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LWN.net is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main LWN.net feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

[$] Elastic promises "open"—delivers proprietary

5 hours 12 min ago
Open-source software is famously able to be used by anyone for any purpose; those are some of the keystones of the open source definition. But some companies that run open-source projects are increasingly unhappy that others are reaping some of the profits from those projects. That has led to various efforts of "license reform" meant to try to capture those profits. So far, those efforts have just led to non-open-source licenses, thus projects that are no longer open source. We are seeing that play out yet again with Elastic's mid-January announcement that it was changing the license on some of its projects.

Three stable kernels

6 hours 23 min ago
Stable kernels 5.10.11, 5.4.93, and 4.19.171 have been released. They contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Wednesday

6 hours 29 min ago
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (sudo), CentOS (sudo), Debian (sudo), Fedora (kernel, php-pear, and sudo), Gentoo (cacti, mutt, and sudo), Mageia (sudo), openSUSE (sudo), Oracle (sudo), Red Hat (sudo), Scientific Linux (sudo), Slackware (sudo), SUSE (go1.14, go1.15, nodejs8, and sudo), and Ubuntu (libsndfile and sudo).

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 26th of January 2021 04:16:02 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (dnsmasq, net-snmp, and xstream), Debian (mutt), Gentoo (cfitsio, f2fs-tools, freeradius, libvirt, mutt, ncurses, openjpeg, PEAR-Archive_Tar, and qtwebengine), openSUSE (chromium, mutt, stunnel, and virtualbox), Red Hat (cryptsetup, gnome-settings-daemon, and net-snmp), Scientific Linux (xstream), SUSE (postgresql, postgresql12, postgresql13 and rubygem-nokogiri), and Ubuntu (mutt).

Firefox 85 released

Tuesday 26th of January 2021 03:05:18 PM
Version 85 of the Firefox browser has been released. The headline change appears to be the isolation of internal caches to defeat the use of "supercookies" to track users; see this blog entry for details. "In fact, there are many different caches trackers can abuse to build supercookies. Firefox 85 partitions all of the following caches by the top-level site being visited: HTTP cache, image cache, favicon cache, HSTS cache, OCSP cache, style sheet cache, font cache, DNS cache, HTTP Authentication cache, Alt-Svc cache, and TLS certificate cache."

pip 21.0 has now been released

Monday 25th of January 2021 10:31:07 PM
The Python Packaging Authority (PyPA) has announced the release of pip 21.0. This version removes Python 2.7 and 3.5 support, and drops support for legacy cache entries from pip < 20.0.

[$] The endless browser wars

Monday 25th of January 2021 05:45:12 PM
The term "browser wars" typically refers to Microsoft's attempts to dominate the World Wide Web with its Internet Explorer browser in the 1990s. That effort was thwarted by antitrust efforts and the rise of the free browser now known as Firefox; ever since, the web has been defined by free software. Or so some may have thought. In the 2020s, the browser wars continue with the growing dominance of Chrome and, it would seem, the imminent removal of Chromium from many Linux distributions.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 25th of January 2021 03:56:45 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (crmsh, debian-security-support, flatpak, gst-plugins-bad1.0, openvswitch, python-bottle, salt, tomcat9, and vlc), Fedora (chromium, python-pillow, sddm, and xen), Gentoo (chromium, dnsmasq, flatpak, glibc, kdeconnect, openjdk, python, thunderbird, virtualbox, and wireshark), Mageia (blosc, crmsh, glibc, perl-DBI, php-oojs-oojs-ui, python-pip, python-urllib3, and undertow), openSUSE (gdk-pixbuf, hawk2, ImageMagick, opera, python-autobahn, viewvc, wavpack, and xstream), Red Hat (dnsmasq), Slackware (seamonkey), SUSE (hawk2, ImageMagick, mutt, permissions, and stunnel), and Ubuntu (pound).

