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Linux

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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Open spec Linux/Android SBCs tap high-end Allwinner and Rockchip SoCs

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Android
Linux

Pine64 has launched a “Pine H64” SBC for $26 to $45 featuring Allwinner’s H6 SoC, mini-PCIe, and USB 3.0. It also unveiled a Rockchip RK3399 based “RockPro64” SBC that will sell for $59 to $79 with PCIe, USB 3.0, and a USB Type-C based DisplayPort.

Pine64 announced two open-spec, Linux and Android-ready boards with the same 127 x 79 x 19mm footprint and 40-pin connector as its popular, Allwinner A64 based Pine A64 . Due to their more advanced processors and interfaces, such as PCIe and USB 3.0, the now available, Allwinner’s H6 based Pine H64 and the Rockchip RK3399 based RockPro64, due to launch Mar. 15, are priced much higher than the Pine A64.

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First Linux-Based RISC-V Board Prepares for Take-Off

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Linux

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 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.

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The Linux ranger

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Linux

For those of us who cut our technical teeth on the Unix/Linux command line, the relatively new ranger makes examining files a very different experience. A file manager that works inside a terminal window, ranger provides useful information and makes it very easy to move into directories, view file content or jump into an editor to make changes.

Unlike most file managers which work on the desktop, but leave you to the whims of ls, cat and more to get a solid handle on files and contents, ranger provides a very nice mix of file listing and contents displays with an easy way to start editing. In fact, among some Linux users, ranger has become very popular.

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Events: openSUSE Conference 2018, LinuxConfAu 2018, Linux Conference Australia in 2019

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Linux
OSS
  • Where to Stay, Getting Around Prague for oSC18

    Prague is a beautiful city and you can bet that the city will be crowded during the openSUSE Conference. Hotels are already starting to fill up, so it’s best to take a look at the hotels we recommend now before all the hotels are booked out.

    There are six hotels that are recommended, but feel free to book at other hotels in the city. The section for recommended lodging on the openSUSE Conference 2018 webpage gives options for hotels as low as 40 EUR a night to above 120 EUR. Each listing on the section gives a little info about the hotel.

  • Freedom Embedded: Devices that Respect Users and Communities: LinuxConfAu 2018, Sydney, Australia

    FSF executive director John Sullivan delivered the talk "Freedom Embedded: Devices that Respect Users and Communities" in January 2018, at LinuxConfAu 2018. In this talk, John explains the FSF's certification program called “Respects Your Freedom” (RYF) that awards a certification mark to hardware meeting a set of free software standards (fsf.org/ryf).

  • Linux Conference Australia heads to Christchurch in 2019

    Up to 800 delegates from around Australasia and the world will meet in Christchurch for Linux Conference Australia in 2019.

    The 20th anniversary of the annual conference will run from 21-25 January next year at the University of Canterbury, organisers have announced.

    Content will feature up to 100 speakers covering topics such as the Linux kernel, open source hardware and software, open government data and the various communities that have evolved around them.

  • Major tech conference confirmed for Christchurch

    One of the most respected technical conferences to be held in Australasia is coming to Christchurch.

    Between 500-800 delegates from around Australasia and the world will meet in the city in 2019 for linux.conf.au. It will be the 20th anniversary of the annual conference, which will run from 21-25 January 2019 at the University of Canterbury.

New Linux User? Try These 8 Great Essential Linux Apps

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GNU
Linux
Software

When you are new to Linux, even if you are not new to computers in general, one of the problems you will face is which apps to use. With millions of Linux apps, the choice is certainly not easy. Below you will find eight (out of millions) essential Linux apps to get you settled in quickly.

Most of these apps are not exclusive to Linux. If you have used Windows/Mac before, chances are you are familiar with some of them. Depending on what your needs and interests are, you might not need all these apps, but in my opinion, most or all of the apps on this list are useful for newbies who are just starting out on Linux.

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Also: Missing Microsoft Office? Try SoftMaker Office 2018 for Linux

Kali Linux 2018.1 Release

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GNU
Linux

Welcome to our first release of 2018, Kali Linux 2018.1. This fine release contains all updated packages and bug fixes since our 2017.3 release last November. This release wasn’t without its challenges–from the Meltdown and Spectre excitement (patches will be in the 4.15 kernel) to a couple of other nasty bugs, we had our work cut out for us but we prevailed in time to deliver this latest and greatest version for your installation pleasure.

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Kernel: Hardware Support, D-Bus, GCC 8, Linux 4.16

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Linux
  • Dell / Lenovo / ASUS / Acer Laptop Platform Driver Updates For Linux 4.16

    Darren Hart of VMware's Open-Source Technology Center sent out the platform-drivers-x86 updates today for the Linux 4.16 kernel.

