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Linux and GNU

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GNU
Linux
  • Analyzing the Linux boot process

    The oldest joke in open source software is the statement that "the code is self-documenting." Experience shows that reading the source is akin to listening to the weather forecast: sensible people still go outside and check the sky. What follows are some tips on how to inspect and observe Linux systems at boot by leveraging knowledge of familiar debugging tools. Analyzing the boot processes of systems that are functioning well prepares users and developers to deal with the inevitable failures.

  • BPF Getting Error Injection & More In Linux 4.16

    While BPF has been under the spotlight recently in light of Spectre, with the upcoming Linux 4.16 cycle this in-kernel virtual machine and originally packet filter will be picking up new features.

  • Jailhouse Guest Support Queued For Linux 4.16

    Yet more functionality to find with the upcoming Linux 4.16 kernel is the first bits of Jailhouse hypervisor functionality being mainlined.

    Since at least 2013 Siemens has been developing the Jailhouse hypervisor for Linux systems. This partitioning hypervisor aims to be lighter than KVM and Siemens has been designing it for "highly demanding real-time, safety or security" workloads.

  • Retpoline patch coming to Linux 4.9 and Linux 4.14

    Several Linux kernel versions, including 4.9, 4.14, and the upcoming 4.15, will have Retpoline support built in to mitigate against the Spectre vulnerability. Greg Kroah-Hartman, one of the head honchos overlooking kernel development, accepted the patch into the 4.9 and 4.14 kernels meaning Linux users everywhere should be secure from Spectre without any performance hits.

    The exact kernel versions to look out for are 4.9.77 and 4.14.14. Unfortunately, for those of us still on Linux 4.4 and 3.18, which are still supported, there is no sign of the Retpoline patch just yet despite getting receiving other updates. Hopefully it’ll be released in a subsequent update after they’ve had time to monitor for any problems in 4.9 and 4.14.

  • Retpoline Support Backport Lands In GCC 7

    The backporting of -mindirect-branch, -mindirect-return and -mindirect-branch-register, a.k.a. the GCC "Retpoline" patches, have been back-ported and merged into the GCC 7 branch.

    Given the severity of the Spectre vulnerability, these features for Retpoline support are being back-ported to GCC branches normally only reserved for bug/regression/documentation fixes.

  • Linux kernel mailing list back online; Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities; Mobile OS eelo; Barcelona now using Linux

    The popular Linux Kernel Mailing List website is back online after going down and staying down for several days due to a power outage to the home server where it was hosted. Upon reboot, a password (for dm-crypt) was required to mount the root device; however, that in itself was not the problem. The problem was the fact that the PC’s owner, Jasper, was on vacation when all of this occurred. Anyway, the site is now back up and continuing to operate as it always has.

    Speaking of the kernel mailing lists, Johannes Weiner issued a call for proposals for agenda topics to the upcoming annual 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem and Memory Management (LSF/MM) Summit. The deadline is January 31, 2018, and the summit will be held between April 23-25 At Deer Valley Lodges in Park City, Utah. For more information, visit the Linux Foundation Events page.

  • Documentary films on Linux!

    The Code & Revolution OS! Those are documentary films released in 2001. The Code is based on birth and journey of Linux & Revolution OS is based on 20 years journey of Linux, GNU, Open Source world.

Barcelona is moving to Linux; why not Dhaka?

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GNU
Linux

The Spanish city of Barcelona just announced a few days ago (https://www.itwire.com/open-source/81377-barcelona-plans-move-to-open-source-software.html) that it has successfully completed a pilot project of moving 1,000 desktops of municipality employees from Microsoft Windows and MS Office to free/open-source alternatives, Ubuntu Linux (www.ubuntu.com/desktop) and LibreOffice (www.libreoffice.org).

The question is why countries like Bangladesh, which are much less wealthy than Spain, are not making similar moves to replace expensive Microsoft software with free/open-source alternatives.

The simple fact is that there is almost no awareness of the real cost of Microsoft software in Bangladesh, as software piracy is so commonplace. Every market has shops stocking pirated MS Windows/MS Office DVDs; so the public can be forgiven for thinking that these are practically free of cost.

