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Ubuntu 18.04 Review: Tough Love

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This Ubuntu review of 18.04 is going to be more blunt than what you've seen elsewhere. Perhaps a bit of tough love.

Not because there is anything wrong with the release or the distro. Rather the fact that in 2018 Ubuntu's big push isn't for the desktop any longer. The 18.04 release is about developing technologies, not desktop technologies.

This Ubuntu 18.04 review will touch on the areas we need to consider before upgrading or switching to a new distro. Allow me to say: my opinions may not be terribly popular, but they are my own.

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Canonical Releases New Kernel Live Patch for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS & Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

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According to the security advisory, the new kernel live patch addresses a race condition (CVE-2017-0861) found in Linux kernel's ALSA PCM subsystem and a use-after-free vulnerability (CVE-2017-15129) discovered in the network namespaces implementation, both of which could allow a local attacker to crash the system or execute arbitrary code.

Additionally, the new kernel live patch fixes a race condition (CVE-2018-5344) discovered in Linux kernel's loop block device, which could allow a local attacker to either crash the system by causing a denial of service or possibly execute arbitrary code, and a null pointer dereference (CVE-2018-5333) in the RDS (Reliable Datagram Sockets) protocol implementation that lets local attackers to crash the vulnerable system.

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Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver - Medium-well

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Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a reasonable distro. But it's nowhere near LTS good. On the bright side, MATE has undergone a phenomenal face lift, Boutique is dog's bollocks, and the media-phone stack is really awesome. Lots of nice things all around.

On the other hand, we have application crashes, less-than-average battery usage, tons of visual niggles, Samba problems, and quality that works fine for an amateur project, not for a serious distro that people might need to rely on for the next five years of their life and work. I know I can't. The underlying issues need all be fixed out before this can be a candidate for my production setup. Shame, because there's so much cool and funky stuff, marred by almost nonexistent QA and life-sapping bugs.

Overall, the MATE edition of the 18.04 LTS family is better than Kubuntu. Something like 7.5/10. But when we remember what's out there, and how Trusty fared, and how Zesty fared, well, this is hardly an achievement. I will do the whole long-term follow up, and of course, the whole bucket of useless bugs that were arbitrarily released sometime in late April will surely be fixed in the coming months. I might even end up using this a year from now. But it won't be love or enthusiasm, more of a lesser evil if it comes to that. And that's not how I roll. Aiming for mediocrity is the worst kind of ambition. Let's hope Linux - and Ubuntu MATE - can do better.

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Ubuntu: Privacy, Codename, and Hardware Support

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  • What Data Does Ubuntu Collect About Your PC?

    Ubuntu includes a new data collection tool in its latest release — but exactly what kind of data does it collect?

    Well, thanks to the doors-wide-open nature of open-source software it’s easy to find out.

    It also helps that Canonical is being (unusually) upfront and open about its Ubuntu data collection policy, which is opt-out for new Ubuntu 18.04 installs, and opt-in on upgrades.

  • The Ubuntu 18.10 Codename Is (Probably) Out of This World

    The Ubuntu 18.10 codename has been revealed — well: half of it has, anyway!

    Canonical’s Adam Conrad has registered the ‘cosmic’ series on Launchpad, the code-hosting site where Ubuntu development takes place.

    Unless this celestial-themed clue is a colossally sized red-herring — spoiler: it isn’t — then ‘cosmic‘ is clearly the first part of the Ubuntu 18.10 code name.

    But where’s the rest?!

  • Ubuntu MATE / Studio / Budgie All End Their 32-bit ISOs For New Releases

    Following the recent Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support release, more Ubuntu derivatives are taking this opportunity to end the production of their 32-bit software images.

    Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, and now Ubuntu Studio have all announced they are ending their 32-bit/i386 images as of the next release, Ubuntu 18.10. Ubuntu itself has already been concentrating on x86_64 while now these other derivatives are also deciding to cease their 32-bit images -- of course, still maintaining 32-bit package support, but no longer focusing installer media for hardware more than one decade old. Ubuntu Studio joined the list this morning as the latest doing away with old Intel/AMD 32-bit ISOs.

*Ubuntu 18.10 Hardware Constraints

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  • 18.10 and beyond - 64bit images only

    We have had a successful release of Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and we now are in full planning mode for 18.10.

    Similar to the decision made by Ubuntu themselves at 17.10, we have decided to concentrate all our efforts on producing a really good image based on the hardware almost all of you actually use now.

  • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 - dropping i386 images

    Following the successful release of Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS last week the development cycle for 18.10 has now opened. We have taken the decision to stop making i386 (32-bit Intel) images starting with Ubuntu MATE 18.10

  • Ubuntu MATE And Ubuntu Budgie Dropping 32-bit Hardware Support

    Many leading Linux distros like Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Manjaro, etc., have already ditched the support for 32-bit architecture and decided to focus on 64-bit machines. Now, following their footsteps, Ubuntu Budgie (source) and Ubuntu MATE (source) have also joined the league.

    The main reason behind these moves is the decreasing number of users actually running these operating systems on 32-bit machines. That’s why it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep allocating resources and time to the hardware that people don’t use anymore.

