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“The printer story” redux: a testimonial about the injustice of proprietary firmware

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GNU

I’ve always supported free software, but never felt the concrete importance of it until proprietary firmware threatened to cause a big problem, in terms of money, time, and environmental impact, for the company where I work. It’s a mid-sized company, employing about one thousand people. It’s highly production-oriented, and we need to print about two or three thousand paper sheets per week only for the production plans, on a special kind of paper. This number doesn’t include any reprints or further needs, so the total printed pages can be even higher.

We used to print everything with an old printer, which worked fine, but it didn't have an integrated stapler, and required a lot of human time to staple all the sheets as needed. After a production increase and the consequent increase in printing of orders, we asked for a new printer with an integrated stapler.

After some weeks of testing and a lot of work to try and make the printer handle our production orders, we faced a big problem: the printer couldn’t do what we needed. If we tried to print on the special paper, the printer printed perfectly but automatically disabled the stapler, because it’s developed to not work with a thicker sheet of paper. We would need a more complex (and expensive) stapling system. If we modified the paper settings to “normal paper,” the stapler would work fine, but the printing came out faded.

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Also: Guix welcomes Outreachy, GSoC, and Guix-HPC interns

GNU/Linux Distributions

Filed under
GNU
Linux

GNU: The GNU C Library 2.28 and Guix on Android

Filed under
GNU
  • Glibc 2.28 Upstream Will Build/Run Cleanly On GNU Hurd

    While Linux distributions are still migrating to Glibc 2.27, in the two months since the release changes have continued building up for what will eventually become the GNU C Library 2.28.

    The Glibc 2.28 work queued thus far isn't nearly as exciting as all the performance optimizations and more introduced with Glibc 2.27, but it's a start. Most notable at this point for Glibc 2.28 is that it will now build and run cleanly on GNU/Hurd without requiring any out-of-tree patches. There has been a ton of Hurd-related commits to Glibc over the past month.

  • Guix on Android!

    Last year I thought to myself: since my phone is just a computer running an operating system called Android (or Replicant!), and that Android is based on a Linux kernel, it's just another foreign distribution I could install GNU Guix on, right? It turned out it was absolutely the case. Today I was reminded on IRC of my attempt last year at installing GNU Guix on my phone. Hence this blog post. I'll try to give you all the knowledge and commands required to install it on your own Android device.

  • GNU Guix Wrangled To Run On Android

    The GNU Guix transactional package manager can be made to run on Android smartphones/tablets, but not without lots of hoops to jump through first.

AV Linux Multimedia-Focused OS Gets New Stable Release with Meltdown Patches

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GNU
Linux
Security

AV Linux, the open-source GNU/Linux distribution designed for multimedia content creation, has been updated recently to version 2018.4.2, a release that adds Meltdown mitigations, updated components, and various other enhancements.

Probably the most important change in the AV Linux 2018.4.2 release is the implementation of the KPTI (Kernel page-table isolation) patch to protect users against the Meltdown security vulnerability, but only for 64-bit installations. The distribution is now powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.9.76 kernel, and users can disable the KPTI patch at boot.

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Nearly 15 million Nintendo Switches are now hackable (other NVIDIA Tegra X1 devices too)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security
Gaming
Gadgets

Earlier this year hackers started to show evidence of an exploit that allowed you to load custom software on a Nintendo Switch game console. Theoretically that opens the door for homebrew applications, modified games, or even running an alternate operating system such as a GNU/Linux distribution on Nintendo’s latest game system. It could also make it possible to run pirated games, which is why console makers usually don’t encourage this sort of thing.

But now a team of hackers called ReSwitched have described a bootrom vulnerability called Fusée Gelée that makes it possible for anyone to hack a Nintendo Switch… assuming you’re willing to do a little hardware hacking too.

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How to Run Android Apps and Games on Linux

Filed under
Android
GNU
Linux

Want to run Android apps on Linux? How about play Android games? Several options are available, but the one that works the best is Anbox, a useful tool that runs your favorite Android apps on Linux without emulation.

Here’s how to get it up and running on your Linux PC today.

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Also: 8 Best Android Apps For Kids To Help Children Learn With Fun | 2018 Edition

An introduction to the GNU Core Utilities

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GNU

These two collections of Linux utilities, the GNU Core Utilities and util-linux, together provide the basic utilities required to administer a Linux system. As I researched this article, I found several interesting utilities I never knew about. Many of these commands are seldom needed, but when you need them, they are indispensable.

Between these two collections, there are over 200 Linux utilities. While Linux has many more commands, these are the ones needed to manage the basic functions of a typical Linux host.

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Terminal app appears in Chome OS Dev, hints at future Linux application support

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GNU
Linux

Back in February, some commits to the Chromium codebase revealed that Chrome OS would soon run Linux applications using a container. While it has been possible for years to run Linux applications on top of Chrome OS using crouton, it's a hacky solution that only works in Developer Mode. Google's solution would presumably work better, and perhaps not require Dev Mode to be enabled.

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​What's the most popular Linux of them all?

Filed under
Android
GNU
Linux

Let's cut to the chase. Android is the most popular of all Linux distributions. Period. End of statement. But that's not the entire story.

Still it must be said, according to StatCounter, Android is the most popular of all operating systems. By a score of 39.49 percent to 36.63 percent, Android beats out Windows for global personal device supremacy. Sorry Windows, you had a nice run, but between your smartphone failures and the PC decline, your day is done.

