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FSF and FSFE: Showcase and Community Meeting in Bolzano, Italy

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GNU
  • The FSF tech team: doing more for free software

    At the Free Software Foundation (FSF), we like to set big goals for ourselves, keeping a relatively small group of dedicated activists determined to cover a lot of ground in a short time.The FSF tech team, for example, has just four members -- two senior systems administrators, one Web developer, and a part-time chief technology officer -- yet we manage to run over 120 virtual servers. These run on about a dozen machines hosted at four different data centers. These include many public-facing Web sites and community services, as well as every single IT requirement for the staff: workstations, data storage and backup, networking, printing, accounting, telephony, email, you name it.

    We don't outsource any of our daily software needs because we need to be sure that they are done using only free software. Remember, there is no "cloud," just other people's computers. For example: we don't outsource our email, so every day we send over half a million messages to thousands of free software hackers through the community mailing lists we host. We also don't outsource our Web storage or networking, so we serve tens of thousands of free software downloads -- over 1.5 terabytes of data -- a day. And our popularity, and the critical nature of the resources we make available, make us a target for denial of service attacks (one is ongoing as we write this), requiring constant monitoring by the tech team, whose members take turns being ready for emergency work so that the resources our supporters depend on stay available.

    As hard as we work, we still want to do more, like increasing our already strict standards on hardware compliance, so in 2020, we will finish replacing the few remaining servers that require a non-free BIOS. To be compliant to our own high standards, we need to be working with devices that are available through Respects Your Freedom retailers. We plan to add new machines to our farm, so that we can host more community servers like the ones we already host for KDE, SugarLabs, GNU Guix, Replicant, gNewSense, GNU Linux-Libre, and FSFLA. We provide completely virtual machines that these projects use for their daily operations, whether that's Web hosting, mailing lists, software repositories, or compiling and testing software packages.

    We know that many software projects and individual hackers are looking for more options on code hosting services that focus on freedom and privacy, so we are working to set up a public site that anybody can use to publish, collaborate, or document their progress on free software projects. We will follow strict criteria to ensure that this code repository hosts only fully free software, and that it follows the very best practices towards freedom and privacy.

  • Report from the 2019 FSFE Community Meeting in Bolzano, Italy

    Report from the 2019 FSFE Community Meeting in Bolzano, Italy
    This year's FSFE Community Meeting took place from Friday 15 November to Saturday 16 November 2019 as part of SFSCon - an annual Free Software event in the city of Bolzano in South Tyrol, Italy. As in previous editions, embedding our community meeting in another event gave us the opportunity to meet different parts of our own community as well as to connect with people from other communities.

    On Friday, SFScon started officially and the NOI Techpark transformed into the interim capital of Free Software with talks and booths. Of course, the FSFE booth was also part of it and the booth team commandeered the whole area by installing a balloon chain and putting up posters. The rumours that the booth team gave away free pizza (not as in freedom) to gain more attention, are highly exaggerated, though.

What's new in the GNU Press Shop

  • What's new in the GNU Press Shop

    Greetings from the GNU Press Shop! This is an update on what's new and exciting at the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) online store, your source for GNU apparel, programming manuals, and more. We know at this time of year you'll be looking for GNU gifts for your favorite free software enthusiasts, and we have some terrific new picks for you to choose from! For holiday gifting, shipped within the US, we recommend placing your order before December 17th.

    For starters, we've got just the thing for the chilly season: we have replaced our extended selection of hooded sweatshirts with a single, user-friendly zip-up design. It still comes in our signature maroon color, but with an all-new "happy computer" graphic by the FSF's superstar 2019 intern Valessio Brito. Between this sweatshirt and the satisfying feeling of helping spread the word about software freedom, we think you'll be quite warm and cozy this winter.

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More in Tux Machines

XFS - Online Filesystem Checking

Since Linux 4.17, I have been working on an online filesystem checking feature for XFS. As I mentioned in the previous update, the online fsck tool (named xfs_scrub) walks all internal filesystem metadata records. Each record is checked for obvious corruptions before being cross-referenced with all other metadata in the filesystem. If problems are found, they are reported to the system administrator through both xfs_scrub and the health reporting system. As of Linux 5.3 and xfsprogs 5.3, online checking is feature complete and has entered the stabilization and performance optimization stage. For the moment it remains tagged experimental, though it should be stable. We seek early adopters to try out this new functionality and give us feedback. Read more

Linux 5.5 RC7

  • Linux 5.5-rc7
    Well, things picked up at the end of the week, with half of my merges
    happening in the last two days.
    
