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Microsoft Versus GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • The axeman strikes again: Microsoft has real commitment issues

    Ever since Satya Nadella took the helm at Microsoft in 2014, his PR people have been grooming him to be an Inspiration Thought Leader, preaching Transformation to the TED Talk classes. This took another step with the global launch of his book Hit Refresh, a "masterpiece" of how to scale up the "growth mindset”. [must-read]

    Whether this therapeutic Davos-speak is helpful to Microsoft or not remains to be seen - but some things at the company never change. Like answering big strategic questions, and the endless in-fighting that sees products snuffed out.

  • Linux And Open Source Pioneer Munich Is Already Replacing Free Software With Microsoft’s Products [Ed: The title is not correct. Munich is assessing costs (after Microsoft bribe etc.) but is replacing nothing yet]
  • Azure fell over for 7 hours in Europe because someone accidentally set off the fire extinguishers

    Microsoft has explained how a cascading series of cockups left some of its Northern European Azure customers without access to services for nearly seven hours.

    On September 29, the sounds of "Sacré bleu!" "Scheisse!" and "What are the bastards up to now?" were, we're guessing, heard from Redmond's Euro clients after key systems went down between 1327 and 2015 UTC. Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Azure Backup, App Services and Web Apps, Azure Cache, Azure Monitor, Azure Functions, Time Series Insights, Stream Analytics, HDInsight, Data Factory and Azure Scheduler, and Azure Site Recovery were all titsup.

    The problems started when one of Microsoft's data centers was carrying out routine maintenance on fire extinguishing systems, and the workmen accidentally set them off. This released fire suppression gas, and triggered a shutdown of the air con to avoid feeding oxygen to any flames and cut the risk of an inferno spreading via conduits. This lack of cooling, though, knackered nearby powered-up machines, bringing down a "storage scale unit."

  • ​No, the Linux desktop hasn't jumped in popularity [Ed: the company behind it is connected to Microsoft and has, for many years, been the main source of FUD against GNU/Linux market share]

    Neither does it appear to be Google's Chrome OS, which tends to be under-represented in NetMarketShare and StatCounter desktop operating system numbers, being counted as Linux. Mind you, that would be fair, since Chrome OS is based on Linux.

RISC-V Boots Linux at SiFive, LEDE 17.01.3 Released

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

7 must-have GIMP brushes

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GNU

GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, is first and foremost, as its name suggests, a photo manipulation program; however, sometimes the lines blur between photo manipulation and airbrushing, material emulation, graphic design, and even layout. In other words, GIMP isn't just for photos.

Artists use and abuse GIMP for all kinds of visual work, and one of the things that makes that possible is its extensibility. You can add to GIMP through plugins, scripts, and brushes. To make it even easier, GIMP happens to accept both GIMP brush files and Adobe Photoshop brush files, so the available selection of brushes is staggering.

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Q4OS 2.3.6 Scorpion, final beta

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GNU
Linux

We announce the Final Beta release of forthcoming Q4OS Scorpion operating system, allowing anyone to see how it performs. A preliminary release date for the stable new Q4OS Scorpion version is scheduled to October 10, 2017, so if nothing exceptional will occur in the next few days, the new Q4OS Scorpion version will be released very soon.

Anybody is invited to install Q4OS Scorpion and report bugs and glitches for us to be able to make the final release as perfect as possible, you can download the final beta live CD's for x64 and i686-pae CPU architectures from the dedicated Testing releases page.

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Releases: feren OS 2017.10, Tails 3.2, NixOS 17.09

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Linux

GNU/Linux Market Share in News Headlines

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Linux

Software Freedom Day observed

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GNU
OSS

As the city was in the midst of various programmes to mark Gandhi Jayanti on Monday, the district resource centre of the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) at Jagathy was engaged in an unrelated, yet purposeful, venture.

The office was buzzing with activity as many people turned up, armed with their laptops, to observe Software Freedom Day by resolving to switch over from proprietary software to free and open-source software (or FOSS). Officials of KITE (formerly IT@School project) also installed, free of cost, the GNU/Linux-based operating system Ubuntu, customised for the IT@School project, for those who attended the ‘free software install fest.’

Among those who participated in the programme were students, researchers and government officials, each curious in discovering opportunities that existed beyond the clutches of proprietary software.

