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More in Tux Machines

Why I switched to Fedora

As stated above Fedora has a software freedom commitment similar in spirit to that of Debian. This means that you should be able to give Fedora to anyone, anywhere without violating intellectual property laws. Any software which is either not licensed in a way that Fedora finds acceptable or that bares US patent encumbrances can be found in the rpmfusion.org repository. After the install your next concern is undoubtedly configuring things and installing new packages. Fedora’s command-line package manager is dnf. It works as you would expect. Note also that since rpm uses file-based dependency tracking instead of package-based dependency tracking, as almost all others do, there are very few traditional metapackages. There are, however, package groups. Read more

Kernel and Graphics: Another Attack on the GPL, Power Management and Thermal Control Microconference, Intel and AMD

  • Wrap it before you tap it? No, say Linux developers: 'GPL condom' for Nvidia driver is laughed out of the kernel

    Linux devs have dismissed a proposed patch to the kernel that would only work with a Nvidia driver, motivating a second patch that will prevent disguised use of proprietary code in GPL modules. The Linux Kernel licensing rules make provision for proprietary third-party modules but state that they must be tagged as such. This "cannot be used for modules with source code in the kernel tree. Modules tagged that way are tainting the kernel with the 'P' flag when loaded and the kernel module loader refuses to link such modules against symbols which are exported with EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()." Facebook developer Jonathan Lemon put forward an RFC (Request for Comments) on a proposal to implement DMA (Direct Memory Access) zero-copy between a network card and a GPU to enhance network performance, while keeping the protocol processing on the CPU. The use case is for "GPUs used for machine learning, which are located near the NICs, and have a high bandwidth PCI connection between the GPU/NIC," states the RFC. The code relies on Nvidia's proprietary driver for Linux, noticed by kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman, who observed: "OK, now you are just trolling us. Nice job, I shouldn't have read the previous patches. Please, go get a lawyer to sign-off on this patch, with their corporate email address on it. That's the only way we could possibly consider something like this."

  • Power Management and Thermal Control Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the Power Management and Thermal Control Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference! Power management and thermal control is an important area in the Linux ecosystem to help with the global environment. Optimizing the amount of work that is achieved while having long battery life and keeping the box from overheating is critical in today’s world. This meeting will focus on continuing to have Linux be an efficient operating system while still lowering the cost of running a data center. Last year’s meetup at Linux Plumbers resulted in the introduction of thermal pressure support into the CPU scheduler as well as several improvements to the thermal framework, such as a netlink implementation of thermal notification and improvements to CPU cooling. Discussions from last year also helped to improve systems-wide suspend testing tools.

  • Intel Tiger Lake OpenCL Support On Linux Now Considered Production Ready

    With all the recent work on Intel's open-source compute stack around the vector back-end and GPU code generation with their ISPC compiler there was another significant milestone achieved that went unnoticed until spotting the change a few days ago.  The open-source Intel Compute Runtime in the past two weeks now has "production" ready OpenCL support for the forthcoming Gen12 Tiger Lake graphics. That's good news with Tiger Lake laptops expected to market soon. 

  • RADV ACO Back-End Begins Tackling Navi 2 / GFX10.3 Support

    With the "Sienna Cichlid" and "Navy Flounder" open-source driver support as what appear to be the first "Navi 2" GPUs and the first of the "GFX10.3" generation on the graphics engine side there is the initial kernel support with Linux 5.9 and the initial Mesa support for 20.2. That Mesa support has been focused on RadeonSI as the official OpenGL driver as well as Mesa's RADV driver as the Radeon Vulkan driver in-tree but not officially supported by AMD. That RADV support is currently un-tested. Both drivers currently depend upon the "AMDGPU" back-end found in the forthcoming LLVM 11.0 with its initial GFX10.3 support. But now on the RADV driver side there is preliminary GFX10.3 bits landing for the popular "ACO" back-end.  ACO is the back-end worked on by Valve and other stakeholders like open-source graphics driver engineers from Google and Red Hat. But as ACO isn't officially supported by AMD, there hasn't been any patches from them in wiring up the Navi 2 / GFX10.3 support for this AMDGPU LLVM alternative. Rhys Perry as part of Valve's Linux driver efforts though has worked out what should be the initial changes needed for this yet-to-be-released hardware with ACO. 

Security: Back Doors, EFF, Trump/Microsoft Blackmail and 1Password on GNU/Linux

  • Bill Barr Applauds FOSTA Sponsor's Clone Of Senate's Encryption-Breaking 'Lawful Access' Bill

    I guess those "rule of law" folks don't care if a law is any good or will do what it intends to do without causing significant collateral damage. All they care about is that it's a law and, as a law, everyone should just subject themselves to it with a minimum of complaining.

