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*buntu 17.04 End Of Life and *buntu 17.10.1

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  • Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) Has Reached End of Life, Upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10 Now

    As of today, January 13, 2018, the Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) operating system has reached end of life and it's no longer supported by Canonical with security and software updates.

    Released last year on April 13, Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) was the last version of the popular operating system to ship with the Unity 7 desktop environment by default. It was powered by the Linux 4.10 kernel series, Mesa 17.0 graphics stack, and X.Org Server 1.19 display server.

  • Xubuntu 17.04 End Of Life

    On Saturday 13th January 2018, Xubuntu 17.04 goes End of Life (EOL). For more information please see the Ubuntu 17.04 EOL Notice.

    We strongly recommend upgrading to the current regular release, Xubuntu 17.10.1, as soon as practical. Alternatively you can download the current Xubuntu release and install fresh.

  • Xubuntu 17.10.1 Release

    Following the recent testing of a respin to deal with the BIOS bug on some Lenovo machines, Xubuntu 17.10.1 has been released. Official download sources have been updated to point to this point release, but if you’re using a mirror, be sure you are downloading the 17.10.1 version.

    No changes to applications are included, however, this release does include any updates made between the original release date and now.

Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" Respin ISOs Are Now Available to Download

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Several users reported last month broken BIOSes on their Lenovo, Acer, and Toshiba laptops due to a bug in the Ubuntu 17.10 installation images that won't allow them to access their BIOS settings. The BIOS could be bricked even if the user ran the Ubuntu 17.10 image in live mode, without installing the OS.

Canonical was quick to temporarily disable access to Ubuntu 17.10 downloads from their website warning people about the issue. A workaround and a fix for existing users were available shortly after that, as they had to update the kernel packages in Ubuntu 17.10 to disable the intel-spi driver at boot time.

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Meltdown Patches and Problems

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  • [Ubuntu] Meltdown and Spectre Status Update

    On Tuesday, January 9, 2018 we released Ubuntu kernel updates for mitigation of CVE-2017-5754 (aka Meltdown / Variant 3) for the x86-64 architecture.

  • Lubuntu 17.10.1 (Artful Aardvark) released!

    Lubuntu 17.10.1 has been released to fix a major problem affecting many Lenovo laptops that causes the computer to have BIOS problems after installing. You can find more details about this problem here.

    Please note that the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have not been fixed in this ISO, so we advise that if you install this ISO, update directly after.

    This release is no different in terms of features from the 17.10 release, and is comparable to an LTS point release in that all updates since the 17.10 release have been rolled into this ISO. You can find the initial announcement here.

  • Check Linux for Spectre or Meltdown vulnerability

    Devices running Linux are affected by Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities as much as their Windows counterparts.

    Development teams work on updated kernels for the various distributions, and users need to update browsers and other software to protect data against potential attacks.

    We talked about identifying whether your Windows PC or web browser is vulnerable already. A recently published script does the same for Linux systems. You may use it to check whether your Linux distribution is vulnerable.

  • Meltdown Patch Is Causing Problems for Some Ubuntu Linux Users

    Many Ubuntu Linux users who installed the latest kernel updates to fix the Meltdown CPU vulnerability found themselves stuck in a boot loop and had to revert back to a previous version.

    The problem affected mostly Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), which is a long-term support (LTS) release. Soon after the 4.4.0-108 kernel update was released to fix the Meltdown vulnerability, users flooded the Ubuntu Forums and bug tracker to report booting problems.

  • Meltdown Update Kernel doesnt boot
  • Major Linux distros have Meltdown patches, but that's only part of the fix

    The Intel Meltdown security problem is the pain that just keeps hurting. Still, there is some good news. Ubuntu and Debian Linux have patched their distributions. The bad news? It's becoming clearer than ever that fixing Meltdown causes significant performance problems. Worst still, many older servers and appliances are running insecure, unpatchable Linux distributions.

