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Ubuntu

Canonical Releases AMD Microcode Updates for All Ubuntu Users to Fix Spectre V2

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Security
Ubuntu

The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed earlier this year and discovered to affect billions of devices made in the past two decades. Unearthed by Jann Horn of Google Project Zero, the second variant (CVE-2017-5715) of the Spectre vulnerability is described as a branch target injection attack.

The security vulnerability affects all microprocessors that use branch prediction and speculative execution function, and it can allow unauthorized memory reads via side-channel attacks if the system isn't patched. For example, a local attacker could use it to expose sensitive information, including kernel memory.

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Is Now Certified on Intel's NUC Mini PCs and IoT Boards

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Ubuntu

Released on April 21, 2016, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is a long-term supported release that will receive security and software updates for five years, until April 2021, as well as a total of five point releases ending with Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS, which is expected to arrive in early August 2018.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is Canonical's 6th LTS release and the last to use the Unity desktop environment by default. The operating system is compatible with a wide-range of hardware components, including Intel's NUC mini PCs, but now, after a partnership between Intel and Canonical, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is officially certified for NUC devices.

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Canonical: GNOME Software, Buzzwords, Ubuntu Server, Themes and Zenkit

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Ubuntu
  • Report from the GNOME Software design sprint

    A couple of weeks ago representatives from across Canonical met in London to talk about ideas to improve the user experience of GNOME Software. We had people from the store team, snap advocacy, snapd, design and from the desktop team. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Richard Hughes representing upstream GNOME Software.

  • Emerging Trends in Financial Services: IoT, AI and Blockchain

    The answer has its roots at both an infrastructure level, where legacy technology is being replaced with something more akin to what is seen in challengers banks or in technology leaders from Silicon Valley, and in changing mentalities, where a new mindset can be just as important as the technology that’s adopted.

    Of course, to say that this is simply a technological problem is naive, often, technology implementation is the easy part, with the larger challenge coming with organisational acceptance of the need to change.

    Often, the case is that an organisation isn’t culturally ready for change, resulting in projects that fail and negatively impact the ability to evolve with an increasingly tumultuous market that is being impacted by regulatory changes and a technology revolution.

    Mark Baker, Field Product Manager at Canonical, said: “We tend to find that the technology is the easy part once we’ve got the business aligned around a common goal with common sets of objectives and accepting of the change.”

    However, once an organisation is culturally aligned around a common goal and is accepting of technological change, then it is possible to work with a technology partner like Canonical in order to deploying the technology simple.

  • Ubuntu Server development summary – 19 June 2018

    The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team.

  • Simple Dark/Light GTK/Gnome Shell Theme for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)

    There are many dark themes for GTK with a simple and good color scheme. But, I have been looking for a simple dark theme especially for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). I tried many Dark themes on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and my mind was set on Qogir Dark theme.

    The simple design and the comfort of the dark colors scheme is quite amazing and gives a relief looking for the desktop environment. Qogir comes with a Dark and Light Theme for GTK 2.0 / GTK 3.0 and Gnome Shell. The Dark or the Light theme integration with the default installed applications such as Nautilus file manager, LibreOffice and Mozilla Firefox are quite good.

  • Zenkit: The influence of developer communities in progressing snaps

    Last month, Zenkit published their project management tool as a snap. For those not familiar with Zenkit, they introduced themselves in a guest blog at the time the snap was published which can be read here. Since then, we caught up with Philipp Beck, Full Stack Developer at Zenkit, to discover his opinion on snaps and the publishing experience.

    Philipp was introduced to snaps via a developer friend of his and could immediately appreciate the potential benefits for Zenkit to pursue and the advantages it would offer their users. For the former, Philipp comments: “The biggest draw for us was the ease at which we could reach a diverse range of Linux users, without having to specifically package Zenkit for each distribution. There are obvious benefits here in terms of time saved in updating multiple Linux packages too.”

Latest Ubuntu Touch release from UBPorts is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

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Ubuntu

Canonical may have stopped developing/supporting a version of Ubuntu for smartphones and tablets. But the folks at UBPorts have kept the idea of a touch-friendly version of Ubuntu alive for the past year.

Now the team has released Ubuntu Touch RC OTA-4, which is the first version based on Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus.

That’s significant because Xenial is an LTS (Long Term Support) release, which means the underlying operating system will still be supported by Canonical until 2021.

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First Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 Release Candidate Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Is Here

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Ubuntu

The latest Ubuntu Touch update from UBports, OTA-3, was released last year near the Christmas holidays, but it was still based on Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet), so if you though Ubuntu Phones are dead, think again, because the UBports team has been hard at work to bring you the OTA-4, which will be the first to rebase the operating system on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

"The main reason why the arrival of OTA-4 seemed to take so long is because Ubuntu Touch switched its base to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus. This is a mammoth milestone for the project, because it allowed us to transition from the unsupported Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet to a Long Term Support (LTS) base," reads today's announcement.

