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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: 21 min 21 sec ago

Security updates for Friday

Friday 16th of November 2018 03:52:46 PM
Security updates have been issued by Fedora (lldpad, pdns, and php), Mageia (flash-player-plugin, gdal, mutt, patch, php-pear-CAS, postgresql9.4|6, ruby-rack, and teeworlds), SUSE (kernel-rt, postgresql10, and squid), and Ubuntu (openjdk-7).

[$] Bringing the Android kernel back to the mainline

Thursday 15th of November 2018 08:17:27 PM
Android devices are based on the Linux kernel but, since the beginning, those devices have not run mainline kernels. The amount of out-of-tree code shipped on those devices has been seen as a problem for most of this time, and significant resources have been dedicated to reducing it. At the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference, Sandeep Patil talked about this problem and what is being done to address it. The dream of running mainline kernels on Android devices has not yet been achieved, but it may be closer than many people think.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta

Thursday 15th of November 2018 06:44:44 PM
Red Hat has announced the release of RHEL 8 Beta. "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta introduces the concept of Application Streams to deliver userspace packages more simply and with greater flexibility. Userspace components can now update more quickly than core operating system packages and without having to wait for the next major version of the operating system. Multiple versions of the same package, for example, an interpreted language or a database, can also be made available for installation via an application stream. This helps to deliver greater agility and user-customized versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux without impacting the underlying stability of the platform or specific deployments."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 15th of November 2018 03:59:39 PM
Security updates have been issued by Fedora (kde-connect, mingw-SDL2_image, SDL2_image, and subscription-manager), Red Hat (flash-plugin), SUSE (openssh-openssl1, systemd, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-azure, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, postgresql-10, and python2.7).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 15, 2018

Thursday 15th of November 2018 01:21:28 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 15, 2018 is available.

[$] A report from the Automated Testing Summit

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 10:21:10 PM

In the first session of the Testing & Fuzzing microconference at the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), Kevin Hilman gave a report on the recently held Automated Testing Summit (ATS). Since the summit was an invitation-only gathering of 35 people, there were many at LPC who were not at ATS but had a keen interest in what was discussed. The summit came out of a realization that there is a lot of kernel testing going on in various places, but not a lot of collaboration between those efforts, Hilman said.

[$] Device-tree schemas

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 06:56:20 PM
Device trees have become ubiquitous in recent years as a way of describing the hardware layout of non-discoverable systems, such as many ARM-based devices. The device-tree bindings define how a particular piece of hardware is described in a device tree. Drivers then implement those bindings. The device-tree documentation shows how to use the bindings to describe systems: which properties are available and which values they may have. In theory, the bindings, drivers and documentation should be consistent with each other. In practice, they are often not consistent and, even when they are, using those bindings correctly in actual device trees is not a trivial task. As a result, developers have been considering formal validation for device-tree files for years. Recently, Rob Herring proposed a move to a more structured documentation format for device-tree bindings using JSON Schema to allow automated validation.

Results: Linux Foundation Technical Board Election 2018

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 05:02:57 PM
The results of the 2018 election for members of the Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory Board have been posted; the members elected this time around are Chris Mason, Laura Abbott, Olof Johansson, Dan Williams, and Kees Cook. Abbott and Cook are new members to the board this time around. (The other TAB members are Ted Ts'o, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet, Tim Bird, and Steve Rostedt).

Stable kernel updates

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 04:12:15 PM
Stable kernels 4.19.2, 4.18.19, 4.14.81, and 4.9.137 have been released. They all contain a relatively large set of important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 04:03:34 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (powerdns and powerdns-recursor), Debian (ceph and spamassassin), Fedora (feh, flatpak, and xen), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-rt, openstack-cinder, python-cryptography, and Red Hat Single Sign-On 7.2.5), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.4, python3.5).