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More on Barcelona Moving to Free Software

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GNU
Linux
  • Barcelona Aims To Oust Microsoft In Open Source Drive

    The city of Barcelona has embarked on an ambitious open source effort aimed at reducing its dependence on large proprietary software vendors such as Microsoft, including the replacement of both applications and operating systems.

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft software for open source software

    Barcelona, one of the most popular cities in the Europe is now switching to open-source software by replacing Microsoft Windows, Office and Exchange with Linux, Libre Office and Open Xchange respectively. The city council is already piloting the use of Ubuntu Linux desktops along with Mozilla Firefox as the default browser. With this move, Barcelona city is planning to save money over the years by reducing software/service licensing fees. They are also planning to hire new developers to write open-source software. The open-source product will also be made available to other Spanish municipalities and public bodies further afield allowing them the opportunity to save money on software licences.

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source Linux software

    Catalan capital Barcelona is planning to ditch proprietary software products from Microsoft in favour of free, open source alternatives such as Open-Xchange email.

    That’s according to a report by Spain's national paper El Pais, which reports that Barcelona plans to invest 70% of its annual software budget in open source this year.

Security: Patching of GNU/Linux Distros

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GNU
Linux
Security

Debugging and Compiling

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Development
GNU
  • How debuggers really work

    A debugger is one of those pieces of software that most, if not every, developer uses at least once during their software engineering career, but how many of you know how they actually work? During my talk at linux.conf.au 2018 in Sydney, I will be talking about writing a debugger from scratch... in Rust!

    In this article, the terms debugger/tracer are interchangeably. "Tracee" refers to the process being traced by the tracer.

  • GCC 8.0 Moves On To Only Regression/Documentation Fixes

    The GCC 8 compiler is on to its last stage of development

Best Linux desktop of 2018

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GNU
Linux
  • Best Linux desktop of 2018

    The desktop is a critical aspect of your Linux experience, providing you with a user-friendly way to interact with your computer. Unlike Windows or Mac, Linux doesn't tie you to a single desktop. Switching desktop environments is incredibly straightforward – just install a new one, log out and choose it from the login screen. You can install as many desktop environments as you like, although you can only use one at a time.

    In this guide, we've rounded up seven of the most popular desktops, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. Before you dive in, however, take some time to think about what you want from your desktop.

    A desktop environment is more than the wallpaper which appears when you log in. It also includes a window manager and usually a set of utilities. It may come in the form of a pre-assembled package, such as Gnome or KDE, or it may be assembled by the distro maintainer, such as CrunchBang++'s Openbox or Puppy's JWM.

  • Best Linux distros 2018: the finest open source operating systems around

    Linux is widely-regarded as the discerning techie's operating system of choice, and with good reason. The open source OS has an awful lot to recommend it, and it's every bit as capable as Windows or macOS.

    One of the reasons Linux has proved to be so popular with developers, engineers and technical professionals is that it's almost infinitely versatile, with a wealth of customisation options. It's also got a reputation as being extremely secure.

    Linux doesn't just cater to traditional desktop PCs, either. There are also distros designed to run enterprise-grade applications and servers as well as desktop clients.

Barcelona and GNU/Linux (Now in Corporate Media)

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GNU
Linux
  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source software

    THE SPANISH CITY OF BARCELONA plans to replace its Microsoft software with open source alternatives including Linux, Libre Office and Open Xchange.

    Barcelona plans to invest 70 per cent of its annual software budget in open source this year, according to El Pais, with the aim of completing the transformation by spring 2019.

    Microsoft's Outlook and Exchange Server email software is to be replaced by Open-Xchange, Microsoft Office will be ditched in favour of Libre Office, and Mozilla's Firefox will be made the default browser across systems.

  • Barcelona becomes the poster child for Linux

    The City of Barcelona is migrating its computer systems away from Windows making it the poster child for Open Source rather than Munich which is frantically trying to migrate back.

    According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the City's strategy is first to replace all user applications with open-source alternatives until the underlying Windows operating system is the only proprietary software remaining. Then the operating system will be replaced with Linux.

    Commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation at Barcelona City Council, Francesca Bria, said the transition would be completed before the current administration's mandate ends in spring 2019.

  • Barcelona gives Microsoft the boot in move to open source

    With this move Barcelona becomes the first city to join an initiative by Free Software Foundation Europe dubbed 'Public code, public money' which calls on public bodies to invest tax revenues in free reusable systems that are open to local businesses rather than proprietary licensed software.

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source Linux software

    Catalan capital Barcelona is planning to ditch proprietary software products from Microsoft in favour of free, open source alternatives such as Open-Xchange email.

    That’s according to a report by Spain's national paper El Pais, which reports that Barcelona plans to invest 70% of its annual software budget in open source this year.

deepin 15.5 - A different desktop

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

deepin is a Debian-based Linux distribution which features the custom Deepin Desktop Environment along with several in-house desktop applications. The deepin project develops its own file manager, media players, software centre and settings panel, along with other desktop applications. Clearly, the deepin team is very busy working on a desktop solution, one which is easy to navigate.

deepin is available as a 3.2GB download for 64-bit x86 computers. Booting from the project's media gives us the option of starting the installation process, booting the operating system in failsafe mode or checking the media's integrity. In both of my test environments, deepin would boot and launch the installer (the first option), but was unable to boot in failsafe mode, whether run in UEFI or Legacy BIOS mode.

Taking the install option brings up a graphical environment where we are asked to select our preferred language from a list. In the upper-right corner of the screen there is an "X" which, when clicked, lets us abort the installation. Quitting the installer immediately powers off the computer. Once we have selected our language we are asked to create a username and password for ourselves. We can then select our time zone from a map of the world.

Partitioning comes next and here I encountered several options. We are asked whether we want Simple or Advanced partitioning. The Simple option takes over the entire hard drive, creating an ext4 file system. A 4GB swap file is set up on the root partition for us. This is the easy way forward, but it wipes out any other installed systems or partitions.

The Advanced option lets us select where to install the system's boot loader and presents us with a list of available partitions and free space. At first I wasn't able to find any way to add new partitions, but eventually found the button for adding and editing partitions is a grey icon on a grey background, making it difficult to spot. Once the button was found, setting up new partitions was fairly straight forward. The deepin installer will not proceed if the root partition is 16GB or smaller in size when we take the Advanced partitioning option. However, I found I could create a root partition smaller than 16GB if I used the Simple partitioning option. Once our partitions are assigned mount points, the installer copies its files to the computer and reboots the system.

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Also: What’s New in MX Linux 17

Linspire, Freespire and Black Lab Enterprise Linux Patched

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GNU
Linux
Security
  • Linspire 7.0.1 and Freespire 3.0.1 Released - Meltdown and Spectre fix

    This morning we have released Linspire 7.0.1 and Freespire 3.0.1 . With this release we have addressed the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in Intel Processors. We have included no new features.

  • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.51 Released - Meltdown and Spectre Fix

    Today we have released Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.51. This release addresses the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in Intel Processors. We have included no new features. To apply the fix simply run your system updater and the fix will be applied.

    This update has been thoroughly tested and does not cause any issues or malfunctions

  • At CES, Spectre haunted tech executives in public and private meetings

    Despite being drenched and briefly thrust in to darkness, the largest annoyance for many top tech executives at CES was the shadow of Spectre.

    The world’s largest electronics show immediately careened toward the twin maladies dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, potentially exploitable weaknesses in the brains of PCs and servers world-wide.

Hands on With System76’s Beautiful Linux Distro Pop!_OS

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GNU
Linux

When I saw that System 76 launched their #TryPopOS campaign last month I knew this was the perfect opportunity to really put Pop!_OS through its paces. I am a proud owner of the Galago Pro, which I purchased the day they launched pre-orders this Spring and it has been my primary computer since then. I use it for everything from writing articles, to browsing the internet, to light gaming, and though the machine as its quirks I am beyond happy with it.

Back when I ordered the laptop Pop!_OS wasn’t announced yet so my laptop came with stock Ubuntu, which I promptly replaced with Ubuntu GNOME. Since then I have tried a couple different options including Elementary OS, Manjaro GNOME Edition, and most recently I have settled on KDE Neon.

