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Linux

Woolworths smashes Windows and switches to Chrome OS

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Microsoft

Retail giant Woolworths has announced a massive IT transformation program, confirming it will phase out its huge collection of Microsoft Windows desktops in favour of 8000 Google Chrome OS machines.

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Chromebooks Carve Out a Niche in School Districts

Filed under
Linux
Google

Last year, the Sioux Falls, South Dakota school district in the U.S. purchased a fleet of Chromebooks--portable computers runnng Google's Chrome OS--for use by students, and now, a year later, school district officials are out with a review of the experience. Specifically, the Sioux Falls School District spent over $4.5 million on Chromebooks to arm students in third through twelfth grades with, and the School Board is heralding the program's success.

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Many DRM Graphics Driver Changes Introduced To Linux 3.16

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

David Airlie of Red Hat sent in the DRM pull request for the 3.16 merge window with a plethora of changes this time around:

- The Nouveau driver has initial support for the GK20A Kepler graphics core found within the Tegra K1 ARM SoC.

- The other big Nouveau change is initial support for re-clocking on certain generations of NVIDIA chipsets. The support is limited to a few series where it should be working, is static, and can be rather buggy.

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New Private Cloud Devices Aim to Block Cyber Spies

Filed under
Linux
Security

Suddenly, consumer-oriented private cloud storage devices are everywhere, with many -- if not most -- running Linux. The market segment has blossomed thanks to growing concerns over government cyber-spying, notably in the case of the U.S. National Security Agency and the Chinese military. There is also growing unease about sharing of user data by mobile carriers, financial firms, and high-tech companies, as well as fears about cyber-criminals.

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Linux mini-drones jump, flip, climb, and fly

Filed under
Linux
Sci/Tech

Parrot is prepping two Linux-based mini-drones: a $160 “Jumping Sumo” wheeled robot and a $100 “Rolling Spider” quadrocopter that can fly, roll, or climb.

Parrot, which last month announced a Bebop successor to its popular AR.Drone 2.0 quadrocopter, has released new information on two smaller, cheaper mini-drones that were originally unveiled back at CES in January. The Jumping Sumo and Rolling Spider will launch in August for $160 and $100, respectively.

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The Linux Setup - Sean Cross, Novena Developer

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Interviews

I’m not a big hardware guy. At all. Specs mean very little to me. However, Sean’s hardware is interesting, as it’s a Novena, something he developed himself. And of course, because he’s working with Linux, he’s able to get things to run pretty well. I have no idea what the future of the Novena is, but I love that people can make new devices that will be able to access familiar software and interfaces. Microsoft is making Windows cost-free for certain devices. It’s a smarter strategy than charging manufacturers, but until they let people get under the hood of the code, they’re going to have a hard time reaching new, experimental devices. Which is actually OK with me, since I’m happy to have Linux in as many places as possible.

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Mesosphere Raises $10.5 Million to Create Massive Linux Clusters

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server

Thanks to the advent of multicore processors, the average data center these days has access to a massive amount of compute capacity. Tapping into it efficiently, though, is another thing altogether.

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The Companies That Support Linux: Rackspace

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server
Interviews

Rackspace has lately been in the news for its stock market gains and a potential acquisition. But over the past 16 years the company has become well known, first as a web hosting provider built on Linux and open source, and later as a pioneer of the open source cloud and founder of the OpenStack cloud platform.

In May, Rackspace became a Xen Project member and was one of three companies to join the Linux Foundation as a corporate member, along with CoreOS and Cumulus Networks.

“Many of the applications and infrastructure that we need to run for internal use or for customers run best on Linux,” said Paul Voccio, Senior Director of Software Development at Rackspace, via email. “This includes all the popular language frameworks and open virtualization platforms such as Xen, LXC, KVM, Docker, etc.”

In this Q&A, Voccio discusses the role of Rackspace in the cloud, how the company uses Linux, why they joined the Linux Foundation, as well as current trends and future technologies in the data center.

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Fast-boot, open spec COM includes FPGA

Filed under
Linux
Debian

Technologic is sampling a fast-booting “TS-4740″ COM that runs Debian on a 1GHz, ARM9 PXA168 SoC and offers a 25K-LUTs Spartan-5 FPGA and gigabit Ethernet.

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Docker libcontainer unities Linux container powers

Filed under
GNU
Linux

What makes this important, even vital, news to the larger world of system administrators, datacenter managers, and cloud architects, is that Google, Red Hat, and Parallels are now helping build the program. Indeed, they will work with Docker as core maintainers of the code. Canonical's Ubuntu container engineers will also be working on it.

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KDE and GNOME: Kubuntu Site, Marble Maps, Kube in Randa, and UX in GNOME