  • D-Bus Broker 10 Released

    What you won't find landing in the current in-development Linux 4.16 kernel is BUS1, the in-kernel IPC mechanism built out of the failure of KDBUS to reach the mainline kernel. While BUS1 isn't ready for mainline yet, D-Bus Broker continues moving along as a D-Bus compatible message bus delivering higher performance and reliability.

  • Linux Kernel's GCC-Plugins Infrastructure Now Supports GCC 8

    The GCC 8 stable compiler (GCC 8.1) should be officially released in the next month or two and Linux 4.16's gcc-plugins infrastructure is picking up support for this annual update to the GNU Compiler Collection.

  • Linux 4.16 Picking Up Another SMP Optimization

    Last week Ingo Molnar sent in the main batch of scheduler updates for the Linux 4.16 kernel merge window, which included smarter task migration to try to yield better scalability, while today a second set of updates were sent in with an additional SMP optimization.

    The optimization work last week and the new set of tweaks sent in today come courtesy of Linux developer Mel Gorman. The SMP balancing optimizations sent in via this pull request should provide some benefits in some situations, particularly if using the XFS file-system.

MATE 1.20 released

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GNU
Linux

After 11 months of development the MATE Desktop team are pleased as punch to announce the release of MATE Desktop 1.20. We’d like to thank every MATE contributor for their help making this release possible.

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Linux Foundation and OPNFV Verified Program (OVP)​

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Linux
  • OPNFV Certifies NFV Infrastructure Via Verification Program

    The OPNFV open source project today announced its OPNFV Verified Program (OVP), which will bring consistency to certification of network functions virtualization (NFV) components at the infrastructure level.

    OPNFV has been helping vendors and service providers by testing NFV components across various open source ecosystems. Its new OVP initiative will formalize this process and even provide a “OVP certified” logo to components that comply.

  • OPNFV verification program establishes testing, deployment methods to simplify NFV adoption

    The​ OPNFV Project​ has introduced the OPNFV Verified Program (OVP)​ with an eye toward simplifying adoption of commercial NFV products. ​

    ​OVP establishes an industry threshold based on OPNFV capabilities and test cases. Users can get started at the new ​OPNFV Verified portal​.

  • OPNFV Verification Program to Simplify Commercial NFV Adoption

    The OPNFV Project, an open source project within The Linux Foundation that facilitates the development and evolution of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) components across various open source ecosystems through integration, deployment, and testing, today announced the availability of the OPNFV Verified Program (OVP).

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • MX Linux Review of MX-17 – For The Record
    MX Linux Review of MX-17. MX-17 is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. It’s XFCE based, lightning fast, comes with both 32 and 64-bit CPU support…and the tools. Oh man, the tools available in this distro are both reminders of Mepis past and current tech found in modern distros.
  • Samsung Halts Android 8.0 Oreo Rollouts for Galaxy S8 Due to Unexpected Reboots
    Samsung stopped the distribution of the Android 8.0 Oreo operating system update for its Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones due to unexpected reboots reported by several users. SamMobile reported the other day that Samsung halted all Android 8.0 Oreo rollouts for its Galaxy S8/S8+ series of Android smartphones after approximately a week since the initial release. But only today Samsung published a statement to inform user why it stopped the rollouts, and the cause appears to be related to a limited number of cases of unexpected reboots after installing the update.
  • Xen Project Contributor Spotlight: Kevin Tian
    The Xen Project is comprised of a diverse set of member companies and contributors that are committed to the growth and success of the Xen Project Hypervisor. The Xen Project Hypervisor is a staple technology for server and cloud vendors, and is gaining traction in the embedded, security and automotive space. This blog series highlights the companies contributing to the changes and growth being made to the Xen Project and how the Xen Project technology bolsters their business.
  • Initial Intel Icelake Support Lands In Mesa OpenGL Driver, Vulkan Support Started
    A few days back I reported on Intel Icelake patches for the i965 Mesa driver in bringing up the OpenGL support now that several kernel patch series have been published for enabling these "Gen 11" graphics within the Direct Rendering Manager driver. This Icelake support has been quick to materialize even with Cannonlake hardware not yet being available.
  • LunarG's Vulkan Layer Factory Aims To Make Writing Vulkan Layers Easier
    Introduced as part of LunarG's recent Vulkan SDK update is the VLF, the Vulkan Layer Factory. The Vulkan Layer Factory aims to creating Vulkan layers easier by taking care of a lot of the boilerplate code for dealing with the initialization, etc. This framework also provides for "interceptor objects" for overriding functions pre/post API calls for Vulkan entry points of interest.

