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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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OS: OpenIndiana and ROS

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OS
  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released With MATE 1.18 Desktop

    OpenIndiana "Hipster" 2017.10 is now available as the OpenSolaris-derived operating system using the Illumos kernel build.

    OpenIndiana 2017.10 pulls in the MATE 1.18 desktop environment, upgrades to the X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, their text-based installer can now support installing to an existing ZFS pool, the cluster suite was updated, there is ABI compatibility with Solaris 10 Update 10 binaries, and they have begun removing GNOME 2 packages in favor of MATE.

  • The Origin Story of ROS, the Linux of Robotics

    Ten years ago, while struggling to bring the vision of the “Linux of Robotics” to reality, I was inspired by the origin stories of other transformative endeavors. In this post I want to share some untold parts of the early story of the Robot Operating System, or ROS, to hopefully inspire those of you currently pursuing your “crazy” ideas.

OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released with Latest X.Org Server, MATE 1.18 Desktop

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OS

The latest release, OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 arrived today with numerous changes and up-to-date components, including the latest X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server and corresponding libraries and drivers, ABI compatibility for using Solaris 10u10 binaries, as well as updated cluster suite and text installer.

"Text installer now can perform basic OpenIndiana installation to existing ZFS pool," reads today's announcement. "The option is considered advanced and should be used with care, but allows you to install minimal OI system to existing pool. To use it, press F5 on 'Welcome' screen."

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Solus 4 Linux OS to Bring Back Wayland Support, MATE Edition Will Get Some Love

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OS

First off, it looks like the Solus devs plan to re-implement support for the next-generation Wayland display server in their GNU/Linux distribution, though the ISO images will come with the 2D X.Org graphics driver enabled by default and use open source drivers for Nvidia GPUs as they want to further improve Nvidia Optimus.

"We're working to improve the NVIDIA situation and investigating a switch to libglvnd, enabling of wayland-egl/eglstreams, etc.," reads today's announcement. "We've moved back to open drivers to allow Ikey to further research NVIDIA Optimus. [...] We have no timeline on this but we're actively looking into it!"

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Turris MOX is a Modular & Open Source Router

A company from the Czech Republic is trying to raise money to bring a modular and open source router to the public. It has a number of features that can’t be found in the current line up of routers available for purchase. Read more

Openwashing: Intel, Apple, and Microsoft

  • The Several Faces of Intel Compilers [Ed: It says that this so-called 'article' is "sponsored", so IDG is now running ads as 'articles'. Not even pretense about whether it's journalism or not.]
  • FoundationDB Goes Open Source [Ed: "FoundationDB gave Apple a foothold in the crowded NoSQL database sector," it says and this is what this openwashing is all about. It's helping Apple in spreading its proprietary frameworks and surveillance 'clouds'.]
  • Linux Everywhere (Premium) [Ed: "Linux Everywhere," says longtime Microsoft propagandist, in service (IMHO) of the latest EEE strategy. Don't forget who's still in charge.]

Android Leftovers

An introduction to the GNU Core Utilities

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. Read more