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Desktops and Devices: Market Share, System76, Raspberry Pi, OSMC, and Ataribox

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Linux
Hardware
  • Steam Linux Usage Put At 0.6% For September, Contrary To Other Inflated Numbers

    Meanwhile the Netmarketshare data showed Linux almost doubling over the past month, but likely due to some flaw in the system or reporting discrepancy with Android/Chrome-OS. In fact, since the earlier drama today, has already been revised lower to 4.83%. Though that number is still likely artificially higher due to Chrome & co.

  • System76 Galago Pro review

     

    A high-end laptop that offers a stylish all-aluminium design, lots of processing power, a generous selection of ports and a vibrant HiDPI screen for a reasonable price. Just don’t stray too far from a wall socket as the battery life barely lasts half a day’s work.

  • Little Backup Box Update and FAQ

    I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately. And to fight the battery anxiety syndrome, I’ve bought an Anker PowerCore 20100 mAh power bank. This relatively compact and light pack features two USB charging ports capable of delivering up to 2.4 mAh.

    Now that I have plenty of power when I’m on the move, I no longer need to rely on Raspberry Pi Zero to run the Little Backup Box script. So I upgraded my mobile photo backup box to Raspberry Pi 3.

  • OSMC's September update is here

    OSMC's September update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape.

  • Atari to release new gaming console that runs Linux

    Atari has recently announces that they are coming back into the console market, and are releasing a console dubbed the “AtariBox” and the kicker is; it runs Linux!

    On Sept. 26, Atari released a new photo of the Ataribox, made of real wood, and I must say that it looks absolutely gorgeous! A video of the device can be found on the Ataribox homepage.

NASA's Eyes Is Still Being Ported To Linux

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Linux
Software

NASA is still said to be porting their "Eyes" visualization software to Linux.

NASA Eyes out of the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and California Institute of Technology is designed to provide visualizations of various items on Earth and within the solar system.

Visualizations range from viewing wild fires and hurricanes to having solar system tours. Eyes has been available for macOS, Windows, and mobile platforms but with no Linux support.

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feren OS: A new Snapshot is Now Available! (Changes)

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Linux

A new Snapshot of feren OS, codenamed Oxygen, has been released for both 32 Bit and 64 Bit Devices, and it comes with a lot of good changes from after August Snapshot's (NEON's) release.

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More in Tux Machines

LWN on Linux: LTS, API, Pointer Leaks and Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC)

  • Cramming features into LTS kernel releases
    While the 4.14 development cycle has not been the busiest ever (12,500 changesets merged as of this writing, slightly more than 4.13 at this stage of the cycle), it has been seen as a rougher experience than its predecessors. There are all kinds of reasons why one cycle might be smoother than another, but it is not unreasonable to wonder whether the fact that 4.14 is a long-term support (LTS) release has affected how this cycle has gone. Indeed, when he released 4.14-rc3, Linus Torvalds complained that this cycle was more painful than most, and suggested that the long-term support status may be a part of the problem. A couple of recent pulls into the mainline highlight the pressures that, increasingly, apply to LTS releases. As was discussed in this article, the 4.14 kernel will include some changes to the kernel timer API aimed at making it more efficient, more like contemporary in-kernel APIs, and easier to harden. While API changes are normally confined to the merge window, this change was pulled into the mainline for the 4.14-rc3 release. The late merge has led to a small amount of grumbling in the community.
  • Improving the kernel timers API
    The kernel's timer interface has been around for a long time, and its API shows it. Beyond a lack of conformance with current in-kernel interface patterns, the timer API is not as efficient as it could be and stands in the way of ongoing kernel-hardening efforts. A late addition to the 4.14 kernel paves the way toward a wholesale change of this API to address these problems.
  • What's the best way to prevent kernel pointer leaks?
    An attacker who seeks to compromise a running kernel by overwriting kernel data structures or forcing a jump to specific kernel code must, in either case, have some idea of where the target objects are in memory. Techniques like kernel address-space layout randomization have been created in the hope of denying that knowledge, but that effort is wasted if the kernel leaks information about where it has been placed in memory. Developers have been plugging pointer leaks for years but, as a recent discussion shows, there is still some disagreement over the best way to prevent attackers from learning about the kernel's address-space layout. There are a number of ways for a kernel pointer value to find its way out to user space, but the most common path by far is the printk() function. There are on the order of 50,000 printk() calls in the kernel, any of which might include the value of a kernel pointer. Other places in the kernel use the underlying vsprintf() mechanism to format data for virtual files; they, too, often leak pointer values. A blanket ban on printing pointer values could solve this problem — if it could be properly enforced — but it would also prevent printing such values when they are really needed. Debugging kernel problems is one obvious use case for printing pointers, but there are others.
  • Continuous-integration testing for Intel graphics
    Two separate talks, at two different venues, give us a look into the kinds of testing that the Intel graphics team is doing. Daniel Vetter had a short presentation as part of the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC). His colleague, Martin Peres, gave a somewhat longer talk, complete with demos, at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC). The picture they paint is a pleasing one: there is lots of testing going on there. But there are problems as well; that amount of testing runs afoul of bugs elsewhere in the kernel, which makes the job harder. Developing for upstream requires good testing, Peres said. If the development team is not doing that, features that land in the upstream kernel will be broken, which is not desirable. Using continuous-integration (CI) along with pre-merge testing allows the person making a change to make sure they did not break anything else in the process of landing their feature. That scales better as the number of developers grows and it allows developers to concentrate on feature development, rather than bug fixing when someone else finds the problem. It also promotes a better understanding of the code base; developers learn more "by breaking stuff", which lets them see the connections and dependencies between different parts of the code.

