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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

Arcan 0.6 – ‘M’ – Start Networking

This time around, the changes are big enough across the board that the sub-projects will get individual posts instead of being clumped together, and that will become a recurring theme as the progress cadence becomes less and less interlocked. We also have a sister blog at www.divergent-desktop.org that will slowly cover higher level design philosophy, rants and reasoning behind some of what is being done here. A few observant ones have pieced together the puzzle — but most have not. This release is a thematic shift from low level graphics plumbing to the network transparency related code. We will still make and accept patches, changes and features to the lower video layers, of course — ‘Moby Blit’ is still out there — but focus will be elsewhere. Hopefully this will be one of the last time these massive releases make sense, and we can tick on a (bi-)monthly basis for a while. Read more Also: Arcan 0.6 Display Server Adds Network Transparency, XWayland Client Isolation - Phoronix

Games: HIVESWAP: ACT 2, Gaming Rack Design and Construction, Parkitect and DualSense

  • Amusing adventure game HIVESWAP: ACT 2 is out now | GamingOnLinux

    With no prior knowledge of the Homestuck web comic series needed, the second part of the video game adventure is out now with HIVESWAP: ACT 2. "The artistry and humor of the golden age of adventure games meet hand-drawn 2D animation in this love letter to the point-and-click classics. Bizarre, beautifully illustrated alien landscapes and colorful characters make Alternia a joy to explore."

  • Gaming Rack Design and Construction – CubicleNate's Techpad

    I have collected a number of gaming systems throughout my life and there is little point in having them if they sit in a box or using them takes an annoying level of set-up time, making it fun prohibitive. I was then inspired by Perifractic Retro Recipes video where the computer museum has everything so nicely laid out. I looked at my mess and decided that I had to do something about it because my arrangement just isn’t presentable.

  • Theme park building game Parkitect is getting 8-player online multiplayer | GamingOnLinux

    With the second year release anniversary of the great theme park building game Parkitect coming up, Texel Raptor had a quite a huge surprise ready. Releasing on December 8 is the free cooperative online multiplayer mode. This is absolutely crazy considering the type of game it is, and one I can only imagine right now being ridiculously fun to play online with others. Eight people in total too, that's a lot of building that can get done. Texel Raptor mentioned you can see what everyone else is doing, and it's going to have a full online lobby system it seems too.

  • The DualSense Is Making Even More Sense - Boiling Steam

    As reported earlier this month, the DualSense controller from Sony was already working great out of the box on Linux. However, it wasn’t long after that that Valve added support for the more advanced features of the device. Starting November 12, Valve updated the controller to have basic input functionality with their beta Steam client:

Devices/Embedded and Open Hardware Leftovers

  • Embedded Linux for Teams | Ubuntu

    Developer-friendly embedded Linux should just deliver apps to devices. Satellite companies don’t build their own rockets. They focus on building satellites and lease a rocket to deliver it as a payload. Many developer teams also have to “build the rocket” to deliver embedded applications. Developers would be more successful, if Linux vendors made it their job to provide and maintain the scaffold that teams need to deliver embedded apps. In such a world, teams would focus on creating apps. The resulting app-centric development cycle could boil down to booting, building and deploying. Building on top of vendor-provided scaffolds, developers would create a bootable image for their target boards. Teams would then develop apps. After testing, they will build a system image that delivers all these apps. Then burn, deploy, done.

  • Personal Raspberry Pi music streamer
  • Run Pi-hole as a container with Podman on openSUSE - SUSE Communities

    There is arguably no better way to protect devices on your local network from unwanted content than Pi-hole. Add a machine running Pi-hole to your network, and it will quietly scrub all incoming traffic from pesky stuff like ads and trackers in the background. As the name suggests, Pi-hole was initially designed to run on a Raspberry Pi. But if you already have a machine running openSUSE on your network, you can deploy a Pi-hole container on it instead. And to make things a bit more interesting, you can use Podman instead of Docker for that. Installing Podman on openSUSE 15.2 is a matter of running the sudo zypper install podman command. A Pi-hole container needs the 80 and 53 ports, so make sure that these ports are available on your machine.

