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The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board election

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The Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory Board provides the development community (primarily the kernel development community) with a voice in the Foundation's decision-making process. Among other things, the TAB chair holds a seat on the Foundation's board of directors. The next TAB election will be held on November 2 at the Kernel Summit in Santa Fe, NM; five TAB members (½ of the total) will be selected there. The nomination process is open until voting begins; anybody interested in serving on the TAB is encouraged to throw their hat into the ring.

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Remote Linux Support Software: Top Picks for Linux Support

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Having remote support for Linux work with one release, then completely stopping Linux support with the next application release is a frustrating experience. Sometime ago, we watched this happen with Splashtop. What's even lazier on their part, is that they can't be bothered to remove the obsolete Linux packages.

Then you had options like Mikogo. They went from supporting remote support for Linux users to acknowledging in a blog post that this is no longer the case. To be fair, the software is still available if you know where to look for it. However it's not a good idea to rely on unsupported software.

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From There to Here (But Not Back Again)

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Red Hat

Red Hat Product Security recently celebrated our 15th anniversary this summer and while I cannot claim to have been with Red Hat for that long (although I’m coming up on 8 years myself), I’ve watched the changes from the “0day” of the Red Hat Security Response Team to today. In fact, our SRT was the basis for the security team that Mandrakesoft started back in the day.

In 1999, I started working for Mandrakesoft, primarily as a packager/maintainer. The offer came, I suspect, because of the amount of time I spent volunteering to maintain packages in the distribution. I also was writing articles for TechRepublic at the time, so I also ended up being responsible for some areas of documentation, contributing to the manual we shipped with every boxed set we sold (remember when you bought these things off the shelf?).

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Intel Cache Allocation Technology / RDT Still Baking For Linux

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Not mentioned in my earlier features you won't find in the Linux 4.9 mainline kernel is support for Intel's Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) but at least it was revised this weekend in still working towards mainline integration.

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Also: Intel Sandy Bridge Graphics Haven't Gotten Faster In Recent Years

Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 "Erik" & 8.15 "Nev" Receive Latest Debian Security Updates

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After releasing the first Test build of the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 "Nev" operating system a couple of days ago, today, October 23, 2016, the Parsix GNU/Linux development team announced the availability of new security updates for all supported Parsix GNU/Linux releases.

Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 "Erik" is the current stable release of the Debian-based operating system, and it relies on the Debian Stable (Debian GNU/Linux 8 "Jessie") software repositories. On the other hand Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 "Nev" is the next major version, which right now is in development, but receives the same updates as the former.

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Chakra GNU/Linux Users Receive KDE Plasma 5.8.2 and KDE Apps 16.08.2, Lots More

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With great pleasure, Chakra GNU/Linux developers Neofytos Kolokotronis informed the community about the latest open source software projects and technologies that landed in the stable repositories of the distribution originally based on Arch Linux.

Just like Arch Linux, Chakra GNU/Linux is a rolling operating system, which means that users always receive the latest updates without having to download a new ISO image and reinstall. And today, we're happy to inform our Chakra GNU/Linux users that they've received the newest KDE Plasma 5.8.2 LTS desktop environment.

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Linux 4.9-rc2

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  • Linux 4.9-rc2

    I'm back on my usual Sunday afternoon release schedule, and 4.9-rc2 is out.

    My favorite new feature that I called out in the rc1 announcement (the
    virtually mapped stacks) is possibly implicated in some crashes that
    Dave Jones has been trying to figure out, so if you want to be helpful
    and try to see if you can give more data, please make sure to enable

    .. and on the other hand, if you want to just not have to worry about
    _that_ particular issue, disable the virtually mapped stacks it for
    now, but please do help test.

    Because 4.9 is obviously shaping up to be a big release (I haven't
    done the actual stats yet, but I think it's the biggest in number of
    commits we've ever had), and I think Greg is also planning on making
    it an LTS release. The two may be related, with people pushing to get
    their stuff ready. Regardless, the more people who help test, and the
    earlier in the rc series those people start testing, the better off
    we'll be. Hint hint.

    Ok, enough about that. rc2 itself isn't huge, but that's a fairly
    common pattern: either people just take a breather after the merge
    window, or it simply takes a while for the fallout of new code to be
    found, so rc2 is usually a fairly small rc.

    But we have stuff pretty much all over the map: drivers dominate (gpu
    drivers stand out, but there's ipmi, clocksource, mmc, pinctrl, HID,
    scsi, nvme .. you name it). Add some architecture updates (x86 and
    arm64) and a few filesystems (ext4, nfs, ceph, f2fs), and some VM
    cleanups and one big fix, and you've covered most of it.

    The appended shortlog gives the details, and for even more detail you
    can always go to the git tree itself.


  • Linus Torvalds Announces the Second Release Candidate of Linux Kernel 4.9 LTS

    It's still Sunday in the US, which means that it's time for you to take yet another RC (Release Candidate) milestone of the upcoming Linux 4.9 kernel release for a test drive.

    That's right, Linus Torvalds just announced the second Release Candidate for Linux kernel 4.9, which lands eight days after the first one and appears to be fairly normal development snapshot that includes lots of updated drivers, mostly for GPU, but also HID, SCSI, MMC, PINCTRL, IMPI, and clocksource, various x86 and ARM64 architecture updates, improvemnts to the EXT4, F2FS, Ceph, and NFS filesystems, and some VM cleanups.

  • Linux 4.9-rc2 Kernel Released

    Linux 4.9-rc2 is now available as the latest test release of this forthcoming kernel update.

