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today's leftovers

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  • How to Set and List Environment Variables in Linux
  • Hardware hacking basics, Slackel + OSCAR | Choose Linux 17

    Getting into hardware hacking with Arduino, and analysing sleep data from CPAP machines.

    Plus a glimpse into the past in Distrohoppers.

  • Debian 11 Testing with XFCE 4.14 Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at Debian Testing Bullseye with XFCE 4.14.

  • Introducing Glean — Telemetry for humans

    In the last few years, Firefox development has become increasingly data-driven. Mozilla’s larger data engineering team builds & maintains most of the technical infrastructure that makes this possible; from the Firefox telemetry code to the Firefox data platform and hosting analysis tools. While data about our products is crucial, Mozilla has a rare approach to data collection, following our privacy principles. This includes requiring data review for every new piece of data collection to ensure we are upholding our principles — even when it makes our jobs harder.

    One great success story for us is having the Firefox telemetry data described in machine-readable and clearly structured form. This encourages best practices like mandatory documentation, steering towards lean data practices and enables automatic data processing — from generating tables to powering tools like our measurement dashboard or the Firefox probe dictionary.

    However, we also learned lessons about what didn’t work so well. While the data types we used were flexible, they were hard to interpret. For example, we use plain numbers to store counts, generic histograms to store multiple timespan measures and allow for custom JSON submissions for uncovered use-cases. The flexibility of these data types means it takes work to understand how to use them for different use-cases & leaves room for accidental error on the instrumentation side. Furthermore, it requires manual effort in interpreting & analysing these data points. We noticed that we could benefit from introducing higher-level data types that are closer to what we want to measure — like data types for “counters” and “timing distributions”.

  • Debugging TypeScript in Firefox DevTools

    Firefox Debugger has evolved into a fast and reliable tool chain over the past several months and it’s now supporting many cool features. Though primarily used to debug JavaScript, did you know that you can also use Firefox to debug your TypeScript applications?

    Before we jump into real world examples, note that today’s browsers can’t run TypeScript code directly. It’s important to understand that TypeScript needs to be compiled into Javascript before it’s included in an HTML page.

    Also, debugging TypeScript is done through a source-map, and so we need to instruct the compiler to produce a source-map for us as well.

  • Sponsor Article: why open frameworks matter

    The use of computers to control buildings was an inevitable consequence of the falling cost of the technology and the huge increase in the complexity of the equipment required to achieve comfort in large modern buildings. As with computers, the nascent BMS market was initially supplied by manufacturers who offered highly-proprietary systems which only they could install and maintain. As the technology matured, so the software to program the required control logic was made easier. As a result, a wider range of people could provide the engineering. Meanwhile, pressure from end users, who didn’t want to be tied to only one manufacturer for the life of the building or campus, led to the development of open protocol standards that could enable one manufacturers’ system to talk to another.

    However, since the way buildings are contracted tends to require a functionally-biased packaging of sub-contracts, each piece of controls equipment in a building developed separately, and each sub-sector developed its own standards. The result today is a plethora of ‘standard’ protocols which are used by the various sub-systems in a building; BACnet for HVAC, DALI and KNX for lighting, Modbus for electrical metering and power management, M-Bus for heat metering etc. Some protocols such as LONworks did manage for a while to gain traction in multiple segments, but its adoption has declined in recent years. So, although people still dream of there being ‘one standard to rule them all’, the reality is much messier, and the challenge of how to get systems talking to one another has not gone away.

  • Free Software Supporter - Issue 137, September 2019

    Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against digital restrictions management and join us in celebration of the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019. Keep an eye on defectivebydesign.org for further announcements.

  • Some Intel Firmware Binaries Will Reportedly Be More Liberally Licensed

    One interesting nugget of news from this week's Open-Source Firmware Conference is that some Intel firmware binaries pertaining to their Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) will be more liberally licensed under their simpler microcode/firmware license.

    Open-source firmware consulting firm 3mdeb shared that Intel will reportedly publish TXT-related binaries like BIOS and SINIT ACMs under a similar license to the Intel FSP and microcode.

More in Tux Machines

System76 announce more Linux laptop models get open source firmware

System76, the Pop!_OS Linux distribution maker and hardware vendor for laptops, desktops and servers has announced another open source firmware push. Announced on Twitter, the official account mentioned that the Gazelle and the Adder WS models are joining the ranks and if you own them you can switch them over to their open source firmware right now. Not only that, their Darter Pro laptop model will get an automatic update to move it over to their open source EC (Embedded Controller) firmware. You can see here how to move your devices over. Founder and CEO of System76, Carl Richell, announced on Twitter: "I highly recommend switching to System76 Open Firmware if you have one of these models. Not only is your firmware largely liberated from proprietary code, your laptop will boot faster and you'll start seeing integrations between hardware (through this firmware) and Pop!_OS.". Read more

Games: Songs of Syx, Super Mario 64 and Stadia

  • Fantasy grand strategy city-builder Songs of Syx is out in Early Access

    As one of the most promising indie games this year, Songs of Syx has properly entered Early Access on Steam so you can try your hand at city-building with a grand strategy theme. It's hard to fully grasp the scope of it right now but it's big. You start off as an insignificant colony and build, scheme, and fight your way towards a metropolis and empire. Funded with a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended back in May 2020 with about £23K from over 800 backers. As they said it would, Linux support is wired up and ready right away.

