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Debian

Raspbian 2018-11-13 Brings Hardware-Accelerated VLC Media Player

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Debian

After releasing the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ yesterday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation today announced Raspbian 2018-11-13 as the latest update to their Debian-based Linux distribution for these low-cost ARM SBCs.

Most notable with the Raspbian November 2018 update is shipping VLC as its default media player application. The VLC build in Raspbian comes with working hardware acceleration using Broadcom's VideoCore engine for H.264 / MPEG-2 / VC-1 video formats. But the MPEG-2 and VC-1 support requires purchasing the codec licenses.

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Debian and Ubuntu: Raphaël Hertzog's Report, Mark Shuttleworth's Keynote, and Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo

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Debian
Ubuntu
  • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, October 2018

    Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

  • OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018, Mark Shuttleworth keynote

    The OpenStack community has, and attracts, amazing people and amazing technology, however, that won’t be meaningful if it doesn’t deliver for everyday businesses. “I say that representing the company which doesn’t just publish Ubuntu and the reference OpenStack distribution on Ubuntu, we actually manage more OpenStack clouds for more different industries, more different architectures than any other company,” said Shuttleworth.

    There are things that have to be right – we have to support every single OpenStack release with upgrades. That means when Stein and Train are released, we will deploy, as part of the test process, Icehouse on 14.04, then deploy workloads on Kubernetes on Icehouse. With that running in the cloud, and without losing a workload, the version is then upgraded up to Mitaka. We then take the running cloud and upgrade to 16.04 under the hood, then upgrade to Queens, then upgrade to 18.04 and on to Rocky, Stein and beyond, as standard.

  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six HoursUbuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six Hours

    This week we’ve been resizing partitions. We interview Andrew Katz and discuss open souce and the law, bring you a command line love and go over all your feedback.

    It’s Season 11 Episode 36 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

Deepin 15.8 - Attractive and Efficient, Excellent User Experience

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Debian

Deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops and all-in-ones. deepin preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. In addition, about a thousand of applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet your more needs. deepin, developed by a professional operating system R&D team and deepin technical community (www.deepin.org), is from the name of deepin technical community - “deepin”, which means deep pursuit and exploration of the life and the future.

Compared with deepin 15.7, the ISO size of deepin 15.8 has been reduced by 200MB. The new release is featured with newly designed control center, dock tray and boot theme, as well as improved deepin native applications, hoping to bring users a more beautiful and efficient experience.

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Limiting the power of package installation in Debian

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Debian

There is always at least a small risk when installing a package for a distribution. By its very nature, package installation is an invasive process; some packages require the ability to make radical changes to the system—changes that users surely would not want other packages to take advantage of. Packages that are made available by distributions are vetted for problems of this sort, though, of course, mistakes can be made. Third-party packages are an even bigger potential problem because they lack this vetting, as was discussed in early October on the debian-devel mailing list. Solutions in this area are not particularly easy, however.

Lars Wirzenius brought up the problem: "when a .deb package is installed, upgraded, or removed, the maintainer scripts are run as root and can thus do anything." Maintainer scripts are included in a .deb file to be run before and after installation or removal. As he noted, maintainer scripts for third-party packages (e.g. Skype, Chrome) sometimes add entries to the lists of package sources and signing keys; they do so in order to get security updates to their packages safely, but it may still be surprising or unwanted. Even simple mistakes made in Debian-released packages might contain unwelcome surprises of various sorts.

He suggested that there could be a set of "profiles" that describe the kinds of changes that might be made by a package installation. He gave a few different examples, such as a "default" profile that only allowed file installation in /usr, a "kernel" profile that can install in /boot and trigger rebuilds of the initramfs, or "core" that can do anything. Packages would then declare which profile they required. The dpkg command could arrange that package's install scripts could only make the kinds of changes allowed by its profile.