GNU/Linux Review: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" has been released at Thursday, 26 April 2018 by announcements in their mailing list and Release Notes. After installing Bionic on my laptop since the Beta 1 and Beta 2, here's my report: it uses around 1.2GiB of RAM at least; it brings LibreOffice 6, Firefox 59, and GNOME 3.28 by default; still using Ubiquity as graphical installer. The biggest difference to previous LTS is it no longer uses Unity 7 desktop, so no HUD, no global menu anymore. It is powerful and still very easy to use like before, but needs more powerful hardware. The rest of this review explains those for you with additional links if you want to learn further. Enjoy!

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Canonical to Send Notifications to Snap Developers for Ubuntu Security Updates

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If you're a Snap app developer, you'll be glad to know that Canonical will now send you alerts via email everytime new Ubuntu Security Notices (USNs) are published and contain details about security fixes for the staged packages in the Snap. This will work only if you use "stage-packages" in Snap's snapcraft.yaml configuration file.

"Once a day, the service examines snaps that have manifest.yaml files for their currently published channels/tracks and checks whether USNs have been issued for the versions of the staged packages in the snap. If any snap revisions are affected, the tool will generate a report to send via email," said Canonical in a blog post.

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Ubuntu Budgie 18.10 Is Also Dropping Support for 32-Bit Installations

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After writing the article about the Ubuntu MATE team deciding to drop support for new 32-bit installations with the upcoming Ubuntu MATE 18.10 release, we discovered that Ubuntu Budgie team also requested that 32-bit ISOs to no longer be generated for the Ubuntu Budgie 18.10 release as they want to concentrate only on 64-bit support.

"We have had a successful release of Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and we now are in full planning mode for 18.10. Similar to the decision made by Ubuntu themselves at 17.10, we have decided to concentrate all our efforts on producing a really good image based on the hardware almost all of you actually use now," said project leader David Mohammed. "From 18.10 onwards we would like to concentrate on the 64-bit ISO only."

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Also: Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Will Drop 32-Bit Support for New Installations

Ubuntu MATE & Budgie Drop 32-bit ISOs

Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic” Daily Builds Available: 7 Expected Features And Release Date

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In late April, Canonical released the final stable release of Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver. As it’s an LTS release, it’s of greater importance than other Ubuntu releases with nine-month support cycle. 18.04’s release also meant that the work on the next release has started.

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Ubuntu 18.10 Daily Build ISOs Are Now Available to Download

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Now that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) was released, it's time for the Ubuntu development team to concentrate their efforts on the next release of the Linux-based operating system.

That's right, we're talking about Ubuntu 18.10, the next Ubuntu Linux release that's expected to arrive later this fall. It will be a short-lived release supported for only 9 months, but it should come with some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software applications.

Now that Canonical decided to move to GNOME by default, we expect Ubuntu 18.10 to ship with the upcoming GNOME 3.30 desktop, due for release on September 6, 2018. The first point release, GNOME 3.30.1, is scheduled for September 26, so Ubuntu 18.10 might ship with this version considering it's launching sometime in October.

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Also: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Review Roundup

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EU Law Threatens Free/Open Source Software

  • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software
    The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say "threatens the internet". As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users' content before it's posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers. Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.
  • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM's Call for Code, Equus' New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More
    Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of "the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market", Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 "link tax", which requires "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online." The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which "requires online platforms to monitor their users' uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering." There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.
  • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution
  • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal
    On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.
  • Europe takes step towards 'censorship machines' for internet uploads
    A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive. Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

The EC’s Expected Decision Against Android Is an Unfortunate Attack on Open Source Software

The European Commission (“EC”) is preparing to release its decision against Android, and its framing of the issues makes clear that successful open source software will have a hard time in Europe. In its Statement of Objections, the Commission signaled that Apple’s iOS, Android’s fiercest rival, would be excluded from the market definition because it is closed source and not available to other hardware makers. The decision is expected to declare unlawful strategies to monetize a free product, provide a consistent user experience to customers expecting the Google brand, and to maintain code consistency to minimize problems for developers using the platform. The decision is not expected to contain any indication on how open source platform developers can solve these problems that are fundamental to their success. Read more

Google, IBM and Microsoft

  • Five Common Chromebook Myths Debunked
    When Chromebooks first came out in 2011, they were basically just low-spec laptops that could access web apps – fine for students maybe, but not to be regarded as serious computers. While they’ve become more popular (the low cost, simplicity, and dependability appeal to businesses and education systems), as of 2018 Chromebooks still haven’t managed to become widely accepted as a Windows/Apple/Linux alternative. That may be about to change. The humble Chromebook has gotten a lot of upgrades, so let’s get ourselves up to speed on some things that just aren’t true anymore. [...] The 2011 Chrome OS was pretty bare-bones, but it’s gone to the opposite extreme since then. Not only is it steadily blurring the line between Chrome and Android, it can now install and run some Windows programs as well, at the same time as a Chrome and an Android app, if you like. And hey, while you’re at it, why not open a Linux app as well? You can already install Linux on a Chromebook if you want, but one of the next versions of Chrome OS is going to include a Linux virtual machine accessible right from your desktop (which is already possible, just not built-in and user-friendly). In sum, Chrome OS has gone from barely being an operating system to one that can run apps from four other OSes at the same time.
  • Like “IBM’s Work During the Holocaust”: Inside Microsoft, Growing Outrage Over a Contract with ICE
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    ...Microsoft getting into hot water over their work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Plus we round up the community news.