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KDE 5.8 LTS, Fedora PSA, Magic Security Dust

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The top story today was the release of KDE Plasma 5.8 which was covered by all the top sites. This release brings some new features and long term support. It's already in KDE neon as well. Elsewhere, The Inquirer began a new series on the legends of Linux and Fedora's Adam Williamson posted a public service announcement for version 24. A bit of drama emerged from Andrew Ayer's systemd post and Martin Owens ruminated on Free Software Faith.

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HPE Donates Hardware to Debian Project, GNOME Sans systemd

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The Debian project today announced the "in-kind" donation of several servers to "boost reliability of Debian's core infrastructure." The new hardware will be deployed in Canada, US, and Australia to replace some aging machines as well as expand core services and storage. In other news, a new project aims to provide GNOME 3.22 to Slackware without systemd or Wayland, right as a new ugly systemd bug gives another reason to avoid it. Mageia bid farewell to a lost friend and contributor today and Matt Hartley shared his picks for best firewall distribution.

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LibreOffice at 6, New Souped up Mint Mini

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September 28 was the official birthday for LibreOffice and Italo Vignoli looked back at some of the milestones for the project. Elsewhere, the Ubuntu family got new betas and Clement Lefebvre announced a new Mintbox Mini. Jack M. Germain reviewed Panther OS and Ryan Lynch recommended four distributions for Windows users.

Happy Birthday LibreOffice! It was officially six years ago September 28 that The Document Foundation and LibreOffice were announced. The project consisted of former OpenOffice.org developers and volunteered who feared the worst after its sale to Oracle. Since that time, LibreOffice has grown and matured into an award winning Open Source office suite. Group photos taken at the LibreOffice conference at Brno were also shared including one of the attendees who were there on day one, as Bjoern Michaelsen explained. Although they were the seed, the project has grown to hundreds of contributors from all over the world. Italio Vignoli said the project attracted new developers every month for 72 straight months. He also said tomorrow begins the LibreOffice 5.3 developmental cycle, which is planned for release in January 2017.

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Inside: Merging Communities

Happy 6th Birthday, LibreOffice

Linux Users v Windows Users, Debian Mourns Another

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The Debian project today shared the news of the passing of a long time contributor on September 17. In other news, the Linux Journal offered a free digital copy of their September 2016 magazine. Bruce Byfield compared Linux users to Windows users and My Linux Rig spoke to elementary OS founder Daniel Foré about his "Linux Setup."

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Unimpressive Yakkety Yak, Plasma 5 Issues in Leap

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Today was a rough day in Linux distro news, Scott Gilbertson reviewed the Beta of upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 saying there's not a whole lot to recommend in this update. Neil Rickert test drove openSUSE's latest beta and had issues with his NVIDIA. Jesse Smith couldn't tell what was added to Uruk over base Trisquel and Gary Newell didn't see much point to portable Porteus since most stuff didn't work.

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Also: Indicator Sound Switcher Makes Switching Audio Devices on Ubuntu a Snap

openSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta 2, Kubuntu 16.10 Beta too

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openSUSE's Douglas DeMaio today announced the availability of Leap 42.2 Beta 2. This beta includes a beta of Plasma 5.8 LTS. Elsewhere, Valorie Zimmerman announced a beta for Kubuntu 16.10 for testers as well. Red Hat dominated the headlines today and not just for their continued success on Wall Street while the Microsoft/Lenovo story is running a close second. The Free Software Foundation needs input for their new swag line and LibreOffice won a Bossie Award.

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Rosy Red Hat, GNOME 3.22, MS/Lenovo Barricading

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Red Hat, Inc. released the financial results for the second quarter ending August 31, 2016 in a press release today. Red Hat stock seems to be going in the right direction for them as well even as insiders sell off their shares. The top story today must have been the skirmish resulting from reports of Linux being blocked from certain Lenovo laptops under orders from Microsoft. Elsewhere, GNOME 3.22 was released as a new age rating system is planned for 3.23. And finally, The Document Foundation reported the results of its 2016 Membership Committee elections.

