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Saturday, 20 Jan 18 - Tux Machines is a community-driven public service/news site which has been around for over a decade and primarily focuses on GNU/LinuxSubscribe now Syndicate content

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Quick Roundup

Type Title Author Replies Last Postsort icon
Story Press Coverage About Wine 3.0 Roy Schestowitz 1 19/01/2018 - 7:08pm
Story Tumbleweed Update Roy Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 7:06pm
Story India Digital Open Summit 2018 Roy Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 6:47pm
Story Compact Quark-based embedded computer sells for $120 Roy Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 6:26pm
Story Top 6 open source desktop email clients Rianne Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 4:53pm
Story The 5 Best Linux Distributions for Development Rianne Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 4:48pm
Story Meltdown and Spectre Linux Kernel Status - Update Rianne Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 4:44pm
Story today's leftovers Roy Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 9:52am
Story OSS: Jio, VMware Openwashing, and Testing Jobs Roy Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 9:45am
Story Security: Spectre and Meltdown, Industrial System Sabotage, VDP, Windows in Healthcare Roy Schestowitz 19/01/2018 - 9:34am

RF-enabled Raspberry Pi add-on brings Google Assistant to gizmos, speakers, and robots

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

JOY-iT and Elector have launched a $42 “Talking Pi” RPi add-on that enables Google Home/AIY compatible voice activation of home automation devices linked to the Pi’s GPIO, and includes a mic board, PWM servo controls, and support for a 433MHz SRD radio.

Elektor has begun selling a $42, open source voice control add-on board that is programmable via the Google Assistant SDK. Built by Germany based JOY-iT, and marketed by Conrad Business Supplies, the RF-enabled Talking Pi enables voice control of home automation equipment such as smart lights, power sockets, and other gizmos via addressable extensions to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO.

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16-Way Graphics Card Comparison With Radeon On ROCm, NVIDIA With Initial 2018 Linux Drivers

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

Towards the end of December AMD quietly released ROCm 1.7.60 as the newest version of their Radeon Open Compute stack complete with their maturing OpenCL implementation. With the improvements there plus NVIDIA recently introducing their 390 Linux driver series (390.12 Beta currently), I ran some fresh Linux OpenCL GPU compute benchmarks on a variety of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards for those curious how the current performance stacks up.

Read more

Also: X.Org Server Finally Adapted To Better Deal With 16:9 & 16:10 Displays

Proprietary Slack as Canonical's Showcase of Snap

Filed under
Ubuntu
  • Slack comes to Linux as a snap

    Slack’s ambition to become the default, go-to place for employees chat to each other and link into hundreds of other applications to get work done is getting one more step up today by becoming available on a new platform. From today, Slack will be available as a Snap, an application package that’s available across a range of open-source-based Linux environments.

  • Slack now available as a Snap for Linux

    At the end of last year, the Linux desktop scored a huge win when Spotify became available as a Snap. If you aren't familiar with Snaps, please know that they are essentially software packages designed to run as a container on any Linux distro. Not only does it make installing software packages easier for users, but it makes things simpler for developers too. Ultimately, Snaps have the potential to solve the big fragmentation problem in the Linux desktop community.

  • Slack Is Now Available as a Snap for Ubuntu and Other Linux Distros

    Canonical and Slack announced today that the popular Slack team collaboration and communication platform is now available as a Snap for Ubuntu and other Snappy-enabled GNU/Linux distributions.

    With the promise of making your working life simpler, more productive and pleasant, Slack is used by numerous organizations and businesses to increase the productivity of their employees. It's an all-in-one platform that offers messaging, planning, calendaring, budgeting, code reviewing, and many other tools.

    "Slack brings team communication and collaboration into one place so you can get more work done, whether you belong to a large enterprise or a small business. Check off your to-do list and move your projects forward by bringing the right people, conversations, tools, and information you need together," reads project's page.

  • Canonical brings Slack to the snap ecosystem

    Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announced the first iteration of Slack as a snap, bringing collaboration to open source users.

    Slack is an enterprise software platform that allows teams and businesses of all sizes to communicate effectively. Slack works seamlessly with other software tools within a single integrated environment, providing an accessible archive of an organisation’s communications, information and projects.

    In adopting the universal Linux app packaging format, Slack will open its digital workplace up to an-ever growing community of Linux users, including those using Linux Mint, Manjaro, Debian, ArchLinux, OpenSUSE, Solus, and Ubuntu.

