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Debian Developers: Mergify, Chrome, DebCamp18, OBS, GSoC and LibrePlanet

Filed under
Development
Debian
  • Stop merging your pull requests manually

    We built Mergify as a free service for open-source projects. The engine powering the service is also open-source.

  • Odd dependency on Google Chrome

    Hmm, so I noticed every time I started a fresh new Chrome, I logged into my Google account. So, once again clearing things I started Chrome, didn’t login and closed and reopened. I had Chrome running the second time! Alas, not with all the stuff synchronised.

    An issue for Mailspring put me onto the right path. installing gnome-keyring (or the dependencies p11-kit and gnome-keyring-pkcs11) fixed Chrome.

    So if Chrome starts but you get no window, especially if you use cinnamon, try that trick.

  • Plans for DebCamp18

    I’m going to DebCamp18!

  • Triggering Debian Builds on OBS

    OBS supports building Debian packages. To do so, one must properly configure a project so OBS knows it is building a .deb package and to have the packages needed to handle and build debian packages installed.

  • Google Summer of Code 2018 with Debian - Week 5

    During week 5, there were 3 merge requests undergoing review process simultaneously. I learned a lot about how code should be written in order to assist the reader since the code is read more times than the time it is written.

  • How markets coopted free software’s most powerful weapon (LibrePlanet 2018 Keynote)

    Several months ago, I gave the closing keynote address at LibrePlanet 2018. The talk was about the thing that scares me most about the future of free culture, free software, and peer production.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Millions of Streaming Devices Are Vulnerable to a Retro Web Attack

    Sitting in his Chicago apartment, two blocks from Lake Michigan, Dorsey did what anyone with a newfound hacking skill would: He tried to attack devices he owned. Instead of being blocked at every turn, though, Dorsey quickly discovered that the media streaming and smart home gadgets he used every day were vulnerable to varying degrees to DNS rebinding attacks. He could gather all sorts of data from them that he never would have expected.

  • Pros vs Joes CTF: The Evolution of Blue Teams

    Pros v Joes CTF is a CTF that holds a special place in my heart. Over the years, I’ve moved from playing in the 1st CTF as a day-of pickup player (signing up at the conference) to a Blue Team Pro, to core CTF staff. It’s been an exciting journey, and Red Teaming there is about the only role I haven’t held. (Which is somewhat ironic given that my day job is a red team lead.) As Blue teams have just formed, and I’m not currently attached to any single team, I wanted to share my thoughts on the evolution of Blue teaming in this unique CTF. In many ways, this will resemble the Blue Team player’s guide I wrote about 3 years ago, but will be based on the evolution of the game and of the industry itself. That post remains relevant, and I encourage you to read it as well.

    [...]

    It turns out that a lot of the fundamental knowledge necessary in securing a network are just basically system administration fundamentals. Understanding how the system works and how systems interact with each other provides much of the basics of information security.

    On both Windows and Linux, it is useful to understand:

    How to install & update software and operating system updates
    How to change permissions of files
    How to start and stop services
    How to set up a host-based firewall
    Basic Shell Commands
    User administration

KDE/Qt: Qt 6 in Sight and Elisa 0.2 Beta

Filed under
KDE
  • Qt Contributor Summit 2018

    About two weeks ago i attended Qt Contributor Summit 2018, i did so wearing my KDAB hat, but given that KDE software is based heavily on Qt I think I'll give a quick summary of the most important topic that was handled at the Summit: Qt 6

  • The Qt 6 Plans For November 2020, Qt 5.15 Likely Being Last Of Qt5

    At the recent Qt Contributors' Summit as previously covered on Phoronix were some early discussions over plans to release Qt 6.0 in 2020. A few more tidbits of information have come to light on these interesting tool-kit plans.

    Albert Astals Cid of KDAB was at this recent Qt conference and he has now shared his summit notes, particularly around Qt 6. He confirms that Qt 6.0 is planning for a November 2020 release, Qt 6 should be an easy migration path from Qt 5, etc.

