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Syndicate content is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
Updated: 41 min 17 sec ago

[$] Open-source voting for San Francisco

Wednesday 28th of August 2019 10:41:56 PM
To open-source fans, the lure of open-source voting systems is surely strong. So a talk at 2019 Open Source Summit North America on a project for open-source voting in San Francisco sounded promising; it is a city with lots of technical know-how among its inhabitants. While progress has definitely been made—though at an almost glacially slow speed—there is no likelihood that the city will be voting using open-source software in the near future. The talk by Tony Wasserman was certainly interesting, however, and provided a look at the intricacies of elections and voting that make it clear the problem is not as easy as it might at first appear.

Microsoft to put exFAT support into the kernel

Wednesday 28th of August 2019 05:28:09 PM
Linux support for the exFAT filesystem has had a long and troubled history; Microsoft has long asserted patents in this area that have prevented that code from being merged into the kernel. Microsoft has just changed its tune, announcing that upstreaming exFAT is now OK: "It’s important to us that the Linux community can make use of exFAT included in the Linux kernel with confidence. To this end, we will be making Microsoft’s technical specification for exFAT publicly available to facilitate development of conformant, interoperable implementations. We also support the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the Open Invention Network’s Linux System Definition, where, once accepted, the code will benefit from the defensive patent commitments of OIN’s 3040+ members and licensees."

GNOME Foundation launches Coding Education Challenge

Wednesday 28th of August 2019 04:46:22 PM
The GNOME Foundation, with support from Endless, has announced the Coding Education Challenge, a competition aimed to attract projects that offer educators and students new and innovative ideas to teach coding with free and open source software. "Anyone is encouraged to submit a proposal. Individuals and teams will be judged through three tiers of competition. Twenty winners will be selected from an open call for ideas and will each receive $6,500 in prize money. Those winners will progress to a proof of concept round and build a working prototype. Five winners from that round will be awarded $25,000 and progress to the final round where they will turn the prototype into an end product. The final winner will receive a prize of $100,000 and the second placed product a prize of $25,000."

[$] Ask the TAB

Wednesday 28th of August 2019 03:13:12 PM
The Linux Foundation (LF) Technical Advisory Board (TAB) is meant to give the kernel community some representation within the foundation. In a "birds of a feather" (BoF) session at the 2019 Open Source Summit North America, four TAB members participated in an "Ask the TAB" session. Laura Abbott organized the BoF and Tim Bird, Greg Kroah-Hartman, and Steven Rostedt joined in as well. In the session, the history behind the TAB, its role, and some of its activities over the years were described.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 28th of August 2019 02:28:57 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (dovecot), Fedora (docker and nghttp2), Oracle (pango), SUSE (apache2, fontforge, ghostscript-library, libreoffice, libvirt, podman, slirp4netns and libcontainers-common, postgresql10, and slurm), and Ubuntu (dovecot).

Rust is the future of systems programming, C is the new Assembly (Packt)

Wednesday 28th of August 2019 02:22:27 PM
Packt has published a lengthy writeup of a talk by Josh Triplett on work being done to advance the Rust language for system-level programming. "Systems programming often involves low-level manipulations and requires low-level details of the processors such as privileged instructions. For this, Rust supports using inline Assembly via the 'asm!' macro. However, it is only present in the nightly compiler and not yet stabilized. Triplett in a collaboration with other Rust developers is writing a proposal to introduce more robust syntax for inline Assembly."

