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The Status of Universal Package Systems

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GNU
Linux

Billed as the future of package management, universal package systems like Snappy and Flatpak have failed to live up to their promise.

Remember universal package systems? Although AppImage, the earliest universal package system, was first released in 2004, the concept did not capture much attention until a decade later, when Canonical released Snappy and Red Hat released Flatpak. Each was presented as the next generation of package managers, usable by any distribution, and as a means to reduce the number of rival technologies. Yet in 2020, both Snappy and Flatpak have receded into the background, and the deb and RPM package management systems continue to dominate Linux, leaving the question of why Snappy and Flatpak did not fulfill their promises.

Two quick searches on DistroWatch reveal that, out of the 273 active distros listed, 39 support Flatpak, and 35 support Snap packages. At first, those may sound like respectable numbers, until you realize that a much more arcane deviation from the norm, like distros that do not ship systemd, can boast 99 distros. Moreover, those figures consist mainly of major distros that support Flatpak and Snap -- often both -- but still depend primarily on traditional package managers.

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Security Leftovers

  • Chinese hackers backdoor chat app with new Linux, macOS malware [Ed: Nowadays the Microsofters in the media are calling "backdoors" things that are simply malware and one has to actually install; of course they like to blame "Linux" (because the user can add malware on top of it). Saying Linux isn't secure because it doesn't prevent you installing malware is like saying bridges are dangerous because you may commit suicide by jumping off them.]

    Versions of a cross-platform instant messenger application focused on the Chinese market known as 'MiMi' have been trojanized to deliver a new backdoor (dubbed rshell) that can be used to steal data from Linux and macOS systems.

  • Linux Threats: A Black Hat 2022 Hot Topic? (Video) [Ed: Aside from patent trolling, Blackberry reinvented itself as anti-Linux FUD source in recent years. They intentionally overlook back doors (e.g. Windows) and blame everything on "Linux".]

    There are usually a few cyberthreat trends that seem to emerge as important themes at each year’s Black Hat conference. And this year, the increase in Linux threats may be one of them.

  • #StopRansomware: Zeppelin Ransomware [Ed: Ransomware is predominantly a Microsoft Windows problem]

    CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA), #StopRansomware: Zeppelin Ransomware, to provide information on Zeppelin Ransomware. Actors use Zeppelin Ransomware, a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), against a wide range of businesses and critical infrastructure organizations to encrypt victims’ files for financial gain.

  • CISA Adds Two Known Exploited Vulnerabilities to Catalog

    CISA has added two new vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, based on evidence of active exploitation. These types of vulnerabilities are a frequent attack vector for malicious cyber actors and pose significant risk to the federal enterprise. Note: to view the newly added vulnerabilities in the catalog, click on the arrow in the "Date Added to Catalog" column, which will sort by descending dates. 

  • Cisco Releases Security Update for Multiple Products

    This vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to obtain sensitive information. For updates addressing lower severity vulnerabilities, see the Cisco Security Advisories page.

today's leftovers

  • Portable Computer Pre-History: Portable Before Laptops

    Portability is relative. When former Texas Instruments employees Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto created a portable version of the IBM PC in 1982, it was a hulking device that weight 28 pounds and was roughly the size of a sewing machine. If you sold a desktop computer that weighed 28 pounds in 2018, you’d be laughed off the block. But the device, called the Compaq Portable, was revolutionary for its time and thrust the company that made it into the mainstream. It wasn’t too long before then that a portable computer was so embarrassingly large that you would probably break your legs if you used it as a laptop. Tonight’s Tedium ponders a time when portable computing meant something just a little bit bigger.

  • Fedora Sway OSTree Spin name

    The Fedora Sway SIG is working to create an immutable version of the Sway Spin (also work in progress) using OSTree. Those immutable spins of Fedora are becoming more common following Silverblue and Kinoite’s success. As it often happens, one of the most challenging things to do in creating something is to come up with clever names. This task is made even more complex by the relatively small amount of people active in this conversation. For this reason, during the last SIG meeting, it was decided to socialize this decision so that more people could suggest their ideas.

  • Output requirements.txt packages pinned to latest version
  • How to install OpenSCAD on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install OpenSCAD on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

  • Stupid SMP Tricks: A Review of Locking Engineering Principles and Hierarchy: paulmck — LiveJournal

    Daniel Vetter put together a pair of intriguing blog posts entitled Locking Engineering Principles and Locking Engineering Hierarchy. These appear to be an attempt to establish a set of GPU-wide or perhaps even driver-tree-wide concurrency coding conventions. Which would normally be none of my business. After all, to establish such conventions, Daniel needs to negotiate with the driver subsystem's developers and maintainers, and I am neither. Except that he did call me out on Twitter on this topic. So here I am, as promised, offering color commentary and the occasional suggestion for improvement, both of Daniel's proposal and of the kernel itself. The following sections review his two posts, and then summarize and amplify suggestions for improvement.

  • Ubuntu Unity 22.04 Quick overview #linux #UbuntuUnity - Invidious
  • FOSS Force Open Source News Quiz (8/12/22) - FOSS Force

    How closely did you follow the news about Linux and free and open source software this week? You can get an idea about how well informed you are (and have some fun in the process) by taking our Open Source News Quiz. Once you’re done, scroll down to the comments section and let us know how you did!

elementary Blog: Updates for July, 2022

Firstly, thank you so much for your patience this month! I’ve been out sick with COVID for about 3 weeks, so I haven’t been able to contribute much or organize releases this month. I want to give a special thanks to our volunteer community who has continued to make improvements and move forward on projects in my absence. I’m excited to catch up and get back to work to make the most of the rest of this month. Having said that, this is going to be a very brief updates post. [...] A ton of energy in the community has gone into Gtk 4 porting for OS 7 and beyond. The team is making steady progress on porting System Settings and we landed the Gtk 4 port for Sideload. We’ve also uncovered some style issues and gaps in style constants, so if you’re working on porting your app to our Flatpak Platform 7, know that we’ll be releasing some fixes soon. I want to give some special acknowledgment to Owen Malicsi who has taken a lot of ownership over Gtk4 porting. Owen started contributing to elementary to improve his development skillset in preparation for college, and he’s done an amazing job both in successfully porting components to Gtk 4 as well as identifying blockers and creating discussions around refactoring for Gtk 4 paradigms. I’m super proud of his growth and contribution and we wish him well in his studies! Thanks Owen! Read on