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Interviews

Why is Open Source software so popular?

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Interviews
OSS

Again, this goes back to the idea of open collaboration. A product gets better with more contributors than just a few of them. A large community gets built around a certain product, which helps it gain validation and feedback from a large audience. The beauty lies in seeing the product get better and better with contributions from a large vibrant set of users.

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Linux Kernel Developer: Julia Lawall

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Linux
Interviews

This year I have been working with Bhumika Goyal on making various kernel structures read-only. We have constified over 1500 structures this year. This work has also motivated various bug fixes and performance improvements in Coccinelle.

I have also been working on automatically identifying patches that should be considered for backporting to stable kernels, in collaboration with Greg K-H, Sasha Levin, and colleagues at Singapore Management University. Our approach is still work in progress, but several hundred commits that were not originally tagged for stable have been identified and applied to stable versions.

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Linux Foundation LFCS and LFCE: Alberto Bullo

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Linux
Interviews

I started using Linux few years ago out of curiosity when my old computer started to get slow and wanted to try something lighter. At the time, I had a disk of Fedora lying around from a conference and managed to get it installed and working. Since then, I started using it for everyday tasks to get more familiar with the alternative software. I really liked the fact that I could select any distro I wanted and have full control of the operating system. I also used Linux for university projects and started to better understand how to use the utilities and services. Open source projects caught my attention when I started using them on my first job as they gave me the ability to adjust the features and code to my needs but also to contribute back to the community. I then started visiting open source conferences to get more involved and became a big fan of the initiative.

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Behind the scenes with Pop!_OS Linux

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GNU
Linux
Interviews
Ubuntu

In October, Linux PC maker System76 released its homegrown version of Linux, Pop!_OS, giving users the choice between its legacy Ubuntu operating system or the new Pop!_OS flavor of Linux. Recently Opensource.com gave away a System76 laptop with Pop!_OS installed, which made me curious about the company and this new version of Linux, so I spoke with Cassidy James Blaede, Pop!_OS's user experience (UX) designer.

Blaede joined System76 in 2014, fresh out of college at the University of Northern Iowa and marriage to his wife, Katie. While in college, he co-founded the elementary OS project and interned at UX consultancy Visual Logic, both of which influenced his work for System76. He started at System76 as a front-end developer and was later promoted to UX architect.

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Also: Linux Journal 2.0 Progress Report

Vipul Siddharth: How Do You Fedora?

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Red Hat
Interviews

Vipul Siddharth is an intern at Red Hat. He is pursuing a bachelors degree in computer applications from Christ University in Bengaluru, India. Vipul started using Linux in 2015 His first distribution was Fedora and despite trying Arch, Elementary and others Fedora remains his primary operating system.

Siddarth’s current daily routine starts with working out, the college and finally the office. He is currently working on Fedora Cloud. “Now I am working on building a testing framework for fedora cloud.” Along with this, he regularly contributes to Fedora Quality Assurance. Vipul also organizes FOSS and Fedora events. “I have organized Fedora activity days and fedora-release parties for Fedora 25 and 26.”

Siddharth’s childhood hero was Goku from Dragon Ball Z. “I wanted to eat, laugh and protect the world like him. I kinda still do.” Vipul’s favorite movies are 12 Angry Men and The Godfather (I, II and III)

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An interview with the developer of space sim Helium Rain who says ‘Linux gaming is alive and well’

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Interviews
Gaming

I love space, I love how mysterious and dangerous it is and to be able to fly around in a game like Helium Rain [Steam] is fantastic. I decided to have a chat with the developer and they’re very positive about Linux gaming.

We’ve covered Helium Rain here a few times before, so hopefully some of you will be familiar with it. Without further rambling, let's begin!

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Linux Kernel Developer: Shuah Khan

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Linux
Interviews

The Linux Kernel community should continue its focus on adding support for new hardware, harden the security, and improve quality. Focusing on effective ways to proactively detect security vulnerabilities, race conditions, and hard-to-find problems will help towards achieving the above goals. As a process issue, community would have to take a close look at the maintainer to developer ratio to avoid maintainer fatigue and bottlenecks.

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Linux Kernel Developer: Thomas Gleixner

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Linux
Interviews

The report states that, since the 2.6.11 release, the top 10 developers together have contributed 45,338 changes — almost 7.1 percent of the total. The top 30 developers contributed just under 16 percent of the total, as seen in the table below.

One of these top 30 developers is Thomas Gleixner, CTO at Linutronix GmbH, who serves in various kernel maintainer roles. In this article, Gleixner answers a few questions about his contributions to the Linux kernel.

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Dedoimedo interviews: Tuxmachines

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Interviews

Dedoimedo prowls the many corners of the Web, searching for textogenic faces for a fresh new interview. Truth to be told, finding the candidate for today's slot wasn't too difficult. Roy Schestowitz is a familiar name round the Tux block. Nowadays, you will most likely find him on tuxmachines.org, a community-driven news site.

News aggregation can be tricky; finding the right balance of quality content isn't easy, but even with the relatively recent change of ownership, tuxmachines marches on with solid consistency, ardently trying to offer its readers the best the open-source world has to report. I have always been a great fan and supporter, and I approached Roy for an interview. He agreed.

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Linux Kernel Developer: Kees Cook

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Linux
Interviews

Security is paramount these days for any computer system, including those running on Linux. Thus, part of the ongoing Linux development work involves hardening the kernel against attack, according to the recent Linux Kernel Development Report.

This work, according to report authors Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman, involves the addition of several new technologies, many of which have their origin in the grsecurity and PaX patch sets. “New hardening features include virtually mapped kernel stacks, the use of the GCC plugin mechanism for structure-layout randomization, the hardened usercopy mechanism, and a new reference-count mechanism that detects and defuses reference-count overflows. Each of these features makes the kernel more resistant to attack,” the report states.

