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TuxMachines: Google's Debian Move and Promotion of DRM Inside Linux

Thursday 18th of January 2018 05:32:29 PM
  • Google moves internal systems from Ubuntu to Debian

    Google has begun the process of transitioning its internal machines’ operating systems from Ubuntu to Debian after announcing last year it would make the switch.

    Google’s engineers have been using a customised version of Ubuntu called Goobuntu, naturally, for years, but according to Spanish website MuyLinux, the tech giant is now moving from a "light-skinned" distro which it has no contribution to, to gLinux, based on Debian Testing.

  • Open-Source HDCP Support Gets Extended To More Platforms

    With the Linux 4.17 kernel (not the upcoming 4.16 cycle) there is likely to be added initial HDCP support to Intel's Direct Rendering Manager driver. Ahead of that this High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection support continues getting improved upon.

    While Google developers working on Chrome/Chromium OS were the ones originally working on the patches and proposing this HDCP functionality be upstreamed into the mainline i915 DRM Linux driver, coming out today are patches from an Intel developer for extending the HDCP content protection coverage.

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TuxMachines: SUSE: Change of Plans and Disclosure

Thursday 18th of January 2018 05:30:11 PM
  • SUSE Dropping Mainline Work On Their In-Kernel Bootsplash System

    For those that were excited over the months of ongoing work by SUSE to bring up an in-kernel boot splash system that could be better than Plymouth for at least some use-cases and was interesting many readers, unfortunately it's not panning out for mainline.

    Max Staudt who has been leading this project has sent out his latest version of the patches today, but he's decided to drop pursuing it for mainline. The German Linux developer commented, "found that it doesn't currently make sense to continue working on the splash code, given the low practical interest I've received on LKML...I'll be happy to rebase it and continue to work on it if interest arises."

  • cPanel Provides Project with Network Cards

    The hosting platform cPanel has provided the openSUSE Project with two new network cards to assist the project with its infrastructure needs.

    The network cards will soon be integrated into the openSUSE infrastructure to improve the Open Build Service.

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Linux.com: 4 Tools for Network Snooping on Linux

Thursday 18th of January 2018 03:33:31 PM
Title: 4 Tools for Network Snooping on Linux18 JanLearn more

TuxMachines: 4 Tools for Network Snooping on Linux

Thursday 18th of January 2018 03:21:35 PM

Computer networking data has to be exposed, because packets can't travel blindfolded, so join us as we use whois, dig, nmcli, and nmap to snoop networks.

Do be polite and don't run nmap on any network but your own, because probing other people's networks can be interpreted as a hostile act.

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TuxMachines: Google’s Fuchsia OS on the Pixelbook: It works! It actually works!

Thursday 18th of January 2018 03:18:41 PM

Google currently has two OSes on the market: Android and Chrome OS. The company is never one to leave a successful product alone in the marketplace, though, so it's also developing a third operating system called "Fuchsia." When we last checked in on the experimental OS in May 2017, calling it an "OS" was a bit of a stretch. We only got the system UI up and running on top of Android, where it then functioned like an app. The UI offered a neat multi-window system, but mostly it was just a bunch of placeholder graphics. Nothing worked.

It has been hard to check in on Fuchsia since. The Fuchsia system UI, which was written with a cross-platform SDK called "Flutter," quickly shut down the Android (and iOS) compatible builds. Fuchsia has a Vulkan-based graphics stack, and no emulator supports the new-ish graphics API. The only way to get Fuchsia up and running again was with actual hardware, and the only supported devices were Intel NUC PCs from 2015 and the Acer Switch Alpha 12 laptop.

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Phoronix: Unity Game Engine Working On Graphics Rendering Improvements For 2018

Thursday 18th of January 2018 02:49:49 PM
The Unity game engine has a New Year's resolution of improving its graphics renderer abilities in 2018...

LXer: How to create outlines in Linux with TreeLine

Thursday 18th of January 2018 02:30:36 PM
As someone who's been known to string a few words together, I know that a well-crafted outline can be a key part of any writing project. Why? A good outline helps you organize your work. It provides a structure for what you're writing as well as a roadmap from beginning to end.Outlines aren't just for writing, either. They can be a great tool for organizing just about any kind of project.read more

TuxMachines: Games: Super Blood Hockey, Starship Titanic and More

Thursday 18th of January 2018 02:09:34 PM

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LinuxToday: SPARTA - Network Penetration Testing GUI Toolkit

Thursday 18th of January 2018 02:00:00 PM

SPARTA is GUI application developed with python and inbuild Network Penetration Testing Kali Linux tool.

Phoronix: Ubuntu Preparing Kernel Updates With IBRS/IBPB For Spectre Mitigation

Thursday 18th of January 2018 01:25:57 PM
Canonical has rolled out Spectre Variant One and Spectre Variant Two mitigation to their proposed repository with updated kernels for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS / 16.04 LTS / 17.10. These kernels with IBRS and IBPB added in will be sent down as stable release updates next week...