Everything I have thrown at it has worked great on it so far, but now it is time to try something different. Here is my experience with System 76’s Pop!_OS.

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Security Leftovers

  • One-stop counterfeit certificate shops for all your malware-signing needs

    The Stuxnet worm that targeted Iran's nuclear program almost a decade ago was a watershed piece of malware for a variety of reasons. Chief among them, its use of cryptographic certificates belonging to legitimate companies to falsely vouch for the trustworthiness of the malware. Last year, we learned that fraudulently signed malware was more widespread than previously believed. On Thursday, researchers unveiled one possible reason: underground services that since 2011 have sold counterfeit signing credentials that are unique to each buyer.

  • How did OurMine hackers use DNS poisoning to attack WikiLeaks? [Ed: False. They did not attack Wikileaks; they attacked the DNS servers/framework. The corporate media misreported this at the time.
    The OurMine hacking group recently used DNS poisoning to attack WikiLeaks and take over its web address. Learn how this attack was performed from expert Nick Lewis.
  • Intel didn't give government advance notice on chip flaws

    Google researchers informed Intel of flaws in its chips in June. The company explained in its own letter to lawmakers that it left up to Intel informing the government of the flaws.

    Intel said that it did not notify the government at the time because it had “no indication of any exploitation by malicious actors,” and wanted to keep knowledge of the breach limited while it and other companies worked to patch the issue.

    The company let some Chinese technology companies know about the vulnerabilities, which government officials fear may mean the information was passed along to the Chinese government, according to The Wall Street Journal.

  • Intel hid CPU bugs info from govt 'until public disclosure'

    As iTWire reported recently, Intel faces a total of 33 lawsuits over the two flaws. Additionally, the Boston law firm of Block & Leviton is preparing a class action lawsuit against Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich for allegedly selling a vast majority of his Intel stock after the company was notified of the two security flaws and before they became public.

  • Intel did not tell U.S. cyber officials about chip flaws until made public [iophk: "yeah right"]

    Current and former U.S. government officials have raised concerns that the government was not informed of the flaws before they became public because the flaws potentially held national security implications. Intel said it did not think the flaws needed to be shared with U.S. authorities as hackers [sic] had not exploited the vulnerabilities.

  • LA Times serving cryptocurrency mining script [iophk: "JS"]

    The S3 bucket used by the LA Times is apparently world-writable and an ethical hacker [sic] appears to have left a warning in the repository, warning of possible misuse and asking the owner to secure the bucket.

  • Facebook's Mandatory Malware Scan Is an Intrusive Mess

    When an Oregon science fiction writer named Charity tried to log onto Facebook on February 11, she found herself completely locked out of her account. A message appeared saying she needed to download Facebook’s malware scanner if she wanted to get back in. Charity couldn’t use Facebook until she completed the scan, but the file the company provided was for a Windows device—Charity uses a Mac.

  • Tinder plugs flaw that enabled account takeover using just a phone number

    As Tinder uses Facebook profile pics for its users to lure in a mate or several, the 'dating' app is somewhat tied to the social network. When a swipe-hungry Tinder user comes to login to their account they can either do so via Facebook or use their mobile number.

  • `

Android Leftovers

Report from Debian SnowCamp and a Look at Solyd XK, a Debian-Based Distribution

  • Report from Debian SnowCamp: day 1
  • Report from Debian SnowCamp: day 2
    Of course, we’re still sorely lacking volunteers who would really care about mentors.debian.net; the codebase is a pile of hacks upon hacks upon hacks, all relying on an old version of a deprecated Python web framework. A few attempts have been made at a smooth transition to a more recent framework, without really panning out, mostly for lack of time on the part of the people running the service. I’m still convinced things should restart from scratch, but I don’t currently have the energy or time to drive it… Ugh.
  • Installing Solyd XK, a Debian based Linux distribution : Cooking With Linux
    It's time for some more "Cooking With Linux" without a net, meaning the video you are about to watch was recorded live. Today, I'm going to install a new Linux distribution (new to me, anyhow) called Solyd XK.