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GNU/Linux Chases Monopolists Out of the Server Rooms

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Linux

In a sense, GNU/Linux domination in the back room is contributing to the elimination of not just software monopolists but also hardware monopolists.

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Btrfs hands on: My first experiments with a new Linux file system

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Linux

Btrfs is a new file system for Linux, one that is still very much in development. Although I wouldn't exactly describe it as "experimental" any more, it is, as stated in the Wiki at kernel.org, "a fast-moving target".

It has also been said publicly that the basic format and structure of the filesystem should now be stable; it would only be changed in the future if some overriding reason or need is found.

The point of all this should be clear — it is still very early days, and it is not recommended to use btrfs in critical systems of any kind.

I leave it to the reader to decide how critical their systems are; for my own purposes, I will be using btrfs on several systems that I use as testbeds, some of which I carry with me and use for normal work on a daily basis, so it will get a "real" test, but I will not be using it on the primary systems that my partner and I use for home/work/business activities.

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OpenGL Changes In KDE's KWin 5 Window Manager

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KDE
Linux

Martin Gräßlin, KDE's Kwin maintainer, has shared some new OpenGL implications due to changes made in the KWin 5 window manager due to relying on Qt5 with Qt Quick 2.

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Distros For Old Computers

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Linux

Defining hardware as “older” is tricky. Newer resource hungry software levering on the pace of hardware developments is rendering even relatively newer hardware obsolete. Examples of these relatively recent “older” hardware would be single-core or dual-core AMD Athlons and Intel Pentiums.

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Russian bots invade America, absorb Android brains

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Linux
Gadgets

Russian robot developer R.bot will soon launch a pair of low-cost telepresence robots in North America. The Synergy Mime and larger Synergy Swan use an attached BYOD Android smartphone or tablet for display, camera, microphone, and wireless communications and control functions, and are being offered for a limited time to Android developers for $250 and $500, respectively.

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OPINION: Life after Windows XP – FOSS and BYOD

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Linux
OSS

In the final installment of the series, Dave Lane writes on coping with diversity in a FOSS environment.

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How an open-source computer kit for kids based on Raspberry Pi is taking over Kickstarter

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Linux
Gadgets

When the Raspberry Pi was developed, founder Eben Upton envisioned that the low-cost computer would do its finest work in the classroom, teaching kids about computing. But as more units sold, Raspberry Pi developed a strong, distinctive niche among adult makers, a fruitful group that nonetheless doesn’t really have much in common with a younger age bracket that can be hard to reach.

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Android head talks Project Svelte and how Android 4.4 KitKat is the leanest Android version yet

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Linux

Back during Google IO 2012, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was officially unveiled unto the world. Major firmware versions always bring their share of new features, it was a little something Google called Project Butter that got us the most excited. Addressing Android less than consistent frame rates, Project Butter looked to finally make the Android UI as silky and smooth as iOS butter.

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Ex-Nokia engineers launch a Linux smartphone that runs Android apps

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Linux

InfoWorld's Simon Phipps has written before about how Nokia and BlackBerry could have been major competition for Apple had they embraced more open ecosystems. It's unlikely Jolla and Sailfish will make much of a dent in a marketplace already ruled by Android, despite Sailfish's Android compatibility. But given how much ex-Nokia talent is bound up in this project, it'll be worth watching just to see how their approach unfolds and whether it'll become its own animal or just another way to run Android.

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The Future of Cloud Computing Now Runs on All Versions of Linux

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Linux

Docker is a tool for bundling everything you need to run a particular application into a single “container.” These containers can be moved from computer to computer — be they physical machines or virtual computer servers — in much the same way a standardized shipping container can be loaded onto any ship or train or loading dock.

