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Open Source Operating Systems: FreeRTOS and Genode OS

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OS
OSS
  • Announcing FreeRTOS Kernel Version 10

    The number of connected IoT devices worldwide is in the billions and growing rapidly. Many of these edge devices – from fitness trackers to sensors to washing machines to automotive transmissions – use low-cost, low-powered microcontrollers with extremely limited memory and compute capability. For some IoT use cases, very predictable response times can also be critical (think: automotive). A standard operating system won’t work here: you need a real-time operating system (RTOS) that works in very constrained systems.

  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 17.11

    In contrast to most releases, which are focused on one or two major themes, the development during the release cycle of version 17.11 was almost entirely driven by the practical use of Genode as a day-to-day OS by the entire staff of Genode Labs. The basis of this endeavor is an evolving general-purpose system scenario - dubbed "sculpt" - that is planned as an official feature for the next release 18.02. The name "sculpt" hints at the approach to start with a minimalistic generic live system that can be interactively shaped into a desktop scenario by the user without any reboot. This is made possible by combining Genode's unique dynamic reconfiguration concept with the recently introduced package management, our custom GUI stack, and the many ready-to-use device-driver components that we developed over the past years.

  • Genode OS 17.11 Reworks Its "Nitpicker" GUI Server

    Genode is the open-source operating system framework designed for "highly secure" special-purpose operating systems from embedded platforms to desktops while subscribing to a Unix philosophy and going for an L4 micro-kernel approach. The Genode OS 17.11 represents another quarter's worth of changes.

    A lot of the work represented by Genode OS 17.11 is on beating the operating system platform into shape to be a day-to-day OS. Among the changes to find is its GUI stack being reworked, scroll-wheel emulation and pointer acceleration finally, other input handling improvements, all x86 micro-kernels now using the GRUB2 boot-loader, Nim programming language usage, and more.

Deepin 15.5 Linux OS Debuts with HiDPI and Flatpak Support, Fingerprint Scanning

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OS
Linux

Known as one of the most beautiful GNU/Linux distributions, Deepin provides a safe, secure, reliable, and easy-to-use computer operating system for users of all ages and genre. The latest release, Deepin 15.5, is now available for download bringing full support for HiDPI displays, as well as support for the Flatpak universal binary format.

"Deepin 15.5 mainly added HiDPI, fingerprint scanning and Flatpak application format. Deepin Desktop Environment and various components fully support the adaptation of HiDPI, auto-identify the appropriate resolution for HiDPI. The interface, fonts and icons are shown more clearly and harmoniously," reads today's announcement.

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Qubes OS 4.0-rc3 has been released!

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OS
Security

We’re pleased to announce the third release candidate for Qubes 4.0! Our goal for this release candidate is to improve the stability and reliability of Qubes 4.0, so we’ve prioritized fixing known bugs over introducing new features. Many of the bugs discovered in our previous release candidate are now resolved. A full list of the Qubes 4.0 issues closed so far is available here.

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Photon Could Be Your New Favorite Container OS

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OS

Containers are all the rage, and with good reason. As discussed previously, containers allow you to quickly and easily deploy new services and applications onto your network, without requiring too much in the way of added system resources. Containers are more cost-effective than using dedicated hardware or virtual machines, and they’re easier to update and reuse.

Best of all, containers love Linux (and vice versa). Without much trouble or time, you can get a Linux server up and running with Docker and deploying containers. But, which Linux distribution is best suited for the deployment of your containers? There are a lot of options. You could go with a standard Ubuntu Server platform (which makes installing Docker and deploying containers incredibly easy), or you could opt for a lighter weight distribution — one geared specifically for the purpose of deploying containers.

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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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Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • Debian XU4 images updated
    I've updated my Debian images for the ODROID XU4; the newest build was done before stretch release, and a lot of minor adjustments have happened since then.
  • Parrot 4.0 Ethical Hacking Linux Distro Released
  • FBI says Russians hacked [sic] hundreds of thousands of home and office routers

    The warning followed a court order Wednesday that allowed the FBI to seize a website that the hackers [sic] planned to use to give instructions to the routers. Though that cut off malicious communications, it still left the routers infected, and Friday’s warning was aimed at cleaning up those machines.