  • 0.2 Beta 1 Release of Elisa Music Player

    Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

    We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

  • Elisa 0.2 Beta Released For This Newest KDE Music Player

    KDE's Elisa music player is just over one year old and with a few months having passed since the Elisa 0.1 inaugural release, succeeding that today is the beta for the upcoming Elisa 0.2.

Funding for Open 'Core' Companies

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OSS

'Proper' GNU/Linux on Google OSes

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • Google’s Fuchsia OS will support Linux apps

    Google’s non-Linux-based Fuchsia OS has added an emulator for running Debian Linux apps. Like its upcoming Linux emulator for Chrome OS, Fuchsia’s “Guest” app will offer tighter integration than typical emulators.

    Google has added a Guest app to its emergent and currently open source Fuchsia OS to enable Linux apps to run within Fuchsia as a virtual machine (VM). The Guest app makes use of a library called Machina that permits closer integration with the OS than is available with typical emulators, according to a recent 9to5Google story.

  • Here are the latest Chrome OS devices that will support Linux apps

    The ability to run Linux apps in virtual machines in Chrome is expanding beyond Google's flagship Pixelbook line of Chromebooks. The feature, for which plans were first discovered in late February, was formally announced by Google at I/O 2018. Unlike the existing solution, Crouton, support for Linux apps does not require enabling developer mode on Chrome OS, allowing users to install Linux apps without needing to sacrifice security protections.

    In addition to the Pixelbook, support for the new Crostini virtual machine feature has also come to the original Samsung Chromebook Plus, the detachable HP Chromebook X2, and the ASUS Chromebook Flip C101. Likewise, according to a report from xda-developers, the feature is coming to the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and Chromebook 13, as well as 2018-era Chromeboxes, which all share the same board ID "fizz." Of these, the Acer Chromebox CX13 series and ASUS Chromebox 3 series both have multiple SKUs, maxing out with an Intel Core i7-8550U paired with 16GB RAM and 64GB storage for $750.

  • Linux App Support Is Coming To Acer Chromebook Flip C101

    Acer’s Chromebook Flip C101 is now officially the latest Chrome OS device expected to be in-line for virtualized Linux app support, following a new commit pushed to the Chromium Gerrit on June 15. That places the Flip C101 in a very select club alongside Google’s Pixelbook, the HP Chromebook x2, and the first generation Samsung Chromebook Plus. Of course, there’s no official date with regard to when Linux App support will arrive for the Chromebook Flip C101. If previous trends are followed, then it shouldn’t take too long at all for its official arrival in the Canary Channel of the OS. That comes following a commit indicating that support for the new feature has been moved from the Samsung Chromebook Plus to the devices’ shared parent board. Since only the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Flip C101 share that board, dubbed “Gru,” that suggests that both devices will support Linux apps in a virtual environment.

Linux Foundation: New Study, Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), and Hyperledger Fabric

Filed under
Linux

Graphics: AMDGPU, Nvidia, Apple's Harm to Science

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • AMDGPU DRM Driver To Finally Expose GPU Load Via Sysfs

    The AMDGPU DRM driver appears to finally be crossing the milestone of exposing the current GPU load (as a percentage) in a manner that can be easily queried via sysfs.

    For years I've been frustrated via the lack of standardization of sysfs/debugfs files among the DRM drivers and some seemingly basic information not being exposed in such a manner that easily benefits various desktop plug-ins, those wanting to script basic monitors/checks/etc around such outputs, and use-cases like with the Phoronix Test Suite for easily querying this information too for its sensor recording. One of the frustrations with the Radeon Linux stack has been that there wasn't a trivial way to read the GPU load usage as a percentage... There's been ways if installing third-party utilities like RadeonTool, but no universal solution nor one that doesn't require root and would be widely available.

  • Radeon Software 18.20 Stable Released With Official Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Support

    The Radeon Software "AMDGPU-PRO" 18.20 hybrid driver stack is now available with official support for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 17.20.

    Two months after the debut of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" release, the Q2'2018 Radeon Sotware for Linux driver update has arrived with support for this latest long-term support release. Radeon Software 18.20 was officially released last week but seemingly went under everyone's radar until now.

