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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: 6 hours 2 min ago

[$] A last-minute MMU notifier change

Tuesday 5th of September 2017 10:40:09 PM
One does not normally expect to see significant changes to an important internal memory-management mechanism in the time between the ‑rc7 prepatch and the final release for a development cycle, but that is exactly what happened just before 4.13 was released. A regression involving the memory-management unit (MMU) notifier mechanism briefly threatened to delay this release, but a last-minute scramble kept 4.13 on schedule and also resulted in a cleanup of that mechanism. This seems like a good time to look at a mechanism that Linus Torvalds called "a badly designed mistake" and how it was made to be a bit less mistaken.

PulseAudio 11.0 released

Tuesday 5th of September 2017 08:09:29 PM
Version 11.0 of the PulseAudio sound system has been released. New features include more hardware support, a priority change so that external sound devices are preferred over internal devices, support for operating as a Bluetooth headset device, and the long awaited GNU Hurd port. See the release notes for details.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 5th of September 2017 03:04:59 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (asterisk and irssi), Fedora (glibc), Gentoo (mcollective), openSUSE (pspp and wireshark), Red Hat (389-ds-base, docker-distribution, kernel-rt, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Scientific Linux (389-ds-base), SUSE (kernel, libzypp, zypper, and xen), and Ubuntu (fontforge and liblouis).

[$] CPU frequency governors and remote callbacks

Monday 4th of September 2017 07:49:22 PM
The kernel's CPU-frequency ("cpufreq") governors are charged with picking an operating frequency for each processor that minimizes power use while maintaining an adequate level of performance as determined by the current policy. These governors normally run locally, with each CPU handling its own frequency management. The 4.14 kernel release, though, will enable the CPU-frequency governors to control the frequency of any CPU in the system if the architecture permits, a change that should improve the performance of the system overall.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 4th of September 2017 02:54:14 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (enigmail, gnupg, libgd2, libidn, libidn2-0, mercurial, and strongswan), Fedora (gd, libidn2, mbedtls, mingw-openjpeg2, openjpeg2, and xen), Mageia (apache-commons-email, botan, iceape, poppler, rt/perl-Encode, samba, and wireshark), and openSUSE (expat, freerdp, git, libzypp, and php7).

The 4.13 kernel is out

Sunday 3rd of September 2017 09:56:26 PM
Linus has released the 4.13 kernel, right on schedule. Headline features in this release include kernel hardening via structure layout randomization, native TLS protocol support, better huge-page swapping, improved handling of writeback errors, better asynchronous I/O support, better power management via next-interrupt prediction, the elimination of the DocBook toolchain for formatted documentation, and more. There is one other change that is called out explicitly in the announcement: "The change in question is simply changing the default cifs behavior: instead of defaulting to SMB 1.0 (which you really should not use: just google for 'stop using SMB1' or similar), the default cifs mount now defaults to a rather more modern SMB 3.0."

Summary of the DebConf 2038 BoF

Sunday 3rd of September 2017 09:17:16 PM
Steve McIntyre reports from a BoF session on the year-2038 problem at DebConf 17. "It's important that we work on fixing issues *now* to stop people building broken things that will bite us. We all expect that our own computer systems will be fine by 2038; Debian systems will be fixed and working! We'll have rebuilt the world with new interfaces and found the issues. The issues are going to be in the IoT, with systems that we won't be able to simply rebuild/verify/test - they'll fail. We need to get the underlying systems right ASAP for those systems."

100 days of postmarketOS

Sunday 3rd of September 2017 09:06:14 PM
The postmarketOS distribution looks back at its first 100 days. "One of our previously stated goals is using the mainline Linux kernel on as many mobile devices as possible. This is not as easy as it might sound, since many Linux-based smartphones (Android) require binary drivers which depend on very specific kernel versions. It's a tremendous task to rewrite these drivers to work with the current kernel APIs. Nevertheless, some people have been doing that since long before postmarketOS existed. In the case of the Nokia N900 this has been going on for some number of years and almost all components are now supported in the mainline kernel. This has allowed us to use the mainline kernel as the default kernel for the N900, jumping from Maemo's 2.6.x to mainline 4.12!"

Some weekend stable kernels

Saturday 2nd of September 2017 08:33:06 PM
The 4.9.47, 4.4.86, and 3.18.69 stable kernel updates have been released; each contains another set of important fixes. Note that there is no 4.12 update in this series.