  • Want to Install Slack on Ubuntu? It’s Now Easier Than Ever

    You can easily install Slack on Ubuntu as a Snap application from the Ubuntu Software app. The popular app lets people chat and collaborate in realtime.

Ubuntu Patches

Filed under
Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu Preparing Kernel Updates With IBRS/IBPB For Spectre Mitigation

    Canonical has rolled out Spectre Variant One and Spectre Variant Two mitigation to their proposed repository with updated kernels for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS / 16.04 LTS / 17.10. These kernels with IBRS and IBPB added in will be sent down as stable release updates next week.

  • Canonical Invites Ubuntu Users to Test Kernel Patches for Spectre Security Flaw

    Canonical has released preliminary kernel updates to mitigate both variants of the Spectre security vulnerability in all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, including all official flavors.

    The company promised last week that it would release new kernel updates on Monday, January 15, 2018, for all supported Ubuntu releases. But it didn't happen as they needed more time to thoroughly test and prepare the patches that would presumably address variant 1 and 2 of the Spectre exploit, which is harder to fix than Meltdown, so that it won't cause any issues.

  • Purism Progress Report, Spectre Mitigation for Ubuntu, Malicious Chrome Extensions and More

    Canonical has made Spectre Variant One and Spectre Variant Two mitigation availble in Ubuntu Proposed with updated kernels for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 17.10. Those kernels will be in the stable release updates starting January 22, 2018. See ubuntu insights for more information.

Canonical Wants to Stick to Older Nautilus for Desktop Icons in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Filed under
Ubuntu

As you may be aware, upstream GNOME team decided to remove the handling of desktop icons from the Nautilus file manager, moving it to the GNOME Shell user interface through an extension. The change will take effect with the upcoming GNOME 3.28 desktop environment, due for release on March 14, 2018.

Now that Ubuntu switched to GNOME as default desktop environment, the change will affect all upcoming releases of the operating system, starting with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), which is currently under heavy development.

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CentOS Linux 7 and 6 Users Receive New Microcode Updates for Intel and AMD CPUs

Filed under
Red Hat

CentOS Linux is an open-source, free, enterprise-class, and community-supported operating system based on and compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As such, it regularly receives new important security updates as soon as they are released upstream by Red Hat.

About two weeks ago, CentOS Linux 7 and 6 users received kernel and microcode updates that mitigated the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities unearthed earlier this month. However, after some thorough testing, Red Hat discovered that these updated microcode firmware developed by Intel and AMD caused hardware issues.

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Google moves to Debian for in-house Linux desktop

Filed under
Linux
Google
Debian

Google has officially confirmed the company is shifting its in-house Linux desktop from the Ubuntu-based Goobuntu to a new Linux distro, the DebianTesting-based gLinux.

Margarita Manterola, a Google Engineer, quietly announced Google would move from Ubuntu to Debian-testing for its desktop Linux at DebConf17 in a lightning talk. Manterola explained that Google was moving to gLinux, a rolling release based on Debian Testing.

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Android Support Removed from Intel Graphics Driver Debugging Tool for Linux

Filed under
Android
Linux

For those unfamiliar with intel-gpu-tools, it's a collection of tools for GNU/Linux distribution that allows the debugging the official Intel graphics driver for Intel GPUs. Tools include a GPU hang dumping program, performance microbenchmarks for regression testing the DRM, as well as a performance monitor.

The latest release, intel-gpu-tools 1.21, adds quite a bunch of changes, including automatic loading of DRM modules when opening a DRM device, much-improved GPU quiescing code to more thoroughly flush pending work and old data, as well as production support for the Meson build system while automake is still kept around.

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Educational-Oriented Escuelas Linux 5.6 Distro Released with LibreOffice 6.0

Filed under
LibO
Linux

Based on the latest release of the Ubuntu-based and Enlightenment-focused Bodhi Linux operating system, Escuelas Linux 5.6 is powered by the Linux 4.14.13 kernel, which includes patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and comes with a bunch of up-to-date educational apps.

These include the OnlyOffice 4.8.6 office suite (only for the 64-bit edition), Vivaldi 1.13, Chromium 63, Google Chrome 63, and Mozilla Firefox 57 "Quantum" web browsers, Geogebra 5.0.414 geometry, algebra, statistics, and calculus app, latest Adobe Flash Player 28 plugin, and the upcoming LibreOffice 6.0 open-source office suite.