  • Nvidia Releases a Batch of Open Source Tools for AI

    Graphics processors increasingly used as hardware accelerators for deep learning applications are also being deployed with the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator as another way to accelerate the scaling of training and inference for deep learning models.

    The two-front approach includes Nvidia’s (NASDAQ: NVDA) release to developers this week of a Kubernetes on GPU capability aimed at enterprises training models on multi-cloud GPU clusters. Previously, Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) launched a beta version of GPUs on its Kubernetes Engine aimed at accelerating machine learning and image processing workloads.

  • AI caramba! Nvidia devs get a host of new kit to build smart systems

    Nvidia has released a bunch of new tools for savvy AI developers in time for the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

  • Chemists criticise mooted shutdown of 3D visualisation tools

    End of support for Apple’s OpenGL programming interface could pull the plug on molecular modelling software

    Researchers are voicing concerns over a move that may affect many 3D visualisation programs that are commonly used in computational research.

    Apple’s Macintosh operating systems (macOS) is set to end support for OpenGL, the programming interface frequently used to display 3D graphics in medical and scientific visualisation software, which has existed since 1992. Nearly all open source and commercial chemistry visualisation programs that are used to display atoms, molecules, bonds and protein ribbons – such as Mercury, VMD and PyMOL – use the system.

Stable kernels 4.16.17 and 4.14.51

Filed under
Linux

OpenBSD disables hyperthreading support for Intel CPUs due to likely data leaks

Filed under
Security
BSD

Open source log management options for Linux distributions

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server

If you run Linux, you're probably familiar with rsyslog and systemd-journald. However, if you oversee dozens of Linux servers and cloud instances, it's not realistic to dig into each individual log file. Graylog and Logcheck are two viable open source alternatives.

When you search for open source log management software, you will see that Graylog is one of the most adopted products. The program can be easily installed on common Linux distributions, including CentOS and Ubuntu, and is available as an appliance.

Read more

Microsoft and ICE, Major Downtimes Again

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Microsoft
  • Microsoft says pro-migrant, but no mention of cancelling ICE contract

    Both Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith have responded to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement separating migrant children from their parents at the Mexico-US border by issuing strong statements against the practice.

    However, neither has said a word about ending the company's US$19.4 million contract with ICE.

    US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday cancelling the separation policy for the next 20 days. About 4000 children have already been taken from their parents and there is no sign of their being returned.

    About 100 employees had sent a letter to Nadella, asking for the contract with ICE to be cancelled.

  • Microsoft CEO: don't worry, we're mostly helping the parts of ICE that don't involve kidnapping children

    As Microsoft employees grow increasingly furious that their employer is a key technology provider to ICE, providing, among other things, facial recognition software, the company is responding, conscious of the possibility of a repeat of Google's showdown with its employees over the provision of AI for drone warfare systems.

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella circulated an internal memo to all employees reassuring them that Microsoft only indirectly contributes to ICE's child kidnapping system by providing service to the rest of ICE.

    The child kidnapping crisis has prompted Mike Godwin to temporarily suspend Godwin's law, which allows me to point out that the service technicians IBM dispatched to service the Nazi tabulating machines only helped the Nazis to count the dead -- it wasn't like IBM was servicing gas chambers, just as Microsoft is only supplying adjacent services to an agency that the UN has condemned as "counter to human rights standards and principles."

  • Microsoft Azure suffers 11-hours of borkage across Europe

    The official word is that the downtime, which comes just days after Office 365 went titsup, lasted from around 5.45pm on Tuesday until 4.30am on Wednesday morning.

    However, many customers were still reporting issues today, despite Azure Support claiming that its engineers had "mitigated the issue in North Europe and impacted services should be recovered at this time".

Making GNOME Look Like Apple's Operating System

Filed under
Mac
GNOME
  • A macOS Mojave Inspired GTK Theme Appears

    A new GTK theme brings the luscious look of macOS Mojave to the Linux desktop.

    Not that you should be surprised; we’ve written before about how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac.

    But thanks to this new macOS Mojave inspired GTK theme that fact is truer, and more faithful, than ever.

  • Make Ubuntu Look Like macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode

    If you’re a Linux user who likes the look of the dark mode coming in macOS Mojave, you’re in luck: there’s a GTK theme just for you.