It was widely reported today that Lenovo laptops featuring Windows 10 lock the hard drive with proprietary code that Linux can not read - so in essence, blocking users from installing Linux. A user asking in a Lenovo support forum was told by an employee that Linux was blocked due to an agreement with Microsoft. The news traveled around the Intertubes with lightening speed making headlines at every tech site in existence. So, Lenovo and Microsoft jumped into damage control saying it was due to proprietary RAID software. Former kernel contributor Matthew Garrett addressed the issue on his blog today saying the sensational headlines are distracting from a real issue here. He said this is probably because "recent Intel hardware needs special setup for good power management and Microsoft could be insisting that Signature Edition systems ship in "RAID" mode in order to ensure that. Or it could be a misunderstanding regarding UEFI Secure Boot." He said it all boils down to Intel doing "very little to ensure that free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware." In any case, two major contributors to the Linux kernel and open source really couldn't care less about either. Today's sensational headlines might not be accurate, but they do point to a real problem, among many others.

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Also: Lenovo responds to Linux blocking issue, issues non-denial denial

Debian 8 Updated, Kubuntu Help Wanted, Mageia 5.1

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The Debian project announced an update to their stable Debian 8 branch, the sixth such update since its release. This update is primarily to address security issues. Elsewhere, the Mageia folks announced an update to version 5, released last summer, to hold users over since 6.0 has been delayed. The Linux Grandma put out the call for help today as they're running a bit low on developers over there and the Free Software Foundation as well as Richard Stallman replied to the accusations of discrimination in the case of LibreBoot.

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Fedora 24 Funage, Smoooth Mageia 5, Tumblin' Tumbleweed

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Today in Linux news, Red Hat formally announced their 2017 expansion plans into Boston. Elsewhere, Dedoimedo posted another guide, this time how to make Fedora 24 useful and fun. After a rough start, Michael Huff found Mageia 5 to be "smart, eager and full of potential" and Dimstar has this week's Tumbleweed update.

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Also about Fedora:

  • Sneak into…

    the current stage of the Fedora 25 Supplemental Wallpaper.. Start of this month I openend the submission phase for the Fedora Supplemental Wallpaper. So far we have received 91 submissions and currently 72 of them are approved. So far 49 contributors earned a badge for their submission. But there is still time until 11. October left to contribute a wallpaper.

  • Event Report: Fedora Women Day 2016, Kolkata

    A two-day workshop on women in free software and Fedora Women Day were held on the 15th and 16th of July 2016 at the Netaji Subhash Engineering College in Kolkata, India. This event was jointly organized by Ubuntu Women Project, Fedora Project, and the university. It was substantially sponsored by Ubuntu Women Project. The goal of the workshop was also to get new participants interested, improve the level of participation by women, and explore new avenues of free software community development. Given the factors involved, the Workshop on Women in Free Software / Fedora Women Day 2016 (shortened to WWFS-FWD’2016) was a successful one.

  • Fedora 24 - From 0 to Fun in 10 minutes

    Ladies and gentlemen, it's pimping time. We shall now transform a tame Fedora installation that is not designed for mass consumption into a beautiful and majestic fun box. This means adding codecs and pretty stuff and extra software that people crave. We shall do this quickly and easily, and I will be your shepherd.

    Recently, I've discovered or rather rekindled my passion for all things Red Hat and Gnome, and Fedora has joined the list, after a long season of dreadful releases. It works well, it's fun and stable and fast, and all it's missing is some flavor and spice.

Memory Lane, Cooking w/ Linux, Red Hat's New Digs

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Earlier this year a Red Hat logo was spotted at 300 A Street in Boston sparking rumors of an expansion. Well, today it was confirmed. In other news, Gary "the Everyday Linux User" walked us down memory lane with a glance back at distributions that graced the top 10 at Distrowatch.com. Marcel Gagne has put "Cooking With Linux" on YouTube and another project has jumped the GNU ship.

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More in Tux Machines

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.