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Updated: 5 hours 3 min ago

Andrew Tanenbaum retires

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 10:21:19 PM
Professor Andrew Tanenbaum, creator of MINIX, is retiring after 43 years at the Vrije Universiteit in the Netherlands. He will give a final lecture at the VU on October 23, which will be followed by a reception. (Thanks to Michael Kerrisk.)

Stable kernel updates

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 07:51:51 PM
Stable kernels 3.15.5, 3.14.12, 3.10.48, and 3.4.98 have been released. All of them contain plenty of important fixes.

[$] Filesystem notification, part 1: An overview of dnotify and inotify

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 05:39:55 PM

Filesystem notification APIs provide a mechanism by which applications can be informed when events happen within a filesystem—for example, when a file is opened, modified, deleted, or renamed. Over time, Linux has acquired three different filesystem notification APIs, and it is instructive to look at them to understand what the differences between the APIs are. It's also worthwhile to consider what lessons have been learned during the design of the APIs—and what lessons remain to be learned.

The first part of guest author Michael Kerrisk's series on filesystem notification in Linux is now available for subscribers.

Security advisories for Wednesday

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 05:17:12 PM

CentOS has updated lzo (C6: code execution).

Debian has updated php5 (multiple vulnerabilities).

Fedora has updated owncloud (F20: undisclosed vulnerability), python-django-evolution (F20; F19: incompatible versions), ReviewBoard (F20; F19: incompatible versions), and samba (F19: multiple vulnerabilities).

Gentoo has updated adobe-flash (multiple vulnerabilities).

Mageia has updated dpkg (multiple vulnerabilities), freerdp (two vulnerabilities), gd (denial of service), liblzo (code execution), php (MG4; MG3: multiple vulnerabilities), python (two vulnerabilities), and python-simplejson (missing boundary check).

Mandriva has updated ffmpeg (BS1.0: multiple vulnerabilities), file (BS1.0: multiple vulnerabilities), gnupg (BS1.0: denial of service), iodine (BS1.0: authentication bypass), libxfont (BS1.0: multiple vulnerabilities), php (BS1.0: multiple vulnerabilities), and phpmyadmin (BS1.0: multiple cross-site scripting vulnerabilities).

openSUSE has updated kernel (11.4: privilege escalation).

Oracle has updated lzo (OL6: code execution).

Red Hat has updated cumin (MRG for RHEL6; MRG for RHEL5: two vulnerabilities).

Ubuntu has updated dbus (14.04, 13.10, 12.04: multiple denial of service flaws).

An open-minded Internet safety curriculum (Opensource.com)

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 06:05:21 PM
Part of the curriculum for high school students in the US is a class on internet safety. This article on Opensource.com looks at what is taught and what else should be covered in these classes. "Of course, we must work to help kids understand that the technology world can be a complicated and unsafe place. Digital reputation, Internet security, and online self-defense are critical skills for every citizen. However, in a rush to reduce the discussion to popular topics such as cyberbullying, online predators, and chat rooms, many schools have missed larger and more salient issues. Net Neutrality, Snowden's NSA revelations, social data mining, vendor lock-in and control: these fundamental ideas, principles, and values will ultimately shape and direct our students' technology future, and our society."

The future of realtime Linux in doubt

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 04:45:56 PM
In a message about the release of the 3.14.10-rt7 realtime Linux kernel, Thomas Gleixner reiterated that the funding problems that have plagued realtime Linux (which he raised, again, at last year's Real Time Linux Workshop) have only gotten worse. Efforts were made to find funding for the project, but "nothing has materialized". Assuming that doesn't change, Gleixner plans to cut back on development and on plans to get the code upstream. "After my last talk about the state of preempt-RT at LinuxCon Japan, Linus told me: 'That was far more depressing than I feared'. The mainline kernel has seen a lot of benefit from the preempt-RT efforts in the past 10 years and there is a lot more stuff which needs to be done upstream in order to get preempt-RT fully integrated, which certainly would improve the general state of the Linux kernel again."

Tuesday's security updates

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 03:51:58 PM

Debian has updated vlc (code execution).

Fedora has updated cacti (F19; F20: cross-site scripting), dbus (F20: denial of service), openstack-ceilometer (F20: information leak), php (F19: multiple vulnerabilities), and python-pycadf (F20: information leak).