    The theme is available on Gnome-Look.org alongside several other macOS inspired themes. You’re looking for the one titled McOS-MJV-Dark-mode, but feel free to download more if you think you might want to switch it up later.

    Installing is a little tricky: you need to create a .themes directory in your home folder, then extract the folder in the downloaded archive into that folder. Next you need to install Gnome Tweaks in the Ubuntu Software Store, which you can use to change the theme. You can also use Gnome Tweaks to move the buttons to the left side of the window, where they belong. Fight me.

Servers With GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server
  • Linux Foundation Shifts Network Infrastructure to Kubernetes

    The Linux Networking Fund (LNF) is making significant progress toward embracing Kubernetes as a platform for delivering a range of networking services that are expected to be widely embraced by telecommunications carriers and cloud service providers (CSP).

    Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking an orchestration for The Linux Foundation, says the latest Beijing release of the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) contains several modules that have been ported to Kubernetes, with more to follow once the Casablanca release of ONAP is released.

  • A Platform Of A Certain Age And Respectability

    But seriously. The many rivals of the OS/400 platform and its follow-ons since that June 21, 1988, launch of the Application System/400 are now gone or not even on life support. We can all rattle them off, but the important ones that drove innovation for OS/400 and its children through to the current IBM i are DEC’s VMS for the VAX and Alpha systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s MPE for the HP 3000 and HP-UX for the HP 9000s, and Sun Microsystems’ Solaris for the Sparc systems. You could throw in SCO Unix, Novell NetWare, and a slew of proprietary operating systems in Europe and Japan, and while you are at it, you should probably also include the IBM System/38’s CPF operating system and the IBM System/36’s SSP operating system. Even OS/2 and its PS/2 platform actually predate the AS/400 by 10 months – and they are long, long gone.

  • Uptycs Raises $13M, Launches Osquery-Based Security Platform

    No. 2 is the growing popularity of Mac and Linux-based infrastructure. Traditional enterprise workloads are deployed on Windows, so that’s where malicious activity historically occurred. But now more companies are using Mac infrastructure and transitioning new workloads to Linux in the cloud. Companies need to monitor and secure these environments as well, and Uptycs’ security platform covers all of the above.

  • CeBIT 2018: Huawei to roll-out KunLun V5 server

    Huawei is set to launch the latest server in its KunLun mission critical range with the V5, teaming up once more with Suse, further confirming that the company’s Linux Enterprise Server system is its preferred standard for the range.

  • Why an Infrastructure Transition is the Perfect Time to Invest in Security

    The idea behind containers has been around since the 1970s, when the technology was first used to isolate application code on Unix systems. However, the use of containers only became widespread in 2013 with the advent of Docker, and container orchestration tools like Kubernetes are even newer than that.

A look at Lutris – Open Gaming Platform for GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming

Lutris is quite the handy application I’ve discovered, that helps with organization and installation of games on GNU/Linux, even if they come from multiple sources. One of the project's goals is to support any game that runs on Linux regardless of whether it runs natively, through Wine, or other means.

The main appeal of Lutris is that it provides an interface to manage all games installed on the machine regardless of source. While it is necessary to integrate the games in the application first, doing so is not super complicated. You may add local games right away by selecting them from the local system or visit the Lutris website to add games this way.

Lutris simplifies nearly everything. Users can visit the list of support games on the Lutris website, choose to download and install the game (Note: If its a game that must be bought, you must own it first.)

The website lists supported games and where you can acquire or download them. You can use filters on the site to display only free games, games of a genre, or use the built-in search to find games of interest quickly using it.

Read more

GNOME Desktop: Flatpak and Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension

Filed under
GNOME
  • Flatpak in detail, part 2

    The first post in this series looked at runtimes and extensions. Here, we’ll look at how flatpak keeps the applications and runtimes on your system organized, with installations, repositories, branches, commits and deployments.

  • Flatpak – a history

    I’ve been working on Flatpak for almost 4 years now, and 1.0 is getting closer. I think it might be interesting at this point to take a retrospective look at the history of Flatpak.

  • Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension Changes Your Desktop Background With Images From Various Online Sources

    Random Wallpaper is an extension for Gnome Shell that can automatically fetch wallpapers from a multitude of online sources and set it as your desktop background.

    The automatic wallpaper changer comes with built-in support for downloading wallpapers from unsplash.com, desktopper.co, wallhaven.cc, as well as support for basic JSON APIs or files.

    The JSON support is in fact my favorite feature in Random Wallpaper. That's because thanks to it and the examples available on the Random Wallpaper GitHub Wiki, one can easily add Chromecast Images, NASA Picture of the day, Bing Picture of the day, and Google Earth View (Google Earth photos from a selection of around 1500 curated locations) as image sources.

KDE: QtPad, Celebrating 10 Years with KDE, GSoC 2018

Filed under
KDE
  • QtPad - Modern Customizable Sticky Note App for Linux

    In this article, we'll focus on how to install and use QtPad on Ubuntu 18.04. Qtpad is a unique and highly customizable sticky note application written in Qt5 and Python3 tailored for Unix systems.

  • Celebrating 10 Years with KDE

    Of course I am using KDE software much longer. My first Linux distribution, SuSE 6.2 (the precursor to openSUSE), came with KDE 1.1.1 and was already released 19 years ago. But this post is not celebrating the years I am using KDE software.

    Exactly ten years ago, dear Albert committed my first contribution to KDE. A simple patch for a problem that looked obvious to fix, but waiting for someone to actually do the work. Not really understanding the consequences, it marks the start of my journey within the amazing KDE community.

  • GSoC 2018 – Coding Period (May 28th to June 18th): First Evaluation and Progress with LVM VG

    I got some problems during the last weeks of Google Summer of Code which made me deal with some challenges. One of these challenges was caused by a HD physical problem. I haven’t made a backup of some work and had to rework again in some parts of my code. As I already knew how to proceed, it was faster than the first time.

    I had to understand how the device loading process is made in Calamares to load a preview of the new LVM VG during its creation in Partition Page. I need to list it as a new storage device in this page and deal with the revert process. I’ve implemented some basic fixes and tried to improve it.

Open Hardware: Good for Your Brand, Good for Your Bottom Line

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

Chip makers are starting to catch on to the advantages of open, however. SiFive has released an entirely open RISC-V development board. Its campaign on the Crowd Supply crowd-funding website very quickly raised more than $140,000 USD. The board itself is hailed as a game-changer in the world of hardware. Developments like these will ensure that it won't be long before the hardware equivalent of LEGO's bricks will soon be as open as the designs built using them.

Read more

elementary OS – A Beautiful OS for Open Source Lovers

Filed under
Reviews

elementary OS is an open source Ubuntu-based distro and one of the most awesome GNU/Linux distros ever. It has gained a lot of traction over years, coming in at #5 on Distro Watch’s popularity scale with 1,324 hits per day.

elementary OS is usually mentioned only in light of macOS and sometimes Windows, given that it features a beautiful and consistent UI which makes it an ideal replacement; it deserves to stand out more because its active community of developers has not only successfully delivered a unique distro, all of its apps are custom built and they are lovely!

It’s excellent for both Linux beginners and pros which is evident in how artistically comprehensive their online documentation. The team succeeded it keeping to the 3 core rules of their design philosophy which are: “concision”, “avoid configuration” and “minimal documentation”.

Read more

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Red Hat: Kubernetes, 'Cloud', and GlusterFS 4.1.0 Release