[$] Inline encryption for filesystems

Tuesday 27th of August 2019 04:26:24 PM
The encryption of data at rest is increasingly mandatory in a wide range of settings from mobile devices to data centers. Linux has supported encryption at both the filesystem and block-storage layers for some time, but that support comes with a cost: either the CPU must encrypt and decrypt vast amounts of data moving to and from persistent storage or it must orchestrate offloading that work to a separate device. It was thus only a matter of time before ways were found to offload that overhead to the storage hardware itself. Satya Tangirala's inline encryption patch set is intended to enable the kernel to take advantage of this hardware in a general manner.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 27th of August 2019 02:33:30 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache2 and xymon), openSUSE (putty and vlc), Red Hat (kernel and ruby), Scientific Linux (advancecomp, bind, binutils, blktrace, compat-libtiff3, curl, dhcp, elfutils, exempi, exiv2, fence-agents, freerdp and vinagre, ghostscript, glibc, gvfs, http-parser, httpd, kde-workspace, keepalived, kernel, keycloak-httpd-client-install, libarchive, libcgroup, libguestfs-winsupport, libjpeg-turbo, libmspack, libreoffice, libsolv, libssh2, libtiff, libvirt, libwpd, linux-firmware, mariadb, mercurial, mod_auth_openidc, nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, and nspr, ntp, opensc, openssh, openssl, ovmf, patch, perl-Archive-Tar, polkit, poppler, procps-ng, python, python-requests, python-urllib3, qemu-kvm, qt5, rsyslog, ruby, samba, sox, spice-gtk, sssd, systemd, tomcat, udisks2, unixODBC, unzip, uriparser, Xorg, zsh, and zziplib), Slackware (kernel), and SUSE (ardana-ansible, ardana-db, ardana-freezer, ardana-glance, ardana-input-model, ardana-nova, ardana-osconfig, ardana-tempest, caasp-openstack-heat-templates, crowbar-core, crowbar-ha, crowbar-openstack, crowbar-ui, documentation-suse-openstack-cloud, galera-python-clustercheck, openstack-cinder, openstack-glance, openstack-heat, openstack-horizon-plugin-monasca-ui, openstack-horizon-plugin-neutron-fwaas-ui, openstack-ironic, openstack-keystone, openstack-manila, openstack-monasca-agent, openstack-monasca-api, openstack-monasca-persister, openstack-monasca-persister-java, openstack-murano, openstack-neutron, openstack-neutron-gbp, openstack-neutron-lbaas, openstack-nova, openstack-octavia, python-Beaver, python-oslo.db, python-osprofiler, python-swiftlm, venv-openstack-magnum, venv-openstack-monasca, venv-openstack-monasca-ceilometer, venv-openstack-murano, venv-openstack-neutron and qemu).

[$] Linker limitations on 32-bit architectures

Tuesday 27th of August 2019 01:31:57 PM
Before a program can be run, it needs to be built. It's a well-known fact that modern software, in general, consumes more runtime resources than before, sometimes to the point of forcing users to upgrade their computers. But it also consumes more resources at build time, forcing operators of the distributions' build farms to invest in new hardware, with faster CPUs and more memory. For 32-bit architectures, however, there exists a fundamental limit on the amount of virtual memory, which is never going to disappear. That is leading to some problems for distributions trying to build packages for those architectures.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 26th of August 2019 01:39:56 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox, libreoffice-still, nginx, nginx-mainline, and subversion), Debian (commons-beanutils, h2o, libapache2-mod-auth-openidc, libmspack, qemu, squid, and tiff), Fedora (kubernetes, libmodbus, nfdump, and nodejs), openSUSE (dkgpg, libTMCG, go1.12, neovim, python, qbittorrent, schismtracker, teeworlds, thunderbird, and zstd), and SUSE (go1.11, go1.12, python-SQLAlchemy, and python-Twisted).

Prepatch and stable kernels

Monday 26th of August 2019 01:32:24 PM
On the development side, Linus has released 5.3-rc6 for testing. "I’m doing a (free) operating system (more than just a hobby) for 486 AT clones and a lot of other hardware. This has been brewing for the last 28 years, and is still not done. I’d like any feedback on any bugs introduced this release (or older bugs too, for that matter)."

For those wanting something more stable, 5.2.10, 4.19.68, 4.14.140, 4.9.190, and 4.4.190 have all been released.

[$] Debating the Cryptographic Autonomy License

Friday 23rd of August 2019 08:28:25 PM
If one were to ask a group of free-software developers whether the community needs more software licenses, the majority of the group would almost certainly answer "no". We have the licenses we need to express a range of views of software freedom, and adding to the list just tends to create confusion and compatibility issues. That does not stop people from writing new licenses, though. While much of the "innovation" in software licenses in recent times is focused on giving copyright holders more control over how others use their code (while still being able to brand it "open source"), there are exceptions. The proposed "Cryptographic Autonomy License" (CAL) is one of those; its purpose is to give users of CAL-licensed code control over the data that is processed with that code.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 23rd of August 2019 01:41:12 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (cups, nginx, and openjdk-7), Fedora (httpd, mod_md, nghttp2, and patch), and SUSE (rubygem-loofah).

[$] Restricting path name lookup with openat2()

Thursday 22nd of August 2019 07:24:26 PM
Looking up a file given a path name seems like a straightforward task, but it turns out to be one of the more complex things the kernel does. Things get more complicated if one is trying to write robust (user-space) code that can do the right thing with paths that are controlled by a potentially hostile user. Attempts to make the open() and openat() system calls safer date back at least to an attempt to add O_BENEATH in 2014, but numerous problems remain. Aleksa Sarai, who has been working in this area for a while, has now concluded that a new version of openat(), naturally called openat2(), is required to truly solve this problem.

