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December 2019

What is GNU/Linux?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Most consumers can, with a little effort, name two desktop and laptop operating systems: Microsoft Windows and Apple's macOS. Few have ever considered any of the open-source alternatives found under the umbrella of GNU/Linux, though some may have done so without even knowing it—Google's Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel. To be honest, aside from the Chromebook platform, GNU/Linux systems are typically not best for people who rely on big-name software or don't like dabbling with a customizable, hands-on interface. However, if you're looking for a change of pace, don't want to pay for your software, and don't mind rolling up your sleeves, switching to GNU/Linux may not only be worthwhile, but make you a convert for life. This guide for nontechnical users will show you how.

Before diving headfirst into the wonky world of GNU/Linux systems, it's important to understand how they came about and some of the terms you may encounter while researching and using them. I'll start with a brief history of the big three: UNIX, Linux, and GNU.

UNIX is a proprietary, command-line-based operating system originally developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson (among others) at AT&T's Bell Labs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. UNIX is coded almost entirely in the C programming language (also invented by Ritchie) and was originally intended to be used as a portable and convenient OS for programmers and researchers. As a result of a long and complicated legal history involving AT&T, Bell Labs, and the federal government, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems grew in popularity, as did Thompson's influential philosophy of a modular, minimalist approach to software design.

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Making Slackware 14.1 Works with GLIM Multiboot USB

Filed under
GNU
Linux
HowTos

This tutorial explains the configuration files for Slackware 14.1 DVD 64-bit to work in LiveUSB multiboot mode with GLIM. This way you can have one flash drive containing multiple GNU/Linux OS installers including Slackware64 among them. This is my first time to ship Slackware USB ever and I am happy finally I could make it with GLIM. This is the result of my shipment to Sulawesi, Indonesia at December 2019. Happy hacking!

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Stable kernels 5.4.7, 4.19.92, and 4.14.161

  • Linux 5.4.7

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.4.7 kernel.

    All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...

  • Linux 4.19.92
  • Linux 4.14.161

Programming: KDE at Congress, Java, C and Python

Filed under
Development
  • 36C3 Impressions

    I was given the opportunity to present our work on KDE Itinerary on the WikipakaWG stage (part of the joint presence of Wikimedia and the Open Knowledge Foundation). A big thanks for that again!

    The slides are here. At this point there is no released video recording yet, until that’s available you should still find the relive stream.

    Besides showing overall what we are doing and have built so far, and why this matters, we managed to have a few sneak preview screenshots of the latest developments that haven’t been shown anywhere before yet. Another such preview could be spotted in a presentation of another project at the event. So stay tuned for announcements in January Smile

    Following that I got a large amount of input and positive feedback, people seem to like the idea of a privacy first digital travel assistant. This also lead to a number of interesting contacts for possible collaborations in 2020, let’s see what comes out of this.

    KDE at Congress

    There were only very few KDE people at 36C3, and only very few talks covering KDE projects. I did spot a very well attended talk about Linux-based mobile platforms covering Plasma Mobile by someone I didn’t know yet, so there definitely seems to be interest in KDE’s work there.

    I mainly focused on mobility or open transport data topics for KDE Itinerary, that left little time to cover other things highly relevant for KDE like free mobile platforms, environmental impact of software, Free Software in public administration, or let alone the enormous field of privacy related topics.

    I’d therefore suggest KDE to attend with a larger team next time, not necessarily with a stationary presence, but with more people to present our work and to connect with others with overlapping interests.

  • Java retrospective #3 – most important thing for the community in 2019

    As 2019 draws to a close, we got in touch with some prominent members of the Java community to gather their thoughts on the events of the last year. In this five part series, we will look at what they had to say. In this third part, we asked what the most important thing for the Java community was in 2019.

  • Ringing In 2020 By Clang'ing The Linux 5.5 Kernel - Benchmarks Of GCC vs. Clang Built Kernels

    The main issue encountered when Clang'ing Linux 5.3 was the AMDGPU driver running into build problems. Fortunately, that was since resolved and with Linux 5.5 tests I recently did when building the kernel with Clang 9.0, the AMDGPU driver has worked out fine. With that resolved and no new Clang kernel compatibility problems introduced, it was a pleasant experience building Linux 5.5 with Clang simply by adjusting the CC environment variable.

  • Area of sinc and jinc function lobes

    The lobes are the regions between crossings of the x-axis. For the sinc function, the lobe in the middle runs from -π to π, and for n > 0 the nth lobe runs from nπ to (n+1)π. The zeros of Bessel functions are not uniformly spaced like the zeros of the sine function, but they come up in application frequently and so it’s easy to find software to compute their locations.

  • Sorting Data With Python

    All programmers will have to write code to sort items or data at some point. Sorting can be critical to the user experience in your application, whether it’s ordering a user’s most recent activity by timestamp, or putting a list of email recipients in alphabetical order by last name. Python sorting functionality offers robust features to do basic sorting or customize ordering at a granular level.

