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What Is Kali Linux, and Do You Need It?

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

If you’ve heard a 13-year-old would-be hacker talking about how 1337 they are, chances are, Kali Linux came up. Despite it’s script kiddie reputation, Kali is actually a real tool (or set of tools) for security professionals.

Kali is a Linux distribution based on Debian. Its goal is simple; include as many penetration and security audit tools as possible in one convenient package. Kali delivers, too. Many of the best open-source tools for conducting security tests are collected and ready to use.

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Freespire 3.0.6.5 released

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Today we are releasing Freespire 3.0.6.5 which is a bug fix and incremental release of the Freespire 3.0 series. We also added some features and applications that users wanted us to include in the distribution. With this release we fixed several issues.

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Automation controller debuts Linux-based PLCnext software

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Phoenix Contact’s rugged, dual Cortex-A9 based “PLCnext AXC F 2152” controller for its Axioline F I/O field bus is the first field controller designed to run Phoenix’s Linux-based PLCnext control stack, which enables PLC control using high-level languages.

Today’s embedded engineers have a wider breadth of tech knowledge than their parents’ generation, but they are less likely to know the intricacies of the old-school Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and field bus technologies that still drive much of the industrial automation world. As reported in Design & Control, Phoenix Contacts decided to reach out to younger engineers by providing a Real-Time Linux-based PLCnext Technology field controller stack, which supports multiple high-end programming languages in addition to traditional IEC 61131 PLC programming. A year after announcing PLCnext, Phoenix has launched the first controller based on the technology.

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Open Hardware/Modding: RISC-V, PIXO Pixel, Arduino

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Linux
Hardware
  • RISC-V gains momentum as it moves from MCUs to Linux-friendly SoCs

    The open source RISC-V ISA has evolved quickly into silicon, thanks to help from companies like SiFive and Microsemi. SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed board should arrive less than two years after SiFive announced its first Linux-driven Freedom SoCs.

    It’s been two years since the open source RISC-V architecture emerged from computer labs at UC Berkeley and elsewhere and began appearing in soft-core implementations designed for FPGAs, and over a year since the first commercial silicon arrived. So far, the focus has primarily been on MCU-like processors, but last October, SiFive announced the first Linux-driven RISC-V SoC with its quad-core, 64-bit bit Freedom U540 (AKA U54-MC Coreplex). A few days ago at FOSDEM, SiFive opened pre-sales for an open source HiFive Unleashed SBC that showcases the U540.

  • SiFive releases Linux SoC processor and board

    SiFive Inc. (San Mateo, Calif.), a startup that is offering processor cores that comply with the RISC-V open source architecture, has launched a Linux-capable RISC-V based processor chip, the Freedom U540 SoC.

  • Chip Embarks As First Linux-Capable RISC-V Based SoC

    SiFive launches what it calls the industry's first Linux-capable RISC-V based processor SoC. The company recently demonstrated the first real-world use of the HiFive Unleashed board featuring the Freedom U540 SoC, based on its U54-MC Core IP. During the demo, SiFive provided updates on the RISC-V Linux effort, surprising attendees with an announcement that the presentation had been run on the HiFive Unleashed development board. With the availability of the HiFive Unleashed board and Freedom U540 SoC, SiFive has brought to market the first multicore RISC-V chip designed for commercialization, and now offers the industry's widest array of RISC-V based Core IP.

  • PIXO Pixel - Open Source LED Display for Makers

    Sean Hodgins is an inventor and maker interested in purposing current technologies in new and different ways. He’s currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for the PIXO Pixel, an open source RGB display that controls 256 LEDs.

  • AFRL, NextFlex leverage open-source community to create flexible circuit system

    Lightweight, low-cost and flexible electronic systems are the key to next-generation smart technologies for military as well as consumer and commercial applications.

    An Air Force Research Laboratory-led project in conjunction with NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Institute, has resulted in the first ever, functional samples of flexible Arduino circuit board systems made by using a flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing process, setting the stage for smart technologies for the internet of things and sensor applications like wearable devices.

Best lightweight Linux distro of 2018

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Linux

Modern Linux distros are designed to appeal to a large number of users who run modern hardware.

As a result, they have become too bloated for older machines, even if you manually delete files. Without a healthy dollop of system memory and an extra core or two, these distros may not deliver the best performance.

Thankfully, there are many lightweight distros, trimmed and tweaked by expert hands, which can be used to breathe new life into older hardware.