Phoronix: Fedora Makes Progress On Their New Modularity Concept

Thursday 18th of January 2018 01:18:33 PM
After abandoning their Fedora Server 27 Modular Edition work last year, Fedora developers interested in modularizing Fedora packaging have drawn up new plans that are now approved by the Fedora Council...

LXer: Microsoft, Masking/Hiding Itself Behind Patent Trolls, is Still Engaging in Patent Extortion

Thursday 18th of January 2018 01:16:16 PM
A review of Microsoft's ugly tactics, which involve coercion and extortion (for businesses to move to Azure and/or for OEMs to preload Microsoft software) while Microsoft-connected patent trolls help hide the "enforcement" element in this whole racket

TuxMachines: Microsoft Against GNU/Linux in the Public Sector

Thursday 18th of January 2018 01:15:58 PM
  • NHS: Thanks for all the free work, Linux nerds, now face our trademark cops [Ed: NHS has long been a Microsoft stronghold]

    Dev team quits, suggests NHS used them to get better deal with Microsoft

    [...]

    The small team behind an ambitious NHoS Linux project are calling it a day, citing receipt of a trademark infringement warning from the Department of Health's (DoH) "brand police" as the "final straw".

    The initial raison d’être of NHoS was to identify a way to roll out NHSbuntu, a strand of open-source Linux distro Ubuntu designed for the NHS, on three-quarters of a million smartcards. The smartcards are used to verify the healthcare pros that access 80 per cent of applications on millions of NHS PCs.

    The volunteer force behind NHoS wanted NHSbuntu to replace the current smartcard verification system that was running on Windows, and ultimately, have the operating system replace Windows on the desktop as well. Smart card recognition was seen as a mile-high hurdle in this grand plan.

    [...]

    Baw alleged the pair "(unbeknown to us) were also duplicitously negotiating with Microsoft about a new NHS Enterprise Wide Agreement".

  • Barcelona Council abandons Microsoft for open-source software [iophk: "again, disinfo about the reason for Munich's change"

    The Spanish city of Barcelona has announced it will phase out its use of Microsoft software in favour of open-source alternatives. Over the next few years, the city will transition away from Microsoft's services to guarantee its "technical sovereignty."

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More in Tux Machines

Security: OpenSSL, IoT, and LWN Coverage of 'Intelpocalypse'

  • Another Face to Face: Email Changes and Crypto Policy
    The OpenSSL OMC met last month for a two-day face-to-face meeting in London, and like previous F2F meetings, most of the team was present and we addressed a great many issues. This blog posts talks about some of them, and most of the others will get their own blog posts, or notices, later. Red Hat graciously hosted us for the two days, and both Red Hat and Cryptsoft covered the costs of their employees who attended. One of the overall threads of the meeting was about increasing the transparency of the project. By default, everything should be done in public. We decided to try some major changes to email and such.
  • Some Basic Rules for Securing Your IoT Stuff

    Throughout 2016 and 2017, attacks from massive botnets made up entirely of hacked [sic] IoT devices had many experts warning of a dire outlook for Internet security. But the future of IoT doesn’t have to be so bleak. Here’s a primer on minimizing the chances that your IoT things become a security liability for you or for the Internet at large.

