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Latest news on Linux distributions and BSD projects
Updated: 7 hours 49 min ago

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 799

Monday 28th of January 2019 12:03:34 AM
This week in DistroWatch Weekly: Review: KaOS 2018.12News: Debian 10 freezes while Debian 9 gets a media refresh, Ubuntu publishes IoT releaseBook review: Linux Basics For HackersReleased last week: Porteus Kiosk 4.8.0, Parrot 4.5Torrent corner: ArchLabs, Archman, AUSTRUMI, ClonOS, Debian, Live Raizo, Nitrux, Parrot, Porteus Kiosk, RobolinuxUpcoming releases:....

Distribution Release: Parrot 4.5

Tuesday 22nd of January 2019 12:30:40 AM
Lorenzo Faletra has announced the release of Parrot 4.5, the latest stable version of the project's specialist distribution designed for penetration testing, digital forensics and privacy protection, based on Debian's "Testing" branch: "Parrot 4.5 is officially released and there are some major changes under the hood. We are....

Distribution Release: Porteus Kiosk 4.8.0

Monday 21st of January 2019 09:53:06 AM
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the release of Porteus Kiosk 4.8.0, an updated version of the project's specialist distribution designed for web kiosks - based on Gentoo Linux, with a choice of Firefox or Chrome browsers: "I am pleased to announce that Porteus Kiosk 4.8.0 is now available for....

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 798

Monday 21st of January 2019 12:16:44 AM
This week in DistroWatch Weekly: Review: Sculpt OS 18.09News: Solus team plans ahead, Fedora considering how best to count users, NetBSD reaches reproducible builds milestone, MX Linux opens a new bug trackerQuestions and answers: Picking a location for swap spaceReleased last week: Netrunner 19.01 ArcoLinux 19.01.4, deepin 15.9Torrent....

Development Release: NomadBSD 1.2 RC1

Friday 18th of January 2019 09:30:04 PM
NomadBSD is a 64-bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. The project has published a release candidate for its upcoming 1.2 version, based on FreeBSD 12.0. "The first release candidate of NomadBSD-1.2 is available! If you notice any problems, please let us know. Changes since....

Distribution Release: Endless OS 3.5.4

Thursday 17th of January 2019 07:17:42 AM
Will Thompson has announced the release of Endless OS 3.5.4, the latest version of the project's Linux-based operating system with a simplified desktop (forked from GNOME 3) and without any package management system. The latest version introduces new parental controls for applications: "Administrator users may now control which....

Distribution Release: Zevenet 5.9

Wednesday 16th of January 2019 09:13:24 PM
Zevenet is a load balancer and application delivery system based on Debian. The project's latest release, Zevenet 5.9 Community Edition, includes several package upgrades, moves its base to Debian "Buster" and makes a leap from the i686 architecture to 64-bit. " Good evening, we are proud to announce....

BSD Release: Project Trident 18.12

Wednesday 16th of January 2019 05:36:59 PM
Project Trident is a new member to the DistroWatch database and a desktop operating system based on TrueOS (which is, in turn, based on FreeBSD's development branch). The first official stable release of Project Trident is based on technologies from FreeBSD 13.0-CURRENT and features the Lumina desktop environment.....

Distribution Release: deepin 15.9

Wednesday 16th of January 2019 03:30:50 PM
deepin is a Debian-based desktop distribution which features the custom-made Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE). The project's latest version is deepin 15.9 which features improved touch screen support, better power management and several desktop performance enhancements. "New features: Multiple gestures, tap and see - for touchscreen devices, multiple gestures....

Distribution Release: ArcoLinux 19.01.4

Wednesday 16th of January 2019 12:33:48 PM
Erik Dubois has announced the release of ArcoLinux 19.01.4, a new version of the project's Arch-based, desktop-oriented distribution. Some of the features include a new version of the Calamares installer, additional icons and themes, and some bug fixes: "ArcoLinux -D -B 19.1. Upgrading Calamares gives us a chance....

