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November 2018

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

Filed under
Debian
Ubuntu
  • glBSP

    I was surprised to see glBSP come up for adoption; I found out when I was installing something entirely unrelated, thanks to the how-can-i-help package. (This package is a great idea: it tells you about packages you have installed which are in danger of being removed from Debian, or have other interesting bugs filed against them. Give it a go!) glBSP is a dependency on another of my packages, WadC, so I adopted it fairly urgently.

    glBSP is a node-building tool for Doom maps. A Map in Doom is defined in a handful of different lumps of data. The top-level, canonical data structures are relatively simple: THINGS is a list of things (type, coordinates, angle facing); VERTEXES is a list of points for geometry (X/Y coordinates); SECTORS define regions (light level, floor height and texture,…), etc. Map authoring tools can build these lumps of data relatively easily. (I've done it myself: I generate them all in liquorice, that I should write more about one day.)

  • How to Connect Your Android Phone to Ubuntu Wirelessly

    Easy: all you need is a modern Linux distro like Ubuntu and an open-source GNOME Shell extension called ‘GSConnect‘.

    GSConnect is a totally free, feature packed add-on that lets you connect your Android phone to Ubuntu over a wireless network, no USB cable required!

    In this post we talk about the features the extension offers, and show you how to install GSConnect on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and above so that you can try it out for yourself!

Security: FSB and NSA in Linux, HTTPS is Not Enough, Microsoft Back Doors and Exploits (e.g. WannaCry), 5G China Scare

Filed under
Security
  • Linux 4.21 Positioned To Pickup Streebog Crypto Support Developed By Russia's FSB

    In addition to Linux 4.21 set to land Adiantum as the crypto algorithm backed by Google following the company's falling out with the NSA's Speck crypto for low-end data encryption, Streebog is also set to be introduced as a cryptographic hash function developed in large part by the Russian government.

    The Linux kernel patches introducing the Streebog code were posted back in October for review. Those patches were spearheaded by a developer from Russia's ALT Linux distribution. Those patches are now queued into the crypto subsystem's development branch ahead of the Linux 4.21 kernel.

  • HTTPS Is Almost Everywhere. So Why Isn’t the Internet Secure Now?

    Chrome used to display the word “Secure” and a green padlock in the address bar when you were visiting a website using HTTPS. Modern versions of Chrome simple have a little gray lock icon here, without the word “Secure.”

    That’s partly because HTTPS is now considered the new baseline standard. Everything should be secure by default, so Chrome only warns you that a connection is “Not Secure” when you’re accessing a site over an HTTP connection.

    However, the word “Secure” is also gone because it was a little misleading. It sounds like Chrome is vouching for the contents of the site as if everything on this page is “secure.” But that’s not true at all. A “secure” HTTPS site could be filled with malware or be a fake phishing site.

  • WannaCry: One year later, is the world ready for another major attack? [Ed: Somehow that neglects to mention that this was largely the result of a collusion involving Microsoft and the NSA]
  • UK gov report to raise fresh security concerns over Huawei's 5G kit

Linux Apps on Chromebooks Getting Google Drive, Play Store File Access Support

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Linux apps on Chromebooks are slowly but surely gaining their legs. Sure, we’re still missing a few things here and there, but progress on this front is moving along at a nice, swift pace and today we are happy to be talking about another progression that will help the overall user experience in an important and meaningful way.

Read more

GNU: GCC and Wget Release

Filed under
GNU
  • GCC Compiler Picks Up New Option To Help With Live Kernel Patching

    Adding to the list of new features for GCC 9 due out early next year is a new -flive-patching= flag to help with scenarios like live Linux kernel patching.

    This GCC live-patching support addition was done by Oracle and is about controlling the optimizations/behavior when wanting to compile code for the context of applying it as a live patch. In particular, for Linux kernel live patching to avoid system reboots when applying security/maintenance updates. With Oracle the focus is on their own Ksplice live kernel patching to avoid reboots but this work should also be relevant to the likes of SUSE's kGraft and Red Hat's Kpatch kernel live patching.

  • GNU Wget 1.20 Released

    Noteworthy Changes in this release:
    Add new option `--retry-on-host-error` to treat local errors as transient and hence Wget will retry to download the file after a brief waiting period.
    Fixed multiple potential resource leaks as found by static analysis
    Wget will now not create an empty wget-log file when running with -q and -b switches together
    When compiled using the GnuTLS >= 3.6.3, Wget now has support for TLSv1.3
    Now there is support for using libpcre2 for regex pattern matching
    When downloading over FTP recursively, one can now use the

GameShell Linux-based Console Upgraded: New Board, 1GB Ram, HDMI Port

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming
Gadgets

About a year ago, Clockwork put up a Linux-powered handheld gaming console called GameShell on Kickstarter website.

