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KaOS Linux's November 2017 Release Adds KDE Plasma 5.11.3, Linux Kernel 4.13.12

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OS
Linux

Almost every month, KaOS developers release an updated installation medium that contains all the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source applications. The KaOS 2017.11 ISO snapshot comes the recently released KDE Plasma 5.11.3 desktop environment, as well as both KDE Applications 17.08.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.40.0 software stacks, all compiled against the Qt 5.9.2 application framework.

"KaOS repositories no longer provide Qt 4," said the devs in the release announcement. "Any application that has not made the transition to Qt 5 in all this time can no longer be supported in KaOS. Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit."

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Anonymous Live OS Tails Now Powered by Linux Kernel 4.13, Latest Tor Software

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OS
Linux

Tails 3.3 comes one and a half months after the release of Tails 3.2, and while it's still based on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" operating system, the OS is now powered by the Linux 4.13 kernel series, which means more excellent support for running the distro on the latest hardware out there.

This release also comes with some of the latest TOR software to provide users with the best support when surfing the Web anonymously. Tails 3.3 includes Tor 0.3.1.8 client and server for connecting to Tor anonymous networks or running a Tor relay, as well as the Firefox-based Tor Browser 7.0.10 web browser.

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Also: Linux Distro Releases: “Polished” Linux Mint 18.3 Beta And “Anonymous” Tails 3.3

Chrome OS Getting Accelerated Video Decoding and Encoding Capabilities Info Soon

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OS

François Beaufort is always teasing Chromebook users with the latest features, and today he posted a message on his Google+ page that accelerated video decoding and encoding capabilities are now available in the internal chrome://gpu page in Chrome Canary.

It appears that the functionally works if you set profiles for various of the supported video codecs by Chrome OS, which can be decoded and encoded through hardware acceleration if your Chromebook is supported, which many of them are.

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MINIX's creator would have liked to know Intel was using it

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OS

When Andrew S. Tanenbaum created the educational, open-source operating system MINIX, he did it to teach operating system principles to his students at Amsterdam's Vrije Universiteit and to readers of his classic textbook, Operating Systems Design and Implementation. MINIX would become Linux's forefather. Tanenbaum knew that. What Tanenbaum didn't know was Intel would take MINIX and embed it within its CPUs for almost a decade.

As Tanenbaum wrote in an open letter: "Thanks for putting a version of MINIX inside the ME-11 management engine chip used on almost all recent desktop and laptop computers in the world. I guess that makes MINIX the most widely used computer operating system in the world, even more than Windows, Linux, or MacOS. And I didn't even know until I read a press report about it."

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Ethical Hacking OS Parrot Security 3.9 Officially Out, Parrot 4.0 In the Works

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OS
Security

Just a minor improvement to the Parrot Security 3.x series of the Linux-based operating system used by security researchers for various pentesting and ethical hacking tasks, Parrot Security OS 3.9 is here with all the latest security patches and bug fixes released upstream in the Debian GNU/Linux repositories.

But it also looks like it ships with some important new features that promise to make the ethical hacking computer operating system more secure and reliable. One of these is a new sandbox system based on the Firejail SUID program and designed to add an extra layer of protection to many apps, protecting users from 0day attacks.

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MINIX: ​Intel's hidden in-chip operating system

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OS
Hardware
Security

Why? Let's start with what. Matthew Garrett, the well-known Linux and security developer who works for Google, explained recently that, "Intel chipsets for some years have included a Management Engine [ME], a small microprocessor that runs independently of the main CPU and operating system. Various pieces of software run on the ME, ranging from code to handle media DRM to an implementation of a TPM. AMT [Active Management Technology] is another piece of software running on the ME."

In May, we found out that AMT had a major security flaw, which had been in there for nine -- count 'em -- nine years.

"Fixing this requires a system firmware update in order to provide new ME firmware (including an updated copy of the AMT code)," Garrett wrote. "Many of the affected machines are no longer receiving firmware updates from their manufacturers, and so will probably never get a fix," he said. "Anyone who ever enables AMT on one of these devices will be vulnerable."

[...]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called for Intel to provide a way for users to disable ME. Russian researchers have found a way to disable ME after the hardware has initialized, and the main processor has started. That doesn't really help much. ME is already running by then.

