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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: 2 hours 9 min ago

[$] Open-source contact tracing, part 1

Wednesday 24th of June 2020 06:12:12 PM
One of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic consists of identifying contacts of infected people so they can be informed about the risk; that will allow them to search for medical care, if needed. This is laborious work if it is done manually, so a number of applications have been developed to help with contact tracing. But they are causing debates about their effectiveness and privacy impacts. Many of the applications were released under open-source licenses. Here, we look at the principles of these applications and the software frameworks used to build them; part two will look into some applications in more detail, along with the controversies (especially related to privacy) around these tools.

Perl 7 launches

Wednesday 24th of June 2020 05:14:27 PM
The Perl project has announced the upcoming release of Perl 7. Unlike Perl 6, though, this is not a radical departure, yet at least: "Perl 7.0 is going to be v5.32 but with different, saner, more modern defaults. You won’t have to enable most of the things you are already doing because they are enabled for you. The major version jump sets the boundary between how we have been doing things and what we can do in the future." The plan is to have a Perl 7 release "within the next year".

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 24th of June 2020 03:06:01 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel, ntp, and unbound), Fedora (php-horde-horde and tcpreplay), openSUSE (chromium, java-1_8_0-openj9, mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss, and opera), Oracle (gnutls, grafana, thunderbird, and unbound), Red Hat (candlepin and satellite, docker, microcode_ctl, openstack-keystone, openstack-manila and openstack-manila, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Scientific Linux (kernel and ntp), Slackware (ntp), SUSE (curl, libreoffice, libssh2_org, and php5), and Ubuntu (curl).

[$] PHP releases and support

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020 09:38:30 PM
PHP is used extensively on the web. How new features, security fixes, and bug fixes make their way into a release is important to understand. Likewise, understanding what can be expected in community support for previous releases is even more important. Since PHP-based sites are typically exposed to the Internet, keeping up-to-date is not something a security-minded administrator can afford to ignore.

FOSS Contributor Survey

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020 03:23:15 PM
The Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have developed a survey for contributors to free and open-source software (FOSS) projects. The aim is "to identify how to improve security, including the sustainability of the FOSS ecosystem, especially the FOSS systems heavily relied upon by organizations worldwide."

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020 02:59:37 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (thunderbird), Debian (wordpress), Fedora (ca-certificates, kernel, libexif, and tomcat), openSUSE (chromium, containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork, fwupd, osc, perl, php7, and xmlgraphics-batik), Oracle (unbound), Red Hat (containernetworking-plugins, dpdk, grafana, kernel, kernel-rt, kpatch-patch, libexif, microcode_ctl, ntp, pcs, and skopeo), Scientific Linux (unbound), SUSE (kernel, mariadb, mercurial, and xawtv), and Ubuntu (mutt and nfs-utils).

Stable kernel updates

Monday 22nd of June 2020 02:31:09 PM
Stable kernels 5.7.5, 5.4.48, 4.19.129, 4.14.185, 4.9.228, and 4.4.228 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 22nd of June 2020 02:11:22 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (lynis, mutt, neomutt, ngircd, and rails), Mageia (gnutls), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (chromium-browser, gnutls, grafana, thunderbird, and unbound), Scientific Linux (thunderbird and unbound), and SUSE (bind, java-1_8_0-openjdk, kernel, libgxps, and osc).

Kernel prepatch 5.8-rc2

Monday 22nd of June 2020 01:16:50 PM
The second 5.8 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "So rc2 isn't particularly big or scary, and falls right in the normal range".

Linux Plumbers Conference virtual town hall

Friday 19th of June 2020 06:40:44 PM
Mark your calendars: the Linux Plumbers Conference has scheduled an online town hall for June 25 at 15:00 GMT. "The first purpose is to test our remote conference set up. This is the first time we are holding Linux Plumbers virtually and while we can run simulated tests, it’s much more effective to test our setup with actual participants with differing hardware set ups around the world. The second purpose is to present on our planning and give everyone a little bit of an idea of what to expect when we hold Plumbers at the end of August. We plan to have time for questions." Testing the scalability of the conference system requires a lot of participants; the LPC organizers would appreciate it if a lot of people can find a moment to connect and help out.

[$] Updating the Git protocol for SHA-256

Friday 19th of June 2020 04:07:50 PM
The Git source-code management system has for years been moving toward abandoning the Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1) in favor of the more secure SHA-256 algorithm. Recently, the project moved a step closer to that goal with contributors implementing new Git protocol capabilities to enable the transition.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 19th of June 2020 01:34:33 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7), Fedora (dbus, kernel, microcode_ctl, mingw-glib-networking, moby-engine, and roundcubemail), Mageia (libjpeg), openSUSE (chromium and rmt-server), Oracle (kernel and microcode_ctl), Red Hat (rh-nodejs8-nodejs and thunderbird), Slackware (bind), and SUSE (adns, containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork, dbus-1, fwupd, gegl, gnuplot, guile, java-1_7_1-ibm, java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss, perl, and php7).