  • Supporting Digital Freedom at the (Virtual) Summer Security Conferences

    During a typical year, EFF staff members would be headed to Las Vegas to present our latest work to the world and ensure legal support for computer security researchers at the long-running hacker events BSidesLV, Black Hat, and DEF CON. These summer security conferences are a natural opportunity for the curious and the professional to geek out on tech. Hackers, tinkerers, and reverse engineers were among the first to embrace the excitement and potential of their own imaginations in digital space. They have been a core part of EFF and the online freedom community since the beginning, and we relish thanking them face to face.

    But this year, as we each grapple with a sobering pandemic, these conferences have had to undergo big changes and are all happening in virtual space. DEF CON is even free to attend. This pandemic, as well as far-reaching protests, have forced us to rethink much of our daily lives—and these questions can feel overwhelming.

  • TikTok Ban: A Seed of Genuine Security Concern Wrapped in a Thick Layer of Censorship

    It is ironic that, while purporting to protect America from China’s authoritarian government, President Trump is threatening to ban the TikTok app. Censorship of both speech and social media applications, after all, is one of the hallmarks of the Chinese Internet strategy.  While there is significant cause for concern with TikTok’s security, privacy, and its relationship with the Chinese government, we should resist a governmental power to ban a popular means of communication and expression.  

    As is too often the case with government pronouncements, the Trump administration has proposed a ban without specifying what the ban would actually be or what authority allows for it. Rather, the President has said broadly, “we’re banning them from the United States,” or most recently, “it's going to be out of business in the United States.” This could mean a ban on using the app, or perhaps a ban on distributing TikTok in app stores, or maybe something else. Any way you slice it, an effective ban of the scope suggested cannot be squared with the Constitution. 

  • ‘1Password’ App Coming To Linux, Initial Release Available For Download

    The user-friendly and cross-platform password manager app, 1Password, is finally coming for all Linux platforms with full-feature and native support. Currently, a development preview for Linux has been unveiled. This is the initial release for testing and validation purposes only. Hence, you should not use its Linux development preview for production or business environments. As planned, an official release with long-term support will be announced later this year after including new updates, features, and changes over the next few months. However, if you want a stable version of 1Password for Linux, you can use 1Password X in your browser. 1Password is available for all devices, browsers, and operating systems such as Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, Google Chrome, Brave, Edge, and Firefox. And now it is also going to be available for Linux desktop as well.

BSD: ZFS, NetBSD and BSD Router Project Release 1.97

  • An Introduction to ZFS A Place to Start

    ZFS has become increasingly popular in recent years. ZFS on Linux (ZoL) has pushed the envelope and exposed many newcomers to the ZFS fold. iXsystems has adopted the newer codebase, now called OpenZFS, into its codebase for TrueNAS CORE. The purpose of this article is to help those of you who have heard about ZFS but have not yet had the opportunity to research it.

    Our hope is that we leave you with a better understanding of how and why it works the way it does. Knowledge is key to the decision-making process, and we feel that ZFS is something worth considering for most organizations.

  • GSoC Reports: Enhancing Syzkaller support for NetBSD, Part 2

    As a part of Google summer code 2020, I have been working on Enhance the Syzkaller support for NetBSD. This post summarises the work done in the past month. For work done in the first coding period, you can take a look at the previous post.

  • The GNU GDB Debugger and NetBSD (Part 3)

    I've written an integration of GDB with fork(2) and vfork(2) events. Unfortunately, this support (present in a local copy of GDB in the base-system) had not been merged so far, because there is a generic kernel regression with the pg_jobc variable. This variable can be called a reference counter of the number of processes within a process group that has a parent with control over a terminal. The semantics of this variable are not very well defined and in the result the number can become negative. This unexpected state of pg_jobc resulted in spurious crashes during kernel fuzzing. As a result new kernel assertions checking for non-negative pg_jobc values were introduced in order to catch the anomalies quickly. GDB as a ptrace(2)-based application happened to reproduce negative pg_jobc values quickly and reliably and this stopped the further adoption of the fork(2) and vfork(2) patch in GDB, until the pg_jobc behavior is enhanced. I was planning to include support for posix_spawn(3) events as well, as they are implemented as a first-class operation through a syscall, however this is also blocked by the pg_jobc blocker.

  • BSD Router Project Release 1.97 (04/08/2020)