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today's leftovers

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  • The Role of Site Reliability Engineering in Microservices
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  • Lying with statistics, distributions, and popularity contests on Cooking With Linux (without a net)
    It's Tuesday and that means it's time for Cooking With Linux (without a net), sponsored and supported by Linux Journal. Today, I'm courting controversy by discussing numbers, OS popularity, and how to pick the right Linux distribution if you want to be where are the beautiful people hang out. And yes, I'll do it all live, without a net, and with a high probability of falling flat on my face.
  • Voyage open sources its approach to autonomous vehicle safety
    In an effort to improve autonomous vehicle safety, Voyage is open sourcing its Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) library that contains the company’s internal safety procedures, materials, and test code that is intended to supplement the existing safety programs at autonomous vehicle startups. Voyage is the self-driving business from the educational organization Udacity.
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to KubeCon Europe
    The cloud native community is gathering in Copenhagen next week for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe! Here’s your guide to the talks and events you won’t want to miss. Meet the Red Hat and CoreOS team members all week long, May 1-4 at booth D-E01.
  • Event - "GNU Health Con 2018" (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
    GNU Health is this year holding the III International GNU Health Conference, GNU Health Con 2018. This conference will gather the community of activists and developers who have been working on the project during the past 10 years.
  • ONNX: the Open Neural Network Exchange Format
    The good news is that the battleground is Free and Open. None of the big players are pushing closed-source solutions. Whether it is Keras and Tensorflow backed by Google, MXNet by Apache endorsed by Amazon, or Caffe2 or PyTorch supported by Facebook, all solutions are open-source software. Unfortunately, while these projects are open, they are not interoperable. Each framework constitutes a complete stack that until recently could not interface in any way with any other framework. A new industry-backed standard, the Open Neural Network Exchange format, could change that.
  • L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems
    The city's government believes the traffic/mapping app has made Los Angeles' congestion worse. That the very body tasked with finding solutions to this omnipresent L.A. problem is looking to hold a private third party company responsible for its own shortcomings isn't surprising. If a third-party app can't create better traffic flow, what chance do city planners have? But beyond the buck-passing on congestion, the city may have a point about Waze making driving around Los Angeles a bit more hazardous. For several months, it's been noted that Waze has been sending drivers careening down the steepest grade in the city -- Baxter Street. Drivers seeking routes around Glendale Ave. traffic choke points have been routed to a street with a 32% grade, increasing the number of accidents located there and generally resulting in barely-controlled mayhem. When any sort of precipitation falls from the sky, the city goes insane. Drivers bypassing Glendale are now hurtling down a steep, water-covered hill, compounding the problem.
  • Even Microsoft's lost interest in Windows Phone: Skype and Yammer apps killed
    Microsoft’s given users of its collaboration apps on Windows Phone under a month’s warning of their demise. A support note from late last week advises that “Windows phone apps for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer are retiring on May 20, 2018.” “Retiring” means all three will vanish from the Microsoft store on May 20, with differing results.
  • Should You Build Your Own DIY Security System?

"Native Linux apps in Chrome OS" and Kernel News From LWN

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  • The rhashtable documentation I wanted to read
    The rhashtable data structure is a generic resizable hash-table implementation in the Linux kernel, which LWN first introduced as "relativistic hash tables" back in 2014. I thought at the time that it might be fun to make use of rhashtables, but didn't, until an opportunity arose through my work on the Lustre filesystem. Lustre is a cluster filesystem that is currently in drivers/staging while the code is revised to meet upstream requirements. One of those requirements is to avoid duplicating similar functionality where possible. As Lustre contains a resizable hash table, it really needs to be converted to use rhashtables instead — at last I have my opportunity. It didn't take me long to discover that the rhashtable implementation in Linux 4.15 is quite different from the one that originally landed in Linux 3.17, so the original LWN introduction is now barely relevant. I also quickly discovered that the in-kernel documentation was partially wrong, far from complete, and didn't provide any sort of "getting started" guide. Nevertheless I persisted and eventually developed a fairly complete understanding of the code, which seems worth sharing. This article gives an introduction to the use of the rhashtable interfaces without getting into too many internal implementation details. A followup will explain how rhashtables work internally and show how some of the mechanism details leak though the interfaces.
  • The second half of the 4.17 merge window
    By the time the 4.17 merge window was closed and 4.17-rc1 was released, 11,769 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository. 4.17 thus looks to be a typically busy development cycle, with a merge window only slightly more busy than 4.16 had. Some 6,000 of those changes were pulled after last week's summary was written.

Software: LibreNMS, Pidgin, Wireshark and More

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  • Wireshark, World’s Most Popular Network Protocol Analyzer, Gets Major Release
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  • A look at terminal emulators, part 2
    A comparison of the feature sets for a handful of terminal emulators was the subject of a recent article; here I follow that up by examining the performance of those terminals. This might seem like a lesser concern, but as it turns out, terminals exhibit surprisingly high latency for such fundamental programs. I also examine what is traditionally considered "speed" (but is really scroll bandwidth) and memory usage, with the understanding that the impact of memory use is less than it was when I looked at this a decade ago (in French).
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  • Firefox release speed wins
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  • LibreOffice 6.1 Alpha 1 Is Ready To Roll For Advancing The Open-Source Office
    LibreOffice 6.1 Alpha 1 was tagged overnight as the first development release towards this next updated open-source office suite release succeeding the big LibreOffice 6.0. LibreOffice 6.1.0 is set to be released by the middle of August and for that to happen the alpha release has now been hit followed by the beta release this time next month, and the release candidates to come through the month of July. The feature freeze and branching occurs at next month's beta stage while the hard code freeze is expected for the middle of July.

today's howtos