This portable retro console is shipped as a DIY kit that can let you play games, learn to code and also teach you a little about how the hardware works. And the best part is that it lets you upgrade the system without replacing it.

Read more

5 Reasons Why Linux OS Is A Hot Favorite Among Coders

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux

Operating systems have come a long way in the past few decades. What was once dominated by Microsoft Windows or Apple MacOS is no longer the norm these days. After Y2K, a variety of OS have come into play as a result of people exploring the computing environment. One particular series of OS that has caught attention of the users is Linux. Although it was introduced way back in 1991, it gained popularity over time due to its decentralised development approach and a solid support from the software developer community as well.

Here we explore some reasons why Linux made it to the top among developers and tech enthusiasts.

Read more

Programming: Python, C++, Java and More

Filed under
Development
  • Amsterdam Python meetup, november 2018

    My summary of the 28 november python meetup at the Byte office. I myself also gave a talk (about cookiecutter) but I obviously haven't made a summary of that.

  • Trip Report: C++ Standards Meeting in San Diego, November 2018

    A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of the ISO C++ Standards Committee (also known as WG21) in San Diego, California. This was the third committee meeting in 2018; you can find my reports on preceding meetings here (June 2018, Rapperswil) and here (March 2018, Jacksonville), and earlier ones linked from those. These reports, particularly the Rapperswil one, provide useful context for this post.

    This meeting broke records (by a significant margin) for both attendance (~180 people) and number of proposals submitted (~270). I think several factors contributed to this. First, the meeting was in California, for the first time in the five years that I’ve been attending meetings, thus making it easier to attend for Bay Area techies who weren’t up for farther travels. Second, we are at the phase of the C++20 cycle where the door is closing for new proposals targeting to C++20, so for people wanting to get features into C++20, it was now or never. Finally, there has been a general trend of growing interest in participation in C++ standardization, and thus attendance has been rising even independently of other factors.

    This meeting was heavily focused on C++20. As discussed in the committee’s standardization schedule document, this was the last meeting to hear new proposals targeting C++20, and the last meeting for language features with significant library impact to gain design approval. A secondary focus was on in-flight Technical Specifications, such as Library Fundamentals v3.

    To accommodate the unprecedented volume of new proposals, there has also been a procedural change at this meeting. Two new subgroups were formed: Evolution Incubator (“EWGI”) and Library Evolution Incubator (“LEWGI”), which would look at new proposals for language and library changes (respectively) before forwarding them to the Evolution or Library Evolution Working Groups (EWG and LEWG). The main purpose of the incubators is to reduce the workload on the main Evolution groups by pre-filtering proposals that need additional work before being productively reviewed by those groups. A secondary benefit was to allow the attendees to be spread out across more groups, as otherwise EWG and LEWG would have likely exceeded their room capacities.

  • The Future of OpenJDK at Red Hat

    With the release of Java 11, the transition of Java into an OpenJDK-first project is finally complete. The days of most Java installations using the proprietary OracleJDK binaries are at an end. This increased focus on Open and Free Java naturally brings the contributions of companies other than Oracle into greater prominence. InfoQ recently spoke with Rich Sharples, Senior Director of Product Management for Middleware at Red Hat, to discuss OpenJDK and Red Hat's involvement with it.

  • PyBites: 3 Cool Things You Can do With the dateutil Module
  • Subtleties of Python

    A good software engineer understands how crucial attention to detail is; minute details, if overlooked, can make a world of difference between a working unit and a disaster. That’s why writing clean code matters a lot—and clean code isn’t just about neat indentation and formatting; it’s about paying attention to those details that can affect production.

    In this article, you’ll see a couple of short cases of problematic code in Python and how they can be improved. Please note that these are just examples and in no way must you interpret them to universally apply for real-world problems.

  • A Tale of Two Commits

    I’ve discussed and linked to articles about the advantages of splitting patches into small pieces to the point that I don’t feel the need to reiterate it here. This is a common approach at Mozilla, especially (but not just) in Firefox engineering, something the Engineering Workflow group is always keeping in mind when planning changes and improvements to tools and processes.