SUSE has updated PHP5 (SLE11SP1: multiple vulnerabilities).

First release of KDE Frameworks 5

Monday 7th of July 2014 10:56:52 PM
The KDE Community has announced the release of KDE Frameworks 5.0. "Frameworks 5 is the next generation of KDE libraries, modularized and optimized for easy integration in Qt applications. The Frameworks offer a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. There are over 50 different Frameworks as part of this release providing solutions including hardware integration, file format support, additional widgets, plotting functions, spell checking and more. Many of the Frameworks are cross platform and have minimal or no extra dependencies making them easy to build and add to any Qt application."

Release for CentOS-7

Monday 7th of July 2014 07:17:34 PM
The CentOS project has released CentOS 7.0-1406. This release is the first to be built with sources hosted at git.centos.org. All source rpms are signed with the same key used to sign their binary counterparts. This release also introduces the new numbering scheme. "The 0 component maps to the upstream release, whose code this release is built from. The 1406 component indicates the monthstamp of the code included in the release ( in this case, June 2014 ). By using a monthstamp we are able to respin and reissue updated media for things like container and cloud images, that are regularly refreshed, while still retaining a connection to the base distro version." The release notes also mention that this is the first release to have a supported upgrade path, from CentOS 6.5 to CentOS 7. (Thanks to Scott Dowdle)

Stable kernel updates

Monday 7th of July 2014 05:46:06 PM
Greg KH has released stable kernels 3.15.4, 3.14.11, 3.10.47, and 3.4.97. All of them contain important fixes throughout the tree.

Security advisories for Monday

Monday 7th of July 2014 04:39:36 PM

Debian has updated kernel (privilege escalation).

Fedora has updated file (F20: multiple vulnerabilities), kdelibs (F19: information disclosure), and mediawiki (F19; F20: prevent external resources in SVG files).

Mageia has updated ffmpeg (MG4; MG3: multiple vulnerabilities), file (multiple vulnerabilities), libxfont (multiple vulnerabilities), and samba (multiple vulnerabilities).

openSUSE has updated dbus-1 (11.4: denial of service).

SUSE has updated PHP5 (SLES10: multiple vulnerabilities) and xalan-j2 (SLE11SP3: information disclosure/code execution).

Ubuntu has updated EC2 kernel (10.04: privilege escalation), kernel (10.04; 12.04; 14.04: privilege escalation), linux-lts-quantal (12.04: privilege escalation), linux-lts-raring (12.04: privilege escalation), linux-lts-saucy (12.04: privilege escalation), and linux-lts-trusty (12.04: privilege escalation).

Garrett: Self-signing custom Android ROMs

Monday 7th of July 2014 12:07:38 PM
Matthew Garrett explains how to get an Android device to refuse to boot an operating system that has not been signed by the device's owner. "It's annoying and involves a bunch of manual processes and you'll need to re-sign every update yourself. But it is possible to configure Nexus devices in such a way that you retain the same level of security you had when you were using the Google keys without losing the freedom to run whatever you want."

Kernel prepatch 3.16-rc4

Monday 7th of July 2014 02:24:54 AM
Linus has released the 3.16-rc4 prepatch. "Things have calmed down nicely, and everything seems pretty normal."

Gräßlin: Next Generation Klipper

Friday 4th of July 2014 10:09:07 PM
On his blog, Martin Gräßlin examines Klipper, the KDE clipboard manager, with an eye toward how it should work for Plasma 5.1. "A clipboard history is of course an important part of a desktop shell and thus should be a first class citizen. The user interface needs to be integrate and this means the interface needs to be provided by a Plasmoid which needs to be added to the notification area. The interface would still show a list and this is best done by providing the data in the form of a QAbstractItemModel. As there should only be one clipboard history manager, but at the same time perhaps several user interfaces for it (e.g. one panel per screen) the QAbstractItemModel holding the data needs to be provided by a DataEngine. So overall we need to separate the user interface (Plasmoid) from the data storage (DataEngine) and turn the existing Klipper in just being the data storage."