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SBC kit runs Linux on a quad -A53 i.MX8M SoC

Filed under
Android
Linux

CompuLab released details and pricing for its “SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit.” The sandwich-style SBC includes an i.MX8M-based CL-SOM-iMX8 module, and provides WiFi, BT, GbE, USB 3.0, PCIe, HDMI 2.0, and more.

Earlier this week when we reported on CompuLab’s CL-SOM-iMX8 compute module, there were only a few details on the board’s SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit. Now, Compulab has posted a product page and a price, which for single units including the COM, start at $415.

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Fedora Makes Progress On Their New Modularity Concept

Filed under
Red Hat

After abandoning their Fedora Server 27 Modular Edition work last year, Fedora developers interested in modularizing Fedora packaging have drawn up new plans that are now approved by the Fedora Council.

At Wednesday's Fedora Council meeting, the new Fedora modularization plan was approved. The goal outlined by "Objective: Fedora Modularization — The Release" is "Modularity will transform the all-in-one Fedora OS into an operating system plus a module repository, which will contain a wide selection of software easily maintained by packagers. This iteration of the Objective focuses on the second part — providing a wide selection software in various versions — while laying the groundwork for the first."

The new Fedora Modular plans no longer involve modularizing the entire distribution but rather "traditionally built packages" will remain and only components benefiting from modular features would be modularized. The components targeted are things like database servers, web servers, Node.js, etc, where users may prefer sticking to one particular version of a program and not upgrade until it's end-of-life or has other particular reasons to want to move on to a newer version.

Read more

Also: PHP version 7.1.14RC1 and 7.2.2RC1

Games: Slay the Spire, OVIVO, Unity

Filed under
Gaming
  • Slay the Spire fuses together a roguelike with a card game, it's rather fun

    What do you get when you throw cards at a roguelike? Slay the Spire [Steam, Official Site] answers that question and then some! Do note, that it's currently in Early Access so it's still getting new content updates and bug fixes. Here's some initial thoughts after spending some time with it.

  • OVIVO is a platformer with some rather unusual mechanics, it's also now on Linux

    I've played many platformers in my time and OVIVO [Steam, Official Site] stands quite tall as something rather unique in a sea of games.

  • Unity Game Engine Working On Graphics Rendering Improvements For 2018

    The Unity game engine has a New Year's resolution of improving its graphics renderer abilities in 2018.

  • [Unity] 2018 and Graphics

    The Unity 2018 release cycle will have a heavy focus on graphics! There are a number of features that will be released during 2018 that will drastically enhance Unity’s rendering capabilities. Hopefully you will find a new feature for every type of user, such as the visual tools for artists or more powerful rendering control for low-level engineers. We are very excited to share with you what we are working on, and we can’t wait to see what you’ll make with it!

Wine 3.0

Filed under
Software
  • Wine 3.0 Released

    The Wine team is proud to announce that the stable release Wine 3.0 is now available.

  • Wine 3.0 Officially Released with Android Driver, Direct3D 11 and 10 Support

    The Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) project has been updated today to version 3.0, a major release that ends 2017 in style for the open-source compatibility layer capable of running Windows apps and games on Linux-based and UNIX-like operating systems.

    Almost a year in the works, Wine 3.0 comes with amazing new features like an Android driver that lets users run Windows apps and games on Android-powered machines, Direct3D 11 support enabled by default for AMD Radeon and Intel GPUs, AES encryption support on macOS, Progman DDE support, and a task scheduler.

  • Wine 3.0 Released With Initial Direct3D 11 Support, D3D Command Stream

    The Wine camp has officially released Wine 3.0 as their annual feature update to this program for running Windows games/applications on Linux and other operating systems.

  • The big Wine 3.0 release is now officially available

    Good things come to those who wait, like a fine Wine. Today the Wine team has officially release the next stable version Wine 3.0 [Official Site].

    After around a year of development during the 2.x cycle, Wine 3.0 brings in some major changes towards better game and application support for those of you wanting to run Windows-only stuff on Linux. It's nowhere near perfect, but it's a massive advancement for the Wine project and provides a good base for them to continue onwards.

today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc
  • Amazing Facts about Linux Operating System You Probably Don't Know [Ed: This gets some facts wrong, right from the very first sentence]

    It was almost 20 years ago when the first version of Linux came into the market and since then, this operating system has made its important stature beside Microsoft Windows. Linux has turned out to be one of the most acknowledged and extensively used operating system. Enthused by UNIX, Linux has smartly managed to attract a lot of tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Amazon, and much more. However, when it comes to assessing the exact rate of adoption of Linux in the market, the task is a bit tough since the sources to get copies are wide in number. Appreciating workers' and developers' hard-work, Linux has been designed in such a way that exploring and learning things on this operating system has become quite captivating and enthralling.