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Debian Packages To Eliminate Vendor-Specific Patches, Affecting Downstreams Like Ubuntu

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Debian

Debian packages have supported the concept of vendor-specific patches whereby when DPKG unpacks a source package on different operating systems / distributions (such as Debian vs. Ubuntu), different patches could be selectively applied. Ubuntu is one of the main benefactors of this feature while effective immediately these vendor-specific patches to source packages will be treated as a bug and will be unpermitted following the Debian 10 "Buster" release.

This vendor-specific patch behavior for DPKG is mainly to help downstreams of Debian such as Ubuntu (not to be confused with vendor-specific hardware patches, etc). This vendor-specific patching has been used where say Ubuntu wishes to make some customizations to a Debian package that are minor in nature or basic alterations, they could land the changes in upstream Debian as a vendor-specific patch that would then be applied to the source package when building on Ubuntu... But keeping the package unpatched on Debian, or vice-versa. It reduces the maintenance burden for those wanting to selectively make basic changes to a package without having to maintain multiple largely redundant packages.

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Debian in Events: Reproducible Builds and X2Go

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Debian
  • Chris Lamb: Review: The "Trojan Room" coffee

    I was recently invited to give a seminar at the Cambridge University's Department of Computer Science and Technology on the topic of Reproducible Builds.

  • Results produced while at "X2Go - The Gathering 2018" in Stuttgart

    Over the last weekend, I have attended the FLOSS meeting "X2Go - The Gathering 2018" [1]. The event took place at the shackspace make spacer in Ulmerstraße near S-Bahn station S-Untertürckheim. Thanks to the people from shackspace for hosting us there, I highly enjoyed your location's environment. Thanks to everyone who joined us at the meeting. Thanks to all event sponsors (food + accomodation for me). Thanks to Stefan Baur for being our glorious and meticulous organizer!!!

    Thanks to my family for letting me go for that weekend.

    Especially, a big thanks to everyone, that I was allowed to bring our family dog "Capichera" with me to the event. While Capichera adapted quite ok to this special environment on sunny Friday and sunny Saturday, he was not really feeling well on rainy Sunday (aching joints, unwilling to move, walk interact).

Updated Debian 9: 9.6 released

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Debian

The Debian project is pleased to announce the sixth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

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Fedora Community and Debian Work

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Red Hat
Debian

Debian Package Analysis and More

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Debian

Init system support in Debian

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Debian

The "systemd question" has roiled Debian multiple times over the years, but things had mostly been quiet on that front of late. The Devuan distribution is a Debian derivative that has removed systemd; many of the vocal anti-systemd Debian developers have switched, which helps reduce the friction on the Debian mailing lists. But that seems to have led to support for init system alternatives (and System V init in particular) to bitrot in Debian. There are signs that a bit of reconciliation between Debian and Devuan will help fix that problem.

The Devuan split was acrimonious, much like the systemd "debate" that preceded it. Many bits were expended in describing the new distribution as a waste of time (or worse), while the loudest Devuan proponents declared that systemd would cause the end of Debian and Linux as a whole. Over time, that acrimony has mostly been reduced to random potshots (on both sides); there is clearly no love lost between the pro and anti sides (whether those apply to systemd, Devuan, or both). Some recent developments have shown that perhaps a bit of thawing in relations is underway—that can only be a good thing for both sides and the community as a whole.

Holger Levsen alerted the debian-devel mailing list that the Debian "Buster" (i.e. Debian 10) release was in danger of shipping with only partial support for running without systemd. The problem is that two packages needed for running with System V init (sysvinit-core and systemd-shim) are not really being maintained. The shim is completely unmaintained and sysvinit-core has been languishing even though it has two maintainers listed.

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Security Leftovers

Ubuntu Mir's EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

Ubuntu's little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment. Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is "highly experimental, and can crash the desktop." This support is available via the "edge" EGMDE Snap. Read more

Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob
    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation. The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.
  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs
    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2. NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.
  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Net Neutrality Stance, Mozilla, a VR Work, Firefox Monitor and 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity

  • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality
    Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online. The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone. Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.
  • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!
    Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.
  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support
    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.
  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019
    Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task. Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.