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PCLinuxOS: Browsers, IRC Situation, Screenshots, and More

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PCLOS
  • Browser Update Features You Might Have Missed

    Back in the early days of the web, we'd have to wait up to months sometimes for an update -- and new features -- to our favorite web browser. These days, updates for the various browsers seem to come more frequently than I fill the gasoline tank on my pickup truck. You barely have time to get used to and try out one version before the next version is coming out.

    Back in the early days of the web, there were no more than two or three competing web browsers. Today, there is an endless stream of browsers, each offering their own special take on what the developers think a web browser should be. Names like Brave, Vivaldi, Chromium, Konqueror, Midori, Basilisk, Dillo, Epiphany, Ephemeral, Flashpeak Slimjet, Waterfox, Iridium, Min, Netsurf, Microsoft Edge, Palemoon, Otter, Seamonkey, and many others populate the browser landscape. And all of these are just the ones I located during a cursory look in the PCLinuxOS repository. I'm certain that I missed a few ... or more. There are many more that aren't in the PCLinuxOS repository.

    Most publications would say that there are four "major" browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Some might say there are five, adding in Safari for MacOS/iOS. I call them the "big boys" of the browser world. But, for our purposes, there are only three big boys on the block: Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. Let's exclude Safari, since it's pretty much an exclusive MacOS/iOS thing. I also exclude Microsoft Edge, not because it isn't innovative (it is), but because most Linux users distrust Microsoft so much that they refuse to install or use Microsoft products on their Linux installation. Microsoft Edge is immeasurably better than the old, recently retired hack called Internet Explorer. That part is impossible to debate. Using the Chromium code-base for the new browser, Microsoft Edge has even recently introduced very innovative and extreme-space-saving TRUE vertical tabs. But Linux users' collective distrust of anything Microsoft is going to make Microsoft Edge a tough sell to Linux users, and Linux is the "language" we speak around here.

    I'm only going to hit the highlights of the recent browser improvements and new features. This won't be an all-inclusive review of all that is new and better, so I'm sure to probably miss listing one of your favorite new features or improvements. But I'll try my best to list the most important of the "new and improved."

    Also, the list will be presented alphabetically, to avoid any "browser prejudice" or "browser bias." Those who regularly read my articles probably already know my preferences, but I'll also try to present the "new and improved" without bias or judgement. However, there is one case among the "new and improved" features that has the potential to introduce what could be a significant security vulnerability, and I won't hesitate to point that out when we come to it. In theory, the "new and improved" feature sounds like a great idea on the surface, but when looked at objectively could also become quite the security issue.

  • FreeNode Destructs. What It All Means For FOSS, PCLinuxOS

    On May 19, 2021, the FreeNode IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network exploded into controversy. Twenty to thirty FreeNode staff members resigned their positions, and created Libera Chat, a new IRC network. FreeNode is considered the IRC home to numerous FOSS projects, including PCLinuxOS.

    As a result, many FOSS projects have abandoned FreeNode. Most have gone to the newly formed Libera Chat network. These FOSS projects include Gentoo, Ubuntu, Wikimedia, CentOS, FreeBSD, and Arch Linux, just to name a few.

    The controversy over FreeNode still rages like an out of control wildfire. FOSS projects continue to flee the carnage. Libera Chat, started by former FreeNode staffers, went from startup to the sixth largest IRC network literally overnight with all the requests for new IRC channels and new registered users. As you might imagine, the Libera Chat folks have been slammed with requests, and now have a backlog of new channel requests.

    [...]

    The PCLinuxOS Magazine has maintained a chat presence on IRC ever since I became the editor 12 years ago. Had the kerfuffle at FreeNode not occurred, we'd still be there. But the sloppy way that the "transfer" was handled during the power change has necessitated a move to a new home.