  • You can now play Super Mario 64 natively on Android, no emulator required

    Forget Super Mario 3D All-Stars. You can now play Super Mario 64 on your Android phone without the need for an emulator. The game now has an unofficial native Android port thanks to XDA member VDavid003. In the summer of 2019, Super Mario 64 was successfully decompiled and translated into human-readable C code by a team known simply as a “group of talented individuals.” This code has been available on GitHub for a little over a year at this point, and VDavid003 took this code to create the tools needed to compile the game for Android. [...] VDavid003 has created a repo containing everything needed to compile the game on a Windows or Linux PC, which can then be sideloaded as an APK to an Android device.

  • Stadia pushing more indie games with Stadia Makers, PUBG dropping keyboard and mouse queue

    Google has announced another wave of indie games are confirmed for Stadia, their game streaming service powered by Linux and Vulkan. This is all part of the previously announced Stadia Makers program back in March during their Google for Games Keynote, where Google will directly support smaller teams using the Unity game engine to bring them to Stadia. As a result, another 7 have been announced to release at various dates.

TechNexion Unveils EDM and AXON SoM’s Powered by NXP i.MX8M Plus SoC

The company offers standard support for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Linux-built Yocto Project, and Android 10, as well as extended support for FreeRTOS. If it feels like you’ve seen EDM-G-IMX8M-PLUS module before it’s because it should be the one found in the upcoming Wandboard 8MPLUS SBC. There’s will be other development kits based on existing AXON/EDM baseboards including AXON-PI Raspberry Pi-like starter board, or the full-featured AXON-WIZARD and EDM-WIZARD evaluation boards. Marcel vandenHeuvel, TechNexion’s CEO, gives an overview of the AXON i.MX8M Plus modules and baseboard, and shows a Yocto 3.0 Linux demo with dual displays. Read more

Security: AppArmor and SELinux, Linux Security Features and Zero Trust Security Model

  • Technologies for container isolation: A comparison of AppArmor and SELinux

    I researched how containers, virtual machines (VMs), and processes, in general, are separated by different technologies—namely, AppArmor and SELinux. My goal was to compare these solutions for isolation/separation capabilities in the cloud world. Just as a reminder, Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses SELinux technology to separate processes, containers, and VMs. OpenShift also uses this technology. The first option is an isolation technology called AppArmor, which is a very similar technology to SELinux. However, it is not label-based. AppArmor security profiles, which are equivalent to SELinux security policies, look more user-friendly, but that’s because AppArmor is less complicated and controls fewer operations.

  • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.7

    Linux v5.7 was released at the end of May. [...] After Silvio Cesare observed some weaknesses in the implementation of CONFIG_SLAB_FREELIST_HARDENED‘s freelist pointer content obfuscation, I improved their bit diffusion, which makes attacks require significantly more memory content exposures to defeat the obfuscation. As part of the conversation, Vitaly Nikolenko pointed out that the freelist pointer’s location made it relatively easy to target too (for either disclosures or overwrites), so I moved it away from the edge of the slab, making it harder to reach through small-sized overflows (which usually target the freelist pointer). As it turns out, there were a few assumptions in the kernel about the location of the freelist pointer, which had to also get cleaned up.

  • Zero Trust Security Model

    The Zero Trust Network, also called Zero Trust Architecture, is a model that was developed in 2010 by the principal analyst John Kindervag. A zero-trust security system helps to protect the enterprise system and improves cybersecurity. [...] The Zero Trust approach depends upon modern technologies and methods to achieve the target of securing an organization. The Zero Trust Model calls for businesses to manipulate micro-segmentation and granular perimeter execution based on users, their whereabouts, and other data or information, to find out whether to believe a user, machine, or application that is trying to seek access to a specific part of the enterprise or organization. Zero Trust also takes care of all other policies, for example, giving users the least access they require to complete the task they want to complete. Creating a Zero Trust environment is not only about putting into practice the separate singular technology associations; it is also about using these and other technologies to impose the idea that no one and nothing should have access until they have proven that they should be trusted. Of course, organizations know that creating a Zero Trust Security Model is not an overnight achievement. Because it is not easy to achieve something so complex in a single night, it can take years to find the most secure, ideal system possible. Many companies are shifting to the cloud security system. These systems have the best options to go to Zero Trust. Now is the time to be ready for a Zero Trust transition. All organizations, either large or small, or should have Zero Trust security systems for their data safety.