  • MorphESP 240 ESP32-S2 board integrates a 1.3-inch color display (Crowdfunding)

    We’ve already seen ESP32 platforms with a color display such as M5Stack, but MorphESP 240 is kind of cute with a 1.3-inch color display, features the more recent ESP32-S2 WiFi processor, and supports battery power & charging.

  • Rockchip RK3588 specifications revealed – 8K video, 6 TOPS NPU, PCIe 3.0, up to 32GB RAM

    Rockchip RK3588 is one of the most anticipated processors for the year on this side of the Internet with the octa-core processor features four Cortex-A76 cores, four Cortex-A55 cores, an NPU, and 8K video decoding support. The roadmap shows an expected launch date in Q3/Q4 2020, but sadly the release date will be pushed back in the future. Having said that, the Rockchip Developer Conference (RKDC) is now taking place, and the company has put up a poster that reveals a bit more about the processor.

  • Arduino Blog » Arduino psychic ‘magically’ guesses random numbers

    Standard Arduino Nanos can be used for many purposes, but they do not feature wireless capabilities. Somehow, though, Hari Wiguna’s Arduino psychic system is apparently able to pass data between two of them. No external communication hardware is implemented, yet one Nano is able to recognize when a random number chosen on the other Nano setup is input via an attached keypad. As noted by Wiguna, it’s easier shown than explained, and you can see this techno-magic trick in action in the first clip. How things work is revealed in the second video, but can you guess how it’s done?

Security, Digital Restrictions (DRM), and Proprietary Problems

  • Best forensic and pentesting Linux distros of 2020

    20.04 LTS and uses the Xfce desktop, and is available as a single ISO only for 64-bit machines. In addition to the regular boot options, the distro’s boot menu also offers the option to boot into a forensics mode where it doesn’t mount the disks on the computer. BackBox includes some of the most common security and analysis tools. The project aims for a wide spread of goals, ranging from network analysis, stress tests, sniffing, vulnerability assessment, computer forensic analysis, exploitation, privilege escalation, and more. All the pentesting tools are neatly organized in the Auditing menu under relevant categories. These are broadly divided into three sections. The first has tools to help you gather information about the environment, assess vulnerabilities of web tools, and more. The second has tools to help you reverse-engineer programs and social-engineer people. The third has tools for all kinds of analysis. BackBox has further customized its application menu to display tooltips with a brief description of each bundled tool, which will be really helpful for new users who aren’t familiar with the tools. As an added bonus, the distro also ships with Tor and a script that will route all Internet bound traffic from the distro via the Tor network.

  • Thanksgiving security updates

    Security updates have been issued by openSUSE (blueman, chromium, firefox, LibVNCServer, postgresql10, postgresql12, thunderbird, and xen), Slackware (bind), SUSE (bluez, kernel, LibVNCServer, thunderbird, and ucode-intel), and Ubuntu (mutt, poppler, thunderbird, and webkit2gtk).

  • Drupal core - Critical - Arbitrary PHP code execution - SA-CORE-2020-013

    AC:Complex/A:User/CI:All/II:All/E:Exploit/TD:UncommonVulnerability: Arbitrary PHP code executionCVE IDs: CVE-2020-28949CVE-2020-28948Description: The Drupal project uses the PEAR Archive_Tar library. The PEAR Archive_Tar library has released a security update that impacts Drupal. For more information please see: CVE-2020-28948 CVE-2020-28949 Multiple vulnerabilities are possible if Drupal is configured to allow .tar, .tar.gz, .bz2 or .tlz file uploads and processes them. To mitigate this issue, prevent untrusted users from uploading .tar, .tar.gz, .bz2 or .tlz files. This is a different issue than SA-CORE-2019-12, similar configuration changes may mitigate the problem until you are able to patch.

  • Financial software firm cites security, control as reasons for moving from email to Slack [Ed: Unbelievable stupidity; Slack is illegal mass surveillance and it’s centralised proprietary software (whereas E-mail can be encrypted, e2e)]

    ASX-listed financial software firm Iress is moving away from email to Slack for communications and its chief technology officer, Andrew Todd, says this is because the app offers improved security and control.