[$] Rethinking the futex API

Thursday 18th of June 2020 09:35:35 PM
The Linux futex() system call is a bit of a strange beast. It is widely used to provide low-level synchronization support in user space, but there is no wrapper for it in the GNU C Library. Its implementation was meant to be simple, but kernel developers have despaired at the complex beast that it has become, and few dare to venture into that code. Recently, though, a new effort has begun to rework futexes; it is limited to a new system-call interface for now, but the plans go far beyond that.

Stable kernel 5.7.4

Thursday 18th of June 2020 04:22:10 PM
The 5.7.4 stable kernel has been released. It contains a single fix for a problem introduced in the rework of the VDSO clock code that affects paravirtualized guests. Users should upgrade.

[$] Simple IoT Devices using ESPHome

Thursday 18th of June 2020 03:21:32 PM
ESPHome is a project that brings together two recent subjects at LWN: The open-source smart hub Home Assistant, and the Espressif ESP8266 microcontroller. With this project, smart home devices can be created and integrated quickly — without needing to write a single line of code.

Krita 4.3.0 released

Thursday 18th of June 2020 01:42:05 PM
Version 4.3.0 of the Krita painting application is out. "There’s a whole new set of brush presets that evoke watercolor painting. There’s a color mode in the gradient map filter and a brand new palettize filter and a high pass filter. The scripting API has been extended. It’s now possible to adjust the opacity and lightness on colored brush tips separately. You can now create animated brush tips that select brush along multiple dimensions. We’ve made it possible to put the canvas area in a window of its own, so on a multi monitor setup, you can have all the controls on one monitor, and your images on the other. The color selector has had a big update. There’s a new snapshot docker that stores states of your image, and you can switch between those. There’s a brand new magnetic selection tool. Gradients can now be painting as spirals."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 18th of June 2020 12:33:23 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7 and python-django), Fedora (glib-networking, kernel, kernel-headers, and nghttp2), openSUSE (adns, chromium, file-roller, and libEMF), SUSE (java-1_7_1-ibm), and Ubuntu (bind9 and nss).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 18, 2020

Thursday 18th of June 2020 01:26:31 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 18, 2020 is available.

[$] Lightweight alternatives to Google Analytics

Wednesday 17th of June 2020 06:34:37 PM
More and more web-site owners are concerned about the "all-seeing Google" tracking users as they browse around the web. Google Analytics (GA) is a full-featured web-analytics system that is available for free and, despite the privacy concerns, has become the de facto analytics tool for small and large web sites alike. However, in recent years, a growing number of alternatives are helping break Google's dominance. In this article we'll look at two of the lightweight open-source options, namely GoatCounter and Plausible. In a subsequent article, we'll look at a few of the larger tools.

Stable kernel updates

Wednesday 17th of June 2020 06:23:59 PM
Stable kernels 5.7.3, 5.6.19, and 5.4.47 have been released with important fixes throughout the tree. This is the last 5.6.y release and users should move to 5.7.y.

More in Tux Machines

Linspire 9.0 Released

Today our development team is excited to announce the release of Linspire 9.0; packed with a TON of improvements and security updates, this is a major update that we’ve been working hard to get out to our faithful users. The global pandemic has delayed its release, but the development team has worked diligently and meticulously behind-the-scenes over the past few months, fine-tuning every detail of what is widely considered to be the premier Linux desktop on the market today. The Linspire 9.0 series will be the last one featuring the 18.04 LTS codebase; upcoming Linspire X will be based on the 20.04 LTS code and kernel. Read more Also: Linspire 9.0 Officially Released, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Linux 5.4 LTS

today's leftovers

  • Fast Bare Metal provisioning and infrastructure automation with MAAS
  • [Updated] Michael Stapelberg: Optional dependencies don’t work

    In the i3 projects, we have always tried hard to avoid optional dependencies. There are a number of reasons behind it, and as I have recently encountered some of the downsides of optional dependencies firsthand, I summarized my thoughts in this article.

  • Benchmarking NetBSD, second evaluation report

    This report was written by Apurva Nandan as part of Google Summer of Code 2020. This blog post is in continuation of GSoC Reports: Benchmarking NetBSD, first evaluation report blog and describes my progress in the second phase of GSoC 2020 under The NetBSD Foundation. In this phase, I worked on the automation of the regression suite made using Phoronix Test Suite (PTS) and its integration with Anita. The automation framework consists of two components Phoromatic server, provided by Phoronix Test Suite in pkgsrc, and Anita, a Python tool for automating NetBSD installation.

