The Gaming Issue of Linux Journal is Here!

2 weeks 6 days ago
by Carlie Fairchild

Games for Linux are booming like never before. The revolution comes courtesy of cross-platform dev tools, passionate programmers and community support. Join us this month as we take a Deep Dive in to gaming.

Deep Dive features:

Also featured in this issue:

  • ModSecurity and nginx

  • Clearing Out /boot

  • VCs Are Investing Big into a New Cryptocurrency: Introducing Handshake

  • Edit PDFs with Xournal

  • FOSS Project Spotlight: Nitrux, a Linux Distribution with a Focus on AppImages and Atomic Upgrades

  • Stop Killing Your Cattle: Server Infrastructure Advice

Regular columns include:

  • Kyle Rankin's Hack and /: Two Portable DIY Retro Gaming Consoles
  • Shawn Powers' The Open-Source Classroom: Globbing and Regex
  • Reuven M. Lerner's At the Forge: Bytes, Characters and Python 2
  • Dave Taylor's Work the Shell: Creating the Concentration Game PAIRS with Bash, Part II
  • Zack Brown's diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development
  • Glyn Moody's Open Sauce: What Is the Point of Mozilla?

Subscribers, you can download your September issue now.

Not a subscriber? It’s not too late. Subscribe today and receive instant access to this and ALL back issues since 1994!

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Carlie Fairchild

Nitrux 1.0.15 Released, Speck Code to Be Dropped from 4.19 Kernel, Wireshark Security Vulnerabilities, Fedora 29 Test Week and GUADEC Videos Now Available

2 weeks 6 days ago

News briefs for September 4, 2018.

Nitrux 1.0.15 is now available. The new version provides software updates, bug fixes and performance improvements, as well as patches for security vulnerabilities. This version includes kernel version 4.18.5; Plasma 5 (5.13.4); KDE Apps (18.08); KF5 (5.50.0) and Qt 5 (5.11.1); Mesa (18.1.5) drivers for Vulkan, VDPAU and support for VP-API; and much more. You can download it from here, and see also the September 2018 issue of Linux Journal (which will be out today) for a FOSS Project Spotlight on this distribution.

The Speck encryption code will be dropped from the Linux 4.19 kernel. Phoronix reports that Google (who initially introduced Speck to the kernel for filesystem encryption for low-end Android devices) is instead working on a new HPolyC algorithm for those devices, "due to concerns over Speck potentially being back-doored by the US National Security Agency".

Wireshark discovered a number of security vulnerabilities that could be used to cause a system crash and denial-of-service (DOS) state. See ZDNet for details on the security flaws, and if you use Wireshark, update your software builds to versions 2.6.3, 2.4.9, 2.2.17 or later.

Fedora 29 developers are working on major improvements to Internationalization (i18n) support, including better font support, and improvements to the iBus input method. The team is holding a test week this week and invites the community to try out these new features. Visit the wiki page for more information on how to help out and test.

All the videos from GNOME's GUADEC Conference 2018—which brought together free software enthusiasts from around the world and was held in Almería Spain this past July—are now available at

News Nitrux Distributions kernel Security Wireshark Fedora GNOME
Jill Franklin

Join the Linux Journal Crusade

2 weeks 6 days ago
by Doc Searls

Linux Journal has been reporting on Linux every month since version 1.0 in April 1994.

Through the nearly 25 years that have passed since then, Linux has come to support approximately everything an operating system can, while Linux Journal has maintained its status as the leading magazine covering Linux and all Linux does (or at least as much as we can fit into more pages than ever).

Here is where Linux currently stands among the world's operating systems (stats via the Linux Foundation):

  • #1 Internet client (Android).
  • 82% of the smartphone market share (Android again).
  • 100% share of the supercomputer market.
  • 90% share of mainframe customers.
  • 90% of the public cloud workload.
  • 62% of the embedded systems market.
  • #2 to Windows in enterprise.

Linux is also at the base of countless open-source software stacks, which in turn support vast sums of productivity and economic benefit to countless verticals. Telecom, retail, automotive, energy, transportation, medicine, networking, entertainment and pharma are just a few of the big familiar ones.

Linux Journal's coverage has ranged just as widely, but we've also kept faith with the serious developers who made Linux a success in the first place and are still our core readership.

Our monthly issues are big. Where in print we were limited to less than 100 pages per issue, now we tend to run around 160–170 pages. Each issue also features a Deep Dive section, devoted to one topic in-depth, which is like a new ebook within each issue. And although we used to charge for our extensive archive (again, going back to 1994), we now provide access to all paying subscribers. The same subscribers also will get a free topical ebook with each renewal. (Currently it's SysAdmin 101 by our own Kyle Rankin, but we change it regularly.)

After we were acquired (by the parent company of Private Internet Access) early this year, we completely overhauled the website, taking it from Drupal 6 to 8 and redesigning it to maximize simplicity and responsiveness. Our constant aim with the website is to make all our editorial matter (which we won't demean by calling it mere "content") easy and enjoyable to read on all devices. This may be one reason our subscriber base has grown nearly 20% so far this year.

