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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: 3 hours 22 min ago

The Git community mourns Shawn Pearce

Tuesday 30th of January 2018 06:37:49 PM
Shawn Pearce, a longtime contributor to the Git community (and beyond), has passed away. The thread on the Git mailing list makes it clear that he will be missed by many people.

Haas: DO or UNDO - there is no VACUUM

Tuesday 30th of January 2018 05:53:17 PM
PostgreSQL developer Robert Haas describes a new storage module that is under development. "We are working to build a new table storage format for PostgreSQL, which we’re calling zheap. In a zheap, whenever possible, we handle an UPDATE by moving the old row version to an undo log, and putting the new row version in the place previously occupied by the old one. If the transaction aborts, we retrieve the old row version from undo and put it back in the original location; if a concurrent transaction needs to see the old row version, it can find it in undo. [...] This means that there is no need for VACUUM, or any similar process, to scan the table looking for dead rows."

Chiariglione: A crisis, the causes and a solution

Tuesday 30th of January 2018 04:48:06 PM
Worth a read: this blog posting from Leonardo Chiariglione, the founder and chair of MPEG, on how (in his view) the group is being destroyed by free codecs and patent trolls. "Good stories have an end, so the MPEG business model could not last forever. Over the years proprietary and 'royalty free' products have emerged but have not been able to dent the success of MPEG standards. More importantly IP holders – often companies not interested in exploiting MPEG standards, so called Non Practicing Entities (NPE) – have become more and more aggressive in extracting value from their IP." (Thanks to Paul Wise).

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 30th of January 2018 04:27:04 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (curl, lib32-curl, lib32-libcurl-compat, lib32-libcurl-gnutls, libcurl-compat, libcurl-gnutls, and rsync), Debian (curl), Fedora (clamav and java-1.8.0-openjdk), openSUSE (apache2), Oracle (kernel), and Ubuntu (linux-kvm and thunderbird).

Yaghmour: Ten Days in Shenzhen

Monday 29th of January 2018 11:05:08 PM
On his blog, embedded developer Karim Yaghmour has written about his ten-day trip to Shenzen, China, which is known as the "Silicon Valley of hardware". His lengthy trip report covers much that would be of use to others who are thinking of making the trip, but also serves as an interesting travelogue even for those who are likely to never go. "The map didn't disappoint and I was able to find a large number of kiosks selling some of the items I was interested in. Obviously many kiosks also had items that I had seen on Amazon or elsewhere as well. I was mostly focusing on things I hadn't seen before. After a few hours of walking floors upon floors of shops, I was ready to start focusing on other aspects of my research: hard to source and/or evaluate components, tools and expanding my knowledge of what was available in the hardware space. Hint: TEGES' [The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen] advice about having comfortable shoes and comfortable clothing is completely warranted. Finding tools was relatively easy. TEGES indicates the building and floor to go to, and you'll find most anything you can think of from rework stations, to pick-and-place machines, and including things like oscilloscopes, stereo microscopes, multimeters, screwdrivers, etc. In the process I saw some tools which I couldn't immediately figure out the purpose for, but later found out their uses on some other visits. Satisfied with a first glance at the tools, I set out to look for one specific component I was having a hard time with. That proved a lot more difficult than anticipated. Actually I should qualify that. It was trivial to find tons of it, just not something that matched exactly what I needed. I used TEGES to identify one part of the market that seemed most likely to have what I was looking for, but again, I could find lots of it, just not what I needed."

[$] QUIC as a solution to protocol ossification

Monday 29th of January 2018 05:31:43 PM
The TCP protocol has become so ubiquitous that, to many people, the terms "TCP/IP" and "networking" are nearly synonymous. The fact that introducing new protocols (or even modifying existing protocols) has become nearly impossible tends to reinforce that situation. That is not stopping people from trying, though. At linux.conf.au 2018, Jana Iyengar, a developer at Google, discussed the current state of the QUIC protocol which, he said, is now used for about 7% of the traffic on the Internet as a whole.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 29th of January 2018 04:57:41 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (glibc, lib32-glibc, and zziplib), Debian (clamav, ffmpeg, thunderbird, tiff, tiff3, and wireshark), Fedora (firefox, mingw-libtasn1, and webkitgtk4), Gentoo (fossil), Mageia (webkit2), openSUSE (chromium, clamav, and thunderbird), and SUSE (clamav and kernel).

CopperheadOS: Security features, installing apps, and more (opensource.com)

Monday 29th of January 2018 03:38:29 PM
Here's an opensource.com article on the virtues of CopperheadOS. "Unlike other custom ROMs that strive to add lots of new functionality, Copperhead runs a pretty vanilla version of AOSP. Also, while the first thing you usually do when playing with a custom ROM is to add root access to the device, not only does Copperhead prevent that, it also requires that you have a device that has verified boot, so there's no unlocking the bootloader. This is to prevent malicious code from getting access to the handset."

The 4.15 kernel is out

Sunday 28th of January 2018 10:14:44 PM
Linus has released the 4.15 kernel. "After a release cycle that was unusual in so many (bad) ways, this last week was really pleasant. Quiet and small, and no last-minute panics, just small fixes for various issues. I never got a feeling that I'd need to extend things by yet another week, and 4.15 looks fine to me." Some of the more significant features in this release include: the long-awaited CPU controller for the version-2 control-group interface, significant live-patching improvements, initial support for the RISC-V architecture, support for AMD's secure encrypted virtualization feature, and the MAP_SYNC mechanism for working with nonvolatile memory. This release also, of course, includes mitigations for the Meltdown and Spectre variant-2 vulnerabilities though, as Linus points out in the announcement, the work of dealing with these issues is not yet done.