But there's one caveat to bear in mind when working with lightweight distros – they usually manage to support ancient kit by cutting away just about everything you take for granted, such as wizards and scripts which make everyday tasks easier.

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It’s launch day for Sylabs: Promoting portable high-performance containers for Linux

Filed under
Linux
OSS

Today is launch day for Sylabs — a new company focused on promoting Singularity within the enterprise and high-performance computing (HPC) environments and on advancing the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), machine/deep learning, and advanced analytics.

And while it's launch day for Sylabs, it's not launch day for the technology it will be promoting. Singularity has already made great strides for HPC and has given Linux itself more prominence in HPC as it has moved more deeply into the areas of scientific and enterprise computing. With its roots at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Singularity is already providing a platform for a lot of heavy-duty scientific research and is expected to move into many other areas, such as machine learning, and may even change the way some difficult analytical problems are approached.

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Devices: Project Things and More

Filed under
Linux
  • Mozilla Announces Project Things, ZFS Version 0.7.6, Kali Linux New Release and More

    Mozilla announced Project Things yesterday, "an open framework for connecting your devices to the web". According to the Mozilla Blog, "We kicked off 'Project Things', with the goal of building a decentralized 'Internet of Things' that is focused on security, privacy, and interoperability."

  • Lars and the Real Internet of Things - Part 1

    First, though, my history with home automation:

    When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I had an analog alarm clock with an electrical outlet on the back labeled "coffee". About ten minutes before the alarm would go off, it would turn on the power to the outlet. This was apparently to start a coffee maker that had been setup the night before. I, instead, used the outlet to turn on my record player so I could wake to music of my own selection. Ten years after the premier of the Jetsons automated utopia, this was the extent of home automation available to the average consumer.

    By the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the landscape changed in consumer home automation. A Scottish electronics company conceived of a remote control system that would communicate over power lines. By the mid 1980s, the X10 system of controllers and devices was available at Radio Shack and many other stores.

    [....]

    My next blog posting will walk through the process of downloading and setting up a Mozilla Things Gateway.

  • Build your own phono preamplifier

    I was fortunate to receive a new phono cartridge for Christmas. What a lovely present! And of course, there is great pleasure (or, I suppose, great frustration, depending on one’s point of view) in all the tinkering required to remove the old phono cartridge, mount the new one, and correctly set things up.

    For some expert advice on this matter, I turned to the excellent instructional videos and articles by Michael Fremer, a vinyl enthusiast and audio journalist with many years of experience in all things phono. Rather than offer a single representative link here, I recommend searching for “Michael Fremer cartridge setup video” in your favorite search engine.

  • Atom C3000 based net appliance offers eight LAN ports

    Advantech’s FWA-1012VC follows a number of headless networking appliances that run Linux on Intel’s Atom C3000 (“Denverton”) SoC, including Aaeon’s recent FWS-2360 and Axiomtek’s NA362. The FWA-1012VC stands out from both competitors by offering more wireless expansion options.

Linux 4.15.2, 4.14.18, and 3.18.94

Filed under
Linux

Web Server Setup Series - How To Setup And Manage Your Own Web Server

Filed under
Linux

Today I am starting web server setup series. In this series of articles, I'll teach you how you can setup a web server or turn your own computer into a web server. I'll also teach you how you can manage your web server, increase server security and guard it against specific types of attacks.

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The best Linux distros of 2018

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Linux

If you can’t stand the lackluster security of a Windows computer, but macOS is much too shallow, allow us to introduce you to Linux. It is, quite simply, the ultimate in open source software. The OS started out as being exclusive to regular x86 desktop PCs, but has since found its way into everything from Android phones to Google Chromebooks.

Linux is based on the Unix family of operating systems, which rose to fame in the late 1970s. It has been adopted by various software developers and turned into various 'distributions' or 'distros'. All of the top Linux distros use the Linux kernel, which can be thought of as the heart and soul of the operating system. The various desktop environments for these distros is then built around it.