    In this post, let's know more about amazing features and facts of this operating system.

  • MenuLibre 2.1.4 Released For Menu Editing On GNOME/LXDE/Xfce/Unity

    MenuLibre is an advanced menu editor that supports not just one desktop environment but GNOME, LXDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, and Unity Linux systems.

    Today's MenuLibre 2.1.4 for advanced menu editing of Linux desktop systems has a new "test launcher" option, new sorting abilities for menus, new layout preferences for desktops supporting client-side decorations, improved file handling, and many bug fixes.

  • EU Makes EUR 1B Bid to Boost Supercomputer Efforts

    The market for High-Performance Computing (HPC) has increasingly been dominated in recent years by China. Now the European Union (EU) is aiming to get back into the hunt with a new initiative called the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.

    The goal of the EuroHPC effort is to acquire, build and deploy a world-class High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure. The effort will also involve the development of application software that will run on the HPC infrastructure.

    The EU will contribute EUR 486 million, which will be matched by Member States and associated countries. According to the EU, approximately EUR 1 billion in total will be invested in the effort by 2020.

  • EasyLinux Show 18.2 | Meltdown, Spectre and Linux Mint
  • Videos on Samba shares

    A longstanding complaint about KDE Plasma is that it’s a pain in the butt to stream videos that are located on Samba shares. It’s a usability issue for sure. I’d like to talk a bit about the origins of the problem and how I helped drive a solution.

  • 3 Growth Stocks to Buy and Hold for 25 Years
  • Swing Trading Earnings Bullish Momentum With Options in Red Hat Inc
  • 10 Best Android Cleaner Apps For 2018

Google's Debian Move and Promotion of DRM Inside Linux

Filed under
Linux
Google
  • Google moves internal systems from Ubuntu to Debian

    Google has begun the process of transitioning its internal machines’ operating systems from Ubuntu to Debian after announcing last year it would make the switch.

    Google’s engineers have been using a customised version of Ubuntu called Goobuntu, naturally, for years, but according to Spanish website MuyLinux, the tech giant is now moving from a "light-skinned" distro which it has no contribution to, to gLinux, based on Debian Testing.

  • Open-Source HDCP Support Gets Extended To More Platforms

    With the Linux 4.17 kernel (not the upcoming 4.16 cycle) there is likely to be added initial HDCP support to Intel's Direct Rendering Manager driver. Ahead of that this High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection support continues getting improved upon.

    While Google developers working on Chrome/Chromium OS were the ones originally working on the patches and proposing this HDCP functionality be upstreamed into the mainline i915 DRM Linux driver, coming out today are patches from an Intel developer for extending the HDCP content protection coverage.

SUSE: Change of Plans and Disclosure

Filed under
SUSE
  • SUSE Dropping Mainline Work On Their In-Kernel Bootsplash System

    For those that were excited over the months of ongoing work by SUSE to bring up an in-kernel boot splash system that could be better than Plymouth for at least some use-cases and was interesting many readers, unfortunately it's not panning out for mainline.

    Max Staudt who has been leading this project has sent out his latest version of the patches today, but he's decided to drop pursuing it for mainline. The German Linux developer commented, "found that it doesn't currently make sense to continue working on the splash code, given the low practical interest I've received on LKML...I'll be happy to rebase it and continue to work on it if interest arises."

  • cPanel Provides Project with Network Cards

    The hosting platform cPanel has provided the openSUSE Project with two new network cards to assist the project with its infrastructure needs.

    The network cards will soon be integrated into the openSUSE infrastructure to improve the Open Build Service.

Kernel: Kernelci.org, Tripwire, Linux Foundation, R600 Gallium3D

Filed under
Linux
  • Kernelci.org automated bisection

    The kernelci.org project aims at continuously testing the mainline Linux kernel, from stable branches to linux-next on a variety of platforms. When a revision fails to build or boot, kernel developers get informed via email reports. A summary of all the results can also be found directly on the website.