Backdoors in Webmin

Thursday 22nd of August 2019 01:14:22 PM
Anybody using Webmin, a web-based system-administration tool, will want to update now, as it turns out that the system has been backdoored for over a year. "At some time in April 2018, the Webmin development build server was exploited and a vulnerability added to the password_change.cgi script. Because the timestamp on the file was set back, it did not show up in any Git diffs. This was included in the Webmin 1.890 release."

Backdoor code found in 11 Ruby libraries (ZDNet)

Thursday 22nd of August 2019 01:08:49 PM
ZDNet reports on the discovery of a set of malicious libraries in the RubyGems repository. "The individual behind this scheme was active for more than a month, and their actions were not detected. Things changed when the hacker managed to gain access to the RubyGems account of one of the rest-client developers, which he used to push four malicious versions of rest-client on RubyGems. However, by targeting such a high-profile project that has over 113 million total downloads on RubyGems, the hacker also brought a lot of light to their operation, which was taken down within a few hours after users first spotted the malicious code in the rest-client library."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 22nd of August 2019 12:59:53 PM
Security updates have been issued by Fedora (nginx), openSUSE (ImageMagick and putty), Red Hat (Ansible, atomic-openshift-web-console, ceph, and qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (kvm, libssh2_org, postgresql96, qemu, and wavpack), and Ubuntu (libzstd and openjpeg2).

[$] Weekly Edition for August 22, 2019

Thursday 22nd of August 2019 12:30:07 AM
The Weekly Edition for August 22, 2019 is available.

[$] OpenPOWER opens further

Wednesday 21st of August 2019 08:25:11 PM
In what was to prove something of a theme throughout the morning, Hugh Blemings said that he had been feeling a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas recently, but that the day when the presents can be unwrapped had finally arrived. He is the executive director of the OpenPOWER Foundation and was kicking off the keynotes for the second day of the 2019 OpenPOWER Summit North America; the keynotes would reveal the "most significant and impressive announcements" in the history of the project, he said. Multiple presentations outlined a major change in the openness of the OpenPOWER instruction set architecture (ISA), along with various related hardware and software pieces; in short, OpenPOWER can be used by compliant products without paying royalties and with a grant of the patents that IBM holds on it. In addition, the foundation will be moving under the aegis of the Linux Foundation.

[$] Making containers safer

Wednesday 21st of August 2019 02:24:10 PM
On day one of the Linux Security Summit North America (LSS-NA), Stéphane Graber and Christian Brauner gave a presentation on the current state and the future of container security. They both work for Canonical on the LXD project; Graber is the project lead and Brauner is the maintainer. They looked at the different kernel mechanisms that can be used to make containers more secure and provided some recommendations based on what they have learned along the way.

More in Tux Machines

Devices: Wi-Fi, Vecow, Arduino, Ghidra for Firmware Deciphering

  • Responding to Growing Demand, Edgewater Launches Wi-Fi Spectrum Slicing Development Kit

    Wi-Fi Spectrum Slicing offers breakthrough performance, slicing available spectrum, and exposing a new level of Wi-Fi spectrum granularity for developers to exploit. Edgewater’s groundbreaking MCSR™ silicon solutions and advanced Linux drivers allow the global Linux community to use the widely adopted Linux and OpenWrt software platforms to harness Edgewater’s technology and invent new and creative applications for the platform.

  • Rugged Kaby Lake vehicle PC does it all on the road or rail

    Vecow’s Linux-friendly “IVH-9024MX ICY” in-vehicle PC runs on a 7th or 6th Gen Core or Xeon CPUs and offers triple displays, 6x SATA bays, 4x PoE+ ports, 2x mini-PCIe, and EN50155: 2017 and EN45545-2 railway compliance. Vecow unveiled the rugged IVH-9024MX ICY back in June as an all-purpose in-vehicle and rolling-stock computer and this week announced certifications for EN50155 and EN45545-2 (fire protection) railway safety standards. This is the first 7th Gen Kaby Lake based fanless embedded system to receive these certifications, claims Vecow.

  • Get started with... Arduino?

    Yes, you read that title right, and no, you haven’t accidentally stumbled upon the Arduino Foundation’s website. Today, we’re pleased to announce a new addition to the Raspberry Pi Press family: Get Started with Arduino, a complete how-to guide to help you get hands on with the other pocket-sized board.

  • Exploring Zyxel GS1900 firmware with Ghidra

    Earlier this year the NSA released Ghidra, a reverse engineering suite with support for a large number of CPU/MCU instruction sets. While I have some experience with Hopper and radare2 I wanted to play with Ghidra to poke around the firmware for my Zyxel GS1900-8 switch which runs on a 32-bit MIPS CPU. All in all this has turned out to be an interesting exploration of both Ghidra and the GS1900-8-2.40(AAHH.2)C0.bix firmware image.

