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LXQt 0.8 Is Being Released Soon

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OS
KDE

Fans of LXQt, the merge of the Qt version of LXDE along with the Razor-qt desktop project, will soon see out a big update.

LXQt 0.8.0 is being readied for release as the latest of this next-generation lightweight desktop environment. Heavy development continues on LXQt and recently the most important bugs have been addressed for the upcoming LXQt 0.8 milestone. Holding back the LXQt 0.8 release is finishing the language translations and figuring out what to do about their RandR utility.

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Why the operating system matters in a containerized world

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OS

Applications running in Linux containers are isolated within a single copy of the operating system running on a physical server. This approach stands in contrast to hypervisor-based virtualization in which each application is bound to a complete copy of a guest operating system and communicates with the hardware through the intervening hypervisor. As a result, containers consume very few system resources such as memory and impose essentially no performance overhead on the application.

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DemocracyOS promotes civic engagement on both sides

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OS
Interviews

Using DemocracyOS represents a challenge for any institution used to make decisions in the traditional way. It is designed for governments to open themselves up to citizen engagement, but power is usually conservative. But the biggest challenge is probably to fight against the presumption that citizens are naturally apathetic and shun commitment. Our challenge is cultural, not technological.

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Release: SymphonyOS 14.1 Now Available

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OS
GNU
Linux

We are happy to announce the release of SymphonyOS 14.1, the second release in the Phoenix series. This release includes several bugfixes over the 14.0 developer preview from earlier this year including. Update to an Ubuntu 14.04 base system Improved handling of menu generation and proper updating of the menu system when system changes occur Improvements to the logout functionality Replacement of Slim DM with LightDM Security updates to the local httpd Fixes to installation from DVD While this new release still receives a beta title and should not be considered stable it is a large step forward and we hope...

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Kernel Developers Begin Work On CPPC Processor Performance Controls

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OS

Ashwin Chaugule of Linaro has announced his experimental kernel implementation of Collaborative Processor Performance Controls (CPPC) that is part of the ACPI 5.1 specification.

An increasing amount of x86 and ARM64 hardware is expected in the marketplace soon that supports CPPC, which is a new interface for CPU performance control between the OS and platform, while right now it's just exposed by a limited number of systems. Here's more from Ashwin's description:
CPPC is the new interface for CPU performance control between the OS and the platform defined in ACPI 5.0+. The interface is built on an abstract representation of CPU performance rather than raw frequency.

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Zorin OS 9 Business Is a Good Replacement for Companies That Don't Want to Pay for Windows

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OS
GNU
Linux

The final version of Zorin OS 9 Business, an Ubuntu-based operating system aimed at Windows users who are switching over to Linux, has been released and is available for purchase.

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elementary OS Freya Beta Is Out, Still the Most Beautiful OS in the World

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OS

“Freya inherits core components from Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS such as the Linux kernel (version 3.13), hardware drivers, and graphics stack. This includes support for EFI stub-loading, which is a kernel feature that enables booting directly from (U)EFI, without the need for an additional bootloader such as GRUB. Ubiquity does not yet have support for this configuration, but one of our developers has created a guide for a GRUB-free install of Freya on modern Mac computers using rEFInd.”

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Interview With KeyCoin – The Coin That’s Also an Operating System

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OS
Linux
Debian

KeyCoin is today’s Random Coin of the Day for its extensive development, including a full on customized version of TailsOS, the Linux distribution where Tor protects all communication. The team also has trading tools and an encrypted messaging system in the works along with a few other amazing features.

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Free Linux Firewall OS IPFire 2.15 Core 81 Features Gets Multiple Fixes

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OS
GNU
Linux
Security

Michael Tremer, a developer for the ipfire.org team, has announced that IPFire 2.13 Core 81, a new stable build of the popular Linux-based firewall distribution, bringing quite a few security fixes.

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Peppermint OS 5: Light, Refreshing Linux

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OS
Linux

Using the Ice technology in the Peppermint OS is much like launching an app on an Android phone or tablet. For example, I can launch Google Docs, Gmail, Twitter, Yahoo Mail, YouTube, Pandora or Facebook as if they were self-contained apps on a mobile device -- but these pseudo apps never need updating. Ice easily creates a menu entry to launch any website or application as if it were installed.

