I have now created a GUI version of my polynomial roots approximation program.

One of the facts which I had blogged about some time ago, was that I had developed a program that approximates the roots of polynomials, the intention being that it be used on polynomials of a very high degree, by entirely numerical means. And I did this with the knowledge that polynomials with a degree greater than 4 have no exact, analytical solutions, except for certain special cases.

I think that maybe, one reason why some readers were disinterested in that program, could have been the fact that it was entirely command-line driven. So, what I have now done was,

  • To convert the core program into a truly object-oriented format, so that it could act as a module within some other program, and no longer have its own ‘main()’ function, And
  • Applied what I’ve taught myself about the Qt5 GUI Library, to design a minimalistic GUI for it…
  • One of the things the GUI now does, in addition to just listing the roots as text, is also to provide a rudimentary plot of the polynomial each time.
  • One thing which the GUI version can no longer do, is to accept complex coefficients from the user. The command-line version was able to do that. But the GUI version can still find all the complex roots, given some luck.

Screenshot_20200830_133324

Screenshot_20200830_133453


The AppImage can be found at this repository on my site:

https://dirkmittler.homeip.net/binaries/

The relevant file is named ‘Dirk_Roots_GUI_1-x86_64.AppImage‘. It will only run under Linux, unfortunately.


 

Screenshot_20200831_233802


 

 

Dirk

 

How to run my AppImages using FireJail.

First of all, I’d like to do some basic defining:

What is FireJail? It’s a type of sandboxing program, which can be run from the command-line, and which allows users to run certain programs which they do not trust, even with user-level access to their Linux computers.

What is an AppImage? It’s a special kind of file, that has execute permissions set, but that is also linked to its own, local version of many libraries, thereby circumventing compatibility issues. But, the way an AppImage is made, consists of a file-system image, that the kernel actually needs to mount, within which these libraries and executables exist, and that gets mounted read-only by default. The security of the computer really depends, on the kernel making sure, that none of the files in this virtual FS can be mounted, with their SETUID bits taking effect. (:1) (:2)

However, even under Linux, there is some risk in ‘arbitrary code’ running with the username of the person who caused this, since most of that user’s personal data is also stored under his or her username. Further, modern Linux computers sometimes ask for requests coming from user-space, resulting in actions by the O/S, and with elevated privileges.

The problem in running certain AppImage’s using FireJail is the fact that the most recent AppImage’s use ‘SquashFS’ as their (compressed) image, while older AppImage’s used an ISO container, which did not offer (much) compression. The version of FireJail that I can install under Debian 9 / Stretch is still of a variety, that can only run AppImage’s built with ISO Images, not with SquashFS. The following bulletin-board posting correctly identified the problem, at least for me:

https://github.com/netblue30/firejail/issues/1143

Following what was suggested there, and wanting this to work, I next uninstalled the version of FireJail that ships with my distro, and cloned the following repository, after which I custom-compiled FireJail from there:

https://github.com/netblue30/firejail

I got version 0.9.63 to work, apparently fully.

This latest version of FireJail does in fact run my AppImage’s just fine. Not only that, but now I can know that other, more recent AppImage’s can also be run with FireJail (on my main computer).

If people want to obtain the accompanying GUI, then the way to do that is, to custom-compile the accompanying ‘firetools’ project:

https://github.com/netblue30/firetools

This parallels how the Debian ‘firetools’ package enhances the Debian ‘firejail’ package…

Screenshot_20200828_140220

 


 

 

But, if people are only willing to use the version of FJ that comes with their package manager, then my AppImage’s will never run, for the reason I just explained.

N.B.:

When running AppImage’s using FireJail, one precedes the name of the AppImage with the ‘--appimage‘ command-line option, because they are a special case.

(Updated 8/29/2020, 13h05: )

Continue reading How to run my AppImages using FireJail.