    IRC is old technology that predates the World Wide Web, having started in August 1988. Tim Berners-Lee didn't even propose his idea for the WWW until March 1989, seven months later. His vision wouldn't become reality until Christmas 1990. IRC has served its purpose admirably during that ensuing time. It allowed people to interact directly with one another, across vast distances, in real time.

    But it definitely has some areas that just don't make sense in today's computing landscape. Messaging on the web has evolved to include better, more dynamic, more secure methods. IRC uses an inordinate amount of bandwidth to send plain text messages. It's insecure, and ripe for data interception.

    So, now is as good of a time as any to move on. PCLOS-Talk runs on a custom XMPP server. It's more secure, even if just for the fact that it requires users to have an account, which means that users have had some sort of vetting just to be able to connect. IRC will allow anyone to connect, with or without an account, increasing exposure to trolls, spammers, and others with malicious intent.

    When one door closes, another one opens. Thanks for the fond memories, FreeNode and IRC. You served us well.

  • More [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
  • Welcome From The Chief Editor [of PCLinuxOS Magazine]

    While these situations can and do happen, their frequency is far less than we're made to believe or think. Never mind that you might not have been the most qualified candidate for that coveted job. Never mind that maybe someone else showed more/better leadership potential for that promotion. It's far, far easier to blame someone else for one's failings than it is to take responsibility for those failings.

    A little introspection can go a very long way in these cases. But as long as the "aggrieved" party refuses to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the "failure," there can never be any introspection. That introspection may prompt the "aggrieved" party to seek additional training or schooling to better position themselves for that next coveted job opening or promotion. Without accepting responsibility, the "blame game" continues on, ad nauseum, over and over and over again.

    Related to responsibility is accountability. In fact, "responsibility" is listed as a synonym for "accountability" in the dictionary. Even though the dictionary lists them as synonymous, I see them as separate. There's not many degrees of separation, but I still view them separately. In my mind anyway, accountability means a willingness to accept the consequences of your actions. It also means that you own up to your own mistakes, shortcomings, and faults. Just as they preach in many of the 12 step programs, admitting that you have a problem is 50% of the solution.

New package updates in PCLinuxOS

  • calibre ebook tool updated to 5.23.0 » PCLinuxOS

    Calibre is meant to be a complete e-library solution. It includes library management, format conversion, news feeds to ebook conversion as well as e-book reader sync features.

  • evolution email updated to 3.40.3 » PCLinuxOS

    Evolution is a mailer, calendar, contact manager and communications tool. The tools which make up Evolution will be tightly integrated with one another and act as a seamless personal information-management tool.

  • evolution email updated to 3.40.3 » PCLinuxOS

    Whatever your PDF needs are today or in the future, we have a solution for you: creation, conversion, high-fidelity rendering and printing, digital signatures, filling interactive forms, PDF markups, text extraction, and more… For rendering, consider our support for all types of fonts, images, transparency, blending, gradients and color spaces.

  • signal desktop updated to 5.8.0 » PCLinuxOS

    Signal Desktop is a messaging client with privacy in mind. Private messaging from your desktop!

New package updates in PCLinuxOS

  • calibre ebook tool updated to 5.23.0 » PCLinuxOS

    Calibre is meant to be a complete e-library solution. It includes library management, format conversion, news feeds to ebook conversion as well as e-book reader sync features.

  • evolution email updated to 3.40.3 » PCLinuxOS

    Evolution is a mailer, calendar, contact manager and communications tool. The tools which make up Evolution will be tightly integrated with one another and act as a seamless personal information-management tool.

  • evolution email updated to 3.40.3 » PCLinuxOS

    Whatever your PDF needs are today or in the future, we have a solution for you: creation, conversion, high-fidelity rendering and printing, digital signatures, filling interactive forms, PDF markups, text extraction, and more… For rendering, consider our support for all types of fonts, images, transparency, blending, gradients and color spaces.

  • signal desktop updated to 5.8.0 » PCLinuxOS

    Signal Desktop is a messaging client with privacy in mind. Private messaging from your desktop!

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