  • Securing the Linux filesystem with Tripwire

    While Linux is considered to be the most secure operating system (ahead of Windows and MacOS), it is still vulnerable to rootkits and other variants of malware. Thus, Linux users need to know how to protect their servers or personal computers from destruction, and the first step they need to take is to protect the filesystem.

    In this article, we'll look at Tripwire, an excellent tool for protecting Linux filesystems. Tripwire is an integrity checking tool that enables system administrators, security engineers, and others to detect alterations to system files. Although it's not the only option available (AIDE and Samhain offer similar features), Tripwire is arguably the most commonly used integrity checker for Linux system files, and it is available as open source under GPLv2.

  • Open Source Networking and a Vision of Fully Automated Networks

    Arpit Joshipura, Networking General Manager at The Linux Foundation, discussed open source networking trends at Open Source Summit Europe.

    Ever since the birth of local area networks, open source tools and components have driven faster and more capable network technologies forward. At the recent Open Source Summit event in Europe, Arpit Joshipura, Networking General Manager at The Linux Foundation, discussed his vision of open source networks and how they are being driven by full automation.

    “Networking is cool again,” he said, opening his keynote address with observations on software-defined networks, virtualization, and more. Joshipura is no stranger to network trends. He has led major technology deployments across enterprises, carriers, and cloud architectures, and has been a steady proponent of open source.

    “This is an extremely important time for our industry,” he said. “There are more than 23 million open source developers, and we are in an environment where everyone is asking for faster and more reliable services.”

  • R600 Gallium3D Gets Some Last Minute Improvements In Mesa 18.0

    These days when Dave Airlie isn't busy managing the DRM subsystem or hacking on the RADV Vulkan driver, he's been spending a fair amount of time on some OpenGL improvements to the aging R600 Gallium3D driver. That's happened again and he's landed some more improvements just ahead of the imminent Mesa 18.0 feature freeze.

OSS Leftovers

Filed under
OSS
  • Reliance Jio and global tech leaders come together to push Open Source in India

    The India Digital Open Summit which will be held tomorrow at the Reliance Corporate Park campus in Navi Mumbai -is a must-attend event for industry leaders, policymakers, technologists, academia, and developer communities working towards India’s digital leadership through Open Source platforms.

    The summit is hosted by Reliance Jio in partnership with the Linux Foundation and supported by Cisco Systems.

  • Open-source software simulates river and runoff resources

    Freshwater resources are finite, unevenly distributed, and changing through time. The demand—and competition—for water is expected to grow both in the United States and in the developing/developed world. To examine the connection between supply and demand and resulting regional and global water stresses, a team developed Xanthos. The open-source hydrologic model is available for free and helps researchers explore the details and analyze global water availability.

    Researchers can use Xanthos to examine the implications of different climate, socioeconomic, and/or energy scenarios over the 21st century. They can then assess the effects of the scenarios on regional and global water availability. Xanthos can be used in three different ways. It can operate as an independent hydrologic model, driven, for example, by scenarios. It can serve as the core freshwater supply component of the Global Change Assessment Model, where multiple sectors and natural systems are modeled simultaneously as part of an interconnected, complex system. Further, it can be used by other integrated models and multi-model frameworks that focus on energy-water-land interactions.

  • “The Apache Way” — Open source done well

    I was at an industry conference and was happy to see many people stopping by the Apache booth. I was pleased that they were familiar with the Apache brand, yet puzzled to learn that so many were unfamiliar with The Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

    For this special issue, “All Eyes On Open Source”, it’s important to recognize not just Apache’s diverse projects and communities, but also the entity behind their success.

    Gone are the days when software and technology, in general, were developed privately for the benefit of the few. As technology evolves, the challenges we face become more complex, and the only way to effectively move forward to create the technology of the future is to collaborate and work together. Open Source is a perfect framework for that, and organizations like the ASF carry out a decisive role in protecting its spirit and principles.

  • ​Learn how to run Linux on Microsoft's Azure cloud
  • LLVM 6.0-RC1 Makes Its Belated Debut

    While LLVM/Clang 6.0 was branched earlier this month and under a feature freeze with master/trunk moving to LLVM 7.0, two weeks later the first release candidate is now available.

    Normally the first release candidate comes immediately following the branching / feature freeze, but not this time due to the shifted schedule with a slow start to satisfy an unnamed company seeking to align their internal testing with LLVM 6.0.