  • Interest in Kodi Declines After a Turmultuous Few Years of Piracy Headlines

    After many years of being mentioned in the same breath as movie and TV show piracy, interest in the Kodi media player appears to have peaked and is now on the decline. That's according to Google Trends data which suggests that after reaching a high in early 2017, interest via search is now on a continuous downward trend.

Programming Leftovers

  • RcppSimdJson 0.1.1: More Features

    A first update following for the exciting RcppSimdJson 0.1.0 release last month is now on CRAN. Version 0.1.1 brings further enhancements such direct parsing of raw chars, working with compressed files as well as much expanded querying ability all thanks to Brendan, some improvements to our demos thanks to Daniel as well as a small fix via a one-liner borrowed from upstream for a reported UBSAN issue. RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic and genuinely impressive simdjson library by Daniel Lemire and collaborators. Via very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in parsing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed; see the video of the talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (also voted best talk).

  • Jonathan Dowland: Generic Haskell

    When I did the work described earlier in template haskell, I also explored generic programming in Haskell to solve a particular problem. StrIoT is a program generator: it outputs source code, which may depend upon other modules, which need to be imported via declarations at the top of the source code files. The data structure that StrIoT manipulates contains information about what modules are loaded to resolve the names that have been used in the input code, so we can walk that structure to automatically derive an import list. The generic programming tools I used for this are from Structure Your Boilerplate (SYB), a module written to complement a paper of the same name.

  • 9 reasons I upgraded from AngularJS to Angular

    In 2010, Google released AngularJS, an open source, JavaScript-based frontend structure for developing single-page applications (SPAs) for the internet. With its move to version 2.0 in 2016, the framework's name was shortened to Angular. AngularJS is still being developed and used, but Angular's advantages mean it's a smart idea to migrate to the newer version.

  • [Old/Odd] 5 news feautures of PHP-7.2

    Before PHP 7.2 the object keyword was used to convert one data type to another (boxing and unboxing), for example, an array to an object of the sdtClass class and/or vice versa, as of PHP 7.2 the object data type can be used as parameter type or as function return type.

  • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 351

Proprietary Software and Linux Foundation

  • [PCLinuxOS] Opera Browser updated to 70.0.3728.106

    Opera is a Chromium-based browser using the Blink layout engine. It differentiates itself because of a distinct user interface and other features.

  • Vivaldi Explains Why They Make "Proprietary Garbage"

    It is unfair to say that Vivaldi is not open source at all as someone like Distrotube has done, the way the company behind Vivaldi has decided to handle this application is by using a dual licensing system where the open source portion of the application is licensed under an open source BSD license but that's not the point of today, the point is to explain why they have decided to license their software in such a way.

  • Scientists Forced To Change Names Of Human Genes Because Of Microsoft's Failure To Patch Excel

    Six years ago, Techdirt wrote about a curious issue with Microsoft's Excel. A default date conversion feature was altering the names of genes, because they looked like dates. For example, the tumor suppressor gene DEC1 (Deleted in Esophageal Cancer 1) was being converted to "1-DEC". Hardly a widespread problem, you might think. Not so: research in 2016 found that nearly 20% of 3500 papers taken from leading genomic journals contained gene lists that had been corrupted by Excel's re-interpretation of names as dates. Although there don't seem to be any instances where this led to serious errors, there is a natural concern that it could distort research results. The good news is this problem has now been fixed. The rather surprising news is that it wasn't Microsoft that fixed it, even though Excel was at fault. As an article in The Verge reports:

  • The Linux Foundation Wants Open-Source Tech to Address Future Pandemics

    The Linux Foundation, which supports open-source innovation in blockchain tech, launched the Linux Foundation Public Health Initiative (LFPHI) at the end of July. The LFPHI’s goal is to promote the use of open source by public health authorities, which can be scrutinized by anyone, to fight not just COVID-19 but future pandemics as well.

  • LF Edge’s Akraino Project Release 3 Now Available, Unifying Open Source Blueprints Across MEC, AI, Cloud and Telecom Edge

    LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced the availability of Akraino Release 3 (“Akraino R3”). Akraino’s third and most mature release to date delivers fully functional edge solutions– implemented across global organizations– to enable a diversity of edge deployments across the globe. New blueprints include a focus on MEC, AI/ML, and Cloud edge. In addition, the community authored the first iteration of a new white paper to bring common open edge API standards to align the industry.

  • Linux Foundation Launches Jenkins X Training Course

    Linux Foundation has launched a new training course, LFS268 – CI/CD with Jenkins X. Developed in conjunction with the Continuous Delivery Foundation, the course will introduce the fundamentals of Jenkins X.