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today's lefftovers

OSS Leftovers

  • Running for the board of the Open Source Initiative – a few words
    Today I would like to explain my reasons for my candidacy at the board of the Open Source Initiative. I can think of two kinds of reason for my decision: one is personal, and the other one is directly related to current state of Open Source and software freedom. Let’s start with the first one: I’m currently helping the Open Information Security Foundation and the Suricata project in my capacity at ANSSI, while contributing in a minor way to the LibreOffice project and the Document Foundation.
  • Tutanota: Encrypted Open Source Email Service for Privacy Minded People
    Since then, I have heard of another email provider that you may be interested in. It’s a little different, but it touts some of the same features ProtonMail does: privacy, security, open-source code, etc. It’s called Tutanota, and like ProtonMail, I am a very big fan.
  • Open FinTech Forum – Event preview, October 10-11, New York City.
  • The tracker will always get through
    A big objection to tracking protection is the idea that the tracker will always get through. Some people suggest that as browsers give users more ability to control how their personal information gets leaked across sites, things won't get better for users, because third-party tracking will just keep up. On this view, today's easy-to-block third-party cookies will be replaced by techniques such as passive fingerprinting where it's hard to tell if the browser is succeeding at protecting the user or not, and users will be stuck in the same place they are now, or worse. I doubt this is the case because we're playing a more complex game than just trackers vs. users. The game has at least five sides, and some of the fastest-moving players with the best understanding of the game are the adfraud hackers. Right now adfraud is losing in some areas where they had been winning, and the resulting shift in adfraud is likely to shift the risks and rewards of tracking techniques.
  • MozMEAO SRE Status Report - February 16, 2018
    Here’s what happened on the MozMEAO SRE team from January 23 - February 16.
  • The major milestones of the Government Digital Service (GDS)
  • PyTorch Should Be Copyleft
    Most people have heard of Google’s Tensorflow which was released at the end of 2015, but there’s an active codebase called PyTorch which is easier to understand, less of a black box, and more dynamic. Tensorflow does have solutions for some of those limitations (such as Tensorflow-fold, and Tensorflow-Eager) but these new capabilities remove the need for other features and complexity of Tensorflow. Google built a great system for doing static computation graphs before realizing that most people want dynamic graphs. Doh! [...] I wish PyTorch used the AGPL license. Most neural networks are run on servers today, it is hardly used on the Linux desktop. Data is central to AI and that can stay owned by FB and the users of course. The ImageNet dataset created a revolution in computer vision, so let’s never forget that open data sets can be useful.
  • Linux on Nintendo Switch, a new Kubernetes ML platform, and more news
    In this edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at the Mozilla's IoT gateway, a new machine learning platform, Code.mil's revamp, and more.

Security: France, Munich, 'Smart' Meters, MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime

  • Highlights of the French cybersecurity strategy

    First, the document describes that in France cyberdefence and cyberoffence are separated. This is directly opposed to the models employed in Anglo-Saxon countries. But it’s shown as an asset. Key argument: it respects freedoms and civil liberties.

    The document then lists the six general objectives of cyberdefence, namely: prevention, anticipation, protection, detection, attribution, reaction (remediation). The strategy itself is complete, it focuses on civil, military, domestic, external, and international levels. Let’s say it’s a rarity in the business in strategic cybersecurity documents.

    [...]

    The strategy then mentions that one of the solutions could be to release source code and documentation after an end of support date.

  • The Munich Security Conference 2018

    Over the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has become the major global forum for the discussion of security policy. Each February, it brings together more than 450 senior decision-makers from around the world, including heads-of-state, ministers, leading personalities of international and non-governmental organizations, as well as high ranking representatives of industry, media, academia, and civil society, to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges.

  • Smart meters could leave British homes vulnerable to cyber attacks, experts have warned
    New smart energy meters that the Government wants to be installed in millions of homes will leave householders vulnerable to cyber attacks, ministers have been warned.
  • MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime: Researchers nail exploits
    "The flaws—dubbed Meltdown and Spectre—are in chips made by Intel and other major suppliers. They can allow hackers to steal data from the memory of running apps, including password managers, browsers and emails." The authors of the paper on arXiv, Caroline Trippel, Daniel Lustig, and Margaret Martonosi, discuss a tool they developed for "automatically synthesizing microarchitecture-specific programs capable of producing any user-specified hardware execution pattern of interest." They said they show "how this tool can be used for generating small microarchitecture-specific programs which represent exploits in their most abstracted form—security litmus tests."

How Linux became my job

I've been using open source since what seems like prehistoric times. Back then, there was nothing called social media. There was no Firefox, no Google Chrome (not even a Google), no Amazon, barely an internet. In fact, the hot topic of the day was the new Linux 2.0 kernel. The big technical challenges in those days? Well, the ELF format was replacing the old a.out format in binary Linux distributions, and the upgrade could be tricky on some installs of Linux. Read more