thinking of competing Google and Microsoft

Zoom has zoomed its way to top like an excited dog running on the beach. These people now want to compete with Google and Microsoft. Well, not directly, but in providing Calendar and Email services. Outlook and Gmail is one of the biggest proprietary Email providers and lots of corporate users use these services to manage schedules, events and meetings. Zoom with its sky-high popularity unsurprisingly wants to provide users with a full suite so users don’t have to jump between Google Calendar and zoom for scheduling meetings.

While Zoom is very popular, it is not a private and secure way of communication, so most users should watch out. Also, Zoom might have stolen our idea (joking), because we are bringing a meeting solution soon with our world-class privacy friendly, highly advanced Email service with Calendar (iCal, CalDAV, CardDAV supported) and Bitwarden password manager (better than any option out there). Check Letter.is here.

Google outage for a single ‘zero’

Remember the global outage for google service? Google services were temporarily out of reach when a server failure accrued in Google central servers. Services including Gmail, Docs, Search and YouTube were all down for a while. Turns out this outage was for an error in their legacy storage management system for authentication.

“As part of an ongoing migration of the User ID Service to a new quota system, a change was made in October to register the User ID Service with the new quota system, but parts of the previous quota system were left in place which incorrectly reported the usage for the User ID Service as “0”. As a result, it reduced the quota for the account database, which prevented the Paxos leader from writing. Shortly after, most read operations became outdated, which resulted in errors on authentication lookups.” – Google said.

Although it was not an issue for me as the outage was not severe in Asia and I’m not reliant on Google at all. I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine and Letter.is for email (which never gets down).

Javascript is 25, and it is not old yet

JS is one of the most used languages in the world, with tons of technology built on top of it and tons of frameworks. JS is now 25 years old, and it is still progressing. While it was a web technology bound within the browser world primarily, it left its capsule and now became widely used in native platforms. It is a flexible language used in both client-side and server side now with increasing popularity. Javascript is on your mobile app with React native, on your desktop with Electron and on the server with Node.js. It is everywhere and still a dominant language on GitHub.

With the ease of setting up an environment without installing tons of programs, newbies can easily learn and test Javascript. And that’s why it is very popular among learners. Once you learn within your browser console, you can expand your programming adventure to native applications, mobiles and servers. With tons of frameworks allowing JS devs to develop JS applications faster, and a vast collection of packages enabling developers to solve problems and debug with greater speed, Javascript is now growing faster and faster each year.

GTK 4 is love

While GIMP is still trying to port itself to GTK3, GTK4 is here. It has excited me for this release and I will tell you why. GTK posted this in December:

“2020 has been a very long year. What better way to end it than with a major release! Today, we released GTK 4.0.

GTK 4.0 results from a lot of hard work by a small team of dedicated developers. We will have a separate post to go over the statistics, but the ‌summary is that since the 3.89.1 release in November 2016, we’ve added over 18000 commits and made over 20 development releases.”

So GTK 4 was in development for about 4 years. And it is the latest stable from the devs. GTK4 allows media playback embedded in native windows, drag-and-drop objects, layout management with cool transformation features which look cool. You also have scalable grids and shaders.

Someone is crowdfunding for a server SBC

ZimaBoard claims to be the world’s first hackable server SBC. I already wrote about using SBC as servers here, and I haven’t taken in mind that this thing exists. Although you can use any SBC as a server board, this thing is very specialized at this sort of usage.

They made it keeping low latency and highly configurable network interface in mind with server capabilities and hardware features. There is a PCIE 2.0 express slot, SATA interface with 2x Gigabit Ethernet port, and a mini display port with [email protected] output. It also has 2x USB, Passive Cooling, Intel VT-d, VT-x, AES-NI, Support for 4K video transcoding H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2, VC-1.

ZimaBoard comes with Intel Celeron N3350 Dual Core 1.1-2.4GHz + 2GB LPDDR4 RAM with 16GB onboard storage for $69 (Kickstarter price) and Intel Celeron N3450 Quad Core 1.1-2.2GHz + 8GB LPDDR4 RAM with 32GB for $129. It supports Linux, Windows, OpenWrt, pfSense, Android, Libreelec.

Thunderbird looks amazing with version 78.6

Thunderbird now looks modern and tidy, with new dark-mode support and polished icons. The view is more polished with this new update, and I’m really loving it. Since OpenPGP is now part of Thunderbird, the extension Enigmail is waving goodbye, and the latest version is ‌ the last version of Enigmail for thunderbird. I like the accountHub; it houses all the account setup options.

Version 78 packed a lot, and now the update is bringing more although slowly. With the new point release, they improved the Calendar which is cool. Could not import an ICS file into a CalDAV calendar issue is now fixed which is nice. While better mail clients are available, I really like Thunderbird and I have been using it for almost 4 years now. I hope it will grow more, although the future is uncertain.

Rocky Linux will arrive in Q2 2021

Rocky Linux development is progressing and the user forum posted a new news in December. And Rocky Linux is coming soon. Within quarter 2 of 20201. The community manager previously posted:

“Transparency with the community and for those that will be relying on Rocky Linux to supplant their CentOS 8 installations before support expiration is paramount. We will soon be communicating a timeline for the delivery of the following:

Build systems and infrastructure readiness

Automatic package build infrastructures

When the testing package repository will be made public

Installer testing readiness

ETA for length of time needed for community testing

Release candidate availability

We are targeting Q2 2021 to deliver our first release of Rocky Linux, made available not only in standard commercial regions, but also GovCloud, and China.”

They also shared progress of development in the forum:

“We have selected and vetted auditing, logging, and user account management tooling.

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS):
    • The team selected AWS as the primary build platform for development of Rocky Linux. AWS was chosen primarily to protect the integrity of the software supply chain for Rocky Linux.
    • Unfortunately, donated hardware and rack space isn’t sufficient to meet our supply chain integrity needs.
    • Traditional physical hardware separate from our production build environment will still be necessary, and we expect a large portion of our infrastructure will exist outside of AWS for the purposes of business continuity, cost, and platform agnosticity.
    • We have outlined an infrastructure to best secure and facilitate our engineering efforts using multiple VPCs, subnets, and regions for high availability.
  • Data Centers:
    • We are negotiating with several data center providers for the secure hosting of our physical infrastructure.
    • After we have our physical infrastructure provider solidified, we will reach back out to those that have offered to donate hardware .
    • Discussions with the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL 23) regarding resources are in the works.

The core tenets of the Infrastructure Team are:

  • To provide a platform for the automatic and secure builds of packages and components which will allow for community participation without sacrificing security or trust in the resulting packages
  • The integrity of the build pipeline and software supply chain are paramount.
  • Be as vendor and platform agnostic as possible. Avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Be transparent with the community, to the extent possible and practical.”

For those who do not know, CentOS is abandoning CentOS stable and making it an upstream release of RHEL. This angered many users and enthusiasts. After this, Rocky Linux emerged and promised a full CentOS compatible OS for the stable CentOS users.

Conclusion

This is the last NIXFAQ roundup for 2020 and we wish you Happy Holiday, and best for the upcoming year. This year was full of news and in December we got to read many weirder and amazing ones. We have covered most amazing and weird ones and we hope you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for reading and wish you the best.

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