Kernel prepatch 5.11-rc5

Monday 25th of January 2021 03:32:28 PM
The 5.11-rc5 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "Nothing particularly stands out. We had a couple of splice() regressions that came in during the previous release as part of the 'get rid of set_fs()' development, but they were for odd cases that most people would never notice. I think it's just that 5.10 is now getting more widely deployed so people see the fallout from that rather fundamental change in the last release."

Some weekend stable kernel updates

Saturday 23rd of January 2021 04:54:48 PM
The next round of stable kernel updates is out: 5.10.10, 5.4.92, 4.19.170, 4.14.217, 4.9.253, and 4.4.253. Each contains another set of important fixes.

[$] Preserving the mobility of ZONE_MOVABLE

Friday 22nd of January 2021 06:08:51 PM
Memory fragmentation has long been a problem for Linux systems, to the point that, for years, finding even two physically contiguous pages was an uncertain affair. That said, the situation has improved considerably in the last decade or so thanks to a number of changes implemented by the memory-management developers. One of those changes is the creation of "movable" memory zones where pages can be relocated if need be. All that work is for nothing, though, if somebody comes along and pins down a page in one of these movable zones. This patch set from Pavel Tatashin seeks to prevent that from happening, but may risk creating problems elsewhere.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 22nd of January 2021 02:39:25 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7), Fedora (dotnet3.1), Gentoo (zabbix), openSUSE (ImageMagick and python-autobahn), and SUSE (hawk2 and wavpack).

This is 2021: what’s coming in free/libre software (Libre Arts)

Thursday 21st of January 2021 09:16:39 PM
Libre Arts (formerly Libre Graphics World) has posted a comprehensive survey of what 2021 might hold for a wide range of free content-creation software.

The topic of fullscreen color management implementation in Wayland is back, and it’s a kinda frustrating story. In a nutshell:

  • people who are now working on this (Collabora developers) seem to have little experience with color management but they appear to be motivated to hack on the code;
  • all the while people who have a crapload of experience with color management have had bad experience discussing this before, do not like the approach by the new team, and don’t seem excited to contribute to this new effort (Graeme’s spec proposal is still available).

So we might end up with an implementation that is not suitable for professional work.

Corellium: How we ported Linux to the M1

Thursday 21st of January 2021 06:37:26 PM
The Corellium blog is carrying a description of how the Linux port to the Apple M1 processor was done. "Many components of the M1 are shared with Apple mobile SoCs, which gave us a good running start. But when writing Linux drivers, it became very apparent how non-standard Apple SoCs really are. Our virtual environment is extremely flexible in terms of models it can accommodate; but on the Linux side, the 64-bit ARM world has largely settled on a well-defined set of building blocks and firmware interfaces - nearly none of which were used on the M1."

[$] Avoiding blocking file-name lookups

Thursday 21st of January 2021 03:56:06 PM
As a general rule, when one attempts to open a file with a system call like openat2(), the expectation is that the call will not return until the job is done. But there are times where the desire to open the file is conditional on being able to open it immediately, without blocking. Linux has never supported that mode well, but that may be about to change with this patch set from Jens Axboe.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 21st of January 2021 02:33:17 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (mutt), Fedora (libntlm, mingw-python-pillow, python-pillow, and sudo), Mageia (kernel), SUSE (gdk-pixbuf, perl-Convert-ASN1, samba, and yast2-multipath), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-hwe-5.8, linux-oracle).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for January 21, 2021

Thursday 21st of January 2021 12:58:37 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for January 21, 2021 is available.

[$] Installing Debian on modern hardware

Wednesday 20th of January 2021 09:30:30 PM
It is an unfortunate fact of life that non-free firmware blobs are required to use some hardware, such as network devices (WiFi in particular), audio peripherals, and video cards. Beyond that, those blobs may even be required in order to install a Linux distribution, so an installation over the network may need to get non-free firmware directly from the installation media. That, as might be guessed, is a bit of a problem for distributions that are not willing to officially ship said firmware because of its non-free status, as a recent discussion in the Debian community shows.