    Whether that is the usual "send the weeks work to Linus on Friday", or
    a sign that things are just picking up in general after the holidays,
    I don't know.  If the former, I'll probably just release the final 5.5
    next week. But if it looks like there's pent-up fixes pending next
    week, I'll make another rc.
    
    Nothing in here looks particularly odd. Drivers is about half of the
    patch (networking, sound, gpio, gpu, scsi, usb, you name it), with the
    rest being the usual mix - arch, networking, filesystems, core
    kernel..  The diffstat looks mostly fairly nice and flat, with a
    couple of exceptions that look harmless (a few device tree file
    updates, some pure code movemment, and a couple of driver fixes that
    ended up changing calling conventions to get done and as a result got
    to be more lines than the bug otherwise would have merited).
    
    Please do test, there should be nothing scary going on.
    
                  Linus
    
  • Kernel prepatch 5.5-rc7

    The 5.5-rc7 kernel prepatch is out. Linus is still unsure whether the final 5.5 release will come out next week or not: "if it looks like there's pent-up fixes pending next week, I'll make another rc".

  • Linux 5.5-rc7 Kernel Released

    The seventh weekly release candidate to Linux 5.5 is now available for testing. Linus noted with Linux 5.5-rc7 there was a large uptick in patch volume at week's end. "Well, things picked up at the end of the week, with half of my merges happening in the last two days." Due to the recent holidays in large part, it's possible an eighth release candidate may be needed for Linux 5.5 before then releasing the kernel as stable on 2 February. However, in today's 5.5-rc7 announcement, Torvalds noted he may just end up releasing 5.5 stable next week. In any case, the release of Linux 5.5 is right on the horizon and this should be the kernel powering Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and other upcoming distribution releases.

GNU Make 4.3 Released!

The next stable version of GNU make, version 4.3, has been released and is available for download from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/make/ Please see the NEWS file that comes with the GNU make distribution for details on user-visible changes. Read more Also: GNU Make 4.3 Released With Performance Improvements, Newer GNU libc + Musl Support

Kernel: Zhaoxin, Arch Linux's Zen and WireGuard in Linux 5.6

  • Zhaoxin 7-Series x86 CPUs Mitigated For Spectre V2 + SWAPGS

    When it comes to the Zhaoxin x86-compatible processors coming out of VIA's joint venture in Shanghai, their forthcoming 7-series (KX-7000) has hardware mitigations in place for some CPU vulnerabilities. We haven't heard much about these Chinese x86 CPUs with regards to speculative execution vulnerabilities but it appears the pre-7-Series is vulnerable to Spectre Variant Two and at least SWAPGS. But with their 7-series, hardware mitigations appear to be in place.

  • Benchmarks Of Arch Linux's Zen Kernel Flavor

    Following the recent Linux kernel tests of Liquorix and other scheduler discussions (and more), some requests from premium supporters rolled in for seeing the performance of Arch Linux's Zen kernel package against the generic kernel. Here are those benchmark results. These are some benchmarks I recently did on the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X while running EndeavourOS. Tests were done with its default Linux 5.4.8-arch1 kernel compared to the same kernel revision but using Arch's Zen kernel flavor. That is Arch's spin of the Zen-kernel patches (not to be confused with AMD Zen).

  • Intel's ConnMan Is Ready With WireGuard Support

    In addition to NetworkManager having good WireGuard support in advance of this secure VPN tunnel tech landing with the Linux 5.6 kernel, Intel's ConnMan software is also ready with supporting WireGuard. Intel's ConnMan hasn't seen a new tagged release in nearly one year but over the past two months in the Git development code WireGuard support has materialized. ConnMan, as a reminder, is the Intel-led effort for providing an Internet connection manager on Linux designed for embedded/mobile use-cases that dates back to their Moblin days.