Interview: Damian Conway (Linux Voice)

Friday 4th of July 2014 07:49:11 PM
Linux Voice magazine has an interview with Damian Conway, one of the chief architects of Perl 6. In it, he talks about Perl 6 a bit (of course), but also about Perl, in general, as well as about teaching and learning programming. "Anyone who believes you can teach programming in an hour has no idea about what programming is. I think that I finally thought that I was a confident programmer maybe about four or five years ago, so after about a quarter of a century of coding. I felt that I was an ordinary good programmer by that stage. I don’t think you can even teach HTML in an hour, to be brutally honest."

Friday's security advisories

Friday 4th of July 2014 02:43:03 PM

Fedora has updated apt-cacher-ng (F20: cross-site scripting) and xen (F20; F19: information leak).

SUSE has updated php5 (SLE11SP2: two vulnerabilities) and php53 (SLE11SP2, SLE11SP3: multiple vulnerabilities).

The CHERI capability model: Revisiting RISC in an age of risk (Light Blue Touchpaper)

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 10:24:02 PM
Over at the Light Blue Touchpaper blog, there is a summary of a paper [PDF] presented in late June at the 2014 International Symposium on Computer Architecture about Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions (CHERI). "CHERI is an instruction-set extension, prototyped via an FPGA-based soft processor core named BERI, that integrates a capability-system model with a conventional memory-management unit (MMU)-based pipeline. Unlike conventional OS-facing MMU-based protection, the CHERI protection and security models are aimed at compilers and applications. CHERI provides efficient, robust, compiler-driven, hardware-supported, and fine-grained memory protection and software compartmentalisation (sandboxing) within, rather than between, addresses spaces. We run a version of FreeBSD that has been adapted to support the hardware capability model (CheriBSD) compiled with a CHERI-aware Clang/LLVM that supports C pointer integrity, bounds checking, and capability-based protection and delegation. CheriBSD also supports a higher-level hardware-software security model permitting sandboxing of application components within an address space based on capabilities and a Call/Return mechanism supporting mutual distrust."

Python Foundation uncoils as membership opens up (Opensource.com)

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 10:15:09 PM
Opensource.com has an interview with Nick Coghlan, who is a newly elected Python Software Foundation (PSF) board member. In the interview, Coghlan discusses the new open membership model for the PSF, what makes Python special, how the huge investment in OpenStack is having an impact on CPython core development, and a look at the future for both Python and the PSF. "For me, the most fascinating thing about Python is the sheer breadth of the domains it competes in. In the projects I worked on at Boeing, Python became our "go to" glue language for getting different parts of a complex system to play nicely together, as well for writing simulation tools for testing environments. Linux distributions tend to use it in a similar fashion. In the scientific space it goes head to head with the likes of MATLAB for numeric computing, and R for statistical analysis. It was the original implementation language for YouTube, and the language of choice for OpenStack components, yet still simple enough to be chosen as the preferred programming language for the Raspberry Pi and One Laptop Per Child educational programs. With the likes of Maya and Blender using it as their embedded scripting engine, animation studios love it because animators can learn to handle tasks that previously had to be handled by the studios' development teams. That diversity of use cases can make things fraught at times, especially in core development where the competing interests can often collide, but it's also a tremendous strength."

3.14 to be the next longterm stable kernel

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 09:10:18 PM
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced that 3.14 will be the next longterm stable kernel that he will be maintaining. It should continue to receive updates until August 2016.

Schneier: NSA Targets Privacy Conscious for Surveillance

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 05:47:42 PM
Bruce Schneier has a good summary of recently reported information about the US National Security Agency (NSA) targeting of users searching for or reading information about Tor and The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails), which certainly could include readers of this site. "Jake Appelbaum et. al, are reporting on XKEYSCORE selection rules that target users -- and people who just visit the websites of -- Tor, Tails, and other sites. This isn't just metadata; this is "full take" content that's stored forever. [...] It's hard to tell how extensive this is. It's possible that anyone who clicked on this link -- with the embedded torproject.org URL above -- is currently being monitored by the NSA. It's possible that this only will happen to people who receive the link in e-mail, which will mean every Crypto-Gram subscriber in a couple of weeks. And I don't know what else the NSA harvests about people who it selects in this manner. Whatever the case, this is very disturbing." Also see reports in Linux Journal (which was specifically noted in the XKeyscore rules) and Boing Boing.