    Initially I wanted to write about poking around the firmware image and showing how one can use Ghidra to explore unknown binaries, but whilst looking around some libraries that are used by this switch I realised there is actually an interesting vulnerability to write about.

Linux Foundation and Openwashing

  • Linux Foundation Training Announces a Free Online Course-Introduction to Hyperledger Sovereign Identity Blockchain Solutions: Indy, Aries & Ursa

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced enrollment is now open for a new, free, course – Introduction to Hyperledger Sovereign Identity Blockchain Solutions: Indy, Aries & Ursa. This course is offered through edX, the trusted platform for learning. To the surprise of absolutely no one, trust is broken on the Internet. Any identity-related data available online can be subject to theft. Breach Level Index says that over 5,880,000 records are stolen every day. The 2019 MidYear QuickView Data Breach Report shows that reported breaches in the first half of 2019 were up 54% compared to midyear 2018 (over 4.1 billion records exposed), with web being the number one breach type for records exposed, and hacking being the number one breach type for incidents. Wherever you go online, the advice is the same–make sure you understand what is behind each button before you click it.

  • Is the future of farming under water?

    "[The] first thing we did was open source our model. In the new economy, we make things accessible to everybody. Anybody with 20 acres and a boat and $30,000 can start their farm and be up and growing the first year. Our farms require minimal capital costs and minimal skill. The potential of replication is tremendous: A network of small ocean farms about the size of Washington State could feed the world and, as bio-fuel, replace all the oil in the United States, while simultaneously capturing five times the amount of carbon as land-based plants," Smith predicts. The 3D ocean farming model consists of an underwater rope scaffolding system, anchors on the floor, and ropes up to the surface as well as horizontal ropes. Farmers grow their crops within this system, such as kelp ("the soy of the sea"). Mussels, scallops, and oysters are grown on the floor, and plants are grown in the mud. GreenWave is disseminating its model for restorative 3D ocean farms through open source manuals, farmer training programs, and an online collaboration platform to create a network of restorative ocean farming communities. Outside of ongoing replication along the waters of Long Island Sound, 3D ocean farmers anywhere in the world will be able to select appropriate native species to restore productive ecosystems along the coast, as reported by the Buckminster Fuller Insititute.

  • Seeds Or Code?

    I'd like to congratulate Microsoft on a truly excellent PR stunt, drawing attention to two important topics about which I've been writing for a long time, the cultural significance of open source software, and the need for digital preservation. Ashlee Vance provides the channel to publicize the stunt in Open Source Code Will Survive the Apocalypse in an Arctic Cave. In summary, near Longyearbyen on Spitzbergen is: [...]

  • What Is DeepMind? A Peek into the World’s Leading Neural Network

    Deep learning refers to an emerging area of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks to make decisions on our behalf as they are more reliable than human decisions. It consists of many interrelated fields including natural language processing (NLP), cognitive computing, recommender systems, board game programs, and image recognition. Ever since its takeover by Google, DeepMind has become the world’s foremost deep learning neural network. Let’s look at the story behind the AI engine, its ongoing applications and whether you should have concerns about privacy in the smart devices where it’s used.

Android Leftovers

Red Hat: CDC, CodeReady and EPEL

  • Red Hat advances Debezium CDC connectors for Apache Kafka support to Technical Preview

    After a couple of months in Developer Preview, the Debezium Apache Kafka connectors for change data capture (CDC) are now available as a Technical Preview as part of the Q4 release of Red Hat Integration. Technology Preview features provide early access to upcoming product innovations, enabling you to test functionality and provide feedback during the development process.

  • Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2 Brings New Tooling to Cloud-Native Development

    Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the release of Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2, a cloud-native development workflow for developers. The new release of CodeReady Workspaces enables developers to create and build applications and services in an environment that mirrors that of production, all running on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry's most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform.

  • What's EPEL, and how do I use it?

    RHEL ships with only a subset of packages that you'll find in Fedora Linux. This makes sense, because there's a lot of software in Fedora that isn't needed in an enterprise environment or falls outside the scope of RHEL. Red Hat maintains and supports the packages in RHEL far longer than the lifespan of a Fedora release, and we select the software we feel is necessary for our customers to be successful in deploying and using RHEL to run their workloads. But Fedora users sometimes find that they miss this or that application that's available in Fedora but not through RHEL. So, EPEL was formed. Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) is a special interest group (SIG) from the Fedora Project that provides a set of additional packages for RHEL (and CentOS, and others) from the Fedora sources. To get a package into EPEL, it has to be in Fedora first. EPEL follows the Fedora Packaging Guidelines to ensure successful integration, and only includes free and open source software that isn't patent encumbered. So you won't find any proprietary software in EPEL or things like multimedia codecs that are restricted by patents, even if software enabling them is under an open source license.