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The Linux desktop-a-week review: MATE

Filed under
GNU
Linux
GNOME

One thing that MATE has in common with both Enlightenment and Awesome is the general peppiness. Everything in MATE is just plain snappy and light on resource usage. And you could say that memory/CPU usage isn't a huge deal with modern hardware. But, in my testing on this i5 with 8 gigs of RAM, MATE is so much more responsive than GNOME Shell, KDE or Unity that it's just plain silly.

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LWN on Linux: 'Secure' Boot, AF_XDP Patch, 4.17 Release and 'Beep'

  • Kernel lockdown locked out — for now
    As the 4.17 merge window opened, it seemed possible that the kernel lockdown patch set could be merged at last. That was before the linux-kernel mailing list got its hands on the issue. What resulted was not one of the kernel community's finest moments. But it did result in a couple of evident conclusions: kernel lockdown will almost certainly not be merged for 4.17, but something that looks very much like it is highly likely to be accepted in a subsequent merge window. As a reminder: the purpose of the lockdown patches is to enforce a distinction between running as root and the ability to run code in kernel mode. Proponents of UEFI secure boot maintain that this separation is necessary; otherwise the promise of secure boot (that the system will only run trusted code in kernel mode) cannot be kept. Closing off the paths by which a privileged attacker could run arbitrary code in kernel mode requires disabling a number of features in the kernel; see the above-linked article for the details. Most users will never miss the disabled features, but there are always exceptions. [...] One other aspect of this issue that came up briefly is the fear that, if Linux looks like a tool that can be used to compromise secure-boot systems running Windows, that Microsoft might blacklist the signing key and render Linux unbootable on most x86 hardware. David Howells expressed this worry, for example. Greg Kroah-Hartman said, though, that he has researched this claim numerous times and it has turned out to be an "urban myth".
  • Accelerating networking with AF_XDP
    The Linux network stack does not lack for features; it also performs well enough for most uses. At the highest network speeds, though, any overhead at all is too much; that has driven the most demanding users toward specialized, user-space networking implementations that can outperform the kernel for highly constrained tasks. The express data path (XDP) development effort is an attempt to win those users back, with some apparent success so far. With the posting of the AF_XDP patch set by Björn Töpel, another piece of the XDP puzzle is coming into focus.
  • The first half of the 4.17 merge window
    As of this writing, 5,392 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.17 release. The 4.17 merge window is thus off to a good start, but it is far from complete. The changes pulled thus far cover a wide part of the core kernel as well as the networking, driver, and filesystem subsystems.
  • What the beep?
    A "simple" utility to make a system beep is hardly the first place one would check for security flaws, but the strange case of the "Holey Beep" should perhaps lead to some rethinking. A Debian advisory for the beep utility, which was followed by another for Debian LTS, led to a seemingly satirical site publicizing the bug (and giving it the "Holey Beep" name). But that site also exploits a new flaw in the GNU patch program—and the increased scrutiny on beep has led to more problems being found.

Games: Cities: Skylines - Parklife expansion, Supposedly Wonderful Future, Serious Sam 4