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Leftovers: BSD

Security Leftovers

  • Stop using SHA1 encryption: It’s now completely unsafe, Google proves
    Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm's use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible. SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made. However, despite these efforts to phase out the use of SHA-1 in some areas, the algorithm is still fairly widely used to validate credit card transactions, electronic documents, email PGP/GPG signatures, open-source software repositories, backups and software updates.
  • on pgp
    First and foremost I have to pay respect to PGP, it was an important weapon in the first cryptowar. It has helped many whistleblowers and dissidents. It is software with quite interesting history, if all the cryptograms could tell... PGP is also deeply misunderstood, it is a highly successful political tool. It was essential in getting crypto out to the people. In my view PGP is not dead, it's just old and misunderstood and needs to be retired in honor. However the world has changed from the internet happy times of the '90s, from a passive adversary to many active ones - with cheap commercially available malware as turn-key-solutions, intrusive apps, malware, NSLs, gag orders, etc.
  • Cloudflare’s Cloudbleed is the worst privacy leak in recent Internet history
    Cloudflare revealed today that, for months, all of its protected websites were potentially leaking private information across the Internet. Specifically, Cloudflare’s reverse proxies were dumping uninitialized memory; that is to say, bleeding private data. The issue, termed Cloudbleed by some (but not its discoverer Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero), is the greatest privacy leak of 2017 and the year has just started. For months, since 2016-09-22 by their own admission, CloudFlare has been leaking private information through Cloudbleed. Basically, random data from random sites (again, it’s worth mentioning that every site that used CloudFlare in the last half year should be considered to having fallen victim to this) would be randomly distributed across the open Internet, and then indefinitely cached along the way.
  • Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data
    Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users. A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time by making Web requests to affected websites and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines. "The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines," Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. "We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence."

Security Leftovers

  • Change all the passwords (again)
    Looks like it is time to change all the passwords again. There’s a tiny little flaw in a CDN used … everywhere, it seems.
  • Today's leading causes of DDoS attacks [Ed: The so-called 'Internet of things' (crappy devices with identical passwords) is a mess; programmers to blame, not Linux]
    Of the most recent mega 100Gbps attacks in the last quarter, most of them were directly attributed to the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet works by exploiting the weak security on many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program finds its victims by constantly scanning the internet for IoT devices, which use factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords.
  • How to Set Up An SSL Certificate on Your Website [via "Steps To Secure Your Website With An SSL Certificate"]
  • SHA-1 is dead, long live SHA-1!
    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard that some researchers managed to create a SHA-1 collision. The short story as to why this matters is the whole purpose of a hashing algorithm is to make it impossible to generate collisions on purpose. Unfortunately though impossible things are usually also impossible so in reality we just make sure it’s really really hard to generate a collision. Thanks to Moore’s Law, hard things don’t stay hard forever. This is why MD5 had to go live on a farm out in the country, and we’re not allowed to see it anymore … because it’s having too much fun. SHA-1 will get to join it soon.
  • SHA1 collision via ASCII art
    Happy SHA1 collision day everybody! If you extract the differences between the good.pdf and bad.pdf attached to the paper, you'll find it all comes down to a small ~128 byte chunk of random-looking binary data that varies between the files.
  • PayThink Knowledge is power in fighting new Android attack bot
    Android users and apps have become a major part of payments and financial services, carrying an increased risk for web crime. It is estimated that there are 107.7 million Android Smartphone users in the U.S. who have downloaded more than 65 million apps from the Google App Store, and each one of them represents a smorgasbord of opportunity for hackers to steal user credentials and other information.
  • Red Hat: 'use after free' vulnerability found in Linux kernel's DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation
    Red Hat Product Security has published details of an "important" security vulnerability in the Linux kernel. The IPv6 implementation of the DCCP protocol means that it is possible for a local, unprivileged user to alter kernel memory and escalate their privileges. Known as the "use-after-free" flaw, CVE-2017-6074 affects a number of Red Hat products including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Openshift Online v2. Mitigating factors include the requirement for a potential attacker to have access to a local account on a machine, and for IPV6 to be enabled, but it is still something that will be of concern to Linux users. Describing the vulnerability, Red Hat says: "This flaw allows an attacker with an account on the local system to potentially elevate privileges. This class of flaw is commonly referred to as UAF (Use After Free.) Flaws of this nature are generally exploited by exercising a code path that accesses memory via a pointer that no longer references an in use allocation due to an earlier free() operation. In this specific issue, the flaw exists in the DCCP networking code and can be reached by a malicious actor with sufficient access to initiate a DCCP network connection on any local interface. Successful exploitation may result in crashing of the host kernel, potential execution of code in the context of the host kernel or other escalation of privilege by modifying kernel memory structures."

Android Leftovers