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LWN.net is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main LWN.net feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
Updated: 2 weeks 2 days ago

Important Etherpad release

Monday 9th of April 2018 04:05:33 PM
Several security vulnerabilities were found in Etherpad and version 1.6.4 has been released with fixes. The vulnerabilities include arbitrary code execution and information disclosure. Site admins are urged to update Etherpad to 1.6.4 as soon as possible.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 9th of April 2018 03:48:50 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (openssl and zziplib), Debian (ldap-account-manager, ming, python-crypto, sam2p, sdl-image1.2, and squirrelmail), Fedora (bchunk, koji, libidn, librelp, nodejs, and php), Gentoo (curl, dhcp, libvirt, mailx, poppler, qemu, and spice-vdagent), Mageia (389-ds-base, aubio, cfitsio, libvncserver, nmap, and ntp), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick, ImageMagick, spice-gtk, and wireshark), Oracle (kubernetes), Slackware (patch), and SUSE (apache2 and openssl).

[$] Accelerating networking with AF_XDP

Monday 9th of April 2018 01:21:31 PM
The Linux network stack does not lack for features; it also performs well enough for most uses. At the highest network speeds, though, any overhead at all is too much; that has driven the most demanding users toward specialized, user-space networking implementations that can outperform the kernel for highly constrained tasks. The express data path (XDP) development effort is an attempt win those users back, with some apparent success so far. With the posting of the AF_XDP patch set by Björn Töpel, another piece of the XDP puzzle is coming into focus.

A big pile of weekend stable kernel updates

Sunday 8th of April 2018 03:58:01 PM
The 4.16.1, 4.15.16, 4.14.33, 4.9.93, 4.4.127, and 3.18.103 stable kernels have all been released; each contains a fairly long list of important fixes.

[$] Kernel lockdown locked out — for now

Friday 6th of April 2018 04:40:43 PM
As the 4.17 merge window opened, it seemed possible that the kernel lockdown patch set could be merged at last. That was before the linux-kernel mailing list got its hands on the issue. What resulted was not one of the kernel community's finest moments. But it did result in a couple of evident conclusions: kernel lockdown will almost certainly not be merged for 4.17, but something that looks very much like it is highly likely to be accepted in a subsequent merge window.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 6th of April 2018 02:42:37 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (sharutils), Fedora (firefox, httpd, and mod_http2), openSUSE (docker-distribution, graphite2, libidn, and postgresql94), Oracle (libvorbis and thunderbird), Red Hat (libvorbis, python-paramiko, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (libvorbis and thunderbird), SUSE (apache2), and Ubuntu (firefox, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and ruby1.9.1, ruby2.0, ruby2.3).

[$] The first half of the 4.17 merge window

Thursday 5th of April 2018 04:21:37 PM
As of this writing, 5,392 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.17 release. The 4.17 merge window is thus off to a good start, but it is far from complete. The changes pulled thus far cover a wide part of the core kernel as well as the networking, driver, and filesystem subsystems.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 5th of April 2018 01:47:52 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (drupal), Debian (openjdk-7), Fedora (exempi, gd, and tomcat), SUSE (python-paramiko), and Ubuntu (kernel, libvncserver, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-lts-trusty, and linux-raspi2).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 5, 2018

Thursday 5th of April 2018 12:43:57 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 5, 2018 is available.

[$] Fedora and Python 2

Wednesday 4th of April 2018 08:47:09 PM

It has been known for quite some time that Python 2 will reach its end of life in 2020—after being extended by five years from its original 2015 expiry. After that, there will be no support, bug fixes, or security patches for Python 2, at least from the Python Software Foundation and the core developers. Some distributions will need to continue to support the final Python 2 release, however, since their support windows extend past that date; the enterprise and long-term support distributions will likely be supporting it well into the 2020s and possibly beyond. But even shorter-support-cycle distributions need to consider their plan for a sweeping change of this sort—in less than two years.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 4th of April 2018 03:20:38 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache2, ldap-account-manager, and openjdk-7), Fedora (libuv and nodejs), Gentoo (glibc and libxslt), Mageia (acpica-tools, openssl, and php), SUSE (clamav, coreutils, and libvirt), and Ubuntu (kernel, libraw, linux-hwe, linux-gcp, linux-oem, and python-crypto).