    Over the past week there's been a fair number of merges of bug/regression fixes for this stage of Linux 4.9 development, one week since the closure of the merge window.

    We've already written a lot about Linux 4.9, including our detailed Linux 4.9 feature overview for those interested in the fun changes of this next kernel release.

Netrunner Core 16.09 "Avalon" Is Based on Debian GNU/Linux 8, KDE Plasma 5.7.5

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Today, October 23, 2016, the development team behind the Debian-based Netrunner GNU/Linux distribution proudly announced the release of Netrunner Core 16.09 "Avalon."

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Kernel Space/Linux

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  • Linux 4.9's Efficient BPF-based Profiler

    Linux 4.9 skips needing the file entirely, and its associated overheads. I wrote about this as a missing BPF feature in March. It is now done.

  • UBIFS Working On File Encryption Support

    Following EXT4 file-system encryption and F2FS per-file encryption support, the UBIFS file-system is also bringing in encryption support built off this fscrypto framework used by EXT4/F2FS.

    In making use of fscrypto, the UBIFS file-system encryption support is similar to the EXT4/F2FS implementations and supports not only encrypting the file contents but also the file name. In making use of this framework, it only took around one thousand lines of new code to make it happen from the kernel-side while the user-space changes for supporting UBIFS encryption are still baking. UBIFS for those out of the look is the Unsorted Block Image File-System that's built atop UBI and designed for raw flash memory media.

  • An important set of stable kernel updates
  • Linux Kernels 3.16.38, 3.12.66, 3.10.104, and 3.2.83 Patched Against "Dirty COW"

    We reported the other day that an ancient bug, which existed in the Linux kernel since 2005, was patched in several recent updates, namely Linux kernel 4.8.3, Linux kernel 4.7.9, and Linux kernel 4.4.26 LTS.

    One day later, the maintainers of other supported Linux kernel branches patched the bug, which is dubbed by researchers as "Dirty COW" and documented as CVE-2016-5195. As such, today we'd like to inform those of running GNU/Linux distributions powered by kernels from the Linux 3.16, 3.12, 3.10, and 3.2 series that new updates are available for their systems.

  • Linux users warned over serious vulnerability affecting many versions
  • MuQSS - The Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler v0.112

    It's getting close now to the point where it can replace BFS in -ck releases. Thanks to the many people testing and reporting back, some other misbehaviours were discovered and their associated fixes have been committed.

  • Linux Raid mdadm md0

    Linux Raid is the de-facto way for decades in the linux-world on how to create and use a software raid. RAID stands for: Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Some people use the I for inexpensive disks, I guess that works too!

  • On Linux kernel maintainer scalability

    LWN's traditional development statistics article for the 4.6 development cycle ended with a statement that the process was running smoothly and that there were no process scalability issues in sight. Wolfram Sang started his 2016 LinuxCon Europe talk by taking issue with that claim. He thinks that there are indeed scalability problems in the kernel's development process. A look at his argument is of interest, especially when contrasted with another recent talk on maintainer scalability.

  • First comparison of Vulkan API vs OpenGL ES API on ARM
  • Prime Indicator Plus Makes It Easy To Switch Between Nvidia And Intel Graphics (Nvidia Optimus)

    The original Prime Indicator hasn't been updated since February, 2015. André Brait forked the indicator (while also using code from the Linux Mint version), improving it with both new functionality and bug fixes, and the new app is called Prime Indicator Plus.

    Using the nvidia-prime package, Ubuntu users can switch between Intel and Nvidia graphics by using Nvidia Settings (under PRIME Profiles), which then requires restarting the session (logout/login) to apply the changes. Prime Indicator makes this easier, by allowing you to switch graphics from the indicator menu, including triggering the logout.

  • Features You Will Not Find In The Mesa 13.0 Release

    While Mesa 13.0 is coming along for release next month with exciting features like OpenGL 4.5 for Intel, unofficial GL 4.4/4.5 for RadeonSI/NVC0, and the addition of the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver, there is some functionality that sadly won't be found in this release.

    Below are some features/functionality not currently found in Mesa 13.0. Some of the mentioned items have patches floating on the mailing list that weren't merged in time while other items are more along the lines of pipe-dreams that would have been fun to see in Mesa for 2016.

  • Crucial MX300: Good Linux Performance, 525GB SSD For Only $120 USD
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Intel Cache Allocation Technology / RDT Still Baking For Linux

Not mentioned in my earlier features you won't find in the Linux 4.9 mainline kernel is support for Intel's Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) but at least it was revised this weekend in still working towards mainline integration. Read more Also: Intel Sandy Bridge Graphics Haven't Gotten Faster In Recent Years

Distributing encryption software may break the law

Developers, distributors, and users of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) often face a host of legal issues which they need to keep in mind. Although areas of law such as copyright, trademark, and patents are frequently discussed, these are not the only legal concerns for FOSS. One area that often escapes notice is export controls. It may come as a surprise that sharing software that performs or uses cryptographic functions on a public website could be a violation of U.S. export control law. Export controls is a term for the various legal rules which together have the effect of placing restrictions, conditions, or even wholesale prohibitions on certain types of export as a means to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Export control has a long history in the United States that goes back to the Revolutionary War with an embargo of trade with Great Britain by the First Continental Congress. The modern United States export control regime includes the Department of State's regulations covering export of munitions, the Treasury Department's enforcement of United States' foreign embargoes and sanctions regimes, and the Department of Commerce's regulations applying to exports of "dual-use" items, i.e. items which have civil applications as well as terrorism, military, or weapons of mass destruction-related applications. Read more