    In this course, you’ll learn how to sort various types of data in different data structures, customize the order, and work with two different methods of sorting in Python.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (intel-microcode and libbsd), openSUSE (chromium, LibreOffice, and spectre-meltdown-checker), and SUSE (mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss and python-azure-agent).

  • How AI and Cybersecurity Will Intersect in 2020

    So much of the discussion about cybersecurity's relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) revolves around how AI and ML can improve security product functionality. However, that is actually only one dimension of a much broader collision between cybersecurity and AI.

  • Best of TechBeacon 2019: Security is in the hot seat with privacy laws

    New laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) have put substantial pressure on organizations to bolster their security practices this year. Adding to the urgency were the near-constant reports of data breaches, an ever-evolving threat landscape, and a growing volume of attacks.

Applications: Scrapyard, NAS Software, GnuCash and Clementine

Filed under
Software
  • Scrapyard is an advanced bookmarks manager for Firefox

    Scrapyard is an open source extension for the Firefox web browser designed to improve bookmarking in Firefox in multiple ways. Firefox users may use it to bookmark pages but also content on pages, and store the data locally.

    Firefox's default bookmarks functionality is quite basic. Users may bookmark webpages or sites, add tags to bookmarks, use folders to sort bookmarks, and use Firefox's synchronization feature to sync bookmarks across devices.

    Firefox users who require more functionality need to rely on add-ons for that. Bookmarks Organizer is a handy extension to find dead or redirecting bookmarks.

  • 4 Best Open Source NAS Software for DIY server in 2020

    Before listing Linux or FreeBSD distros for creating network Attached storage OS, I would like to say there is no “best operating system” either for NAS or computer. The choice of an operating system depends heavily on what you are going to do with the NAS server. In this guide, we focus on software that understands a NAS server primarily as a system for the provision of data in your office or home. With the operating systems we mention in this article, you can copy data back and forth, perform backups, along with some advanced tasks (such as establishing a VPN connection or installing a mail server) including plugins to extend OS capabilities.

    Here we are about to list some best NAS solutions to help you if you are planning to data management using open-source software in 2020.

  • GnuCash 3.8

    GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

  • Clementine Music Player 1.3.9 Released for Testing (How to Install)

    Clementine, an open-source audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, released version 1.3.9 (then 1.3.92) a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

    Though the last version 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, Clementine player is still in active development, and version 1.3.9 (as well as 1.3.92) was released in recent days as the test release. However, there’s no announcement, no change-log so far. They seem to be the development releases for the next major release.

My Linux Experience in 2019

Filed under
GNU
Linux

In summary, I can say that my experience with Linux during 2019 has been extremely satisfactory. I mean, my computers have been working great and the distros have been more stable than ever.

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More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Security, Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

  • Security updates for Thursday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (netty and netty-3.9), Fedora (ceph, dovecot, poppler, and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (inn and rmt-server), Oracle (openjpeg2), Red Hat (rabbitmq-server), Scientific Linux (openjpeg2), SUSE (dnsmasq, rsyslog, and slurm), and Ubuntu (php7.0).

  • 30 The Most Common Hacking Techniques and How to Deal with Them [Ed: Cracking, not hacking. Not the same thing.]
  • A guide to developing a holistic IT security strategy

    In assessing how prevalent cyberattacks are for companies, 18 percent of respondents rated the security risk as very high. Half (50 percent) even stated that their company had suffered financial losses due to security incidents. Opinions differed as to whether the incidents were handled optimally: Almost half (49 percent) say that everything worked well, while the other half (49 percent) believe there is a lot of potential for improvement.

  • Linux and malware: Should you worry? [Ed: All those headlines with question marks mean that the answer is "No."]

    Gone are the days when the idea of viruses or other malware hitting Linux was almost universally greeted with quizzical glances, if not outright rejection. Long thought of as the perfect marriage of open-source goodness and strong, Unix-like security, Linux-based operating systems are now increasingly seen as another valuable – and viable – target. This shift in thinking is partly the result of a growing realization among both Linux hobbyists and system administrators that a compromised Linux system such as a web server provides attackers an excellent ‘return on investment’. Just as importantly, malware research in recent years has brought better visibility into threats facing Linux systems.

Devices: Raspberry Pi, Industrial/Panel PCs and RISC-V

         
  • How to play sound and make noise with your Raspberry Pi
           
             

    If your amazing project is a little too quiet, add high-fidelity sound with Raspberry Pi and the help of this handy guide from HackSpace magazine, written by PJ Evans.

  •       
  • Raspberry Pi 4 UEFI+ACPI Firmware Aims to Make the Board SBBR-Compliant

    As Arm wanted to enter the server market, they realized they had to provide systems that could boot standard operating system images without modifications or hacks – just as they do on x86 server -, so in 2014 the company introduced the Server Base System Architecture Specification (SBSA) so that all a single OS image can run on all ARMv8-A servers.