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More in Tux Machines

Linux Devices, Raspberry Pi, and Tizen

  • Rugged, customizable POS system runs on Braswell
    Advantech’s rugged “UBX-310D” POS computer offers a quad-core, 2.0GHz Celeron J1900, plus SATA, mSATA, and mini-PCIe. Advantech’s UBX-310D is a fanless point of sale computer intended for small countertops and limited-space installations. The shock and vibration resistant device has a modest, 245 x 185 x 45mm footprint. The system runs Windows 7 or 8 as a default, with optional Linux 3.13, and supports applications such as retail, self-service, digital signage, and store management.
  • Open spec, $29 COM shrinks Pine A64 to SODIMM dimensions
    Pine64’s open spec, 67.9 x 31mm “SoPine A64” COM has a quad-core -A53 Allwinner A64 and 2GB RAM, plus an optional baseboard that mimics a Pine A64+ SBC.
  • RetroPie, NES Classic and Bluetooth peripherals
    I wanted to write a more in-depth post about RetroPie the Retro Gaming Appliance OS for Raspberry Pis, either technically or more positively, but unfortunately I don't have much positive to write. What I hoped for was a nice appliance that I could use to play old games from the comfort of my sofa. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, I had a malfunctioning Linux machine and the time I'd set aside for jumping on goombas was being spent trying to figure out why bluetooth wasn't working. I have enough opportunities for that already, both at work and at home. I feel a little bad complaining about an open source, volunteer project: in its defence I can say that it is iterating fast and the two versions I tried in a relatively short time span were rapidly different. So hopefully a lot of my woes will eventually be fixed. I've also read a lot of other people get on with it just fine. Instead, I decided the Nintendo Classic NES Mini was the plug-and-play appliance for me. Alas, it became the "must have" Christmas toy for 2016 and impossible to obtain for the recommended retail price. I did succeed in finding one in stock at Toys R Us online at one point, only to have the checkout process break and my order not go through. Checking Stock Informer afterwards, that particular window of opportunity was only 5 minutes wide. So no NES classic for me!
  • Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Extends IoT
    Raspberry Pi Foundation updates embedded Compute Module with faster ARM processor to help developers and businesses build new IoT devices. The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced its new Compute Module 3 (CM3) on Jan. 16, providing internet of things (IoT) device makers with a powerful new option for embedded compute capabilities. The CM3 should not be confused with the Raspberry Pi's namesake device, which had its last major update in February 2016 with the debut of the Raspberry Pi 3 device. The Raspberry Pi is a small form-factor ARM-powered computer that was originally developed in 2012 as a way to help both kids and adults learn about computer science.
  • Smartphone App: Saavn Music app hits the Tizen Store
    Saavn Music app, which lets you listen to music online, is now available on your Tizen Store via Openmobile World Wide Inc. Previously Indian Z2 smartphone users got JioMusic app for it’s 4G & Jio support feature. Now, the online music Saavn app is available for the Samsung Z1 & Z3, as well as the Samsung Z2.

Debian News (manpages and TeX Live)

  • manpages.debian.org has been modernized (2017-01-18)
    https://manpages.debian.org has been modernized! We have just launched a major update to our manpage repository. What used to be served via a CGI script is now a statically generated website, and therefore blazingly fast. While we were at it, we have restructured the paths so that we can serve all manpages, even those whose name conflicts with other binary packages (e.g. crontab(5) from cron, bcron or systemd-cron). Don’t worry: the old URLs are redirected correctly.
  • Debian/TeX Live January 2017
    As the freeze of the next release is closing in, I have updated a bunch of packages around TeX: All of the TeX Live packages (binaries and arch independent ones) and tex-common. I might see whether I get some updates of ConTeXt out, too.

Security News

  • Wednesday's security updates
  • Secure your Elasticsearch cluster and avoid ransomware
    Last week, news came out that unprotected MongoDB databases are being actively compromised: content copied and replaced by a message asking for a ransom to get it back. As The Register reports: Elasticsearch is next. Protecting access to Elasticsearch by a firewall is not always possible. But even in environments where it is possible, many admins are not protecting their databases. Even if you cannot use a firewall, you can secure connection to Elasticsearch by using encryption. Elasticsearch by itself does not provide any authentication or encryption possibilities. Still, there are many third-party solutions available, each with its own drawbacks and advantages.
  • Resolve to Follow These 8 Steps for Better Data Security in 2017
    Getting physically fit is a typical New Year's resolution. Given that most of us spend more time online than in a gym, the start of the new year also might be a great time to improve your security “fitness.” As with physical fitness challenges, the biggest issue with digital security is always stagnation. That is, if you don't move and don't change, atrophy sets in. In physical fitness, atrophy is a function of muscles not being exercised. In digital fitness, security risks increase when you fail to change passwords, update network systems and adopt improved security technology. Before long, your IT systems literally become a “sitting duck.” Given the volume of data breaches that occurred in 2016, it is highly likely that everyone reading this has had at least one breach of their accounts compromised in some way, such as their Yahoo data account. Hackers somewhere may have one of the passwords you’ve used at one point to access a particular site or service. If you're still using that same password somewhere, in a way that can connect that account to you, that's a non-trivial risk. Changing passwords is the first of eight security resolutions that can help to improve your online security fitness in 2017. Click through this eWEEK slide show to discover the rest.
  • Pwn2Own 2017 Takes Aim at Linux, Servers and Web Browsers
    10th anniversary edition of Pwn2Own hacking contest offers over $1M in prize money to security researchers across a long list of targets including Virtual Machines, servers, enterprise applications and web browsers. Over the last decade, the Zero Day Initiative's (ZDI) annual Pwn2Own competition has emerged to become one of the premiere events on the information security calendar and the 2017 edition does not look to be any different. For the tenth anniversary of the Pwn2Own contest, ZDI, now owned and operated by Trend Micro, is going farther than ever before, with more targets and more prize money available for security researchers to claim by successfully executing zero-day exploits.
  • 'Factorio' is another game that was being hit by key scammers
    In another case of scammers trying to buy keys with often stolen credit cards to sell on websites like G2A, the developers of 'Factorio' have written about their experience with it (and other stuff too).

Red Hat News