[$] Spam filtering with Rspamd

Friday 1st of September 2017 05:20:58 PM
Running one's own mail system on the Internet has become an increasingly difficult thing to do, to the point that many people don't bother, even if they have the necessary skills. Among the challenges is spam; without effective spam filtering, an email account will quickly drown under a deluge of vile offers, phishing attempts, malware, and alternative facts. Many of us turn to SpamAssassin for this task, but it's not the only alternative; Rspamd is increasingly worth considering in this role. Your editor gave Rspamd a spin to get a sense for whether switching would be a good thing to do.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 1st of September 2017 04:52:17 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (openssh, poppler, and thunderbird), Debian (graphicsmagick and openexr), Fedora (cacti, dnsdist, exim, groovy18, kernel, libsndfile, mingw-libzip, and taglib), Oracle (openssh), Red Hat (openssh), Scientific Linux (openssh), and SUSE (git and xen).

Day: Status Icons and GNOME

Friday 1st of September 2017 04:47:15 PM
Allan Day shares some welcome news about the GNOME status icon tray. "GNOME 3 currently shows status icons in the bottom-left corner of the screen, in a tray that slides in and out. We know that this isn’t a good solution. The tray gets in the way and it generally feels quite awkward. There’s a general consensus that we don’t want to continue with this UI for the upcoming version of GNOME 3."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 31st of August 2017 12:44:46 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (connman, faad2, gnupg, imagemagick, libdbd-mysql-perl, mercurial, and php5), openSUSE (postgresql93 and samba and resource-agents), Oracle (poppler), Scientific Linux (poppler), SUSE (firefox and php7), and Ubuntu (pyjwt).

Hardening the Kernel in Android Oreo (Android Developers Blog)

Thursday 31st of August 2017 02:05:28 AM
The Android Developers Blog has an overview of the security features added to the kernel in the Android "Oreo" release. "Usercopy functions are used by the kernel to transfer data from user space to kernel space memory and back again. Since 2014, missing or invalid bounds checking has caused about 45% of Android's kernel vulnerabilities. Hardened usercopy adds bounds checking to usercopy functions, which helps developers spot misuse and fix bugs in their code. Also, if obscure driver bugs slip through, hardening these functions prevents the exploitation of such bugs."

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for August 31, 2017

Thursday 31st of August 2017 12:31:25 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for August 31, 2017 is available.

[$] printk() and KERN_CONT

Wednesday 30th of August 2017 09:53:29 PM

A nearly year-old "fix" to the main logging function used in the kernel, printk(), changed the appearance of some log messages in an unexpected way, at least for some. Messages that had appeared on a single line will now be spread over multiple lines as each call to printk() begins a new line in the output unless the KERN_CONT flag is used. That is how a comment in the kernel code says it should work, but the change was made by Linus Torvalds without any discussion or fanfare, so it took some by surprise.

[$] Fedora's Boltron preview

Wednesday 30th of August 2017 06:29:58 PM

In many ways, distributions shackle their users to particular versions of tools, libraries, and frameworks. Distributions do not do that to be cruel, of course, but to try to ensure a consistent and well-functioning experience across all of the software they ship. But users have often chafed at these restrictions, especially for the fast-moving environments surrounding various web frameworks and their dependencies. Fedora has been making an effort to make it easier for a single system to support these kinds of environments with its Modularity initiative. In late July, Fedora announced a preview release of the server side of the Modularity equation, Boltron, which is a version of the distribution that supports the initiative.

Stable kernel updates

Wednesday 30th of August 2017 03:23:09 PM
Stable kernels 4.12.10, 4.9.46, 4.4.85, and 3.18.68 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 30th of August 2017 03:15:23 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (libgcrypt20, poppler, and wordpress), Fedora (cvs, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, and postgresql), Mageia (gstreamer0.10-plugins-base, gstreamer1.0-plugins-base and libgit2), openSUSE (exim), Red Hat (instack-undercloud, openvswitch, and poppler), Scientific Linux (poppler), SUSE (kernel and quagga), and Ubuntu (linux-lts-trusty).

[$] Remote imports for Python?

Wednesday 30th of August 2017 01:26:19 AM

Importing a module into a Python program is a pretty invasive operation; it directly runs code in the current process that has access to anything the process can reach. So it is not wildly surprising that a suggestion to add a way to directly import modules from remote sites was met with considerable doubt—if not something approaching hostility. It turns out that the person suggesting the change was not unaware of the security implications of the idea, but thought it had other redeeming qualities; others in the discussion were less sanguine.

