Issue #207 / Feb 2018

DVD: Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon (64-bit) and Ubuntu Mate 17.10 (32-bit)

Article Code

Approximate on sale dates:

  • UK/Europe: Jan 13
  • USA/Canada: Feb 09
  • Australia: Mar 12


This month we take a look inside one of the most deeply complex and unfathomable tools in the programmer’s toolkit: the compiler. We also compare the GCC, Clang, and MSVC compilers, with the emphasis on support for C++ standards. Other highlights include:

• Ubuntu 17.10 – Ubuntu gives up the Unity desktop and returns to Gnome. How’s that working out? (page 30).

• Neural Network – This month’s Programming Snapshot puts Python to work on a classic brain teaser. (page 42).

Check out LinuxVoice for alternative directory navigation commands and system rescue with SystemRescueCD. 

SERVICE: Welcome

Better Health

It is hard to think of writing about anything this month but net neutrality. On November 21, the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) decided on a 3-2 party-line vote to end the requirement that service providers treat all traffic equally, opening the door to "pay to play" scenarios, where ISPs can shake down Internet companies for access to users.

SERVICE: This Month's DVD

Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon (64-bit) and Ubuntu Mate 17.10 (32-bit)

NEWS: News

This month in the news: KubeCon concludes in Austin, Texas, Dell to disable Intel’s insecure IME, Linus Torvalds’ advice to security experts, GPLv3 comes to the rescue of GPL violators, and Linux Kernel 4.14 released. 

NEWS: Kernel News

Zack Brown discusses how to be a maintainer, power-up/power-down control, and smoothing out disk caching.

: How Compilers Work

How compilers work

Compilers translate source code into executable programs and libraries. Inside modern compiler suites, a multistage process analyzes the source code, points out errors, generates intermediate code and tables, rearranges a large amount of data, and adapts the code to the target processor.

: Compilers and Standards

GCC, Clang, and MSVC compilers with C++

Due to the fast pace of updates of the C++ standards, compiler builders have been busy. How do the most popular compilers fit with the standards and what are the differences?

REVIEWS: LibreOffice 5.4

What's new in the free LibreOffice suite

LibreOffice 5.4 is the last major release before the big jump to version 6. In addition to a number of updates, you can now sign Writer documents with OpenPGP.

REVIEWS: Ubuntu 17.10

What's new in Ubuntu 17.10

Ubuntu is back to the first letter of the alphabet – and back to the Gnome desktop. But you'll also find lots of new stuff in the latest release.

REVIEWS: GUI Firewall Tools

Graphical tools for firewall configuration

Setting up a comprehensive firewall with netfilter and iptables is complicated. Graphic user interfaces seek to take the worries out of this demanding task.

NEWS: Neural networks learn from mistakes and remember successes

Car NOT Goat

The well-known Monty Hall game show problem can be a rewarding maiden voyage for prospective statisticians. But is it possible to teach a neural network to choose between goats and cars with a few practice sessions?

NEWS: Guetzli

Compress image files with Guetzli

The Guetzli image optimizer by Google developers produces smaller images than JPEG while maintaining the same quality, but it requires a powerful computer with a large working memory.

NEWS: The sys admin's daily grind: Smorgasbord


Sys admin columnist Charly Kühnast has an electronic note box in which he collects ideas and small snippets of code. He calls it his "quarry" and is taking this opportunity to offer up some collectors' items to regular readers.

NEWS: FLAC: The premier digital audio codec

Lossless Listening

With a little effort, you can create digital audio files with CD quality sound.

: Open Hardware – Brown Dog Gadgets

Open hardware makes science education fun

Brown Dog Gadgets is making science education more accessible and affordable with open hardware.

: Rasp Pi Fox Trap

Raspberry Pi aids conservation work

As a countermeasure to predators of rare ground-breeding birds, live traps are monitored by a microcontroller and a Raspberry Pi.

: Keypads and Gamepads

Integrate keypads and gamepads into your next project

The Python evdev library offers a simple way to connect input devices, even if you don't know the key bindings.

LINUX VOICE: The Linux Voice view on what's going on in the world of Free Software.

Open source is for you, yes, but it's also for unknown others.

LINUX VOICE: maddog's Doghouse

Your own personal cloud.


Audacity 2.2.0, samplv1, Spotitube, Ternimal, DriveSync, Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection, and more!

LINUX VOICE: bd, autojump, and Fasd

Bd, autojump, and Fasd improve the workflow for command-line aficionados thanks to quick navigation in the filesystem.



If you accidentally delete data or format a disk, good advice can be expensive. Or maybe not: You can undo many data losses with SystemRescueCd.

LINUX VOICE: Docker and Kubernetes

At this year's DockerCon Europe, Docker announced that it is officially supporting the Google-sponsored Kubernetes ochestration engine – an unexpected development that surprised many observers.

Issue 207/2018

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