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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 26 min ago

SUNY math professor makes the case for free and open educational resources (Opensource.com)

6 hours 58 min ago
Opensource.com looks at the availability of open educational resources (OERs), where to find them, and what the advantages of OERs are. Math and computer science professor David Usinski is a strong advocate for OERs and was interviewed for the article. "The ability to customize the curriculum is one of David's favorite benefits of OER. 'The intangible aspect is that OER has allowed me to reinvent my curriculum and take ownership of the content. With a textbook, I am locked into the chapter-by-chapter approach by one or two authors,' he says. Because of OER 'I am no longer hindered or confined by published materials and now have the flexibility to create the curriculum that truly addresses the course outcomes.' By freely sharing the content he creates, other instructors can also benefit."

Uiterwijk: Fedora package delivery security

7 hours 19 min ago
On his blog, Patrick Uiterwijk writes about about Fedora packaging and how the distribution works to ensure its users get valid updates. Packages are signed, but repository metadata is not (yet), but there are other mechanisms in place to keep users from getting outdated updates (or to not get important security updates). "However, when a significant security issue is announced and we have repositories that include fixes for this issue, we have an 'Emergency' button. When we press that button, we tell our servers to immediately regard every older repomd.xml checksum as outdated. This means that when we press this button, every mirror that does not have the very latest repository data will be regarded as outdated, so that our users get the security patches as soon as possible. This does mean that for a period of time only the master mirrors are trusted until other mirrors sync their data, but we prefer this solution over delaying getting important fixes out to our users and making them vulnerable to attackers in the meantime."

Stable kernels 4.4.117, 4.9.83, 4.14.21, and 4.15.5 released

13 hours 30 min ago
The 4.4.117, 4.9.83, 4.14.21, and 4.15.5 stable kernels have been released. They contain a large number of updates throughout the tree; users should upgrade.

Security updates for Friday

13 hours 57 min ago
Security updates have been issued by Debian (cups, gcc-6, irssi, kernel, and squid3), Fedora (mupdf), Mageia (irssi, mpv, qpdf, and quagga), openSUSE (libmad and postgresql95), SUSE (kernel and php5), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux-lts-trusty, linux-raspi2, and wavpack).

[$] Some advanced BCC topics

Thursday 22nd of February 2018 09:01:07 PM
The BPF virtual machine is working its way into an increasing number of kernel subsystems. The previous article in this series introduced the BPF Compiler Collection (BCC), which provides a set of tools for working with BPF. But there is more to BCC than a set of administrative tools; it also provides a development environment for those wanting to create their own BPF-based utilities. Read on for an exploration of that environment and how it can be used to create programs and attach them to tracepoints.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 22nd of February 2018 02:32:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (strongswan), Fedora (torbrowser-launcher), openSUSE (libdb-4_5, libdb-4_8, postgresql96, python3-openpyxl, and xv), Red Hat (rh-maven35-jackson-databind), and Ubuntu (kernel, libreoffice, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, and linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 22, 2018

Thursday 22nd of February 2018 03:12:41 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 22, 2018 is available.

[$] New tricks for XFS

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 11:48:35 PM

The XFS filesystem has been in the kernel for fifteen years and was used in production on IRIX systems for five years before that. But it might just be time to teach that "old dog" of a filesystem some new tricks, Dave Chinner said, at the beginning of his linux.conf.au 2018 presentation. There are a number of features that XFS lacks when compared to more modern filesystems, such as snapshots and subvolumes; but he has been thinking—and writing code—on a path to get them into XFS.

[$] An overview of Project Atomic

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 10:38:50 PM

Terms like "cloud-native" and "web scale" are often used and understood as pointless buzzwords. Under the layers of marketing, though, cloud systems do work best with a new and different way of thinking about system administration. Much of the tool set used for cloud operations is free software, and Linux is the platform of choice for almost all cloud applications. While just about any distribution can be made to work, there are several projects working to create a ground-up system specifically for cloud hosts. One of the best known of these is Project Atomic from Red Hat and the Fedora Project.

[$] Licenses and contracts

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 06:36:02 PM

Some days it seems that wherever two or more free-software enthusiasts gather together, there also shall be licensing discussions. One such, which can get quite heated, is the question of whether a given free-software license is a license, or whether it is really a contract. This distinction is important, because most legal systems treat the two differently. I know from personal experience that that discussion can go on, unresolved, for long periods, but it had not previously occurred to me to wonder whether this might be due to the answer being different in different jurisdictions. Fortunately, it has occurred to some lawyers to wonder just that, and three of them came together at FOSDEM 2018 to present their conclusions.

Subscribers can read on for a report on the talk by guest author Tom Yates.

