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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: 1 hour 47 sec ago

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 14, 2019

6 hours 54 min ago
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 14, 2019 is available.

[$] Analyzing kernel email

8 hours 4 min ago
Digging into the email that provides the cornerstone of Linux kernel development is an endeavor that has become more popular over the last few years. There are some practical reasons for analyzing the kernel mailing lists and for correlating that information with the patches that actually reach the mainline, including tracking the path that patches take—or don't take. Three researchers reported on some efforts they have made on kernel email analysis at the 2019 Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE), held in late October in Lyon, France.

Announcing the Bytecode Alliance

13 hours 11 min ago
The Bytecode Alliance is an industry partnership with the aim of forging WebAssembly’s outside-the-browser future by collaborating on implementing standards and proposing new ones. The newly formed alliance has "a vision of a WebAssembly ecosystem that is secure by default, fixing cracks in today’s software foundations". The alliance is currently working on a standalone WebAssembly runtime, two use-case specific runtimes, runtime components, and language tooling.

[$] The 2019 Automated Testing Summit

13 hours 54 min ago
This year saw the second edition of the Automated Testing Summit (ATS) and the first that was open to all. Last year's ATS was an invitation-only gathering of around 35 developers (that was described in an LWN article), while this year's event attracted around 50 attendees; both were held in conjunction with the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE), in Edinburgh, Scotland for 2018 and in Lyon, France this year. The basic problem has not changed—more collaboration is needed between the different kernel testing systems—but the starting points have been identified and work is progressing, albeit slowly. Part of the problem, of course, is that all of these testing efforts have their own constituencies and customers, who must be kept up and running, even while any of this collaborative development is going on.

Security updates for Wednesday

14 hours 51 min ago
Security updates have been issued by Debian (dpdk, intel-microcode, kernel, libssh2, qemu, and webkit2gtk), Fedora (apache-commons-beanutils, bluez, iwd, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, libell, and microcode_ctl), openSUSE (gdb), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (kernel and kernel-rt), SUSE (dhcp, evolution, kernel, libcaca, python, python-xdg, qemu, sysstat, ucode-intel, and xen), and Ubuntu (dpdk, intel-microcode, kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux, linux-lts-trusty, linux-azure, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-kvm, linux-oem-osp1, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, linux-raspi2, and webkit2gtk).

This week's hardware vulnerabilities

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 08:48:19 PM
A set of patches has just been pushed into the mainline repository (and stable updates) for yet another set of hardware vulnerabilities. "TSX async abort" (or TAA) exposes information through the usual side channels by way of internal buffers used with the transactional memory (TSX) instructions. Mitigation is done by disabling TSX or by clearing the relevant buffers when switching between kernel and user mode. Given that this is not the first problem with TSX, disabling it entirely is recommended; a microcode update may be needed to do so, though. This commit contains documentation on this vulnerability and its mitigation.

There are also fixes for another vulnerability: it seems that accessing a memory address immediately after the size of the page containing it was changed (from a regular to a huge page, for example) can cause the processor to lock up. This behavior is considered undesirable by many. The vulnerability only exists for pages marked as executable; the mitigation is to force all executable pages to be the regular, 4K page size.

Stable kernel updates

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 08:45:46 PM
Stable kernels 5.3.11, 4.19.84, 4.14.154, 4.9.201, and 4.4.201 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 03:54:25 PM
Security updates have been issued by Fedora (community-mysql, crun, java-latest-openjdk, and mupdf), openSUSE (libssh2_org), and SUSE (go1.12, libseccomp, and tar).

[$] Debian reconsiders init-system diversity

Tuesday 12th of November 2019 02:17:03 AM
Many community-based Linux distributions have made the decision to switch to systemd, and most of those decisions were accompanied by lengthy, sometimes acrimonious mailing-list discussions. No distribution had a harder time of it than Debian, though, where arguments raged through much of 2013 before the Debian Technical Committee decided on systemd in early 2014. Thereafter, it is fair to say, appetite for renewing the init-system discussion has been low. Now, though, the topic has returned to the fore and it would appear that the project is heading toward a new general resolution to decide at what level init systems other than systemd should be supported.

FSF: New Respects Your Freedom website

Monday 11th of November 2019 04:30:23 PM
The Free Software Foundation's Respects Your Freedom program provides a certification for hardware that supports your freedom. A new website listing certified products has been launched. "In 2012, when we announced the first certification, we hosted information about the program and retailers as a simple page on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Web site. With only one retailer selling one device, this was certainly satisfactory. As the program grew, we added each new device chronologically to that page, highlighting the newest certifications. We are now in a place where eight different retailers have gained nearly fifty certifications [...]. With so many devices available, across so many different device categories, it was getting more difficult for users to find what they were looking for in just a plain chronological list."