But Minnich found that what's going on within the chip is even more troubling. At a presentation at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, he reported that systems using Intel chips that have AMT, are running MINIX.

If you learned about operating systems in the late '80s and early '90s, you knew MINIX as Andrew S Tanenbaum's educational Unix-like operating system. It was used to teach operating system principles. Today, it's best known as the OS that inspired Linus Torvalds to create Linux.

So, what's it doing in Intel chips? A lot. These processors are running a closed-source variation of the open-source MINIX 3. We don't know exactly what version or how it's been modified since we don't have the source code.

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ElectOS uses open source to restore trust in voting machines

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OS
OSS

When people doubt that an election will be conducted fairly, their trust in the outcome and their leaders naturally erodes. That’s the challenge posed by electronic voting machines. Technology holds the promise of letting people vote more easily and remotely. But, they’re also prone to hacking and manipulation. How can trust be restored in voting machines and election results?

Voting demands the ultimate IoT machine (to borrow a line from BMW). The integrity of these machines with their combination of sensors, security and data analysis produce the results that impact every aspect of all our lives.

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PinguyOS Tosses Everything at the Desktop

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OS

For the longest time, naysayers were fairly intent on shutting down anyone who believed the Linux desktop would eventually make serious headway in the market. Although Linux has yet to breach 5 percent of that market, it continues to claw its way up. And with the help of very modern, highly efficient, user-friendly environments, like PinguyOS, it could make even more headway.

If you’ve never heard of PinguyOS, you’re in for a treat — especially if you’re new to Linux. PinguyOS is a Linux distribution, created by Antoni Norman, that is based on Ubuntu. The intention of PinguyOS is to look good, work well, and — most importantly — be easy to use. For the most part, the developers have succeeded with aplomb. It’s not perfect, but the PinguyOS desktop is certainly one that could make migrating to Linux a fairly easy feat for new users.

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RaspArch OS That Lets You Run Arch Linux on Your Raspberry Pi 3 Gets an Update

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OS
Linux

It's been almost a year since RaspArch OS received an update, and the latest build (171102) brings support for installing the Arch Linux-based GNU/Linux distribution on your Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer from a Windows machine, using the win32 disk imager utility.

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Happy birthday ROS: A decade of open-source robotics

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OS
OSS

It all started ten years ago. ROS grew out of several early open-source robotic software frameworks, including switchyard by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The same year, legendary research lab and technology incubator Willow Garage hired its first employees: Jonathan Stark, Melonee Wise, Curt Meyers, and John Hsu. You can point to a lot of seminal moments in robotics history, but this is a top contender for the year modern robotics was born.

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Security: Uber, Replacing x86 Firmware, 'IoT' and Chromebook

  • Key Dem calls for FTC to investigate Uber data breach

    A key Democrat is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate a massive Uber breach that released data on 57 million people, as well as the company's delay in reporting the cyber incident.

  • Multiple states launch probes into massive Uber breach
  • Replacing x86 firmware with Linux and Go

    The problem, Minnich said, is that Linux has lost its control of the hardware. Back in the 1990s, when many of us started working with Linux, it controlled everything in the x86 platform. But today there are at least two and a half kernels between Linux and the hardware. Those kernels are proprietary and, not surprisingly, exploit friendly. They run at a higher privilege level than Linux and can manipulate both the hardware and the operating system in various ways. Worse yet, exploits can be written into the flash of the system so that they persist and are difficult or impossible to remove—shredding the motherboard is likely the only way out.

  • Connected sex-toy allows for code-injection attacks on a robot you wrap around your genitals

    However, the links included base-64 encoded versions of the entire blowjob file, making it vulnerable to code-injection attacks. As Lewis notes, "I will leave you to ponder the consequences of having an XSS vulnerability on a page with no framebusting and preauthed connection to a robot wrapped around or inside someones genitals..."