  • Hackers can’t dig into latest Xiaomi phone due to GPL violations

     

    Yet another Android OEM is dragging its feet with its GPL compliance. This time, it's Xiaomi with the Mi A1 Android One device, which still hasn't seen a kernel source code release.
     

    Android vendors are required to release their kernel sources thanks to the Linux kernel's GPLv2 licensing. The Mi A1 has been out for about three months now, and there's still no source code release on Xiaomi's official github account.

  • 2017 - The Year in Which Copyright Went Beyond Source Code

    2017 was a big year for raising the profile of copyright in protecting computer programs. Two cases in particular helped bring attention to a myth that was addressed and dispelled some time ago but persists in some circles nonetheless. Many lawyers hold on to the notion that copyright protection for software is weak because such protection inheres in the source code of computer programs. Because most companies that generate code take extensive (and often successful) measures to keep source code out of the hands of third parties, the utility of copyright protection for code is often viewed as limited. However, copyright also extends to the “non-literal elements” of computer programs, such as their sequence, structure and organization, as well as to things such as screen displays and certain user interfaces. In other words, copyright infringement can occur when copying certain outputs of the code without there ever having been access to the underlying code itself.

  • Announcing WebBook Level 1, a new Web-based format for electronic books

    Eons ago, at a time BlueGriffon was only a Wysiwyg editor for the Web, my friend Mohamed Zergaoui asked why I was not turning BlueGriffon into an EPUB editor... I had been observing the electronic book market since the early days of Cytale and its Cybook but I was not involved into it on a daily basis. That seemed not only an excellent idea, but also a fairly workable one. EPUB is based on flavors of HTML so I would not have to reinvent the wheel.

    I started diving into the EPUB specs the very same day, EPUB 2.0.1 (released in 2009) at that time. I immediately discovered a technology that was not far away from the Web but that was also clearly not the Web. In particular, I immediately saw that two crucial features were missing: it was impossible to aggregate a set of Web pages into a EPUB book through a trivial zip, and it was impossible to unzip a EPUB book and make it trivially readable inside a Web browser even with graceful degradation.

    When the IDPF started working on EPUB 3.0 (with its 3.0.1 revision) and 3.1, I said this was coming too fast, and that the lack of Test Suites with interoperable implementations as we often have in W3C exit criteria was a critical issue. More importantly, the market was, in my opinion, not ready to absorb so quickly two major and one minor revisions of EPUB given the huge cost on both publishing chains and existing ebook bases. I also thought - and said - the EPUB 3.x specifications were suffering from clear technical issues, including the two missing features quoted above.

  • Firefox 58 Bringing Faster WebAssembly Compilation With Two-Tiered Compiler

    With the launch of Mozilla Firefox 58 slated for next week, WebAssembly will become even faster thanks to a new two-tiered compiler.

  • New Kernel Releases, Net Neutrality, Thunderbird Survey and More

    In an effort to protect Net Neutrality (and the internet), Mozilla filed a petition in federal court yesterday against the FCC. The idea behind Net Neutrality is to treat all internet traffic equally and without discrimination against content or type.

    Make your opinions heard: Monterail and the Thunderbird email client development team are asking for your assistance to help improve the user interface in the redesign of the Thunderbird application. Be sure to take the survey.

IBM code grandmaster: what Java does next

Filed under
Development

Reports of Java’s death have been greatly exaggerated — said, well, pretty much every Java engineer that there is.

The Java language and platform may have been (in some people’s view) somewhat unceremoniously shunted into a side ally by the self-proclaimed aggressive corporate acquisition strategists (their words, not ours) at Oracle… but Java still enjoys widespread adoption and, in some strains, growing use and development.

Read more

Programming/Development: Git 2.16, Node.js, Testing/Bug Hunting

Filed under
Development
  • Git v2.16.0

    The latest feature release Git v2.16.0 is now available at the usual places. It is comprised of 509 non-merge commits since v2.15.0, contributed by 91 people, 26 of which are new faces.

  • Git 2.16 Released

    Git maintainer Junio Hamano has released version 2.16.0 of this distributed revision control system.

  • Announcing The Node.js Application Showcase

    The stats around Node.js are pretty staggering. There were 25 million downloads of Node.js in 2017, with over one million of them happening on a single day. And these stats are just the users. On the community side, the numbers are equally exceptional.

    What explains this immense popularity? What we hear over and over is that, because Node.js is JavaScript, anyone who knows JS can apply that knowledge to build powerful apps — every kind of app. Node.js empowers everyone from hobbyists to the largest enterprise teams to bring their dreams to life faster than ever before.