  • Linux-ready Apollo Lake panel PC has IP65 protection

    WinSystems’ IP65-protected, 12-inch “PPC12-427” capacitive panel PC runs on an Apollo Lake SoC with up to 8GB DDR3L ECC RAM, 2x GbE, 2x 4K DP, 4x USB, and -30 to 85°C support. Grand Prairie, Texas based WinSystems has announced a fanless, 12.1-inch, panel PC designed for signage, kiosk, food service, and industrial IoT HMI applications.

  • Modular Coffee Lake system has SUMIT and optional PCIe expansion

    Ibase’s “MAF800” industrial AI PC runs Ubuntu or Win 10 on an 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPU with 3x GbE, 2x SATA, 6x USB 3.0, and 2x SUMIT slots for an optional 4x PoE module. Other models offer PCIe x16, x8, and x4 slots. Last week, Taiwan-based Ibase announced it was pulling out of next week’s Embedded World show in Nuremberg due to concerns about the coronavirus. Other announced no-shows include Arm, Bridgetek, Digi-Key, FTDI, Kontron, and Rohm. Yet, Ibase and others appear to be pushing forward with their usual late February embedded product announcements.

  • Antmicro GEM ASIC Leverages zGlue Technology to Quickly Bring Custom Arm/RISC-V SoC’s to Market

    Introduced in 2018, ZiP (zGlue Integration Platform) chip-stacking technology aims to produce chips similar to Systems-in-Package (SiP) but at much lower costs and lead times.

  • Aldec and Codasip at Embedded World: Showcasing an Integrated UVM Simulation Environment for Verifying Custom Instructions with RISC-V Cores

    “Variability of the RISC-V ISA-based processor family brings new challenges to design flow. In particular, IP and SoC verification needs productivity boost tools and seamless integration into our design environment,” said Karel Masařík, CEO of Codasip. “Our generic UVM methodology combined with Aldec's simulation and code coverage efficiency analysis helps us add the desired RISC-V core extensions and provide core customization faster than our competition.”

Malicious Proprietary Software

  • Discord Is Not An Acceptable Choice For Free Software Projects

    Discord’s communication is not end to end (e2e) encrypted. It is encrypted only between the individual user and the servers operated by Discord Inc. Their spying extends to every single message sent and received by anyone, including direct messages betweeen users. The service can and does log every message sent, both in-channel and DMs. It is impossible to have a private conversation on Discord, as there will always be an unencrypted log of it stored by Discord. Discord can, at their option, provide those stored messages to any third party they wish, including cops or government snoops, for any reason, even without a legal order, without any obligation to tell you that they have done so.

  • [Attackers] Were Inside Citrix for Five Months

    Networking software giant Citrix Systems says malicious [attackers] were inside its networks for five months between 2018 and 2019, making off with personal and financial data on company employees, contractors, interns, job candidates and their dependents. The disclosure comes almost a year after Citrix acknowledged that digital intruders had broken in by probing its employee accounts for weak passwords.

  • [Vulnerable] firmware lurks inside Dell, HP and Lenovo computers amid supply chain security efforts

    “Firmware is meant to be invisible to the user, and so it’s not surprising that most people don’t pay attention to it,” said Eclypsium CEO Yuriy Bulgin. “However, these components make up the foundation upon which every device, operating system, and application depends.”

    Researchers used unsigned firmware to show how an attacker could compromise an operating system remotely in order to steal network data. The highlighted flaws could also enable “direct-memory access” attacks which exploit a computer’s core operating system.

  • Aera Launches Cognitive ‘Business Brain’ Operating System [Ed: This is NOT an 'operating system". Terms misused these days.]

    Infor labels one of its core brands Infor OS and quite unashamedly uses the term operating system to explain the function of its industry-specific Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) cloud software. Mountain View headquartered Aera Technology has used a similar naming convention within its branding and called its automation-centric cloud platform the Aera Cognitive Operating System.

  • Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux Now In Public Preview

    Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux is now available in a public preview that allows administrators and security professionals to test the product in six different Linux distributions.

  • Keen to check for 'abnormal' user behaviours? Microsoft talks insider risk, AWS imports and compliance at infosec shindig RSA [Ed: “Microsoft talks insider risk”; but Microsoft is the risk]

    As well as widening the preview of Microsoft Threat Protection, a system aimed at a more automated response to threats, the gang has also extended the cross-platform support for Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to include a whole bunch of Linux distributions.

  • Microsoft plans to add Linux support for Chromium-based Edge

    Microsoft fought long and hard to maintain and push its own proprietary browser, even launching Edge, hoping to get away from the stigma against Internet Explorer. However, the dominating market share of Chromium-based browsers finally got to Microsoft, and the company announced it would rebuild Edge with the Chromium source code. Last month, we reported that Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge was out of development and ready for public deployment.