[$] Debian, Rust, and librsvg

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 12:46:20 AM

Debian supports many architectures and, even for those it does not officially support, there are Debian ports that try to fill in the gap. For most user applications, it is mostly a matter of getting GCC up and running for the architecture in question, then building all of the different packages that Debian provides. But for packages that need to be built with LLVM—applications or libraries that use Rust, for example—that simple recipe becomes more complicated. How much the lack of Rust support for an unofficial architecture should hold back the rest of the distribution was the subject of a somewhat acrimonious discussion recently.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 03:43:54 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (firmware-nonfree and imagemagick), Fedora (cabextract, icecast, and libmspack), openSUSE (icecast), Red Hat (httpd24), Slackware (libtiff), SUSE (apache-pdfbox, firefox, ImageMagick, and kernel), and Ubuntu (clamav, spamassassin, and systemd).

[$] C library system-call wrappers, or the lack thereof

Monday 12th of November 2018 11:01:33 PM
User-space developers may be accustomed to thinking of system calls as direct calls into the kernel. Indeed, the first edition of The C Programming Language described read() and write() as "a direct entry into the operating system". In truth, user-level "system calls" are just functions in the C library like any other. But what happens when the developers of the C library refuse to provide access to system calls they don't like? The result is an ongoing conflict that has recently flared up again; it shows some of the difficulties that can arise when the system as a whole has no ultimate designer and the developers are not talking to each other.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 12th of November 2018 04:15:14 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (curl, lib32-curl, lib32-libcurl-compat, lib32-libcurl-gnutls, libcurl-compat, libcurl-gnutls, systemd, and thunderbird), Debian (ansible, ghostscript, qemu, thunderbird, and xen), Fedora (community-mysql, gettext, links, mysql-connector-java, xen, and zchunk), Gentoo (icecast, libde265, okular, pango, and PHProjekt), Mageia (ansible, audiofile, iniparser, libtiff, mercurial, opencc, and python-dulwich), openSUSE (accountsservice, apache2, audiofile, curl, libarchive, ntfs-3g_ntfsprogs, opensc, python, python-base, qemu, soundtouch, and systemd), Oracle (git, java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, kernel, python-paramiko, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), Red Hat (rh-git29-git), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (gettext and libmspack).

Kernel prepatch 4.20-rc2

Monday 12th of November 2018 12:08:00 AM
The 4.20-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "Fairly normal week, aside from me traveling".

Some weekend stable kernel updates

Saturday 10th of November 2018 07:57:50 PM
The 4.18.18, 4.14.80, 4.9.136, 4.4.163, and 3.18.125 stable kernel updates have all been released; each contains a relatively large set of important fixes.

The 3.18.x updates may be about to come to an end, since it is not clear that anybody is using them. "And from what I can see in the 'real world', no one is actually updating devices that rely on 3.18.y to the newer kernel releases. So I think I'm going to stop maintaining this tree soon unless someone speaks up and says 'I am using it!'"

The kernel pull-request tracker bot

Friday 9th of November 2018 05:19:36 PM
Since the beginning, one part of the kernel-development task has been watching the mainline to see whether one's work had been merged. That is about to change with the advent of the pull-request tracker bot, which will inform maintainers when one of their pull requests has made it into the mainline. Konstantin Ryabitsev, who put this service together, plans to expand it to other trees once things have settled down.

[$] ktask: optimizing CPU-intensive kernel work

Friday 9th of November 2018 04:21:12 PM
As a general rule, the kernel is supposed to use the least amount of CPU time possible; any time taken by the kernel is not available for the applications the user actually wants to run. As a result, not a lot of thought has gone into optimizing the execution of kernel-side work requiring large amounts of CPU. But the kernel does occasionally have to take on CPU-intensive tasks, such as the initialization of the large amounts of memory found on current systems. The ktask subsystem posted by Daniel Jordan is an attempt to improve how the kernel handles such jobs.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 9th of November 2018 03:17:23 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (nginx), Fedora (icu, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, libgit2, php-pear-CAS, roundcubemail, and ruby), Gentoo (firefox, libX11, openssl, and python), openSUSE (thunderbird), Oracle (java-11-openjdk, kernel, and spice-server), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-ibm and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (spice-server), SUSE (curl, libepubgen, liblangtag, libmwaw, libnumbertext, libreoffice, libstaroffice, libwps, myspell-dictionaries, xmlsec1, libxkbcommon, openssh, and xorg-x11-server), and Ubuntu (pyopenssl).