  • Chromebook exploit earns researcher second $100k bounty
    For Google’s bug bounty accountants, lightning just struck twice. In September 2016, an anonymous hacker called Gzob Qq earned $100,000 (£75,000) for reporting a critical “persistent compromise” exploit of Google’s Chrome OS, used by Chromebooks. Twelve months on and the same researcher was wired an identical pay out for reporting – yes! – a second critical persistent compromise of Google’s Chrome OS. By this point you might think Google was regretting its 2014 boast that it could confidently double its maximum payout for Chrome OS hacks to $100,000 because “since we introduced the $50,000 reward, we haven’t had a successful submission.” More likely, it wasn’t regretting it at all because isn’t being told about nasty vulnerabilities the whole point of bug bounties?
  • Why microservices are a security issue
    And why is that? Well, for those of us with a systems security bent, the world is an interesting place at the moment. We're seeing a growth in distributed systems, as bandwidth is cheap and latency low. Add to this the ease of deploying to the cloud, and more architects are beginning to realise that they can break up applications, not just into multiple layers, but also into multiple components within the layer. Load balancers, of course, help with this when the various components in a layer are performing the same job, but the ability to expose different services as small components has led to a growth in the design, implementation, and deployment of microservices.

Lumina 1.4 Desktop Environment Debuts with New Theme Engine and ZFS Integrations

Lumina 1.4.0 is a major release that introduces several new core components, such as the Lumina Theme Engine to provide enhanced theming capabilities for the desktop environment and apps written in the Qt 5 application framework. The Lumina Theme Engine comes with a configuration utility and makes the previous desktop theme system obsolete, though it's possible to migrate your current settings to the new engine. "The backend of this engine is a standardized theme plugin for the Qt5 toolkit, so that all Qt5 applications will now present a unified appearance (if the application does not enforce a specific appearance/theme of it’s own)," said the developer in today's announcement. "Users of the Lumina desktop will automatically have this plugin enabled: no special action is required." Read more

today's leftovers

  • qBittorrent 4.0 Is a Massive Update of the Open-Source BitTorrent Client
    qBittorrent, the open-source and cross-platform BitTorrent client written in Qt for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows systems, has been updated to version 4.0, a major release adding numerous new features and improvements. qBittorrent 4.0 is the first release of the application to drop OS/2 support, as well as support for the old Qt 4 framework as Qt 5.5.1 or later is now required to run it on all supported platforms. It also brings a new logo and a new SVG-based icon theme can be easily scaled. Lots of other cosmetic changes are present in this release, and the WebGUI received multiple enhancements.
  • FFmpeg Continues Working Its "NVDEC" NVIDIA Video Decoding Into Shape
    Earlier this month the FFmpeg project landed its initial NVDEC NVIDIA video decoding support after already supporting NVENC for video encoding. These new NVIDIA APIs for encode/decode are part of the company's Video Codec SDK with CUDA and is the successor to the long-used VDPAU video decoding on NVIDIA Linux boxes. That NVDEC support has continued getting into shape.
  • Kobo firmware 4.6.10075 mega update (KSM, nickel patch, ssh, fonts)
    A new firmware for the Kobo ebook reader came out and I adjusted the mega update pack to use it. According to the comments in the firmware thread it is working faster than previous releases. The most incredible change though is the update from wpa_supplicant 0.7.1 (around 2010) to 2.7-devel (current). Wow.
  • 3.5-inch Apollo Lake SBC has dual mini-PCIe slots and triple displays
    Avalue’s Linux-friendly, 3.5-inch “ECM-APL2” SBC features Apollo Lake SoCs, 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 2x mini-PCIe, triple displays, and optional -40 to 85°C. Avalue’s 3.5-inch, Apollo Lake based ECM-APL single-board computer was announced a year ago, shortly after Intel unveiled its Apollo Lake generation. Now it has followed up with an ECM-APL2 3.5-incher with a slightly different, and reduced, feature set.
  • 7 Best Android Office Apps To Meet Your Productivity Needs
    Office application is an essential suite that allows you to create powerful spreadsheets, documents, presentations, etc., on a smartphone. Moreover, Android office apps come with cloud integration so that you can directly access the reports from the cloud, edit them, or save them online. To meet the productivity need of Android users, the Play Store offers an extensive collection of Android office apps. But, we have saved you the hassle of going through each one of them and provided you a list of the best office apps for Android. The apps that we have picked are all free, although some do have Pro version or extra features available for in-app purchases. You can also refer to this list if you’re looking for Microsoft Office alternatives for your PC.

Servers and Red Hat