[$] Open-source trusted computing for IoT

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 05:23:30 PM

At this year's FOSDEM in Brussels, Jan Tobias Mühlberg gave a talk on the latest work on Sancus, a project that was originally presented at the USENIX Security Symposium in 2013. The project is a fully open-source hardware platform to support "trusted computing" and other security functionality. It is designed to be used for internet of things (IoT) devices, automotive applications, critical infrastructure, and other embedded devices where trusted code is expected to be run.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 03:43:19 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (libmspack), Debian (zziplib), Fedora (ca-certificates, firefox, freetype, golang, krb5, libreoffice, monit, patch, plasma-workspace, ruby, sox, tomcat, and zziplib), openSUSE (dovecot22, glibc, GraphicsMagick, libXcursor, mbedtls, p7zip, SDL_image, SDL2_image, sox, and transfig), Red Hat (chromium-browser), and Ubuntu (cups, libvirt, and qemu).

Hovmöller: Moving a large and old codebase to Python3

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 01:03:35 AM
Anders Hovmöller has posted an account of migrating a large application to Python 3. There were multiple steps on the journey and plenty of lessons learned. "Our philosophy was always to go py2 -> py2/py3 -> py3 because we just could not realistically do a big bang in production, an intuition that was proven right in surprising ways. This meant that 2to3 was a non starter which I think is probably common. We tried a while to use 2to3 to detect Python 3 compatibility issues but quickly found that untenable too. Basically it suggests changes that will break your code in Python 2. No good. The conclusion was to use six, which is a library to make it easy to build a codebase that is valid in both in Python 2 and 3."

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 20th of February 2018 04:10:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (libav), Gentoo (chromium, firefox, libreoffice, mysql, and ruby), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (bind9).

[$] BPF comes to firewalls

Monday 19th of February 2018 11:17:40 PM
The Linux kernel currently supports two separate network packet-filtering mechanisms: iptables and nftables. For the last few years, it has been generally assumed that nftables would eventually replace the older iptables implementation; few people expected that the kernel developers would, instead, add a third packet filter. But that would appear to be what is happening with the newly announced bpfilter mechanism. Bpfilter may eventually replace both iptables and nftables, but there are a lot of questions that will need to be answered first.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 19th of February 2018 04:03:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (irssi), Debian (bind9, gcc-4.9, plasma-workspace, quagga, and tomcat-native), Fedora (p7zip), Mageia (nasm), openSUSE (exim, ffmpeg, irssi, mpv, qpdf, quagga, rrdtool, and rubygem-puppet), and SUSE (p7zip and xen).

SuiteCRM 7.10 released

Monday 19th of February 2018 02:25:41 PM
SuiteCRM is a fork of the formerly open-source SugarCRM customer relationship management system. The 7.10 release has been announced. "SuiteCRM 7.10 includes a long list of enhancements, improving user experience, adding new functionality and providing a new REST API. This edition of SuiteCRM also assists companies to be ready for GDPR, including opt-in functionality to track the consent of individuals."

Kernel prepatch 4.16-rc2

Monday 19th of February 2018 04:04:38 AM
The second 4.16 kernel prepatch is out. "Go out and test, it all looks fine."

Some weekend stable kernel updates

Sunday 18th of February 2018 09:15:44 PM
The 4.15.4, 4.14.20, 4.9.82, 4.4.116, and 3.18.95 stable kernel updates have all been released. These kernels contain a relatively large set of important fixes and updates.

[$] The boot-constraint subsystem

Friday 16th of February 2018 06:57:02 PM
The fifth version of the patch series adding the boot-constraint subsystem is under review on the linux-kernel mailing list. The purpose of this subsystem is to honor the constraints put on devices by the bootloader before those devices are handed over to the operating system (OS) — Linux in our case. If these constraints are violated, devices may fail to work properly once the kernel starts reconfiguring the hardware; by tracking and enforcing those constraints, instead, we can ensure that hardware continues to work properly until the kernel is fully operational.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Software: Audacity, Geary, GNOME Photos, Business Apps, Mir, Nix, KubeVirt, Top Projects and Apoxi