  • Call for design: Artful Banner for Kubuntu.org website
    Kubuntu 17.10 — code-named Artful Aardvark — will be released on October 19th, 2017. We need a new banner for the website, and invite artists and designers to submit designs to us based on the Plasma wallpaper and perhaps the mascot design.
  • Randa 2017 Report – Marble Maps
    Just came back home yesterday from Randa Meetings 2017. This year, even though my major motive for the sprint was to use Qt 5.8’s Qt Speech module instead of custom Java for text-to-speech during navigation, that could not be achieved because of a bug which made the routes not appear in the app in the first place. And this bug is reproducible both by using latest code, and old-enough code, and is even there in the prod app in the Google Play Store itself. So, although most of my time had gone in deep-diving on the issue, unfortunately I was not able to find the root-cause to it eventually. I will need to pick up on that in the coming weeks again when I get time, to get it fixed.
  • Kube in Randa
    I’ve spent the last few days with fellow KDE hackers in beautiful Randa in the Swiss Mountains. It’s an annual event that focuses on a specific topic every year, and this time accessibility was up, so Michael and me made our way up here to improve Kube in that direction (and to enjoy the scenic surroundings of course).
  • Usability testing for early-stage software prototypes
    In this article, Ciarrai Cunneen and I describe how to do a paper-based usability test, using an early redesign of the GNOME Settings app as an example. The updated Settings features in GNOME 3.26, released on September 13. When writing open source software, we often obsess about making our logic elegant and concise, coming up with clever ways to execute tasks and demonstrate ideas. But we sometimes forget a key fact: Software is not useful if it is not easy to use. To make sure our programs can be used by our intended audience, we need usability testing. Usability is basically asking the question, "Can people easily use this thing?" or "Can real people use the software to do real tasks in a reasonable amount of time?" Usability is crucial to the creative process of building anything user-based. If real people can't use our software, then all the hard work of creating it is pointless. [...] In early 2016, GNOME decided to make a major UI update to its Settings application. This visual refresh shifts from an icon-based menu to drop-down lists and adds important changes to several individual Settings panels. The GNOME design team wanted to test these early-stage design changes to see how easily real people could navigate the new GNOME Settings application. Previously, GNOME relied on traditional usability tests, where users explore the software's UI directly. But this wouldn't work, since the software updates hadn't been completed.

FSF, GNU and FSFE

  • LibrePlanet 2018: Let's talk about Freedom. Embedded.
    The call for sessions is open now, until November 2nd, 2017. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open. Pre-order a LibrePlanet 10th anniversary t-shirt when you register to attend! Do you want to discuss or teach others about a topic relevant to the free software community? You've got until Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 at 10:00 EDT (14:00 UTC) to submit your session proposals. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and everyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.
  • LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, CFP and registration open now
    The call for proposals is open now, until November 2, 2017. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.
  • dot-zed extractor
  • FSFE Newsletter - September 2017

    To push our demand, the FSFE launched a new campaign last week: "Public Money Public Code". The campaign explains the benefits of releasing publicly funded Software under free licences with a short inspiring video and an open letter to sign. Furthermore, the campaign and the open letter will be used in the coming months until the European Parliament election in 2019 to highlight good and bad examples of publicly funded software development and its potential reuse.

  • Free Software Foundation Europe Leads Call For Taxpayer-Funded Software To Be Licensed For Free Re-use
    Considered objectively, it's hard to think of any good reasons why code that is paid for by the public should not be released publicly as a matter of course. The good news is that this "public money, public code" argument is precisely the approach that open access advocates have used with considerable success in the field of academic publishing, so there's hope it might gain some traction in the world of software too.

Security: WordPress 4.8.2, CCleaner 5.33, Apache Patch and Cryptocurrencies

  • WordPress 4.8.2 Security and Maintenance Release
    WordPress 4.8.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.
  • Attack on CCleaner Highlights the Importance of Securing Downloads and Maintaining User Trust
    Some of the most worrying kinds of attacks are ones that exploit users’ trust in the systems and softwares they use every day. Yesterday, Cisco’s Talos security team uncovered just that kind of attack in the computer cleanup software CCleaner. Download servers at Avast, the company that owns CCleaner, had been compromised to distribute malware inside CCleaner 5.33 updates for at least a month. Avast estimates that over 2 million users downloaded the affected update. Even worse, CCleaner’s popularity with journalists and human rights activists means that particularly vulnerable users are almost certainly among that number. Avast has advised CCleaner Windows users to update their software immediately. This is often called a “supply chain” attack, referring to all the steps software takes to get from its developers to its users. As more and more users get better at bread-and-butter personal security like enabling two-factor authentication and detecting phishing, malicious hackers are forced to stop targeting users and move “up” the supply chain to the companies and developers that make software. This means that developers need to get in the practice of “distrusting” their own infrastructure to ensure safer software releases with reproducible builds, allowing third parties to double-check whether released binary and source packages correspond. The goal should be to secure internal development and release infrastructure to that point that no hijacking, even from a malicious actor inside the company, can slip through unnoticed.
  • Apache bug leaks contents of server memory for all to see—Patch now
    There's a bug in the widely used Apache Web Server that causes servers to leak pieces of arbitrary memory in a way that could expose passwords or other secrets, a freelance journalist has disclosed. The vulnerability can be triggered by querying a server with what's known as an OPTIONS request. Like the better-known GET and POST requests, OPTIONS is a type of HTTP method that allows users to determine which HTTP requests are supported by the server. Normally, a server will respond with GET, POST, OPTIONS, and any other supported methods. Under certain conditions, however, responses from Apache Web Server include the data stored in computer memory. Patches are available here and here.
  • The Pirate Bay Takes Heat for Testing Monero Mining
    Cryptocurrencies usually are mined with CPU power initially, she told LinuxInsider. Users then find ways to speed up the hashing before going to GPU. They build specialized hardware and field programmable gate array (FPGA) chips to carry out the hashing function in order to mine much faster. [...] The notion that The Pirate Bay effectively would borrow resources from its own users is not the problem, suggested Jessica Groopman, principal analyst at Tractica.