Free Nitrokey cryptographic cards for kernel developers

Wednesday 4th of April 2018 02:20:50 PM
The Linux Foundation and Nitrokey have announced a program whereby anybody who appears in the kernel's MAINTAINERS file or who has a kernel.org email address can obtain a free Nitrokey Start crypto card. The intent, of course, is that kernel developers will use these devices to safeguard their GnuPG keys and, as a result, improve the security of the kernel development process as a whole. "A digital smartcard token like Nitrokey Start contains a cryptographic chip that is capable of storing private keys and performing crypto operations directly on the token itself. Because the key contents never leave the device, the operating system of the computer into which the token is plugged in is not able to retrieve the private keys themselves, therefore significantly limiting the ways in which the keys can be leaked or stolen."

See this LWN article for a look at crypto cards.

[$] wait_var_event()

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 09:19:38 PM
One of the trickiest aspects to concurrency in the kernel is waiting for a specific event to take place. There is a wide variety of possible events, including a process exiting, the last reference to a data structure going away, a device completing an operation, or a timeout occurring. Waiting is surprisingly hard to get right — race conditions abound to trap the unwary — so the kernel has accumulated a large set of wait_event_*() macros to make the task easier. An attempt to add a new one, though, has led to the generalization of specific types of waits for 4.17.

[$] Making institutional free software successful

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 03:08:20 PM

Many large institutions, especially government agencies, would like to distribute their software—including the software of the vendors with whom they contract—as free software. They have a variety of reasons, ranging from the hope that opening the code will boost its use, all the way to a mature understanding of the importance of community, transparency, and freedom. There are special steps institutions can take to help ensure success, some stemming from best practices performed by many free-software projects and others specific to large organizations. At the 2018 LibrePlanet conference, Cecilia Donnelly laid out nine principles for the successful creation and maintenance of a software project under these circumstances.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 02:45:19 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (beep and jruby), Fedora (libvncserver), and Ubuntu (openjdk-7 and openjdk-8).

Git v2.17.0 released

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 02:31:38 PM
Version 2.17.0 of the Git source-code management system is out. It includes a long list of relatively minor tweaks. "Since Git 1.7.9, 'git merge' defaulted to --no-ff (i.e. even when the side branch being merged is a descendant of the current commit, create a merge commit instead of fast-forwarding) when merging a tag object. This was appropriate default for integrators who pull signed tags from their downstream contributors, but caused an unnecessary merges when used by downstream contributors who habitually 'catch up' their topic branches with tagged releases from the upstream. Update 'git merge' to default to --no-ff only when merging a tag object that does *not* sit at its usual place in refs/tags/ hierarchy, and allow fast-forwarding otherwise, to mitigate the problem."

GnuCash 3.0 released

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018 02:22:38 PM
The GnuCash 3.0 release is out. "The headline item for this release is that GnuCash now uses the Gtk+-3.0 Toolkit and the WebKit2Gtk API. This change was forced on us by some major Linux distributions dropping support for the WebKit1 API." This release also includes some new reports, a rewritten CSV importer, and more. LWN looked at GnuCash from a business-accounting point of view in August 2017.

OpenBSD 6.3 released

Monday 2nd of April 2018 08:11:43 PM
The OpenBSD 6.3 release is out. "The release was scheduled for April 15, but since all the components are ready ahead of schedule it is being released now." This release includes mitigation for the Meltdown vulnerability but not for Spectre on x86.

[$] Kernel lockdown in 4.17?

Monday 2nd of April 2018 07:23:09 PM
The UEFI secure boot mechanism is intended to protect the system against persistent malware threats — unpleasant bits of software attached to the operating system or bootloader that will survive a reboot. While Linux has supported secure boot for some time, proponents have long said that this support is incomplete in that it is still possible for the root user to corrupt the system in a number of ways. Patches that attempt to close this hole have been circulating for years, but they have been controversial at best. This story may finally come to a close, though, if Linus Torvalds accepts the "kernel lockdown" patch series during the 4.17 merge window.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 2nd of April 2018 03:25:15 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (dovecot, irssi, libevt, libvncserver, mercurial, mosquitto, openssl, python-django, remctl, rubygems, and zsh), Fedora (acpica-tools, dovecot, firefox, ImageMagick, mariadb, mosquitto, openssl, python-paramiko, rubygem-rmagick, and thunderbird), Mageia (flash-player-plugin and squirrelmail), Slackware (php), and Ubuntu (dovecot).