  • Audacity 2.2.2 Released with a Stack of New Features & Improvements
    This update also builds upon the major changes introduced in the release of Audacity 2.2.0 last year, as well that of the minor 2.2.1 update earlier this year.
  • Geary Email Client Mails Out a Bug Fix Update
    A new version of the Geary email client for Linux desktops is available to download. Although a (relative) minor update when compared to the huge Geary 0.12 release last year, Geary 0.12.1 is worthwhile. The update solves a stack of crashes and server compatibility issues, while also updating translations in the interface and user manual to ensure as many people can use Geary as possible.
  • GNOME Photos – An Elegant Alternative for Organizing and Sharing Photos
    How many GNU/Linux photo managers do you know have a beautiful UI for browsing photos and organizing them into collections coupled with inbuilt editing tools and cloud integration? This one goes by the name of GNOME Photos. GNOME Photos is a simple and yet elegant photo management app with which you can organize, share, and intuitively edit your photos on your Linux workstation. It features a file manager-like environment for easy navigation and cloud integration via GNOME Online Accounts.
  • Linux Means Business – Best Free Business Apps
    Let’s deal with the issue of cost up front. Every single application featured in this article is available to download without payment. This, in itself, helps to keep IT costs within a tight budget. And cost can be a very important driver when seeking an IT solution for firms – particularly for freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, and educational establishments. Naturally, these types of people and organizations will have some sort of IT budget. From a business perspective, open source business applications won’t necessarily be zero cost. Using unfamiliar software entails training costs for a firm — the costs are not limited to time itself. And then there’s the expense of obtaining support for the software, or even hiring development time to customize certain aspects of the software to add additional functionality. Off-the-shelf software is unlikely to completely address a company’s needs. But if a proprietary solution is sought, it’s likely that this development will be more expensive. It is sometimes thought that Linux software cannot rival Microsoft applications in a commercial setting because the strength of Linux comes from its price. In fact, Linux’s strength derives from other considerations such as flexibility, stability, security, cutting-edge technology, and ease of use. Additionally, the virtues of open source software are invaluable to commercial organizations whatever their size. With full access to source code, companies can easily develop extensions to the software, tailor made to their own specific needs and requirements. Moreover they are not reliant on the goodwill of a single vendor in order to do business: Linux is about freedom and choice and that is just as important to an organisation as to an individual.
  • Mir's Wayland Support Will Now Let You Drag Around Windows
    I was surprised to learn that up until this week, Mir's initial Wayland support didn't allow for windows of Wayland clients to be moved around the screen. Fortunately, that has now been resolved with allowing window movement to be initiated by Wayland clients running on Mir. Now you can enjoy Qt, GTK apps, and even the Weston Terminal to be moved around the screen. Previously there was just server-side support for moving windows in Wayland while now is client-side support.
  • Nix 2.0 Package Manager Released With A Ton Of Changes
    Nix 2.0 is now available as the latest major update to this functional package manager most commonly associated with the NixOS Linux distribution.
  • KubeVirt v0.3.0-alpha.3: Kubernetes native networking and storage
    First post for quite some time. A side effect of being busy to get streamline our KubeVirt user experience. KubeVirt v0.3.0 was not released at the beginnig of the month. That release was intended to be a little bigger, because it included a large architecture change (to the good). The change itself was amazingly friendly and went in without much problems - even if it took some time. But, the work which was building upon this patch in the storage and network areas was delayed and didn’t make it in time. Thus we skipped the release in order to let storage and network catch up.
  • Top 5 open source projects for 2018
    In our increasingly collaborative world, open source technology is a top trend that is having a major impact on the development and implementation of cutting edge capabilities. Open source is when source code connected to a program is made freely available, giving users the opportunity to make modifications and to share with other users. The common alternative to this is proprietary software, source code that remains under the strict control of an organisation, team or individual, ensuring that the integral code remains private and controlled by its owner.
  • DataTorrent Glues Open Source Componentry with ‘Apoxi’
    Building an enterprise-grade big data application with open source components is not easy. Anybody who has worked with Apache Hadoop ecosystem technology can tell you that. But the folks at DataTorrent say they’ve found a way to accelerate the delivery of secure and scalable big data applications with Apoxi, a new framework they created to stitch together major open source components like Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka, in an extensible and pluggable fashion.

GNOME and Fedora

  • RFC: Integrating rsvg-rs into librsvg
    I have started an RFC to integrate rsvg-rs into librsvg. rsvg-rs is the Rust binding to librsvg. Like the gtk-rs bindings, it gets generated from a pre-built GIR file.
  • 1+ year of Fedora and GNOME hardware enablement
    A year and a couple of months ago, Christian Schaller asked me to pivot a little bit from working full time on Fleet Commander to manage a new team we were building to work on client hardware enablement for Fedora and GNOME with an emphasis on upstream. The idea was to fill the gap in the organization where nobody really owned the problem of bringing up new client hardware features vertically across the stack (from shell down to the kernel), or rather, ensure Fedora and GNOME both work great on modern laptops. Part of that deal was to take over the bootloader and start working closer to customers and hardware manufacturing parnters.
  • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Works on the beach
    My trip is getting really close, so I decided to upgrade my system to rawhide. Wait, what ? That is usually what everybody would tell you not to do. Rawhide has this reputation for frequent breakage, and who knows if my apps will work any given day. Not something you want to deal with while traveling.
  • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for February

Why You Shouldn’t Use Firefox Forks (and Proprietary Opera)

  • Why You Shouldn’t Use Firefox Forks Like Waterfox, Pale Moon, or Basilisk
    Mozilla Firefox is an open source project, so anyone can take its code, modify it, and release a new browser. That’s what Waterfox, Pale Moon, and Basilisk are—alternative browsers based on the Firefox code. But we recommend against using any of them.
  • Opera Says Its Next Opera Release Will Have the Fastest Ad Blocker on the Block
    Opera Software promoted today its upcoming Opera 52 web browser to the beta channel claiming that it has the faster ad blocker on the market compared to previous Opera release and Google Chrome. One of the key highlights of the Opera 52 release will be the improved performance of the built-in ad blocker as Opera claims to have enhanced the string matching algorithm of the ad blocker to make it open web pages that contain ads much faster than before, and, apparently than other web browsers, such as Chrome.