  • A look at the handling of Meltdown and Spectre
    The Meltdown/Spectre debacle has, deservedly, reached the mainstream press and, likely, most of the public that has even a remote interest in computers and security. It only took a day or so from the accelerated disclosure date of January 3—it was originally scheduled for January 9—before the bugs were making big headlines. But Spectre has been known for at least six months and Meltdown for nearly as long—at least to some in the industry. Others that were affected were completely blindsided by the announcements and have joined the scramble to mitigate these hardware bugs before they bite users. Whatever else can be said about Meltdown and Spectre, the handling (or, in truth, mishandling) of this whole incident has been a horrific failure. For those just tuning in, Meltdown and Spectre are two types of hardware bugs that affect most modern CPUs. They allow attackers to cause the CPU to do speculative execution of code, while timing memory accesses to deduce what has or has not been cached, to disclose the contents of memory. These disclosures can span various security boundaries such as between user space and the kernel or between guest operating systems running in virtual machines. For more information, see the LWN article on the flaws and the blog post by Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton that well describes modern CPU architectures and speculative execution to explain why the Raspberry Pi is not affected.
  • Addressing Meltdown and Spectre in the kernel
    When the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were disclosed on January 3, attention quickly turned to mitigations. There was already a clear defense against Meltdown in the form of kernel page-table isolation (KPTI), but the defenses against the two Spectre variants had not been developed in public and still do not exist in the mainline kernel. Initial versions of proposed defenses have now been disclosed. The resulting picture shows what has been done to fend off Spectre-based attacks in the near future, but the situation remains chaotic, to put it lightly. First, a couple of notes with regard to Meltdown. KPTI has been merged for the 4.15 release, followed by a steady trickle of fixes that is undoubtedly not yet finished. The X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE processor bit is being renamed to X86_BUG_CPU_MELTDOWN now that the details are public; there will be bug flags for the other two variants added in the near future. 4.9.75 and 4.4.110 have been released with their own KPTI variants. The older kernels do not have mainline KPTI, though; instead, they have a backport of the older KAISER patches that more closely matches what distributors shipped. Those backports have not fully stabilized yet either. KPTI patches for ARM are circulating, but have not yet been merged.
  • Is it time for open processors?
    The disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities has brought a new level of attention to the security bugs that can lurk at the hardware level. Massive amounts of work have gone into improving the (still poor) security of our software, but all of that is in vain if the hardware gives away the game. The CPUs that we run in our systems are highly proprietary and have been shown to contain unpleasant surprises (the Intel management engine, for example). It is thus natural to wonder whether it is time to make a move to open-source hardware, much like we have done with our software. Such a move may well be possible, and it would certainly offer some benefits, but it would be no panacea. Given the complexity of modern CPUs and the fierceness of the market in which they are sold, it might be surprising to think that they could be developed in an open manner. But there are serious initiatives working in this area; the idea of an open CPU design is not pure fantasy. A quick look around turns up several efforts; the following list is necessarily incomplete.
  • Notes from the Intelpocalypse
    Rumors of an undisclosed CPU security issue have been circulating since before LWN first covered the kernel page-table isolation patch set in November 2017. Now, finally, the information is out — and the problem is even worse than had been expected. Read on for a summary of these issues and what has to be done to respond to them in the kernel. All three disclosed vulnerabilities take advantage of the CPU's speculative execution mechanism. In a simple view, a CPU is a deterministic machine executing a set of instructions in sequence in a predictable manner. Real-world CPUs are more complex, and that complexity has opened the door to some unpleasant attacks. A CPU is typically working on the execution of multiple instructions at once, for performance reasons. Executing instructions in parallel allows the processor to keep more of its subunits busy at once, which speeds things up. But parallel execution is also driven by the slowness of access to main memory. A cache miss requiring a fetch from RAM can stall the execution of an instruction for hundreds of processor cycles, with a clear impact on performance. To minimize the amount of time it spends waiting for data, the CPU will, to the extent it can, execute instructions after the stalled one, essentially reordering the code in the program. That reordering is often invisible, but it occasionally leads to the sort of fun that caused Documentation/memory-barriers.txt to be written.

US Sanctions Against Chinese Android Phones, LWN Report on Eelo

  • A new bill would ban the US government from using Huawei and ZTE phones
    US lawmakers have long worried about the security risks posed the alleged ties between Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE and the country’s government. To that end, Texas Representative Mike Conaway introduced a bill last week called Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which aims to ban US government agencies from using phones and equipment from the companies. Conaway’s bill would prohibit the US government from purchasing and using “telecommunications equipment and/or services,” from Huawei and ZTE. In a statement on his site, he says that technology coming from the country poses a threat to national security, and that use of this equipment “would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives,” and cites US Intelligence and counterintelligence officials who say that Huawei has shared information with state leaders, and that the its business in the US is growing, representing a further security risk.
  • U.S. lawmakers urge AT&T to cut commercial ties with Huawei - sources
    U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, two congressional aides said. The warning comes after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump took a harder line on policies initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries. Earlier this month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers Huawei [HWT.UL] handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.
  • Eelo seeks to make a privacy-focused phone
    A focus on privacy is a key feature being touted by a number of different projects these days—from KDE to Tails to Nextcloud. One of the biggest privacy leaks for most people is their phone, so it is no surprise that there are projects looking to address that as well. A new entrant in that category is eelo, which is a non-profit project aimed at producing not only a phone, but also a suite of web services. All of that could potentially replace the Google or Apple mothership, which tend to collect as much personal data as possible.

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Mozilla: Resource Hogs, Privacy Month, Firefox Census, These Weeks in Firefox

  • Firefox Quantum Eats RAM Like Chrome
    For a long time, Mozilla’s Firefox has been my web browser of choice. I have always preferred it to using Google’s Chrome, because of its simplicity and reasonable system resource (especially RAM) usage. On many Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and many others, Firefox even comes installed by default. Recently, Mozilla released a new, powerful and faster version of Firefox called Quantum. And according to the developers, it’s new with a “powerful engine that’s built for rapid-fire performance, better, faster page loading that uses less computer memory.”
  • Mozilla Communities Speaker Series #PrivacyMonth
    As a part of the Privacy Month initiative, Mozilla volunteers are hosting a couple of speaker series webinars on Privacy, Security and related topics. The webinars will see renowned speakers talking to us about their work around privacy, how to take control of your digital self, some privacy-security tips and much more.
  • “Ewoks or Porgs?” and Other Important Questions
    You ever go to a party where you decide to ask people REAL questions about themselves, rather than just boring chit chat? Us, too! That’s why we’ve included questions that really hone in on the important stuff in our 2nd Annual Firefox Census.
  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 30