A set of stable kernels

Monday 11th of November 2019 03:55:46 PM
Stable kernels 5.3.10, 4.19.83, 4.14.153, 4.9.200, and 4.4.200 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 11th of November 2019 03:47:58 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (ampache, chromium, djvulibre, firefox-esr, gdal, and ruby-haml), Fedora (chromium, file, gd, hostapd, nspr, and rssh), openSUSE (bcm20702a1-firmware, firefox, gdal, libtomcrypt, php7, python-ecdsa, python3, samba, and thunderbird), SUSE (apache2-mod_auth_openidc, libssh2_org, and rsyslog), and Ubuntu (bash).

Kernel prepatch 5.4-rc7

Monday 11th of November 2019 02:16:49 AM
The seventh 5.4 prepatch is out for testing. "Nothing looks _bad_, but there is too much of it. So I'm leaning towards an rc8 being likely next weekend due to that, but I won't make a final decision yet. We'll see."

[$] Emulated iopl()

Friday 8th of November 2019 05:37:26 PM
Operating systems and computing hardware both carry a lot of their history with them. The x86 I/O-port mechanism is one piece of that history; it is rarely used by hardware designed in the last 20 years, but it must still be supported. That doesn't mean that this support can't be cleaned up and improved, though, especially when the old implementation turns out to have some unpleasant properties. An example can be seen in the iopl() patch set from Thomas Gleixner.

openSUSE votes not to change its name

Friday 8th of November 2019 02:41:23 PM
The openSUSE project has been considering a name change as part of its move into a separate foundation since (at least) June. A long and somewhat controversial vote of project members has just come to an end, and the result is conclusive: 225-42 against the name change.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 8th of November 2019 02:36:53 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (linux-hardened), Debian (fribidi), Gentoo (oniguruma, openssh/openssh, openssl, and pump), Mageia (chromium-browser-stable, expat, firefox, freetds, proftpd, python, thunderbird, and unbound), Oracle (sudo), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), Slackware (kernel), SUSE (rubygem-haml), and Ubuntu (fribidi and webkit2gtk).

[$] Statistics from the 5.4 development cycle

Thursday 7th of November 2019 10:27:48 PM
As of this writing, just over 14,000 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline repository for the 5.4 release; that is a bit less than we saw for 5.3, but more than most of the other recent kernels. The final 5.4 release is approaching, so it must be time for our usual look at where the code merged in this development cycle came from. It's mostly business as usual in the kernel community, modulo an appearance from none other than Hulk Robot.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 7th of November 2019 02:52:41 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (squid), Fedora (chromium, libssh2, and wpa_supplicant), openSUSE (chromium), Red Hat (ansible, chromium-browser, openstack-octavia, patch, qemu-kvm-rhev, sudo, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (sudo), SUSE (bluez, gdb, php72, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (cpio and rygel).

Rust 1.39.0 released

Thursday 7th of November 2019 02:50:24 PM
Version 1.39.0 of the Rust language is available. The biggest new feature appears to be the async/await mechanism, which is described in this blog post: "So, what is async await? Async-await is a way to write functions that can 'pause', return control to the runtime, and then pick up from where they left off. Typically those pauses are to wait for I/O, but there can be any number of uses."

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 7, 2019

Thursday 7th of November 2019 01:05:51 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 7, 2019 is available.

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Bill Wear, Developer Advocate for MAAS: foo.c

I remember my first foo. It was September, 1974, on a PDP-11/40, in the second-floor lab at the local community college. It was an amazing experience for a fourteen-year-old, admitted at 12 to audit night classes because his dad was a part-time instructor and full-time polymath. I should warn you, I’m not the genius in the room. I maintained a B average in math and electrical engineering, but A+ averages in English, languages, programming, and organic chemistry (yeah, about that….). The genius was my Dad, the math wizard, the US Navy CIC Officer. More on him in a later blog — he’s relevant to what MAAS does in a big way. Okay, so I’m more of a language (and logic) guy. But isn’t code where math meets language and logic? Research Unix Fifth edition UNIX had just been licensed to educational institutions at no cost, and since this college was situated squarely in the middle of the military-industrial complex, scoring a Hulking Giant was easy. Finding good code to run it? That was another issue, until Bell Labs offered up a freebie. It was amazing! Getting the computer to do things on its own — via ASM and FORTRAN — was not new to me. What was new was the simplicity of the whole thing. Mathematically, UNIX and C were incredibly complex, incorporating all kinds of network theory and topology and numerical methods that (frankly) haven’t always been my favorite cup of tea. I’m not even sure if Computer Science was a thing yet. But the amazing part? Here was an OS which took all that complexity and translated it to simple logic: everything is a file; small is beautiful; do one thing well. Didn’t matter that it was cranky and buggy and sometimes dumped your perfectly-okay program in the bit bucket. It was a thrill to be able to do something without having to obsess over the math underneath. Read more Also: How to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 Daily Builds from Ubuntu 19.10

Intel is Openwashing With 'OpenVINO'

Desktop GNU/Linux: Ubuntu 20.04, Slackware Live Plasma5 edition ISO and Latest ZDNet Clickbait