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Evolution, Linux, and Gentoo

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Linux
Gentoo

I was first introduced to Linux in 1998, when it was, perhaps, entering “puberty”. When I was introduced to Linux, I was interested in learning about it. In those days, Linux was harder to use and if you didn't have a love of computers you might have given up. Linux has come a long way since then. Since I wanted more control of my system, I was interested in Gentoo.

Gentoo is a more difficult distro to master because, unlike the install of Ubuntu/Kubuntu, where you can be almost brain dead and still get Linux installed, you have to create configuration files during the install process. However, the Gentoo manual, http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/index.xml, is superlative in explaining what you need to know. Again, I figure if I can master Gentoo, anyone can if they have a desire to do so.

While the package managers of other distros are excellent, for me nothing beats the Portage package manager of Gentoo. When using Red Hat / Fedora and then Kubutu, I still found that there were some packages that package managers like yum or Synaptic had trouble finding. Such is not the case with Gentoo.

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Kernel: CH341 and LWN Articles (Just Freed)

  • Linux Adds CH341 GPIO
    There was a time when USB to serial hardware meant one company: FTDI. But today there are quite a few to choose from and one of the most common ones is the WCH CH341. There’s been support for these chips in Linux for a while, but only for use as a communication port. The device actually has RS232, I2C, SPI, and 8 general purpose I/O (GPIO) pins. [ZooBaB] took an out-of-tree driver that exposes the GPIO, and got it working with some frightening-looking CH341 boards.
  • Shrinking the kernel with an axe
    This is the third article of a series discussing various methods of reducing the size of the Linux kernel to make it suitable for small environments. The first article provided a short rationale for this topic, and covered link-time garbage collection. The second article covered link-time optimization (LTO) and compared its results to link-time garbage collection. In this article we'll explore ways to make LTO more effective at optimizing kernel code away, as well as more assertive strategies to achieve our goal.
  • The rest of the 4.16 merge window
    At the close of the 4.16 merge window, 11,746 non-merge changesets had been merged; that is 5,000 since last week's summary. This merge window is thus a busy one, though not out of line with its predecessors — 4.14 had 11,500 changesets during its merge window, while 4.15 had 12,599. Quite a bit of that work is of the boring internal variety; over 600 of those changesets were device-tree updates, for example. But there was still a fair amount of interesting work merged in the second half of the 4.16 merge window; read on for the highlights.

Wine-Staging and Games

Canonical Outs New Ubuntu Kernel Update with Compiler-Based Retpoline Mitigation

New Linux kernel security updates have been released for Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Extended Security Maintenance), adding the compiler-based retpoline kernel mitigation for the Spectre Variant 2 vulnerability on amd64 and i386 architectures. Canonical fixed the Spectre Variant 2 security vulnerability last month on January 22, but only for 64-bit Ubuntu installations. This update apparently mitigates the issue for 32-bit installations too. Spectre is a nasty hardware bug in microprocessors that use branch prediction and speculative execution and it could allow unauthorized memory reads via side-channel attacks. Read more

Tutanota: Encrypted Open Source Email Service for Privacy Minded People

If you are a privacy concerned netizen, try Tutanota. It is an open source email service for encrypted email communication. Here are the pros and cons of using Tutanota. Read more