An update on GnuPG

The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is one of the fundamental tools that allows a distributed group to have trust in its communications. Werner Koch, lead developer of GnuPG, spoke about it at Kernel Recipes: what's in the new 2.2 version, when older versions will reach their end of life, and how development will proceed going forward. He also spoke at some length on the issue of best-practice key management and how GnuPG is evolving to assist. It is less than three years since attention was focused on the perilous position of GnuPG; because of systematic failure of the community to fund its development, Koch was considering packing it all in. The Snowden revelations persuaded him to keep going a little longer, then in the wake of Heartbleed there was a resurgent interest in funding the things we all rely on. Heartbleed led to the founding of the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII). A grant from CII joined commitments from several companies and other organizations and an upsurge in community funding has put GnuPG on a more secure footing going forward. Read more

Ubuntu: GNOME, New Video, Ubuntu Podcast, Refreshing the Xubuntu Logo

  • Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails
    Ubuntu has done a good job of integrating a few plugins that improve GNOME's user experience compared to stock GNOME – most notably a modified version of the Dash-to-Dock and the App Indicator extensions, which go a long way toward making GNOME a bit more like Unity. It's worth noting that Ubuntu's fork of Dash-to-Dock lacks some features of the original, but you can uninstall the Ubuntu version in favour of the original if you prefer. In fact you can really revert to a pretty stock GNOME desktop with just a few tweaks. Canonical said it wasn't going to heavily modify GNOME and indeed it hasn't.
  • What’s New in Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
  • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E33 – Aggressive Judicious Frame
    This week we’ve been protecting our privacy with LineageOS and playing Rust. Telegram get fined, your cloud is being used to mine BitCoin, Google announces a new privacy focused product tier, North Korea hacks a UK TV studio, a new fully branded attack vector is unveiled and Purism reach their funding goal for the Librem 5.
  • Refreshing the Xubuntu logo
    Earlier this year I worked a bit with our logo to propose a small change to it – first change to the logo in 5 years. The team approved, but for various reasons the new logo did not make it to 17.10. Now we’re ready to push it out to the world.

Intel Linux and GCC Work

  • Intel Begins Landing GFNI Support In GCC 8
    Intel compiler engineers have begun landing "GFNI" support within the GNU Compiler Collection as one of the new ISA extensions not expected until the Icelake processor debut.
  • Control-Flow Enforcement Technology Begins To Land In GCC 8
    Intel Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) support has begun landing within the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) for this code safety feature. Patches have been in the works for several months while now the start of the patches are being merged to mainline. Coincidentally, at the same time Intel is also landing their GFNI instruction patches in GCC as well.
  • Intel Continues Landing New i915 DRM Features For Linux 4.15
    Jani Nikula has sent in another drm-intel-next update for David Airlie's DRM-Next tree. They continue prepping more updates to their Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) for targeting the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle. There have already been several Intel "i915" DRM driver updates queued in DRM-Next for this new kernel version. Past pulls have included marking Coffeelake graphics as stable, continued Cannonlake "Gen 10" graphics enablement, various display improvements, and quite a lot of other low-level code improvements.