Distribution Release: Netrunner 19.01

Monday 14th of January 2019 10:21:31 PM
The Netrunner development team has announced the release of Netrunner 19.01, a significant update of the project's desktop-oriented Linux distribution (with KDE Plasma) based on Debian's "Testing" branch. This release brings a new default desktop theme, additional web applications, and various Plasma add-ons and tweaks: "After a busy....

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 797

Monday 14th of January 2019 12:07:20 AM
This week in DistroWatch Weekly: Review: Reborn OS 2018.11.28 and TinyPaw-Linux 1.3News: Debian tests Secure Boot, Ubuntu ships on Entroware AIO, most highly popular Steam games run on LinuxQuestions and answers: Dealing with an unresponsive desktopReleased last week: Funtoo Linux 1.3, Qubes OS 4.0.1, Clonezilla Live 2.6.0-37Torrent corner:....

Distribution Release: Clonezilla Live 2.6.0-37

Thursday 10th of January 2019 05:04:01 PM
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.6.0-37. Clonezilla Live provides tools for backing up, restoring and copying disk images and disk partitions either locally or across the network. The project's latest version includes several updates and fixes. "The underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded. This....

Distribution Release: Qubes OS 4.0.1

Wednesday 9th of January 2019 05:27:02 AM
Marek Marczykowski-Górecki has announced the release of Qubes OS 4.0.1, an updated version of the project's security-focused Linux distribution which allows users to "compartmentalise" computing tasks into isolated compartments called qubes. This new release is mostly a bug-fix and security update and is recommended for all new Qubes....

Distribution Release: Funtoo Linux 1.3

Tuesday 8th of January 2019 01:39:01 AM
Daniel Robbins has announced the release of Funtoo Linux 1.3. Funtoo, a variant of Gentoo Linux, is an distribution that builds packages automatically from the source code. It was launched in 2009, shortly after Robbins left Gentoo Linux, a project he had founded in 2000. Version 1.3 brings....

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 796

Monday 7th of January 2019 12:15:09 AM
This week in DistroWatch Weekly: Review: FreeBSD 12.0News: Peppermint releases ISO update, the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, elementary OS and Fedora leadersOpinion: Musings on distros after prolonged use (2019)Released last week: antiX 17.3, KaOS 2018.12, Calculate Linux 18.12Torrent corner: antiX, CAELinux, Calculate, Chakra, GhostBSD,....

Distribution Release: CAELinux 2018

Friday 4th of January 2019 11:29:43 PM
Joël Cugnoni has announced the release of CAELinux 2018, a new version of the project's Xubuntu-based Linux distribution with a collection of tools designed for computer-aided engineering: "We are proud to announce the new release of CAELinux 2018, which is based on Xubuntu 16.04 and which contains a....

Distribution Release: Septor 2019

Wednesday 2nd of January 2019 01:34:31 AM
Happy New Year! The first announcement of the year 2019 comes courtesy of Septor, a new distribution in the DistroWatch database. It is part of the growing number of projects that focus on preserving the anonymity and privacy of the user while browsing the Internet. Septor is based....

BSD Release: GhostBSD 18.12

Monday 31st of December 2018 10:06:25 PM
GhostBSD is a rolling-release desktop operating system based on TrueOS, which is in turn based on FreeBSD's development (-CURRENT) branch. The project has published an update to GhostBSD 18.10, GhostBSD 18.12, which includes a number of updates and which replaces the Oktopkg graphical package manager with Software Station....

Distribution Release: Grml 2018.12

Monday 31st of December 2018 02:00:59 PM
Michael Prokop has announced the release of Grml 2018.12, a new version of the project's Debian-based Linux distribution focusing on the needs of system administrators: "So we did it again - we just released Grml 2018.12 'Gnackwatschn'. This Grml release provides fresh software packages from Debian 'Testing' which....