The Debian tech committee allows Kubernetes vendoring

Wednesday 20th of January 2021 09:24:11 PM
Back in October, LWN looked at a conversation within the Debian project regarding whether it was permissible to ship Kubernetes bundled with some 200 dependencies. The Debian technical committee has finally come to a conclusion on this matter: this bundling is acceptable and the maintainer will not be required to make changes:

Our consensus is that Kubernetes ought to be considered special in the same way that Firefox is considered special -- we treat the package differently from most other source packages because (i) it is very large and complex, and (ii) upstream has significantly more resources to keep all those moving parts up-to-date than Debian does.

In the end, allowing this vendoring seemed like the only feasible way to package Kubernetes for Debian.

Banon: License changes to Elasticsearch and Kibana

Wednesday 20th of January 2021 07:27:44 PM
Shay Banon first announced that Elastic would move its Apache 2.0-licensed source code in Elasticsearch and Kibana to be dual licensed under Server Side Public License (SSPL) and the Elastic License. "To be clear, our distributions starting with 7.11 will be provided only under the Elastic License, which does not have any copyleft aspects. If you are building Elasticsearch and/or Kibana from source, you may choose between SSPL and the Elastic License to govern your use of the source code."

In another post Banon added some clarification. "SSPL, a copyleft license based on GPL, aims to provide many of the freedoms of open source, though it is not an OSI approved license and is not considered open source."

There is also this article on why the change was made. "So why the change? AWS and Amazon Elasticsearch Service. They have been doing things that we think are just NOT OK since 2015 and it has only gotten worse. If we don’t stand up to them now, as a successful company and leader in the market, who will?"

The FAQ has additional information. "While we have chosen to avoid confusion by not using the term open source to refer to these products, we will continue to use the word “Open” and “Free and Open.” These are simple ways to describe the fact that the product is free to use, the source code is available, and also applies to our open and collaborative engagement model in GitHub. We remain committed to the principles of open source - transparency, collaboration, and community."

More in Tux Machines

AMD Schedutil vs. Performance Governor Benchmarks On Linux 5.11 Shows More Upside Potential

With a pending patch, the Linux 5.11 AMD Zen 2 / Zen 3 performance is looking very good as far as the out-of-the-box performance is concerned when using Schedutil as is becoming the increasingly default CPU frequency scaling governor on more distributions / default kernels. With the previously noted Linux 5.11 regression addressed from when the AMD CPU frequency invariance support was first introduced, the Schedutil performance from small Ryzen systems up through big EPYC hardware is looking quite good. But how much upside is left in relation to the optimal CPU frequency scaling performance with the "performance" governor? Here is a look at those benchmarks on Ryzen and EPYC for Schedutil vs. Performance on a patched Linux 5.11 kernel. Read more

today's howtos

  • Visualizing system performance with RHEL 8 using Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) and Grafana (Part 2)

    In this post, I’d like to show you how to use Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) with Grafana and Redis to store and graph performance data for all the machines in your environment. We’ll do this in a simple two machine setup, but the concepts are the same as you add more machines.

  • Calibre 5.0 for Linux

    For those who like to read, Calibre is a wonderful program for managing e-books. Calibre will not only allowed to maintain and organize your library of e-books but also perform format conversions. Calibre can also let you read your e-books on your system without needing an e-reader. Of course, you can always read an e-book on a smartphone.

  • Firecracker: start a VM in less than a second

    Initially when I read about Firecracker being released, I thought it was just a tool for cloud providers to use – I knew that AWS Fargate and https://fly.io used it, but I didn’t think that it was something that I could directly use myself. But it turns out that Firecracker is relatively straightforward to use (or at least as straightforward as anything else that’s for running VMs), the documentation and examples are pretty clear, you definitely don’t need to be a cloud provider to use it, and as advertised, it starts VMs really fast! So I wanted to write about using Firecracker from a more DIY “I just want to run some VMs” perspective. I’ll start out by talking about what I’m using it for, and then I’ll explain a few things I learned about it along the way.