A Look at Ubuntu Unity Remix

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  • Ubuntu Unity Remix Day 1: 27-Dec ISO

    Ubuntu Unity Remix 18.04 is already functional even though it's still very new. For you who don't know, Unity Remix is a new Ubuntu distro with Unity 7 desktop created after the official Ubuntu switched to GNOME 3. Unity Remix is based on the effort of Unity 7 Continuation Project by Khurshid Alam and Dale Beaudoin, and it calls for developers & testers right now. Today I, an Ubuntu user who likes Unity Desktop, start a series of article about my days in personal testing Ubuntu Unity Remix. This 'Day 1' covers a short overview about the latest ISO from 27-Dec-2017. This series is (again) inspired by Didier Roche's series at early Artful days. Enjoy!

  • Ubuntu Unity Remix Day 2: Nemo & Caja

    Do you like Nemo and Caja file managers? Good news for you, you can use them at Ubuntu Unity Remix now. More good news is there are 2 ISOs available (for testing purpose) for both Unity Remix Nemo and Unity Remix Caja editions! Having these two is like continuing the 17.04 but with the feels of Linux Mint 'MATE' and 'Cinnamon' editions. For you who don't know, you will find Nemo or Caja even more useful than Nautilus, because you'll have more features you cannot find at (like normal menu bar, F3, and status bar). This 'Day 2' covers simple overview about both file managers at Ubuntu Unity Remix 18.04. Enjoy!

Ubuntu 17.04 EoL and Patches

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Kubuntu 17.10 upgrade - Should you?

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I am not joking. I seriously believe that software regressions should be punished. They destroy people's mood and will and desire to use programs, and the users start developing almost PTSD-like effects, not knowing when something is going to crash because no one bothered checking their fresh code. Jail time seems appropriate. Failing that, strict and rigorous validation procedures that currently DO NOT EXIST in the wider Linux world.

Zesty remains the perfect distro and the best Plasma release ever. It's so much ahead, I feel like shedding a tear every time I use it. In comparison, Awful Anteater is a pale shadow of what Kubuntu can do. So yes it works. But it brings crashes and unnecessary nonsense that just spoils everything. It's such a shame, and such a wasted opportunity. The upgrade itself was flawless. But it's not an upgrade. It's a version increase and a definite downgrade. Wait for the LTS. Or something. Oh, the humanity!

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The Combined Impact Of Retpoline + KPTI On Ubuntu Linux

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Over the past week I have posted many KPTI and Retpoline benchmarks for showing the performance impact of these patches to combat the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. But with my testing so far I haven't done any showing the combined impact of KPTI+Retpoline on Ubuntu versus a completely unpatched system. Here are some of those results.

Similar to the Benchmarking Clear Linux With KPTI + Retpoline Support, these tests are similar but with a few different systems and looking at the performance when testing from Ubuntu 17.10. The comparison on each system was to a stock Linux 4.14.0 kernel compared to the Linux 4.14 kernel with the upstream KPTI patches paired with the Retpline v5 patches that have yet to be merged for mitigating Spectre.

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Debian vs. Linux Mint: The Winner Is?

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Linux Mint is on track to becoming the most popular desktop distro available. This isn't to suggest that it's already happened, rather that it's on track to happen if Linux Mint continues to find its fans among Windows converts. By contrast, Debian has received almost no credit for this success whatsoever. Worse, neither does Ubuntu, which uses Debian as a base.

So are Linux Mint and Debian really all that different? After all, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. One might surmise that the these distros are more similar than different. Fact is stranger than fiction. Linux Mint and Debian may share a common heritage, but that's where the similarities end.

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  • Security notice: Meltdown and Spectre

    If you haven’t already done so, please read “Meltdown and Spectre“.

    These vulnerabilities are critical. They expose all memory data present on the computer to any application running locally (including to scripts run by your web browser).

    Note: Meltdown and Spectre also affect smart phones and tablets. Please seek information on how to protect your mobile devices.

  • Linux Mint Devs Respond to Meltdown and Spectre Security Vulnerabilities

    Linux Mint developers have published today a statement regarding the recently unearthed Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, informing users on how to keep their PCs secure.

    Last week, two of the most severe security flaws were publicly disclosed as Meltdown and Spectre, affecting billions of devices powered by a modern processor from Intel, AMD, ARM, or Qualcomm. To mitigate these vulnerabilities, OEMs and OS vendors started a two and half months long battle to redesign software and kernels.