More in Tux Machines

Games: Surviving Mars and OpenMW

Kernel and Security: BPF, Mesa, Embedded World, Kernel Address Sanitizer and More

  • Concurrency management in BPF
    In the beginning, programs run on the in-kernel BPF virtual machine had no persistent internal state and no data that was shared with any other part of the system. The arrival of eBPF and, in particular, its maps functionality, has changed that situation, though, since a map can be shared between two or more BPF programs as well as with processes running in user space. That sharing naturally leads to concurrency problems, so the BPF developers have found themselves needing to add primitives to manage concurrency (the "exchange and add" or XADD instruction, for example). The next step is the addition of a spinlock mechanism to protect data structures, which has also led to some wider discussions on what the BPF memory model should look like. A BPF map can be thought of as a sort of array or hash-table data structure. The actual data stored in a map can be of an arbitrary type, including structures. If a complex structure is read from a map while it is being modified, the result may be internally inconsistent, with surprising (and probably unwelcome) results. In an attempt to prevent such problems, Alexei Starovoitov introduced BPF spinlocks in mid-January; after a number of quick review cycles, version 7 of the patch set was applied on February 1. If all goes well, this feature will be included in the 5.1 kernel.
  • Intel Ready To Add Their Experimental "Iris" Gallium3D Driver To Mesa
    For just over the past year Intel open-source driver developers have been developing a new Gallium3D-based OpenGL driver for Linux systems as the eventual replacement to their long-standing "i965 classic" Mesa driver. The Intel developers are now confident enough in the state of this new driver dubbed Iris that they are looking to merge the driver into mainline Mesa proper.  The Iris Gallium3D driver has now matured enough that Kenneth Graunke, the Intel OTC developer who originally started Iris in late 2017, is looking to merge the driver into the mainline code-base of Mesa. The driver isn't yet complete but it's already in good enough shape that he's looking for it to be merged albeit marked experimental.
  • Hallo Nürnberg!
    Collabora is headed to Nuremberg, Germany next week to take part in the 2019 edition of Embedded World, "the leading international fair for embedded systems". Following a successful first attendance in 2018, we are very much looking forward to our second visit! If you are planning on attending, please come say hello in Hall 4, booth 4-280! This year, we will be showcasing a state-of-the-art infrastructure for end-to-end, embedded software production. From the birth of a software platform, to reproducible continuous builds, to automated testing on hardware, get a firsthand look at our platform building expertise and see how we use continuous integration to increase productivity and quality control in embedded Linux.
  • KASAN Spots Another Kernel Vulnerability From Early Linux 2.6 Through 4.20
    The Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASAN) that detects dynamic memory errors within the Linux kernel code has just picked up another win with uncovering a use-after-free vulnerability that's been around since the early Linux 2.6 kernels. KASAN (along with the other sanitizers) have already proven quite valuable in spotting various coding mistakes hopefully before they are exploited in the real-world. The Kernel Address Sanitizer picked up another feather in its hat with being responsible for the CVE-2019-8912 discovery.
  • io_uring, SCM_RIGHTS, and reference-count cycles
    The io_uring mechanism that was described here in January has been through a number of revisions since then; those changes have generally been fixing implementation issues rather than changing the user-space API. In particular, this patch set seems to have received more than the usual amount of security-related review, which can only be a good thing. Security concerns became a bit of an obstacle for io_uring, though, when virtual filesystem (VFS) maintainer Al Viro threatened to veto the merging of the whole thing. It turns out that there were some reference-counting issues that required his unique experience to straighten out. The VFS layer is a complicated beast; it must manage the complexities of the filesystem namespace in a way that provides the highest possible performance while maintaining security and correctness. Achieving that requires making use of almost all of the locking and concurrency-management mechanisms that the kernel offers, plus a couple more implemented internally. It is fair to say that the number of kernel developers who thoroughly understand how it works is extremely small; indeed, sometimes it seems like Viro is the only one with the full picture. In keeping with time-honored kernel tradition, little of this complexity is documented, so when Viro gets a moment to write down how some of it works, it's worth paying attention. In a long "brain dump", Viro described how file reference counts are managed, how reference-count cycles can come about, and what the kernel does to break them. For those with the time to beat their brains against it for a while, Viro's explanation (along with a few corrections) is well worth reading. For the rest of us, a lighter version follows.