  • 3 email mistakes and how to avoid them

    In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 17 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021. OK, so we've talked about some things we should do with our email - Stop treating it as an instant messenger, Prioritize things, trying to reach Inbox Zero, and filtering it effectively. But what things SHOULDN'T we do?

  • 6 Steps to Teach Yourself System Administration

    Looking for ways to get started in system administration? In this Skills article, we’ll provide an overview of resources that will help you on your way. If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of what a system administrator does, we recommend starting with this introduction. There is no traditional path for acquiring the technical skills needed as a system administrator, according to Enable Sysadmin. “Some sysadmins have an associate or college degree, and some don’t. Depending on when a sysadmin began their career, he or she might have a variety of technical certificates ... or none at all.” Here, we provide an array of options with which to plot your own course of study.

  • How to install KaOS 2021.01
  • How to Install Krita 4.4.2 via Another PPA in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10

    For those prefer installing apps via apt method, the digital painting software Krita 4.4.2 now is available to install via another well trusted PPA for Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Linux Mint 20. Krita 4.4.2 was released a week ago as the latest version of the free open-source painting software, with new features: SVG mesh Gradients, mesh transform, new gradient fill layer type, new brushes, and improved HiDPI support.

  • How to set up static IP address on Debian Linux 10/11 - nixCraft

    I have Debian 10 Linux cloud server, and it is configured to get IP addresses via DHCP. How do I convert DHCP address to static IP address settings?

  • How To Enable Hardware Accelerated Video Decode In Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi And Opera Browsers On Debian, Ubuntu Or Linux Mint

    Google Chrome 88 (and newer) has made hardware accelerated video decoding available on Linux, but it's not enabled by default. Google Chrome is not the only Chromium-based web browser to support hardware acceleration on Linux though. This article explains how to enable hardware-accelerated video decoding in Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi and Opera web browsers running on Debian, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS or Linux Mint (Xorg only). Using hardware-accelerated video decode in your web browser should result in using less CPU usage (and thus, less battery draining) when playing online videos. It's worth noting that Chromium web browser had patches that allowed making hardware accelerated video decoding available on Linux for some time, and some Linux distributions packaged it using those patches. So Chromium users have had hardware acceleration on Linux for some time, depending on their Linux distribution or if they installed the patched Chromium in some other way. E.g. on Ubuntu / Linux Mint there's a PPA with VA-API patched Chromium builds. Thus, these instructions may also work for Chromium browser, depending on how it's built.

  • How to Manipulate Images in the Linux Terminal

    Ever tire of constantly opening up your favorite image editor for a simple crop, resize, or to change the file format? Maybe you have a need to easily perform these tasks in batch or within software? Here's how to use the Linux convert tool, which allows you to do all this with terminal via the command line, and much more.

10 Best Linux Distros for Developers

While Linux might not be the favored operating system for casual users, it’s the go-to choice for most developers and programmers. Linux is a more practical OS that was explicitly designed with programming and developers in mind. There are over 600 Linux distros to choose from, so even experienced users may seldom struggle to find their current project's ideal flavor. Linux distributions can vary hugely from one another, even though they are based on the same source. And if you’re looking to learn more about Linux distros, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best Linux distros for developers. Read more

Puppy Linux Review and its Status Quo in the Linux Community

If we had 30 seconds to describe Puppy Linux bluntly, we would classify it as an OS under the light-weight Linux distro family with a functional objective of creating a smooth and easy user experience while simultaneously minimizing the memory footprint usage as much as possible. In this context, the memory footprint refers to the RAM, or Main Memory is used while software like an Operating System is active or operational. This 30-second assumptive description on Puppy Linux characterizes it as a Linux distro suitable for personal or home-user computers. If we are to assign it a birth year, then it would be 2003, and its creator being Barry Kauler. Puppy Linux stands out in the Linux community despite its name not being hailed on regular occasions as other Linux distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, Centos, and Kali Linux. The respect it has in these user communities is due to its outstanding positive attributes on display. Read more