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Doc Searls

Enter to Win: Daily Giveaways All Week!

3 weeks ago
by Carlie Fairchild

Fun is to be had at Linux Journal this week! Linode is sponsoring Daily Giveaways all week long! 

Monday's giveaway is an ODROID-GO Game Kit. One randomly drawn winner will be chosen from all Monday entrants received before 11:59pm PDT / 6:59am GMT. The winner will be announced tomorrow. Come back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and so forth for more fun giveaways!

The ODROID-GO Game Kit includes a special ODROID anniversary board with all the parts to put together your own game kit and see the workings behind such a device. It is not only a fun assembly project but also an educational tool to learn about all the hardware and software that goes into building such a device. Editor Kyle Rankin compares Adafruit's PiGRRL Zero vs. Hardkernel's ODROID-GO in this month's issue of Linux Journal -- make sure to check it out!

A special thanks to Linode who offers high performance SSD Linux servers for all of your infrastructure needs. We use Linode cloud hosting ourselves and so do many of our developer friends. Consider supporting Linode the way they support our Linux Journal community. Thanks again friends at Linode!

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Carlie Fairchild

Linux Mint Debian Edition "Cindy" Released, MyCrypto Inc. Raises $4 Million Series A, John McAffee's Unhackable Crypto Wallet Hacked, The Linux Foundation Works to Improve Security of Open-Source Code and openSUSE 2019 Registration and Call for Papers

3 weeks ago

Linux Mint Debian Edition "Cindy" is now available. LDME's goal is to be as similar as possible to Linux Mint, but with a Debian base instead of Ubuntu. See the release notes for more information.

MyCrypto Inc., "an open-source interface for storing, sending, and receiving digital assets", has raised $4 million Series A, CrunchBase reports. The start-up plans to build "the first mass consumer friendly gateway for cryptocurrency users."

In somewhat related news, John McAfee's $120 Android-based unhackable cryptocurrency wallet was hacked again. TechCrunch reports that "Security researchers have now developed a second attack, which they say can obtain all the stored funds from an unmodified Bitfi wallet" and that with this cold-boot attack, "it's possible to steal funds even when a Bitfi wallet is switched off."

The Linux Foundation plans to expand its Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) to improve the security of open-source code. eWeek notes that CII is "further trying to identify which projects matter to the security of the internet as a whole, rather than taking a broader approach of looking at every single open-source project".

Registration and calls for papers open for openSUSE 2019, which will be held in Nuremberg, Germany, May 24–26, 2019. Submission for calls for papers is open until February 3, 2019, and you can register for the conference up to the day of. Tracks for the conference include, openSUSE, open-source software, cloud and containers, embedded systems, and desktop and applications. Visit for more information and to register.

News Security Linux Mint Cryptocurrency openSUSE
Jill Franklin

Two Portable DIY Retro Gaming Consoles

3 weeks ago
by Kyle Rankin

A look at Adafruit's PiGRRL Zero vs. Hardkernel's ODROID-GO.

If you enjoy retro gaming, there are so many options, it can be tough to know what to get. The choices range from officially sanctioned systems from Nintendo all the way to homemade RetroPie projects like I've covered in Linux Journal in the past. Of course, those systems are designed to be permanently attached to a TV.

But, what if you want to play retro games on the road? Although it's true that you could just connect a gamepad to a laptop and use an emulator, there's something to be said for a console that fits in your pocket like the original Nintendo Game Boy. In this article, I describe two different portable DIY retro gaming projects I've built and compare and contrast their features.

Adafruit PiGRRL Zero

The RetroPie project spawned an incredible number of DIY retro consoles due to how easy and cheap the project made it to build a console out of the widely available and popular Raspberry Pi. Although most of the projects were aimed at home consoles, Adafruit took things a step further and created the PiGRRL project series that combines Raspberry Pis with LCD screens, buttons, batteries and other electronics into a portable RetroPie system that has a similar form factor to the original Game Boy. You buy the kit, print the case and buttons yourself with a 3D printer, and after some soldering, you have a portable console.

The original PiGRRL was based off the Raspberry Pi and was similar in size and shape to the original Game Boy. In the original kit, you also took apart an SNES gamepad, cut the electronics and used it for gamepad electronics. Although you got the benefit of a real SNES gamepad's button feedback, due to that Game Boy form factor, there were no L and R shoulder buttons, and only A and B buttons on the front, so it was aimed at NES and Game Boy games.

The PiGRRL 2 took the original PiGRRL and offered a number of upgrades. First, it was based on the faster Raspberry Pi 2, which could emulate newer systems like the SNES. It also incorporated its own custom gamepad electronics, so you could get A, B, X and Y buttons in the front, plus L and R buttons in the back, while still maintaining the similar Game Boy form factor.

Figure 1. PiGRRL 2

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Kyle Rankin