[$] iwd: simplifying WiFi management

Thursday 8th of November 2018 04:57:04 PM
It has been nearly 13 years since Jeff Garzik proclaimed that Linux was "proving its superiority in the area of crappy wireless (WiFi) support". Happily, the situation has improved somewhat since then, but that doesn't mean that things can't get better yet. During the Embedded Linux Conference portion of the 2018 Open Source Summit Europe, Marcel Holtmann described the work being done to create iwd, a new system for configuring and managing WiFi connections. If this project has its way, future users will have little room for complaint about how WiFi works on Linux systems.

More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu Mir's EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

Ubuntu's little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment. Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is "highly experimental, and can crash the desktop." This support is available via the "edge" EGMDE Snap. Read more

Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob
    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation. The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.
  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs
    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2. NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.
  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Net Neutrality Stance, Mozilla, a VR Work, Firefox Monitor and 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity

  • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality
    Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online. The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone. Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.
  • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!
    Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.
  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support
    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.
  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019
    Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task. Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.

Graphics: Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack, Mesa 18.3.0 RC, ROCm 1.9.2 and Firefox on Wayland

  • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590
    While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn't yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn't what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement. [...] Long story short, it looks like at least one initialization issue is blocking the Radeon RX 590 Linux support. Hopefully the workaround ends up being trivial enough that it can be quickly back-ported to existing stable Linux kernel series. Once the Radeon RX 590 is running well on Linux, I'll be through with a ton of benchmarks that I have already been working on this week with other graphics cards using the newest Linux driver stacks. This situation is sadly reminiscent of the Raven Ridge launch earlier this year where the open-source driver team was working on support for months in advance, but the production hardware/BIOS ended up varying a lot from their hardware bring-up that is was very shaky support at launch. The Raven Ridge support improved a lot on Linux since launch, but even to this day some hardware still seems to be problematic both of hardware in my labs as well as reports by users. Hopefully it won't take nearly as long for the RX 590 support to be in shape.
  • mesa 18.3.0-rc3
    The third release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.
  • Mesa 18.3-RC3 Released With RADV Fixes, Drops Zen L3 Thread Pinning
    Mesa release manager Emil Velikov has announced the latest weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 18.3. Mesa 18.3 has a number of Meson build system updates, several RADV driver corrections, a few NIR updates, fixes video API support for Raven 2 APUs, and back-ports the change to drop the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning functionality.
  • Radeon ROCm 1.9.2 Released - Brings SDMA/RDMA Support For Vega 20, HIP/HCC Improvements
    While we know ROCm 2.0 is coming out before year's end and that will have many improvements like complete OpenCL 2.0 support, ROCm 1.9.2 is out today as the latest stable release for this Radeon Open Compute stack. ROCm 1.9.2 brings some notable changes for just being a point release ahead of the big ROCm 2.0 milestone. Vega 20 remains one of the big areas for AMD's driver/software developers for what will begin shipping next year as the Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 accelerators.
  • Mozilla Now Ships Firefox Nightly Builds With Wayland Enabled
    After what feels like an eternity in waiting years for Mozilla to ship their Firefox web-browser with native Wayland support enabled, their latest Firefox Nightly builds have achieved this milestone. There have been Wayland patches for Firefox going back years but the Wayland support hasn't been enabled in the official Firefox binaries up until now. Starting yesterday, the Mozilla.org Firefox Nightly packages have Wayland support built-in and when launching Firefox if GDK_BACKEND=wayland is set, should now work with native Wayland rather than XWayland.