  • Google AutoML Cloud: Now Build Machine Learning Models Without Coding Experience

    Google has been offering pre-trained neural networks for a long time. To lower the barrier of entry and make the AI available to all the developers and businesses around, Google has now introduced Cloud AutoML.

    With the help of Cloud AutoML, businesses will be able to build machine learning models with the help of a drag-and-drop interface. In other words, if your company doesn’t have expert machine-learning programmers, Google is here to fulfill your needs.

  • Re-imagining beta testing in the ever-changing world of automation

    Fundamentally, beta testing is a test of a product performed by real users in the real environment. There are a number of names for this type of testing—user acceptance testing (UAT), customer acceptance testing (CAT), customer validation and field testing (common in Europe)—but the basic components are more or less the same. All involve user testing of the front-end user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX) to find and resolve potential issues. Testing happens across iterations in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), from when an idea transforms into a design, across the development phases, to after unit and integration testing.

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More in Tux Machines

Security: OpenSSL, IoT, and LWN Coverage of 'Intelpocalypse'

  • Another Face to Face: Email Changes and Crypto Policy
    The OpenSSL OMC met last month for a two-day face-to-face meeting in London, and like previous F2F meetings, most of the team was present and we addressed a great many issues. This blog posts talks about some of them, and most of the others will get their own blog posts, or notices, later. Red Hat graciously hosted us for the two days, and both Red Hat and Cryptsoft covered the costs of their employees who attended. One of the overall threads of the meeting was about increasing the transparency of the project. By default, everything should be done in public. We decided to try some major changes to email and such.
  • Some Basic Rules for Securing Your IoT Stuff

    Throughout 2016 and 2017, attacks from massive botnets made up entirely of hacked [sic] IoT devices had many experts warning of a dire outlook for Internet security. But the future of IoT doesn’t have to be so bleak. Here’s a primer on minimizing the chances that your IoT things become a security liability for you or for the Internet at large.

  • A look at the handling of Meltdown and Spectre
    The Meltdown/Spectre debacle has, deservedly, reached the mainstream press and, likely, most of the public that has even a remote interest in computers and security. It only took a day or so from the accelerated disclosure date of January 3—it was originally scheduled for January 9—before the bugs were making big headlines. But Spectre has been known for at least six months and Meltdown for nearly as long—at least to some in the industry. Others that were affected were completely blindsided by the announcements and have joined the scramble to mitigate these hardware bugs before they bite users. Whatever else can be said about Meltdown and Spectre, the handling (or, in truth, mishandling) of this whole incident has been a horrific failure. For those just tuning in, Meltdown and Spectre are two types of hardware bugs that affect most modern CPUs. They allow attackers to cause the CPU to do speculative execution of code, while timing memory accesses to deduce what has or has not been cached, to disclose the contents of memory. These disclosures can span various security boundaries such as between user space and the kernel or between guest operating systems running in virtual machines. For more information, see the LWN article on the flaws and the blog post by Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton that well describes modern CPU architectures and speculative execution to explain why the Raspberry Pi is not affected.
  • Addressing Meltdown and Spectre in the kernel
    When the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were disclosed on January 3, attention quickly turned to mitigations. There was already a clear defense against Meltdown in the form of kernel page-table isolation (KPTI), but the defenses against the two Spectre variants had not been developed in public and still do not exist in the mainline kernel. Initial versions of proposed defenses have now been disclosed. The resulting picture shows what has been done to fend off Spectre-based attacks in the near future, but the situation remains chaotic, to put it lightly. First, a couple of notes with regard to Meltdown. KPTI has been merged for the 4.15 release, followed by a steady trickle of fixes that is undoubtedly not yet finished. The X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE processor bit is being renamed to X86_BUG_CPU_MELTDOWN now that the details are public; there will be bug flags for the other two variants added in the near future. 4.9.75 and 4.4.110 have been released with their own KPTI variants. The older kernels do not have mainline KPTI, though; instead, they have a backport of the older KAISER patches that more closely matches what distributors shipped. Those backports have not fully stabilized yet either. KPTI patches for ARM are circulating, but have not yet been merged.
  • Is it time for open processors?
    The disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities has brought a new level of attention to the security bugs that can lurk at the hardware level. Massive amounts of work have gone into improving the (still poor) security of our software, but all of that is in vain if the hardware gives away the game. The CPUs that we run in our systems are highly proprietary and have been shown to contain unpleasant surprises (the Intel management engine, for example). It is thus natural to wonder whether it is time to make a move to open-source hardware, much like we have done with our software. Such a move may well be possible, and it would certainly offer some benefits, but it would be no panacea. Given the complexity of modern CPUs and the fierceness of the market in which they are sold, it might be surprising to think that they could be developed in an open manner. But there are serious initiatives working in this area; the idea of an open CPU design is not pure fantasy. A quick look around turns up several efforts; the following list is necessarily incomplete.
  • Notes from the Intelpocalypse
    Rumors of an undisclosed CPU security issue have been circulating since before LWN first covered the kernel page-table isolation patch set in November 2017. Now, finally, the information is out — and the problem is even worse than had been expected. Read on for a summary of these issues and what has to be done to respond to them in the kernel. All three disclosed vulnerabilities take advantage of the CPU's speculative execution mechanism. In a simple view, a CPU is a deterministic machine executing a set of instructions in sequence in a predictable manner. Real-world CPUs are more complex, and that complexity has opened the door to some unpleasant attacks. A CPU is typically working on the execution of multiple instructions at once, for performance reasons. Executing instructions in parallel allows the processor to keep more of its subunits busy at once, which speeds things up. But parallel execution is also driven by the slowness of access to main memory. A cache miss requiring a fetch from RAM can stall the execution of an instruction for hundreds of processor cycles, with a clear impact on performance. To minimize the amount of time it spends waiting for data, the CPU will, to the extent it can, execute instructions after the stalled one, essentially reordering the code in the program. That reordering is often invisible, but it occasionally leads to the sort of fun that caused Documentation/memory-barriers.txt to be written.

