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February 2014

Tor developing anonymous instant messenger

Filed under
OSS
Security

The instant messenger is still in the early planning stages, but Tor's developers seem to be preparing to turn it around quickly. The messenger will be built on Instantbird, an existing open-source messenger, and development will largely involve adding in Off-the-Record Messaging encryption, making it send its messages over Tor, and stripping it of some automated logging and reporting features. Tor hopes to have its first step of work on the messaging app completed by the end of March, but it doesn't draw a timeline for the project out from there.

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Raspberry Pi marks 2nd birthday with plan for open source graphics driver

Filed under
Hardware

That "blob" is the closed source driver code that the Pi requires today. "In common with every other mobile graphics core, using the VideoCore IV 3D graphics core on the Pi requires a block of closed-source binary driver code (a 'blob') which talks to the hardware," Upton wrote. "Our existing open-source graphics drivers are a thin shim running on the ARM11, which talks to that blob via a communication driver in the Linux kernel. The lack of true open-source graphics drivers and documentation is widely acknowledged to be a significant problem for Linux on ARM, as it prevents users from fixing driver bugs, adding features and generally understanding what their hardware is doing."

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Linux Video of the Week: Hands-On with the $25 Firefox Phone

Filed under
Linux
Moz/FF

Mozilla has designed a phone that's even more affordable for emerging markets and thus redefines the entry level for smartphones. Mozilla engineers were able to accomplish this by adjusting the hardware requirements of the operating system to run on a 1 GHz CPU, single core Spreadtrum chipset with only 128 MB of RAM. That's only 25 to 50 percent of the RAM found in existing entry-level devices on the market, said Joe Cheng, product manager at Mozilla in this video demonstration of the prototype phone, below.

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Arduino-compatible open SBC taps Cortex-A5 SoC

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Newark Element14′s $79, Linux-ready “SAMA5D3 Xplained” SBC showcases Atmel’s SAMA5D3 processor, with features like dual LAN ports and Arduino compatibility.

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Ubuntu smartphones, wearables and going into space: Mark Shuttleworth talks to TNW

Filed under
Ubuntu

t’s the difference between momentary terror and long, drawn out gnawing fear. One of those will kill you and one will just give you a fright.”

That’s the response of Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, when quizzed over whether it’s scarier to go into space or try to launch a unified OS platform. As the first citizen of an independent African country to travel to space and the public face of ensuring the Ubuntu OS makes it onto smartphones and tablets, he should know.

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Google Android chief: Android may be open, but it is not less secure

Filed under
Android
Google
Security

Does 'open' mean 'lack of security'?

According to Google, no. Instead, an open platform is the best path to take in order to make a platform as impermeable to threats as possible.

On Thursday, FrAndroid reported that Google's head of the Android division, Sundar Pichai, responded in a very candid way when asked about the operating system's security at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

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Gnome 3.12 won’t offer full support for Wayland

Filed under
GNOME

Gnome developers have been debating the full support for Wayland in 3.12 for a while. They at one point even considered delaying the Gnome release to keep the development in sync with Wayland. Finally, developers have decided to keep Wayland in ‘preview’ mode as there is still a lot of work to be done.

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Putting Tizen in Context

Filed under
Linux
Gadgets

From the very start, Tizen has had the concept of device profiles, where there's a common set of core software components (kernel, coreutils, networking stack, etc.) that are applicable to every type of device, and there are specializations specific to whatever it is you're using. Take your hand and open it flat. Ok? Good. Your palm is the core software stack, and your fingers are the device-specific profiles - handset, IVI, TV, etc. Chances are good that many elements of the core stack will be the same, and in all cases you want to optimize for lower power consumption and better performance, but what a smartphone presents to the user is generally quite different from an IVI system, or a wearable device, or a camera, or a TV, or a refrigerator, or... I'm sure you get the point. One size doesn't fit all, but you certainly can be smart about not reinventing the wheel for each product class.

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Linux Gamers Have More Choices Than Ever

Filed under
Linux
Gaming

After a number of years of remaining woefully behind other platforms, Linux is starting to be a gaming platform to take seriously. Late last year, I covered comments from Lars Gustavsson, a creative director for EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE), the Electronic Arts studio that does the Battlefield series, on the topic of Linux games. He had told Polygon that DICE would love to delve into Linux games, and that what Linux really needs is a "killer game." Now, as 2014 is underway, Linux gamers actually have a lot of good choices.

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First beta of Kubuntu 14.04 out for testing

Filed under
KDE

Ubuntu derivatives have announced the first beta for 14.04 release. Since ‘daddy’ Ubuntu releases only one beta before final release the images for Unity are not available. Being a KDE user I am definitely looking forward to Kubuntu which will come with KDE Applications 4.12.2 along with newest Muon Software Center. I did notice a bug in Kubuntu beta and that’s freezing of installer if you have more than one hard drive attached to the system. I hope developers will fix this ‘deal breaking’ bug before the final release. Other betas are from Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Gnome and other members of Ubuntu family.

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More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Tizen in Bolivia and India

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Microsoft says its best not to fiddle with its Windows 10 group policies (that don't work)

    On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs.

  • What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course
    Google Project Zero's Windows bug-hunter and fuzz-boffin Tavis Ormandy has given the world an insight into how he works so fast: he works on Linux, and with the release of a personal project on GitHub, others can too. Ormandy's project is to port Windows DLLs to Linux for his vuln tests (“So that's how he works so fast!” Penguinistas around the world are saying). Typically self-effacing, Ormandy made this simple announcement on Twitter (to a reception mixing admiration, humour, and horror):
  • Hacked in Translation – from Subtitles to Complete Takeover
    Check Point researchers revealed a new attack vector which threatens millions of users worldwide – attack by subtitles. By crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms, including VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and strem.io. We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years.
  • A Samba remote code execution vulnerability
    Distributors are already shipping the fix; there's also a workaround in the advisory for those who cannot update immediately.

KDE, Qt, GTK and GNOME News

  • KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS Desktop Environment Released with over 60 Improvements
    KDE has announced today the release and immediate availability of the seventh maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment. KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS is now considered the latest stable and most advanced version of the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS (Long Term Support) desktop environment, which some of you out there are probably using on your favorite GNU/Linux distributions instead of a short-lived branch like KDE Plasma 5.9 or the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.10 release.
  • Summer of Coding!
    After a month of dread and panicking about the fact that Google Summer of Code results are announced in the middle of exam season... I'm happy to say I'll be doing the Rust plugin for KDevelop!
  • Qt 5.9 Release Candidate Available For Testing
  • Qt 5.9.0 RC released
    We have released Qt 5.9.0 RC today. You can update it at the top of your Qt 5.9 beta(4) online installation or do clean installation by using qt online installer. Detailed instructions here: https://wiki.qt.io/How_to_get_snapshot_via_online_installer .
  • The Road to GTK+ 4 Continues, New Milestone Adds Initial OS X and Meson Support
    A new milestone was released recently, GTK+ 3.91.0, which adds quite a bunch of improvements and bug fixes, but also some new APIs and compatibility with other supported operating systems besides those based on the Linux kernel. For example, GTK+ 3.91.0 implements initial support for Apple's macOS platform, which will make it possible to run apps written in GTK+ 4 on OS X.
  • Epiphany Browser Updated for GNOME 3.25.2 with New Shortcuts for Switching Tabs
    Ahead of today's GNOME 3.25.2 desktop environment development release, the team of developers behind the Epiphany web browser have released the second milestone towards the Epiphany 3.26 stable series, due out later this year.