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Also: UBports' Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 RC Released, Upgrades To Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver upgrades - Results!

Filed under
KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

A month later, two upgrades later, Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a nicer distribution than what I tested shortly after its official release. But then, it's not perfect. The older box with the Nvidia card returned better results overall, although there were some niggles. On the multi-boot laptop, I wasn't too happy with the slow-boot issue, although this is NOT a Kubuntu-specific problem, as you will learn in a few days. But it still does not give me the razor-sharp confidence I need and expect from an LTS.

In general, Ubuntu-family upgrades are reasonably robust, but they can still be more streamlined, including package removal, third-party repos and odd glitches here and there. I wonder how I'd have felt if I tested Beaver fresh, right now. Alas, I cannot delete the memory of my first encounter. With Trusty, it was just right. Here, it might be right, and I may even end up using - and loving - Plasma Bionic in my prod setup, but it will never be the amazing chemistry I had with 14.04.

But if you're wondering, by all means, worth testing and upgrading, and the post-release Kubuntu Beaver is a pretty slick and tight distro. If I had to judge in isolation, i.e. no early-May scars, then when I combine performance, looks, fonts, media, hardware support, and such, 'tis really neat. Something like 9/10. Now, just waiting for the Men In Black mind-zapping eraser thingie, so I can be blissfully happy. And we're done.

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Canonical/Ubuntu: Canonical's Engineering Tech Lead, Field Product Manager, and Designers'/Developers' Updates

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Ubuntu
  • A Complete Look At Spectre V1/V2/V4 & Meltdown

    Canonical's Engineering Tech Lead, Gavin Guo, has passed along a big slide deck on a presentation he is preparing about the Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities.

    Gavin's presentation is mostly focused on Spectre V2 since that is vulnerable to attacking the host system from a guest VM, but the other vulnerabilities are also covered in his 77-page slide deck with great detail.

  • A unified OpenStack for a scalable open infrastructure

    Stu Miniman and John Boyer of theCUBE interviewed Mark Baker, Field Product Manager, Canonical at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. Read on to to find out about OpenStack’s increasing maturity.

    The Kubernetes and OpenStack story isn’t simple. Challenges exist, and plenty of pathfinding still needs to take place when it comes to Kubernetes.

    Customers want to take different approaches with how they want to plug together OpenStack components in order to create a unified stack is complex. Some customers want Kubernetes running alongside OpenStack, or on top of OpenStack, or even OpenStack running on Kubernetes.

  • Design and Web team summary – 18 June 2018

    Welcome to the latest work and updates from the design and web team.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 532

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 532 for the week of June 10 – 16, 2018.

Linspire 8 Enters Development Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Freespire 3.0.9 Is Out

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Ubuntu

Freespire 3.0.9 is a small incremental update of the free and open-source GNU/Linux distribution that includes all the latest security and software updates released upstream until June 11, 2018. It also introduces new light and dark modes, a full instance of the Calligra office suite, and replaces Mozilla Thunderbird with Kontact.

The developers recommend all users running the Freespire 3.0 operating system series on their personal computers to run a system-wide update if they want to upgrade to Freespire 3.0.9 and receive all the latest changes. On the other hand, new users are encouraged to download the Freespire 3.0.9 ISO image.

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Also: Linspire 8.0 Alpha 1 Released

Canonical Shifts Its Fiscal Year Ahead Of Likely IPO

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Ubuntu

You have likely heard by now about Ubuntu maker Canonical planning to do an initial public offering (IPO) at some point in the not too distant future to become a publicly-traded company. The latest sign of that is Canonical has now shifted its corporate calendar.

Rather than ending its accounting period now on 31 March of each year, Canonical is shifting that to align with the end of each calendar year (31 December). 31 March tends to be the end of fiscal years for UK-based organizations. This change may indicate a desire of Canonical to more likely list on one of the US-based stock exchanges rather than London, but others may have differing hypothesis over the change.

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Canonical Releases Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Kernel Security Update for Raspberry Pi 2

Filed under
Linux
Ubuntu

Earlier this week, Canonical released an important kernel security update for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, as well as other supported Ubuntu releases like Ubuntu 17.10, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, to address various vulnerabilities affecting the kernel packages for 64-bit machines, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) systems, and cloud environments.

Now, the same kernel patch that was made available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users on 64-bit, AWS, GCP, and cloud environments is now available for Raspberry Pi 2 devices too, fixing an issue (CVE-2018-1092) in Linux kernel's EXT4 file system implementation discovered by Wen Xu, which could allow an attacker to crash the affected system by mounting a specially crafted EXT4 file system.

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Automatically Change Wallpapers in Linux with Little Simple Wallpaper Changer

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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
  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E15 – Fifteen Minutes - Ubuntu Podcast
    ...Microsoft getting into hot water over their work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Plus we round up the community news.