  • Kubernetes StatefulSet In Action
    Recently, I stumbled upon a StackOverflow question around StatefulSets which made me wonder how well understood they are at large. So I decided to put together a simple stateful app that can be used to experiment with a StatefulSet. In this blog post we will have a closer look at this app and see it in action. If you’re not familiar with StatefulSets, now is a good time for a refresher, consulting the official docs concerning their usage and guarantees they provide.
  • The road to cloud-native applications
    As many organizations do not have the luxury of completely rebuilding their technology foundation or immediately adopting new practices and mindsets, they can embrace gradual yet fundamental shifts in culture, processes, and technology to help support greater velocity and agility. With software increasingly key to how users engage with businesses and how businesses can innovate to stay competitive, organizations should adapt to the new demands of the Digital Economy, such as speeding up application development and delivery. The cloud-native approach describes a way of modernizing existing applications and building new applications based on cloud principles, using services and adopting processes optimized for the agility and automation of cloud computing.
  • GlusterFS 4.1 Released With Performance Monitoring Improvements
    GlusterFS. the network-attached storage file-system focused on cloud computing and more that is developed by Red Hat, is up to version 4.1 as its newest release.
  • Announcing GlusterFS release 4.1.0 (Long Term Maintenance)
    The Gluster community is pleased to announce the release of 4.1, our latest long term supported release.
  • Release notes for Gluster 4.1.0
    This is a major release that includes a range of features enhancing management, performance, monitoring, and providing newer functionality like thin arbiters, cloud archival, time consistency. It also contains several bug fixes.

Games: XENONAUTS 2, Make Sail and More

Programming: Zapcc C++, PHP and Python

  • Some Compiler Performance Benchmarks With The Zapcc Caching Compiler
    Here are some quick benchmarks I ran this week of the newly open-sourced Zapcc C++ caching compiler based upon LLVM/Clang and compared to the upstream Clang performance, GCC, and Ccache with the speed on the original compilation of the benchmark code and then again on a subsequent compilation.
  • PHP 7.3.0 alpha 1 Released
    PHP team is glad to announce the release of the first PHP 7.3.0 version, PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 1. This starts the PHP 7.3 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.
  • PHP 7.3 Alpha 2 Released With Many Bug Fixes
    Just shy of two weeks since PHP 7.3 went into alpha, the second alpha release of this upcoming annual feature release to the PHP programming language is now available. PHP 7.3 has been working on several new functions, WebP support within the image create from string function, improved PHP garbage collection, and a variety of other features and improvements. While PHP 7.3 is still open for new features, PHP 7.3 Alpha 2 comes with just bug fixes. Bug fixes for alpha two range from core fixes to various bugs in its ZIP, EXIF, Date, and CLI code, among other areas. The fixes are outlined here.
  • Python virtual environments
    In a short session at the 2018 Python Language Summit, Steve Dower brought up the shortcomings of Python virtual environments, which are meant to create isolated installations of the language and its modules. He said his presentation was "co-written with Twitter" and, indeed, most of his slides were of tweets. At the end, he also slipped in an announcement of his plans for hosting a core development sprint in September.
  • A Python static typing update
    One of the larger features added to Python over the last few releases is support for static typing in the language. Static type-checking and tools to support it show up frequently as topics at the Python Language Summit (PLS) and this year was no exception. Mypy developers Jukka Lehtosalo and Ivan Levkivskyi gave an update on static typing at PLS 2018. Lehtosalo started things off by talking about stub files, which contain type information for libraries and other modules. If you are going to type-check code that uses outside modules, from the standard library or a third-party library, the tool needs to understand the types used in the public interfaces of the library. The type-checking that can be done is limited if there are no stubs for the libraries used.
  • Linux distributions and Python 2
    Python 2.7 will reach its end of life in less than two years—at least for the core development team. Linux distributions need to figure out how to handle the transition given that many of their users are still using that version of the language—and may still be well beyond the end-of-life date. Petr Viktorin and Matthias Klose led a session at the 2018 Python Language Summit to discuss distributions' approaches to deprecating Python 2. Viktorin works for Red Hat and focused on the Fedora distribution. He wants to help figure out how to help the Python downstreams so that Python 2 can be fully discontinued. There are two different ways to do that; either make sure that everyone switches to Python 3 or simply deprecate Python 2 and "wash our hands" of the problem. He would prefer the first alternative. He will be working on this transition for Red Hat as part of his day job and would like to do it in the community as well; that will minimize the need to maintain Python 2 going forward.