    Many Mozilla engineers have a particular approach to working with small diffs, something, I’ve realized over time, that seems to be pretty uncommon in the industry: the stacking of commits together in a logical series that solves a particular problem or implements a specific feature. These commits are generally authored, reviewed, updated, and even landed as a set. They tell a complete story; indeed, you could view this process as similar to writing a novel: the book is written, edited, and published as a complete unit.

  • Common architectural elements for modern integration architectures

    In Part 1 of this series, we explored a use case around integration being the key to transforming your customer experience.

    I laid out how I’ve approached the use case and how I’ve used successful customer portfolio solutions as the basis for researching a generic architectural blueprint. The only thing left to cover was the order in which you’ll be led through the blueprint details.

Free-floating Ubuntu social bot chats up astronauts on International Space Station

Filed under
Ubuntu

An Ubuntu-powered social robot called CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON) has begun work on the International Space Station. The self-navigating bot recognizes faces and answers questions relayed to a ground-based IBM Watson computer.

A social robot with an Ubuntu OS has launched on the International Space Station (ISS) to answer astronauts’ questions via voice and an 8-inch display. On Nov. 15, German astronaut Alexander Gerst demonstrated the CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON) robot in action, showing off its facial recognition, voice assistance, and ability to autonomously navigate in the weightless environment of the ISS. CIMON can also play music, document results of experiments, or search for objects using its image recognition capability.

Read more

Graphics: Sway 1.0 Closer, AMDGPU FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync Update

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Sway 1.0 Beta 2 Rolls Out For Feature-Rich i3-Compatible Wayland Compositor

    The release of Sway 1.0 as the popular i3-compatible Wayland compositor is one step closer with the latest beta update.

    Sway 1.0 Beta 2 offers various i3 compatibility updates, implements the Wayland presentation-time protocol, introduces multi-seat support to the Swaylock, supports additional i3 window types, and has other usability enhancements while for the most part is made up of bug fixes. Bug fixes for Sway 1.0 Beta 2 range from XWayland fixes, Swaybar output hotplug handling, and a variety of other corrections.

  • AMDGPU FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync Is Set To Land For Linux 4.21

    AMD developers have a miraculous Christmas present for their open-source Linux users, particularly Linux gamers with FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync displays... This last major feature missing from AMDGPU DRM driver that's long been sought after is finally set to land in the mainline Linux kernel!

    It has been a long time coming but the FreeSync support (or VESA Adaptive-Sync / HDMI VRR) is finally set to be merged with the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel cycle. FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync/VRR as a reminder is about adjusting monitor refresh rates dynamically without any mode change to reduce stuttering, tearing, and input lag. Previously this support was just available for Radeon Linux users via the AMDGPU-PRO components and not from the standard Linux kernel driver.

More in Tux Machines

Programming/Development: C++, Go, Mozilla/Firefox and Python

  • Deliverable 1 : [✓]
    Seems okay, far better than the initial results. Although I should say, I deviated from what I thought I would need to write. First I assumed that I don’t have to write another boost::graph wrapper for KisPaintDevice, but I had to. That was one heck of an experience. In one of the last few posts, I ranted on Dmitry’s interpretation of the Graph, turns out we were on the same page but I understood his explanation the wrong way. I should put more attention to details from now on I guess. All the pixels are connected to each other, but they only have an edge between them if they are adjacent. If in center, the out degree would be 8, if in corners, 3 and if in edges, 5. There are some other cases too, but I will leave them for the moment. While writing the wrapper, I also got to know some of the cool features and techniques of C++, which I will be writing posts on as soon as I get some time, concepts, traits, avoiding virtual functions and what not. It is commendable that how boost approaches boost::astar_search, there is not a single virtual function, you don’t have to inherit anything (you can though for safety), just templates and traits, you are done.
  • Go Creeping In
    I’ve seen the inside of the Google and Amazon tech stacks. There are common threads that run through them and also, I bet, through most BigTechCos. Here and there down the stack is a lot of C++ and vestigial remnants from earlier days, Perl or PHP or whatever. Out in front of humans, of course, JS. But in between, there are oceans and oceans of Java; to a remarkable degree, it runs the Internet. Except for, here and there, you find a small but steadily increasing proportion of Go.
  • Stand by for FPR14 SPR1 chemspill
    Mozilla has shipped a fix for MFSA2019-18 in Firefox 67.0.3 and 60.7.1. This exploit has been detected in the wild, and while my analysis indicates it would require a PowerPC-specific attack to be exploitable in official TenFourFox builds (the Intel versions may be directly exploited, however), it could probably cause drive-by crashes and we should therefore ship an urgent fix as well. The chemspill is currently undergoing confidence tests and I'm shooting to release builds before the weekend. For builders, the only change in FPR14 SPR1 is the patch for bug 1544386, which I will be pushing to the repo just as soon as I have confirmed the fix causes no regressions.
  • PyPI Now Supports Two-Factor Login via WebAuthn
  • Understanding Python assignment
  • How to Publish Your Own Python Package to PyPI
  • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #373 (June 18, 2019)
  • EuroPython 2019: Community Discounts
  • EuroPython 2019: Inviting European Python Conference Organizers