  • FBI tells router users to reboot now to kill malware infecting 500k devices

    Researchers from Cisco’s Talos security team first disclosed the existence of the malware on Wednesday. The detailed report said the malware infected more than 500,000 devices made by Linksys, Mikrotik, Netgear, QNAP, and TP-Link. Known as VPNFilter, the malware allowed attackers to collect communications, launch attacks on others, and permanently destroy the devices with a single command. The report said the malware was developed by hackers [sic] working for an advanced nation, possibly Russia, and advised users of affected router models to perform a factory reset, or at a minimum to reboot.

Software and Games: KStars, Opera, OpenStack, MariaDB and More

  • KStars 2.9.6 is Released!
    I'm glad to announce the release of KStars 2.9.6 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This is a minor bugfix release.
  • Opera 54 Browser Enters Beta with News on the Speed Dial, Update & Recovery Menu
    Opera has promoted its upcoming Opera 54 web browser to the beta channel, giving us a glimpse of what to expect from the final version, due for release sometime next month. Based on the open-source Chromium 67.0.3396.18 web browser, Opera 54 recently entered beta stages of development with a plethora of new features and improvements, among which we can mention a new Update & Recovery Opera menu page that makes it easier for users to update the web browser and reset it to its default state, including the ability to clear temporary data, such as cookies.
  • OpenStack at a Crossroads
    The OpenStack of a few years ago is dead, however. What has emerged from the hype cycle is a materially different foundation, mission and software stack, with a great deal of change still ahead of it.
  • The OpenStack Foundation grows beyond OpenStack
    The OpenStack Foundation has made a considerable change to its development process and governance structure by introducing two open source projects that are not part of the OpenStack cloud platform. This week, the organization launched version 1.0 of Kata Containers - a runtime system with an emphasis on speed and security, enabling users to boot a VM in as little as five seconds - and introduced a brand new project called Zuul, spinning out the software development and integration platform that has been used by the OpenStack community internally since 2012.
  • Oracle nemesis MariaDB tries to lure enterprise folk with TX 3.0
    Open-source database biz MariaDB has upped the ante in its war against Oracle, promising enterprise customers better compatibility with – and easier migration from – Big Red. The Finnish firm's latest offering, MariaDB TX 3.0, released for GA today, extends the number of use cases to include temporal processing and advanced data protection for sensitive and personally identifiable information, as well as Oracle compatibility. The broad aim is to tap into customers' grumbles over legacy vendor lock-in, while convincing the bigger customers that they can move to an open-source database without compromising performance.
  • The Humble Monthly Bundle just added two great Linux games
    For those that are interested, you can secure a copy of two great Linux games in the current Humble Monthly Bundle. Just added today are: Get Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth
  • SC-Controller 0.4.3 Released, Support Steam Controller & Sony DS4 Over Bluetooth
    For those looking to manage your Steam Controller and other supported Linux gaming peripheral input devices outside of Steam, there is a new release of the independently-developed SC-Controller Linux user-space software. While Linux 4.18 is bringing the Steam Controller kernel driver, for those looking for a Steam Controller solution right now to enjoy this excellent gaming controller for now outside of Steam, SC-Controller fills that void.

Huawei, Fuchsia and More

  • Huawei will no longer allow bootloader unlocking (Update: Explanation from Huawei)

    "In order to deliver the best user experience and prevent users from experiencing possible issues that could arise from ROM flashing, including system failure, stuttering, worsened battery performance, and risk of data being compromised, Huawei will cease providing bootloader unlock codes for devices launched after May 25, 2018. [...]"

  • Fuchsia Friday: How ad targeting might be a hidden cost of Fuchsia’s structure
     

    Fuchsia, by its nature, comes with the potential for a handful of new opportunities for ad targeting. Let’s peer into the dark side of Fuchsia’s innovative features.

  • iPhone Quarter, ZTE Troubles, Facebook Troubles, Nokia Come-back
     

    So the past month or two? The Quarterly results cycle came in. The item often of great interest is the Apple iPhone performance. 52.2 million iPhones shipped and that gives roughly a flat market share compared to the year before, so about 14%-15%. I'll come and do the full math later of the quarterly data. That race is no longer in any way interesting.

    But two Top 10 smartphone brands ARE in the news. One who is facing imminent death and the other who is making a miraculous return-from-dead. So imminent death and current Top 10 brand first. ZTE. The Trump administration has put a massive squeeze on ZTE and the company is in serious trouble of imminent collapse. Then bizarrely, Trump reversed course and felt he needed to protect CHINESE employment (???) and after yet another typical Trump-mess, we now are at a Never-Neverland where Trump's own party Republicans are revolting against their President and well, ZTE may end up a casualty of this mess. We'll keep an eye on it.

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