Kernel Coverage at LWN (Outside Paywall Now)

  • XArray and the mainline
    The XArray data structure was the topic of the final filesystem track session at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM). XArray is a new API for the kernel's radix-tree data structure; the session was led by Matthew Wilcox, who created XArray. When asked by Dave Chinner if the session was intended to be a live review of the patches, Wilcox admitted with a grin that it might be "the only way to get a review on this damn patch set". In fact, the session was about the status of the patch set and its progress toward the mainline. Andrew Morton has taken the first eight cleanup patches, Wilcox said, which is great because there was a lot of churn there. The next set has a lot of churn as well, mostly due to renaming. The 15 patches after that actually implement XArray and apply it to the page cache. Those could be buggy, but they pass the radix-tree tests so, if they are, more tests are needed, he said.
  • Filesystem test suites
    While the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) filesystem track session was advertised as being a filesystem test suite "bakeoff", it actually focused on how to make the existing test suites more accessible. Kent Overstreet said that he has learned over the years that various filesystem developers have their own scripts for testing using QEMU and other tools. He and Ted Ts'o put the session together to try to share some of that information (and code) more widely. Most of the scripts and other code has not been polished or turned into a project, Overstreet continued. Bringing new people up to speed on the tests and how they are run takes time, but developers want to know how to run the tests before they send code to the maintainer.
  • Messiness in removing directories
    In the filesystem track at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Al Viro discussed some problems he has recently spotted in the implementation of rmdir(). He covered some of the history of that implementation and how things got to where they are now. He also described areas that needed to be checked because the problem may be present in different places in multiple filesystems. The fundamental problem is a race condition where operations can end up being performed on directories that have already been removed, which can lead to some rather "unpleasant" outcomes, Viro said. One warning, however: it was a difficult session to follow, with lots of gory details from deep inside the VFS, so it is quite possible that I have some (many?) of the details wrong here. Since LSFMM there has been no real discussion of the problem and its solution on the mailing lists that I have found.
  • Handling I/O errors in the kernel
    The kernel's handling of I/O errors was the topic of a discussion led by Matthew Wilcox at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) in a combined storage and filesystem track session. At the start, he asked: "how is our error handling and what do we plan to do about it?" That led to a discussion between the developers present on the kinds of errors that can occur and on ways to handle them. Jeff Layton said that one basic problem occurs when there is an error during writeback; an application can read the block where the error occurred and get the old data without any kind of error. If the error was transient, data is lost. And if it is a permanent error, different filesystems handle it differently, which he thinks is a problem. Dave Chinner said that in order to have consistent behavior across filesystems, there needs to be a definition of what that behavior should be. There is a need to distinguish between transient and permanent failures and to create a taxonomy of how to deal with each type.
  • 4.18 Merge window, part 1
    As of this writing, 7,515 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.18 merge window. Things are clearly off to a strong start. The changes pulled this time around include more than the usual number of interesting new features; read on for the details.
  • Year-2038 work in 4.18
    We now have less than 20 years to wait until the time_t value used on 32-bit systems will overflow and create time-related mayhem across the planet. The grand plan for solving this problem was posted over three years ago now; progress since then has seemed slow. But quite a bit of work has happened deep inside the kernel and, in 4.18, some of the first work that will be visible to user space has been merged. The year-2038 problem is not yet solved, but things are moving in that direction. If 32-bit systems are to be able to handle times after January 2038, they will need to switch to a 64-bit version of the time_t type; the kernel will obviously need to support applications using that new type. Doing so in a way that doesn't break existing applications is going to require some careful work, though. In particular, the kernel must be able to successfully run a system where applications have been rebuilt to use a 64-bit time_t, but ancient binaries stuck on 32-bit time_t still exist; both applications should continue to work (though the old code may fail to handle times correctly). The first step is to recognize that most architectures already have support for applications running in both 64-bit and 32-bit modes in the form of the compatibility code used to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems. At some point, all systems will be 64-bit systems when it comes to time handling, so it makes sense to use the compatibility calls for older applications even on 32-bit systems. To that end, with 4.18, work has been done to allow both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the time-related system calls to be built on all architectures. The CONFIG_64BIT_TIME configuration symbol controls the building of the 64-bit versions on 32-bit systems, while CONFIG_COMPAT_32BIT_TIME controls the 32-bit versions.