    Almost all known operating systems are affected, and all web browsers. Linux Mint is one of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions out there with millions of users, but it hasn't yet been patched against Meltdown and Spectre because it still relies on updates from the Ubuntu operating system.

System76 Continues to Improve HiDPI Support for Their Ubuntu-Based OS in 2018

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Work on the second release of Pop!_OS Linux will continue this year with a rebase on Canonical's upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, due for release on April 26, 2018. The distro will also be released this spring, after Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and will feature out-of-the-box support for HiDPI displays.

System76 says that it received great feedback from the community in regards to the HiDPI improvements they are adding into Pop!_OS Linux lately, and, besides the fixing many of the reporting issues, they are also working on better integration of the HiDPI daemon into the desktop, including support for tweaking its behavior.

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Who Was To Blame For The Ubuntu BIOS Bug?

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So who is to blame for the corruption of the BIOS?

Ultimately I would put the majority of the blame at the door of the manufacturers and the BIOS developers. You simply should not be able to corrupt the BIOS and there should be a reset option which returns it to factory settings if all else fails. The Ubuntu developers were the unlucky people to instantiate the bug by including a defective driver within the Kernel.

Some of the blame has to go to the users as well. Maybe we need to be a bit smarter when installing operating systems and not necessarily jump at the latest thing.

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today's howtos

How to build something ‘useful’ with a Raspberry Pi

In honor of Pi Day, Chaim Gartenberg and I cooked up a tiny little Raspberry Pi project for yesterday’s episode of Circuit Breaker Live. We started with a simple concept: a button that says “Why?” when you press it, in honor of our favorite podcast. So we knew we’d need a button, some sound files, a little bit of Python code, and, of course, a Raspberry Pi. A new Pi is $35, but we found an old Raspberry Pi 2 in my desk drawer, which was up to the task. (Newer Pis have built-in Wi-Fi and faster processors, but for our simple button project we didn’t need internet or extra horsepower.) Read more

Wine 3.4

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 3.4 is now available.
  • Wine 3.4 Release Continues With Vulkan Upbringing, Some Wine-Staging Patches
    The latest bi-weekly release of Wine is now available for running your favorite or necessary Windows programs/games on Linux and macOS. Wine 3.4 is this latest release and it's significant for continuing to land the "WineVulkan" code. This does include the latest Wine Vulkan patches as of yesterday including the first bits of apps/games working and integration with the X11 driver.

Graphics: AMDGPU, Mesa 17.3.7, RADV

  • Linux 4.17 To Enable AMDGPU DC By Default For All Supported GPUs
    Since the introduction of the AMDGPU DC display code (formerly known as DAL) in Linux 4.15, this modern display stack has just been enabled by default for newer Radeon Vega and Raven Ridge devices. With Linux 4.17 that is changing with AMDGPU DC being enabled by default across the board for supported GPUs. Building off the earlier DRM-Next material for Linux 4.17, Alex Deucher minutes ago sent in another round of feature updates for targeting this next kernel cycle. This latest batch has continued code refactoring around PowerPlay, support for fetching the video RAM type from the video BIOS, allowing the TTM memory manager to drop its backing store when not needed, DC bandwidth calculation updates, enabling DC backlight control for pre-DCE11 GPUs, various display code fixes, and other bug fixes.
  • AMDGPU / ATI 18.0.1 X.Org DDX Driver Releases, Fixes Infinite Loop & Crashes
    Michel Dänzer of AMD issued bug-fix updates on Thursday for the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers. Just two weeks after the AMDGPU 18.0 X.Org driver release as the first version under their new year-based versioning scheme, the 18.0.1 bug-fix release is out. The xf86-video-amdgpu 18.0.1 DDX update fixes a potential infinite loop after a xorg-server reset in some configurations, Xorg crashing when multiple primary screens are configured, and using the TearFree feature could trigger Pixman library debugging spew.
  • Mesa 17.3.7 Nearing Release With 50+ Changes
    While waiting for Mesa 18.0, the Mesa 17.3.7 point release will soon hit stable users of this open-source, user-space graphics stack.
  • RADV Patches Are Closer For Sub-Group Capabilities
    Daniel Schürmann continues hacking on the sub-group patch-set for the RADV Vulkan driver to expose this important feature of the recent Vulkan 1.1 release.