Blacklisting insecure filesystems in openSUSE

The Linux kernel supports a wide variety of filesystem types, many of which have not seen significant use — or maintenance — in many years. Developers in the openSUSE project have concluded that many of these filesystem types are, at this point, more useful to attackers than to openSUSE users and are proposing to blacklist many of them by default. Such changes can be controversial, but it's probably still fair to say that few people expected the massive discussion that resulted, covering everything from the number of OS/2 users to how openSUSE fits into the distribution marketplace. On January 30, Martin Wilck started the discussion with a proposal to add a blacklist preventing the automatic loading of a set of kernel modules implementing (mostly) old filesystems. These include filesystems like JFS, Minix, cramfs, AFFS, and F2FS. For most of these, the logic is that the filesystems are essentially unused and the modules implementing them have seen little maintenance in recent decades. But those modules can still be automatically loaded if a user inserts a removable drive containing one of those filesystem types. There are a number of fuzz-testing efforts underway in the kernel community, but it seems relatively unlikely that any of them are targeting, say, FreeVxFS filesystem images. So it is not unreasonable to suspect that there just might be exploitable bugs in those modules. Preventing modules for ancient, unmaintained filesystems from automatically loading may thus protect some users against flash-drive attacks. If there were to be a fight over a proposal like this, one would ordinarily expect it to be concerned with the specific list of unwelcome modules. But there was relatively little of that. One possible exception is F2FS, the presence of which raised some eyebrows since it is under active development, having received 44 changes in the 5.0 development cycle, for example. Interestingly, it turns out that openSUSE stopped shipping F2FS in September. While the filesystem is being actively developed, it seems that, with rare exceptions, nobody is actively backporting fixes, and the filesystem also lacks a mechanism to prevent an old F2FS implementation from being confused by a filesystem created by a newer version. Rather than deal with these issues, openSUSE decided to just drop the filesystem altogether. As it happens, the blacklist proposal looks likely to allow F2FS to return to the distribution since it can be blacklisted by default. Read more

gitgeist: a git-based social network proof of concept

Are you tired of not owning the data or the platform you use for social postings? I know I am. It's hard to say when I "first" used a social network. I've been on email for about 30 years and one of the early ad-hoc forms of social networks were chain emails. Over the years I was asked to join all sorts of "social" things such as IRC, ICQ, Skype, MSN Messenger, etc. and eventually things like Orkut, MySpace, Facebook, etc. I'll readily admit that I'm not the type of person that happily jumps onto every new social bandwagon that appears on the Internet. I often prefer preserving the quietness of my own thoughts. That, though, hasn't stopped me from finding some meaningfulness participating in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more recently Google+. Twitter was in fact the first social network that I truly embraced. And it would've remained my primary social network had they not killed their own community by culling the swell of independently-developed Twitter clients that existed. That and their increased control of their API effectively made me look for something else. Right around that time Google+ was being introduced and many in the open source community started participating in that, in some ways to find a fresh place where techies can aggregate away from the noise and sometimes over-the-top nature of Facebook. Eventually I took to that too and started using G+ as my primary social network. That is, until Google recently decided to pull the plug on G+. While Google+ might not have represented a success for Google, it had become a good place for sharing information among the technically-inclined. As such, I found it quite useful for learning and hearing about new things in my field. Soon-to-be-former users of G+ have gone in all sorts of directions. Some have adopted a "c'mon guys, get over it, Facebook is the spot" attitude, others have adopted things like Mastodon, others have fallen back to their existing IDs on Twitter, and yet others, like me, are still looking. Read more