More in Tux Machines

Desktop: AKiTiO Node, Ubuntu Podcast, Vivaldi, Chromium and HUION PenTablet

  • AKiTiO Node: Testing NVIDIA eGPU Support in Ubuntu 17.10
    Ever since the announcement of Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology there has been external graphics card (eGPU) support. Unfortunately for most of last year, including with Intel’s own Skull Canyon NUC, putting this solution to use was challenging at best. Most motherboards didn’t fully support the technology and those that did typically required a system that was far more expensive. For example, the Skull Canyon NUC at release was $700, unconfigured. Adding SSDs and RAM usually bumped that up well over $1000.
  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S10E29 – Adamant Terrible Hammer
    It’s Season Ten Episode Twenty-Nine of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Martin Wimpress, Marius Quabeck, Max Kristen, Rudy and Tiago Carrondo are connected and speaking to your brain.
  • Vivaldi 1.12 Web Browser Debuts with Highly Requested Features, Improvements
    Vivaldi, the Chromium-based web browser designed with the power user in mind, has been recently updated to version 1.12, a release that introduces highly requested features and a whole lot of under-the-hood improvements. There are three big new features implemented in Vivaldi 1.12. The first is a built-in Image Properties feature that works when you right-click on an image on the Web, showing you a bunch of useful information, such as camera model, depth of field, ISO sensitivity, focal length, exposure, histogram, time and date, and white balance.
  • Chromium Will Soon Let You Browse the Web in VR with a Daydream View Headset
    Chromium evangelist François Beaufort posted today on his Google+ profile information regarding the VR (Virtual Reality) capabilities of the open-source web browser, which is the base of Chrome OS and Google Chrome. It would appear that the Chromium team is working on a set of new virtual reality features for the web browser, which means that more VR goodies are coming to popular Chromium-based web browsers like Opera, Vivaldi, and Google Chrome.
  • libinput and the HUION PenTablet devices
    HUION PenTablet devices are graphics tablet devices aimed at artists. These tablets tend to aim for the lower end of the market, driver support is often somewhere between meh and disappointing. The DIGImend project used to take care of them, but with that out of the picture, the bugs bubble up to userspace more often.

OSS: Meteoric Rise of Open Source, Document Foundation, Facebook U-Turn, Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, Slovenia Open Data

  • The Meteoric Rise Of Open Source And Why Investors Should Care
    The adoption and integration of open-source technologies have rapidly usurped the closed-source incumbents, so much so that investors are pouring record amounts of money into open-source software investments.
  • Coming up on 28th September: Reddit “Ask us Anything” (and a birthday)
    Thursday, 28th September 2017 will be a special day – not only is it the seventh birthday of The Document Foundation, but we will also be running an “Ask me (us) Anything” session on Reddit – specifically, the /r/linux subreddit.
  • Facebook U-turn: React, other libraries freed from unloved patent license
    Faced with growing dissatisfaction about licensing requirements for some of its open-source projects, Facebook today said it will move React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under the MIT license next week. "We're relicensing these projects because React is the foundation of a broad ecosystem of open source software for the web, and we don't want to hold back forward progress for nontechnical reasons," said Facebook engineering director Adam Wolff in a blog post on Friday. Wolff said while Facebook continues to believe its BSD + Patents license has benefits, "we acknowledge that we failed to decisively convince this community."
  • New Collaboration To Deliver Open-Source Submission And Peer-Review Platform
    This week, eLife and Collaborative Knowledge Foundation announced a partnership “to build a user-driven, open-source submission and peer-review platform” aimed at improving on existing industry models. Working together, the two organisations “hope to accelerate progress in delivering a modern, fast and user-driven system,” they said in a press release. “The project will be designed to help streamline communications between authors, editors and reviewers at all stages of the submission and review process.”
  • Slovenia publishes statistics on open data portal
    As of this month, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia is making available 3374 data collections on the country’s open data portal, making it by far the portal’s biggest contributor. The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities comes second, with 62 datasets.

End of Debian-Administration.org and 32-bit Support in Manjaro Linux

  • Retiring the Debian-Administration.org site
    So previously I've documented the setup of the Debian-Administration website, and now I'm going to retire it I'm planning how that will work.
  • Manjaro Linux Discontinues 32-bit Support
    You might already know that I love Manjaro Linux. And as an ardent Manjaro Linux fan, I have a bad news for you. Recently, Philip, the lead developer of Manjaro Linux, announced that the project would be dropping support for the 32-bit architecture. He said that the reason for the move was “due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community”.

Android Leftovers