More in Tux Machines

Introducing the potential new Ubuntu Studio Council

Back in 2016, Set Hallström was elected as the new Team Lead for Ubuntu Studio, just in time for the 16.04 Xenial Long Term Support (LTS) release. It was intended that Ubuntu Studio would be able to utilise Set’s leadership skills at least up until the next LTS release in April 2018. Unfortunately, as happens occasionally in the world of volunteer work, Set’s personal circumstances changed and he is no longer able to devote as much time to Ubuntu Studio as he would like. Therefore, an IRC meeting was held between interested Ubuntu Studio contributors on 21st May 2017 to agree on how to fill the void. We decided to follow the lead of Xubuntu and create a Council to take care of Ubuntu Studio, rather than continuing to place the burden of leadership on the shoulder of one particular person. Unfortunately, although the result was an agreement to form the first Ubuntu Studio Council from the meeting participants, we all got busy and the council was never set up. Read more

today's leftovers

  • My Experience with MailSpring on Linux
    On the Linux Desktop, there are quite a few choices for email applications. Each of these has their own pros and cons which should be weighed depending on one’s needs. Some clients will have MS Exchange support. Others do not. In general, because email is reasonably close to free (and yes, we can thank Hotmail for that) it has been a difficult place to make money. Without a cash flow to encourage developers, development has trickled at best.
  • Useful FFMPEG Commands for Managing Audio and Video Files
  • Set Up A Python Django Development Environment on Debian 9 Stretch Linux
  • How To Run A Command For A Specific Time In Linux
  • Kubuntu 17.10 Guide for Newbie Part 7
  •  
  • Why Oppo and Vivo are losing steam in Chinese smartphone market
    China’s smartphone market has seen intense competition over the past few years with four local brands capturing more than 60 percent of sales in 2017. Huawei Technologies, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi Technology recorded strong shipment growth on a year-on-year basis. But some market experts warned that Oppo and Vivo may see the growth of their shipments slow this year as users become more discriminating.
  • iPhones Blamed for More than 1,600 Accidental 911 Calls Since October
    The new Emergency SOS feature released by Apple for the iPhone is the one to blame for no less than 1,600 false calls to 911 since October, according to dispatchers. And surprisingly, emergency teams in Elk Grove and Sacramento County in California say they receive at least 20 such 911 calls every day from what appears to be an Apple service center. While it’s not exactly clear why the iPhones that are probably brought in for repairs end up dialing 911, dispatchers told CBS that the false calls were first noticed in the fall of the last year. Apple launched new iPhones in September 2017 and they went on sale later the same month and in November, but it’s not clear if these new devices are in any way related to the increasing number of accidental calls to 911.
  • Game Studio Found To Install Malware DRM On Customers' Machines, Defends Itself, Then Apologizes
    The thin line that exists between entertainment industry DRM software and plain malware has been pointed out both recently and in the past. There are many layers to this onion, ranging from Sony's rootkit fiasco, to performance hits on machines thanks to DRM installed by video games, up to and including the insane idea that copyright holders ought to be able to use malware payloads to "hack back" against accused infringers. What is different in more recent times is the public awareness regarding DRM, computer security, and an overall fear of malware. This is a natural kind of progression, as the public becomes more connected and reliant on computer systems and the internet, they likewise become more concerned about those systems. That may likely explain the swift public backlash to a small game-modding studio seemingly installing something akin to malware in every installation of its software, whether from a legitimate purchase or piracy.

Server: Benchmarks, IBM and Red Hat

  • 36-Way Comparison Of Amazon EC2 / Google Compute Engine / Microsoft Azure Cloud Instances vs. Intel/AMD CPUs
    Earlier this week I delivered a number of benchmarks comparing Amazon EC2 instances to bare metal Intel/AMD systems. Due to interest from that, here is a larger selection of cloud instance types from the leading public clouds of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine.
  • IBM's Phil Estes on the Turbulent Waters of Container History
    Phil Estes painted a different picture of container history at Open Source 101 in Raleigh last weekend, speaking from the perspective of someone who had a front row seat. To hear him tell it, this rise and success is a story filled with intrigue, and enough drama to keep a daytime soap opera going for a season or two.
  • Red Hat CSA Mike Bursell on 'managed degradation' and open data
    As part of Red Hat's CTO office chief security architect Mike Bursell has to be informed of security threats past, present and yet to come – as many as 10 years into the future. The open source company has access to a wealth of customers in verticals including health, finance, defence, the public sector and more. So how do these insights inform the company's understanding of the future threat landscape?
  • Red Hat Offers New Decision Management Tech Platform
    Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has released a platform that will work to support information technology applications and streamline the deployment of rules-based tools in efforts to automate processes for business decision management, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

Vulkan Anniversary and Generic FBDEV Emulation Continues To Be Worked On For DRM Drivers

  • Vulkan Turns Two Years Old, What Do You Hope For Next?
    This last week marked two years since the debut of Vulkan 1.0, you can see our our original launch article. My overworked memory missed realizing it by a few days, but it's been a pretty miraculous two years for this high-performance graphics and compute API.
  • Generic FBDEV Emulation Continues To Be Worked On For DRM Drivers
    Noralf Trønnes has spent the past few months working on generic FBDEV emulation for Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) drivers and this week he volleyed his third revision of these patches, which now includes a new in-kernel API along with some clients like a bootsplash system, VT console, and fbdev implementation.