US Sanctions Against Chinese Android Phones, LWN Report on Eelo

  • A new bill would ban the US government from using Huawei and ZTE phones
    US lawmakers have long worried about the security risks posed the alleged ties between Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE and the country’s government. To that end, Texas Representative Mike Conaway introduced a bill last week called Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which aims to ban US government agencies from using phones and equipment from the companies. Conaway’s bill would prohibit the US government from purchasing and using “telecommunications equipment and/or services,” from Huawei and ZTE. In a statement on his site, he says that technology coming from the country poses a threat to national security, and that use of this equipment “would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives,” and cites US Intelligence and counterintelligence officials who say that Huawei has shared information with state leaders, and that the its business in the US is growing, representing a further security risk.
  • U.S. lawmakers urge AT&T to cut commercial ties with Huawei - sources
    U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, two congressional aides said. The warning comes after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump took a harder line on policies initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries. Earlier this month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers Huawei [HWT.UL] handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.
  • Eelo seeks to make a privacy-focused phone
    A focus on privacy is a key feature being touted by a number of different projects these days—from KDE to Tails to Nextcloud. One of the biggest privacy leaks for most people is their phone, so it is no surprise that there are projects looking to address that as well. A new entrant in that category is eelo, which is a non-profit project aimed at producing not only a phone, but also a suite of web services. All of that could potentially replace the Google or Apple mothership, which tend to collect as much personal data as possible.

today's howtos

Mozilla: Resource Hogs, Privacy Month, Firefox Census, These Weeks in Firefox

  • Firefox Quantum Eats RAM Like Chrome
    For a long time, Mozilla’s Firefox has been my web browser of choice. I have always preferred it to using Google’s Chrome, because of its simplicity and reasonable system resource (especially RAM) usage. On many Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and many others, Firefox even comes installed by default. Recently, Mozilla released a new, powerful and faster version of Firefox called Quantum. And according to the developers, it’s new with a “powerful engine that’s built for rapid-fire performance, better, faster page loading that uses less computer memory.”
  • Mozilla Communities Speaker Series #PrivacyMonth
    As a part of the Privacy Month initiative, Mozilla volunteers are hosting a couple of speaker series webinars on Privacy, Security and related topics. The webinars will see renowned speakers talking to us about their work around privacy, how to take control of your digital self, some privacy-security tips and much more.
  • “Ewoks or Porgs?” and Other Important Questions
    You ever go to a party where you decide to ask people REAL questions about themselves, rather than just boring chit chat? Us, too! That’s why we’ve included questions that really hone in on the important stuff in our 2nd Annual Firefox Census.
  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 30