Logstash 6.2.0 Released, Alfresco Grabbed by Private Equity Firm

  • Logstash 6.2.0 Release Improves Open Source Data Processing Pipeline
    The "L" in the ELK stack gets updated with new features including advanced security capabilities. Many modern enterprises have adopted the ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) stack to collect, process, search and visualize data. At the core of the ELK stack is the open-source Logstash project which defines itself as a server-side data processing pipeline - basically it helps to collect logs and then send them to a users' "stash" for searching, which in many cases is Elasticsearch.
  • Alfresco Software acquired by Private Equity Firm
    Enterprise apps company taken private in a deal that won't see a change in corporate direction. Alfresco has been developing its suite of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) technology since the company was founded back in June of 2005. On Feb. 8, Alfresco announced that it was being acquired by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL). Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

Servers and GPUs: Theano, DevOps, Kubernetes, AWS

  • Open Source Blockchain Computer Theano
    TigoCTM CEO Cindy Zimmerman says “we are excited to begin manufacturing our secure, private and open source desktops at our factory in the Panama Pacifico special economic zone. This is the first step towards a full line of secure, blockchain-powered hardware including desktops, servers, laptops, tablets, teller machines, and smartphones.” [...] Every component of each TigoCTM device is exhaustively researched and selected for its security profile based especially on open source hardware, firmware, and software. In addition, devices will run the GuldOS operating system, and open source applications like the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dash blockchains. This fully auditable stack is ideal for use in enterprise signing environments such as banks and investment funds.
  • Enterprises identify 10 essential tools for DevOps [Ed: "Source code repository" and other old things co-opted to promote the stupid buzzword "devops"]
    Products branded with DevOps are everywhere, and the list of options grows every day, but the best DevOps tools are already well-known among enterprise IT pros.
  • The 4 Major Tenets of Kubernetes Security
    We look at security from the perspective of containers, Kubernetes deployment itself and network security. Such a holistic approach is needed to ensure that containers are deployed securely and that the attack surface is minimized. The best practices that arise from each of the above tenets apply to any Kubernetes deployment, whether you’re self-hosting a cluster or employing a managed service. We should note that there are related security controls outside of Kubernetes, such as the Secure Software Development Life Cycle (S-SDLC) or security monitoring, that can help reduce the likelihood of attacks and increase the defense posture. We strongly urge you to consider security across the entire application lifecycle rather than take a narrow focus on the deployment of containers with Kubernetes. However, for the sake of brevity, in this series, we will only cover security controls within the immediate Kubernetes environment.
  • GPUs on Google’s Kubernetes Engine are now available in open beta
    The Google Kubernetes Engine (previously known as the Google Container Engine and GKE) now allows all developers to attach Nvidia GPUs to their containers. GPUs on GKE (an acronym Google used to be quite fond of, but seems to be deemphasizing now) have been available in closed alpha for more than half a year. Now, however, this service is in beta and open to all developers who want to run machine learning applications or other workloads that could benefit from a GPU. As Google notes, the service offers access to both the Tesla P100 and K80 GPUs that are currently available on the Google Cloud Platform.
  • AWS lets users run SAP apps directly on SUSE Linux
  • SUSE collaborates with Amazon Web Services toaccelerate SAP migrations

Chrome and Firefox

  • The False Teeth of Chrome's Ad Filter.
    Today Google launched a new version of its Chrome browser with what they call an "ad filter"—which means that it sometimes blocks ads but is not an "ad blocker." EFF welcomes the elimination of the worst ad formats. But Google's approach here is a band-aid response to the crisis of trust in advertising that leaves massive user privacy issues unaddressed. Last year, a new industry organization, the Coalition for Better Ads, published user research investigating ad formats responsible for "bad ad experiences." The Coalition examined 55 ad formats, of which 12 were deemed unacceptable. These included various full page takeovers (prestitial, postitial, rollover), autoplay videos with sound, pop-ups of all types, and ad density of more than 35% on mobile. Google is supposed to check sites for the forbidden formats and give offenders 30 days to reform or have all their ads blocked in Chrome. Censured sites can purge the offending ads and request reexamination. [...] Some commentators have interpreted ad blocking as the "biggest boycott in history" against the abusive and intrusive nature of online advertising. Now the Coalition aims to slow the adoption of blockers by enacting minimal reforms. Pagefair, an adtech company that monitors adblocker use, estimates 600 million active users of blockers. Some see no ads at all, but most users of the two largest blockers, AdBlock and Adblock Plus, see ads "whitelisted" under the Acceptable Ads program. These companies leverage their position as gatekeepers to the user's eyeballs, obliging Google to buy back access to the "blocked" part of their user base through payments under Acceptable Ads. This is expensive (a German newspaper claims a figure as high as 25 million euros) and is viewed with disapproval by many advertisers and publishers.
  • Going Home
  • David Humphrey: Edge Cases
  • Experiments in productivity: the shared bug queue
    Over the next six months, Mozilla is planning to switch code review tools from mozreview/splinter to phabricator. Phabricator has more modern built-in tools like Herald that would have made setting up this shared queue a little easier, and that’s why I paused…briefly
  • Improving the web with small, composable tools
    Firefox Screenshots is the first Test Pilot experiment to graduate into Firefox, and it’s been surprisingly successful. You won’t see many people talking about it: it does what you expect, and it doesn’t cover new ground. Mozilla should do more of this.