More in Tux Machines

Openwashing: Microsoft, Apple and Symphony Software Foundation

Linux Foundation: Real-Time Linux (RT Linux), LF Deep Learning Foundation, OpenTracing and More

  • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux
    Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years -- here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 -- many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels. At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions. One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.” One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”
  • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue
    I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry. Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.” This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.” [...] The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.” While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”
  • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI
    The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF. Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.
  • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard
    What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.
  • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]
    Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?
  • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation
    Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.
  • Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan Schedule Announced [Ed: "Brian Redmond, Microsoft" so you basically go to an event about Linux and must listen to a talk from a company which attacks Linux with patent blackmail, bribes etc.]

Security: Updates, GrayKey, Google and Cilium

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Hackers Leaked The Code Of iPhone Cracking Device “GrayKey”, Attempted Extortion
    The mysterious piece of hardware GrayKey might give a sense of happiness to cops because they can get inside most of the iPhone models currently active, including the iPhone X. The $30,000 device is known to crack a 4-digit iPhone passcode in a matter of a few hours, and a six-digit passcode in 3 days, or possibly 11 hours in ideal scenarios. That’s why security experts suggest that iOS users should keep an alphanumeric passcode instead of an all-number passcode.
  • Someone Is Trying to Extort iPhone Crackers GrayShift With Leaked Code
    Law enforcement agencies across the country are buying or have expressed interest in buying GrayKey, a device that can unlock up-to-date iPhones. But Grayshift, the company that makes the device, has attracted some other attention as well. Last week, an unknown party quietly leaked portions of GrayKey code onto the internet, and demanded over $15,000 from Grayshift—ironically, the price of an entry-level GrayKey—in order to stop publishing the material. The code itself does not appear to be particularly sensitive, but Grayshift confirmed to Motherboard the brief data leak that led to the extortion attempt.
  • It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files
    Google has confirmed spammers can not only send out spoofed emails that appear to have been sent by Gmail users, but said messages also appear in those users' sent mail folders. The Chocolate Factory on Monday told The Register that someone has indeed created and sent spam with forged email headers. These not only override the send address, so that it appears a legit Gmail user sent the message, but it also mysteriously shows up in that person's sent box as if they had typed it and emitted themselves. In turn, the messages would also appear in their inboxes as sent mail.
  • Cilium 1.0 Advances Container Networking With Improved Security
    For last two decades, the IPtables technology has been the cornerstone of Linux networking implementations, including new container models. On April 24, the open-source Cilium 1.0 release was launched, providing a new alternative to IPtables by using BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter), which improves both networking and security. The Cilium project's GitHub code repository defines the effort as Linux Native, HTTP Aware Network Security for Containers. Cilium development has been driven to date by stealth startup Covalent, which is led by CEO Dan Wendlandt, who well-known in the networking community for his work at VMware on software-defined networking, and CTO Thomas Graf, who is a core Linux kernel networking developer.

Applications: KStars, Kurly, Pamac, QEMU

  • KStars 2.9.5 is out!
    Autofocus module users would be happy to learn that the HFR value is now responsive to changing seeing conditions. Previously, the first successful autofocus operation would set the HFR Threshold value of which subsequent measurements are compared against during the in-sequence-focusing step.
  • Kurly – An Alternative to Most Widely Used Curl Program
    Kurly is a free open source, simple but effective, cross-platform alternative to the popular curl command-line tool. It is written in Go programming language and works in the same way as curl but only aims to offer common usage options and procedures, with emphasis on the HTTP(S) operations. In this tutorial we will learn how to install and use kurly program – an alternative to most widely used curl command in Linux.
  • Pamac – Easily Install and Manage Software on Arch Linux
    Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distribution available despite its apparent technicality. Its default package manager pacman is powerful but as time always tells, it is a lot easier to get certain things done using a mouse because GUI apps barely require any typing nor do they require you to remember any commands; and this is where Pamac comes in. Pamac is a Gtk3 frontend for libalpm and it is the GUI tool that Arch Linux users turn to the most when they aren’t in the mood to manage their software packages via the terminal; and who can blame them? It was specifically created to be used with Pacman.
  • QEMU 2.12 Released With RISC-V, Spectre/Meltdown & Intel vGPU Action
    QEMU 2.12 is now officially available as the latest stable feature update to this important component to the open-source Linux virtualization stack.