today's howtos

All Linux, all the time: Supercomputers Top 500

Starting at the top, two IBM-built supercomputers, Summit and Sierra, at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, respectively to the bottom -- a Lenovo Xeon-powered box in China -- all of them run Linux. Linux supports more hardware architectures than any other operating system. In supercomputers, it supports both clusters, such as Summit and Sierra, the most common architecture, and Massively Parallel Processing (MPP), which is used by the number three computer Sunway TaihuLight. When it comes to high-performance computing (HPC), Intel dominates the TOP500 by providing processing power to 95.6% of all systems included on the list. That said, IBM's POWER powers the fastest supercomputers. One supercomputer works its high-speed magic with Arm processors: Sandia Labs' Astra, an HPE design, which uses over 130-thousand Cavium ThunderX2 cores. And, what do all these processors run? Linux, of course. . 133 systems of the Top 500 supercomputers are using either accelerator or co-processor setups. Of these most are using Nvidia GPUs. And, once more, it's Linux conducting the hardware in a symphony of speed. Read more

Red Hat and SUSE Leftovers

  • Are DevOps certifications valuable? 10 pros and cons
  • Kubernetes 1.15: Enabling the Workloads
    The last mile for any enterprise IT system is the application. In order to enable those applications to function properly, an entire ecosystem of services, APIs, databases and edge servers must exist. As Carl Sagan once said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” To create that IT universe, however, we must have control over its elements. In the Kubernetes universe, the individual solar systems and planets are now Operators, and the fundamental laws of that universe have solidified to the point where civilizations can grow and take root. Discarding the metaphor, we can see this in the introduction of Object Count Quota Support For Custom Resources. In English, this enables administrators to count and limit the number of Kubernetes resources across the broader ecosystem in a given cluster. This means services like Knative, Istio, and even Operators like the CrunchyData PostgreSQL Operator, the MongoDB Operator or the Redis Operator can be controlled via quota using the same mechanisms that standard Kubernetes resources have enjoyed for many releases. That’s great for developers, who can now be limited by certain expectations. It would not benefit the cluster for a bad bit of code to create 30 new PostgreSQL clusters because someone forgot to add a “;” at the end of a line. Call them “guardrails” that protect against unbounded object growth in your etcd database.
  • Red Hat named HPE’s Partner of the Year at HPE Discover 2019
    For more than 19 years, Red Hat has collaborated with HPE to develop, deliver and support trusted solutions that can create value and fuel transformation for customers. Our work together has grown over these nearly two decades and our solutions now include Linux, containers and telecommunications technologies, to name just a few. As a testament to our collaboration, HPE has named Red Hat the Technology Partner of the Year 2019 for Hybrid Cloud Solutions.
  • Demystifying Containers – Part II: Container Runtimes
    This series of blog posts and corresponding talks aims to provide you with a pragmatic view on containers from a historic perspective. Together we will discover modern cloud architectures layer by layer, which means we will start at the Linux Kernel level and end up at writing our own secure cloud native applications. Simple examples paired with the historic background will guide you from the beginning with a minimal Linux environment up to crafting secure containers, which fit perfectly into todays’ and futures’ orchestration world. In the end it should be much easier to understand how features within the Linux kernel, container tools, runtimes, software defined networks and orchestration software like Kubernetes are designed and how they work under the hood.
  • Edge > Core > Cloud: Transform the Way You Want
    For more than 25 years, SUSE has been very successful in delivering enterprise-grade Linux to our customers. And as IT infrastructure has shifted and evolved, so have we. For instance, we enabled and supported the move to software-defined data centers as virtualization and containerization technologies became more prevalent and data growth demanded a new approach.
  • SUSE OpenStack Cloud Technology Preview Takes Flight
    We are pleased to announce that as of today we are making a technology preview of a containerized version of SUSE OpenStack Cloud available that will demonstrate a future direction for our product. The lifecycle management for this technology preview is based on an upstream OpenStack project called Airship, which SUSE has been using and contributing to for some time. This follows our open / open policy of upstream first and community involvement.