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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 weeks 4 days ago

[$] Designing ELF modules

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 08:26:24 PM
The bpfilter proposal posted in February included a new type of kernel module that would run as a user-space program; its purpose is to parse and translate iptables rules under the kernel's control but in a contained, non-kernel setting. These "ELF modules" were reposted for review as a standalone patch set in early March. That review has happened; it is a good example of how community involvement can improve a special-purpose patch and turn it into a more generally useful feature.

An important Samba 4 security release

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 06:33:39 PM
Anybody running Samba 4 servers probably wants to take a look at this alert and upgrade their systems. "CVE-2018-1057: On a Samba 4 AD DC the LDAP server in all versions of Samba from 4.0.0 onwards incorrectly validates permissions to modify passwords over LDAP allowing authenticated users to change any other users' passwords, including administrative users."

Numerous vulnerabilities in AMD processors

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 06:30:27 PM
A company called CTS has disclosed a long series of vulnerabilities in AMD processors. "The chipset is a central component on Ryzen and Ryzen Pro workstations: it links the processor with hardware devices such as WiFi and network cards, making it an ideal target for malicious actors. The Ryzen chipset is currently being shipped with exploitable backdoors that could let attackers inject malicious code into the chip, providing them with a safe haven to operate from." See the associated white paper for more details.

Update: there are a lot of questions circulating about the actual severity of these vulnerabilities and the motivations of the people reporting them. It may not be time to panic quite yet.

Firefox 59 released

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 05:38:09 PM
Mozilla has released Firefox 59, the next iteration of Firefox Quantum. From the release notes: "On Firefox for desktop, we’ve improved page load times, added tools to annotate and crop your Firefox Screenshots, and made it easier to arrange your Top Sites on the Firefox Home page. On Firefox for Android, we’ve added support for sites that stream video using the HLS protocol."

[$] JupyterLab: ready for users

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 02:54:58 PM

In the recent article about Jupyter and its notebooks, we mentioned that a new interface, called JupyterLab, existed in what its developers described as an "early preview" stage. About two weeks after that article appeared, Project Jupyter made a significant announcement: JupyterLab is "ready for users". Users will find a more integrated environment for scientific computation that is also more easily extended. JupyterLab takes the Jupyter Notebook to a level of functionality that will propel it well into the next decade—and beyond.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 02:49:23 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (samba), Fedora (tor), openSUSE (glibc, mysql-connector-java, and shadow), Oracle (dhcp), Red Hat (bind, chromium-browser, and dhcp), Scientific Linux (dhcp), and SUSE (java-1_7_0-openjdk, java-1_8_0-ibm, and java-1_8_0-openjdk).

[$] Variable-length arrays and the max() mess

Monday 12th of March 2018 09:37:50 PM
Variable-length arrays (VLAs) have a non-constant size that is determined (and which can vary) at run time; they are supported by the ISO C99 standard. Use of VLAs in the kernel has long been discouraged but not prohibited, so there are naturally numerous VLA instances to be found. A recent push to remove VLAs from the kernel entirely has gained momentum, but it ran into an interesting snag on the way.

More in Tux Machines

MX Tools - A year later, the toolbox got better

Roughly fourteen full phases of the moon ago, I wrote an article on MX Tools, a unique and useful bunch of dedicated utilities packaged with the MX Linux distribution. This toolbox offered the ordinary (or new) MX Linux user a chance to perform some common configuration tasks with easy and elegance. In general, MX-16 was a great player, and the recent MX-17 is even better - and at a first glance, so is the new version of MX Tools bundled with the system. Good stuff. So I set about testing, to see what has changed, and in what way this set of utilities has improved, if at all. But I'm positive. Let us commence. [...] MX Tools turned out to be a predictable gem, just as I'd expected. Well, I'm cheating, because I wrote this article after some rather thorough testing. But then, if you look across the wider spectrum of Linux home distributions, there aren't that many unique players with distinctive features. Quite often, it's the rehash of old and familiar with some extra color, polish and rebranding. MX Linux goes the extra mile (or kilometer, if you will) in making the newbie experience meaningfully different. Future improvements could potentially include an interactive walkthrough - so users will be actively prompted and helped along in their tasks. Then of course, there's the matter of visual appearance, in the UI itself. But in general, MX Tools TNG is better than we had before. More elegant, more streamlined, better looking, and most importantly, more practical. This is a good and useful toolbox, and it makes a solid distro even more appealing. Well worth testing. So do it. And take care. Read more

