May 292014

Today I want to repost for my readers a really interesting article by Gionatan Danti first posted on his blog, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do

File compression is an old trick: one of the first (if not the first) program capable of compressing files was “SQ”, in the early 1980s, but the first widespread, mass-know compressor probably was ZIP (released in 1989).

In other word, compressing a file to save space is nothing new and, while current TB-sized, low costs disks provide plenty of space, sometime compression is desirable because it not only reduces the space needed to store data, but it can even increase I/O performance due to the lower amount of bits to be written or read to/from the storage subsystem. This is especially true when comparing the ever-increasing CPU speed to the more-or-less stagnant mechanical disk performance (SSDs are another matter, of course).

While compression algorithms and programs varies, basically we can distinguish to main categories: generic lossless compressors and specialized, lossy compressors.

If the last categories include compressors with quite spectacular compression factor, they can typically be used only when you want to preserve the general information as a whole, and you are not interested in a true bit-wise precise representation of the original data. In other word, you can use a lossy compressor for storing an high-resolution photo or a song, but not for storing a compressed executable on your disk (executable need to be perfectly stored, bit per bit) or text log files (we don’t want to lose information on text files, right?).

So, for the general use case, lossless compressors are the way to go. But what compressor to use from the many available? Sometime different programs use the same underlying algorithm or even the same library implementation, so using one or another is a relatively low-important choice. However, when comparing compressors using different compression algorithms, the choice must be a weighted one: you want to privilege high compression ratio or speed? In other word, you need a fast and low-compression algorithm or a slow but more effective one?

In this article, we are going to examine many different compressors based on few different compressing libraries:

  • lz4, a new, high speed compression program and algorithm
  • lzop, based on the fast lzo library, implementing the LZO algorithm
  • gzip and pigz (multithreaded gzip), based on the zip library which implements the ZIP alg
  • bzip2 and pbzip2 (multithreaded bzip2), based on the libbzip2 library implementing the Burrows–Wheeler compressing scheme
  • 7-zip, based mainly (but not only) on the LZMA algorithm
  • xz, another LZMA-based program

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May 132014

For what I know there isn’t an official google drive application for Linux and so after looking around I’ve found that there are some interesting project that you can use to access your data on Google Drive from your linux, and in particular today I’d like to show 2 of them:

Grive and Grive Tools: These 2 tools are good if you want to use Google Drive on your laptot or Desktop or in general in a graphical environment.

google-drive-ocamlfuse: This is more suited if you want to mount your Google Drive from a server or from a terminal, in fact this software will mount your Google Drive as File System and you’ll be able to move inside it and see all your files, like a local file system.

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Apr 262014


The team that is building the Novena project is launching a crowdfunding campaign around the Novena open hardware computing platform. Originally, this started as a hobby project but by popular demand, they have prepared a crowdfunding offering and so everyone can contribute to the interesting project and bring at his home this interesting computer.

Novena is a 1.2GHz, Freescale quad-core ARM architecture computer closely coupled with a Xilinx FPGA. It’s designed for users who care about open source, and/or want to modify and extend their hardware: all the documentation for the PCBs is open and free to download, the entire OS is buildable from source, and it comes with a variety of features that facilitate rapid prototyping. 

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Apr 242014

Guest post by Kerry Blake

If you are planning to buy a new printer and currently using Ubuntu or Linx Mint, the 2 most popular desktop operating systems, next to Windows and OSX, you should probably buy a printer that can hand shake with your Linux box, out of the box.

Computer peripherals like printers, web cameras, scanners, and mobile Internet devices can work on your distro right away like a Mac computer. Both the Ubuntu and Mint community have been constantly adding the necessary packages to their OSs so that all the numerous hardware out there that works with Windows can also work with Linux. You shall take a look at the recommended list of printers for Debian-based distros if you want to buy one that works with your machine without having to open the terminal. If you find your printer in this list, you can easily make it work.

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Apr 152014

An interesting article by Cirrus first posted on his blog


Again ill be writing about yet another TUI application, which will run with or without an X server. Those who know me are aware i prefer to use the console where possible, not because i wanna be l33t but merely because i find it does things better, faster and in many cases opens up more options/preferences than you get with the GUI counterparts. My latest find started life in or around December of 1994 as a DOS binary-only freeware. Thankfully at the tail end of 2003 someone took the time and effort to port it to Linux, and other ‘Unix like’ Operating systems.

Open Cubic Player (OCP) as mentioned will run in a TTY as well as in a graphical environment, here’s a few scrot’s of OCP

ocp02 ocp01

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