  • Introducing another free CA as an alternative to Let's Encrypt

    Let's Encrypt is an amazing organisation doing an amazing thing by providing certificates at scale, for free. The problem though was that they were the only such organisation for a long time, but I'm glad to say that the ecosystem is changing.

  • Denuvo's Anti-Piracy Protection Probably Makes Sense For Big-Selling AAA Titles

    A hacking team believed to have obtained data from gaming giant Ubisoft has published documents that claim to reveal the costs of implementing Denuvo's anti-piracy protection. While the service doesn't come cheap, the figures suggest that for a big company putting out big titles with the potential for plenty of sales, the anti-tamper technology may represent value for money.

  • Disappointing: Netflix Decides To Settle With Chooseco LLC Over 'Bandersnatch' Lawsuit

    Well, it's been quite a stupid and frustrating run in the trademark lawsuit between Netflix and Chooseco LLC, the folks behind Choose Your Own Adventure books from our youth. At issue was the Black Mirror production Bandersnatch, in which the viewer takes part in an interactive film where they help decide the outcome. The main character is creating a book he refers to as a "choose your own adventure" book. Chooseco also complained that the dark nature of the film would make the public think less of CYOA books as a result. Netflix fought back hard, arguing for a dismissal on First Amendment grounds, since the film is a work of art and the limited use or reference to CYOA books was an important, though small, part of that art. The court decided that any such argument was better made at trial and allowed this madness to proceed, leading Netflix to petition for the cancellation of Chooseco's trademark entirely. This story all seemed to be speeding towards an appropriately impactful conclusion.

  • TPM circumvention and website blocking orders: An EU perspective

    Website blocking orders in IP cases (mostly, though not solely, in relation to copyright-infringing websites) are routinely granted in several jurisdictions, whether in Europe or third countries. The availability of such relief has been established in case law, administrative frameworks and academic studies alike. The Court of Justice of the European Union ('CJEU') expressly acknowledged the compatibility of such a remedy with EU law in its 2014 decision in UPC Telekabel. Also the European Court of Human Rights recently found that, although it is necessary that this particular remedy is available within a balanced and carefully drafted legislative framework which contains a robust and articulated set of safeguards against abuse, website blocking orders are not per se contrary to the provision in Article 10 ECHR. Over time, courts and other authorities (including administrative authorities in certain EU Member States) have dealt with applications which have: been based on different legal grounds; been aimed at protecting different types of rights; and resulted in different types of orders against internet service providers ('ISPs'). An interesting recent development concerns website blocking orders in relation to websites that market and sell devices and software aimed at circumventing technological protection measures (‘TPMs’). TPMs offer rights holders an ancillary right of protection and are deployed to protect against infringement of copyright in works that subsist in multimedia content such as video games. TPMs are a cornerstone in copyright protection in the digital age where large-scale copying and dissemination of copyright-protected content is so prevalent. [...] In light of the foregoing, copyright owners appear entitled to seek injunctions against intermediaries to also block access to websites dealing with TPM-circumventing devices. The legal basis for that can also be, subject to satisfying all the other requirements under EU and national law, the domestic provision implementing Article 8(3) of the InfoSoc Directive. All in all, it appears likely that we will see more blocking orders in the future, including orders – issued by courts and competent authorities around Europe – targeting websites that provide TPM-circumventing devices. This is an unsurprising and natural evolution of website blocking jurisprudence. It also serves to show the very flexibility of this type of remedy and, matched inter alia with the loose notion of ‘intermediary’, its inherently broad availability.

  • Prolonged AWS outage takes down a big chunk of the internet

    Many apps, services, and websites have posted on Twitter about how the AWS outage is affecting them, including 1Password, Acorns, Adobe Spark, Anchor, Autodesk, Capital Gazette, Coinbase, DataCamp, Getaround, Glassdoor, Flickr, iRobot, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pocket, RadioLab, Roku, RSS Podcasting, Tampa Bay Times, Vonage, The Washington Post, and WNYC. Downdetector.com has also shown spikes in user reports of problems with many Amazon services throughout the day.