The story of Gentoo management

I have recently made a tabular summary of (probably) all Council members and Trustees in the history of Gentoo. I think that this table provides a very succinct way of expressing the changes within management of Gentoo. While it can’t express the complete history of Gentoo, it can serve as a useful tool of reference. What questions can it answer? For example, it provides an easy way to see how many terms individuals have served, or how long Trustee terms were. You can clearly see who served both on the Council and on the Board and when those two bodies had common members. Most notably, it collects a fair amount of hard-to-find data in a single table. Read more

Success for net neutrality, success for free software

We've had great success with the United States Senate voting in support of net neutrality! Congratulations and thank you to everyone in the US for contacting your congresspeople, and all of you who helped spread the word. However, it's not over yet. Here are more actions you can take if you're in the United States. Now that the (CRA) has passed the Senate, it moves to the House of Representatives. Just as we asked you to call your senators, now it's time to call your House representatives. Find their contact info here and use the script below to ask them to support the reinstatement of net neutrality protections. The timing hasn't been set for future votes and hearings yet, but that's no reason to wait: make sure your representatives know how you feel. Read more Also: GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!

today's leftovers

  • 10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream – For The Record
    10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream. Yeah, the title is totally link-bait. However, it’s worth noting that I actually deliver what the title describes and then some. Linux is awesome, but sadly, most people haven’t heard of it. Here’s why.
  • Linux Works For You
    Linux allows YOUR computer to work for you, not against you. Wearing this shirt/hoodie demonstrates to all who see it that you are not a slave to your PC. You are in control and Linux is the reason for this.
  • Robin "Roblimo" Miller
    The Linux Journal mourns the passing of Robin Miller, a longtime presence in our community.
  •  
  • Pidgin / Libpurple SkypeWeb Plugin Sees New Stable Release
    SkypeWeb is a plugin that allows using Skype in Pidgin / libpurple chat clients. The plugin can be used to send instant messages and participate in group chats, but it does not yet support voice / video calling.
  • Feral's GameMode May Soon Have Soft Real-Time Capabilities
    Feral Interactive's Linux system tuning daemon, GameMode since being introduced earlier this year has primarily offered the ability to easily change the CPU scaling governor when gaming but not much more. Though a new feature is now in the works for GameMode.
  • Mini DebConf Hamburg
    Last week I attended the MiniDebConfHamburg. I worked on new releases of dracut and rinse. Dracut is an initramfs-tools replacement which now supports early microcode loading. Rinse is a tool similar to debootstrap for rpm distributions, which now can create Fedora 28 environments aka chroots.
  • Android and Automotive Grade Linux battle, as car becomes a data center
    Volvo’s decision to pick Intel’s Atom automotive system-on-chip (SoC) to run in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) for its new XC40 SUV highlights the intensifying competition among chipmakers in this fast growing sphere. The decision to base the system on Android also illuminates the evolving operating system scene for cars, with Linux the primary alternative in its AGL (Automotive Grade Linux) variant. However, given the complementary strengths of Android and Linux, it looks more likely that both will be deployed by many automobile makers in hybrid packages, so that they can take advantage of Android’s huge app ecosystem, encouraging plenty of third party enhancements, as well as harnessing the independence and enterprise scale of Linux. As cars become mini-data centers or edge compute…
  • Vending machine boardset works with UP or UP Squared boards
    Aaeon’s “AIOT-MSSP01” is a vending machine boardset powered by a PIC32 MCU that’s optimized to work with the UP or UP Squared SBCs. It offers vending-friendly I/O like MDB, EXE, and DEX, as well as motor controllers and 6x USB ports. The AIOT-MSSP01 is an industrial-grade vending machine controller (VMC) solution designed to run 24/7 “without a glitch,” says Aaeon. The boardset is optimized for use with the UP or UP Squared SBCs, but works with standard PCs and “most computer boards on the market.” There’s no mention of OS support for the connected computer, but the UP SBCs support Linux, Android, and Windows.