But, setting Android aside, what's the most popular Linux? It's impossible to work that out. The website-based analysis tools, such as those used by StatCounter, NetMarketShare, and the Federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP), can't tell the difference between Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.

DAP does give one insightful measurement the others sites don't give us. While not nearly as popular as Android, Chrome OS is more popular than all the other Linux-based desktops combined by a score, in April 2018, of 1.3 percent to 0.6 percent of end users.

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Mugshot 0.4.0 Released

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GNU
Linux

Mugshot, the simple user configuration utility, has hit a new stable milestone! Release 0.4.0 wraps up the 0.3 development cycle with full camera support for the past several years of GTK+ releases (and a number of other fixes).

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Also: MenuLibre 2.2.0 Released

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More in Tux Machines

Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone will run Ubuntu Touch, as well as PureOS

Purism has partnered up with UBports to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system on its Librem 5 smartphone. The crowd-sourced, open-source smartphone runs Purism’s PureOS, by default. Purism is also working with GNOME for a version of PureOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile environment, giving users a choice between three OSes. Read more

Core i7 8700K vs. Ryzen 7 2700X With Rise of The Tomb Raider On Linux

Here are our latest Linux gaming benchmarks comparing the Intel Core i7 8700K to the newly-released Ryzen 7 2700X. The focus in this article is on the Rise of the Tomb Raider Linux port released last week by Feral Interactive and powered by Vulkan. Read more

Stable kernels 4.16.5 and 4.14.37

today's leftovers

  • Heptio Debuts Gimbal Kubernetes Load Balancer Project
    Kubernetes startup Heptio has added another project to its roster of open-source efforts that provide expanded capabilities for container orchestration users.
  • Heptio Launches Kubernetes Load Balancing Application
  • The Role of Site Reliability Engineering in Microservices
    You can always spot the hot jobs in technology: they’re the ones that didn’t exist 10 years ago. While Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) did definitely exist a decade ago, they were mostly inside Google and a handful of other Valley innovators. Today, however, the SRE role exists everywhere, from Uber to Goldman Sachs, everyone is now in the business of keeping their sites online and stable. While SREs are hotshots in the industry, their role in a microservices environment is not just a natural fit that goes hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly. Instead, while SREs and microservices evolved in parallel inside the world’s software companies, the former actually makes life far more difficult for the latter.
  • Lying with statistics, distributions, and popularity contests on Cooking With Linux (without a net)
    It's Tuesday and that means it's time for Cooking With Linux (without a net), sponsored and supported by Linux Journal. Today, I'm courting controversy by discussing numbers, OS popularity, and how to pick the right Linux distribution if you want to be where are the beautiful people hang out. And yes, I'll do it all live, without a net, and with a high probability of falling flat on my face.
  • Voyage open sources its approach to autonomous vehicle safety
    In an effort to improve autonomous vehicle safety, Voyage is open sourcing its Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) library that contains the company’s internal safety procedures, materials, and test code that is intended to supplement the existing safety programs at autonomous vehicle startups. Voyage is the self-driving business from the educational organization Udacity.
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to KubeCon Europe
    The cloud native community is gathering in Copenhagen next week for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe! Here’s your guide to the talks and events you won’t want to miss. Meet the Red Hat and CoreOS team members all week long, May 1-4 at booth D-E01.
  • Event - "GNU Health Con 2018" (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)
    GNU Health is this year holding the III International GNU Health Conference, GNU Health Con 2018. This conference will gather the community of activists and developers who have been working on the project during the past 10 years.
  • ONNX: the Open Neural Network Exchange Format
    The good news is that the battleground is Free and Open. None of the big players are pushing closed-source solutions. Whether it is Keras and Tensorflow backed by Google, MXNet by Apache endorsed by Amazon, or Caffe2 or PyTorch supported by Facebook, all solutions are open-source software. Unfortunately, while these projects are open, they are not interoperable. Each framework constitutes a complete stack that until recently could not interface in any way with any other framework. A new industry-backed standard, the Open Neural Network Exchange format, could change that.
  • L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems
    The city's government believes the traffic/mapping app has made Los Angeles' congestion worse. That the very body tasked with finding solutions to this omnipresent L.A. problem is looking to hold a private third party company responsible for its own shortcomings isn't surprising. If a third-party app can't create better traffic flow, what chance do city planners have? But beyond the buck-passing on congestion, the city may have a point about Waze making driving around Los Angeles a bit more hazardous. For several months, it's been noted that Waze has been sending drivers careening down the steepest grade in the city -- Baxter Street. Drivers seeking routes around Glendale Ave. traffic choke points have been routed to a street with a 32% grade, increasing the number of accidents located there and generally resulting in barely-controlled mayhem. When any sort of precipitation falls from the sky, the city goes insane. Drivers bypassing Glendale are now hurtling down a steep, water-covered hill, compounding the problem.
  • Even Microsoft's lost interest in Windows Phone: Skype and Yammer apps killed
    Microsoft’s given users of its collaboration apps on Windows Phone under a month’s warning of their demise. A support note from late last week advises that “Windows phone apps for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer are retiring on May 20, 2018.” “Retiring” means all three will vanish from the Microsoft store on May 20, with differing results.
  • Should You Build Your Own DIY Security System?