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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: 58 min 15 sec ago

Security updates for Wednesday

3 hours 8 min ago
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox and kernel), Debian (thunderbird), Fedora (curl), openSUSE (curl and python-Werkzeug), Oracle (kernel and thunderbird), Red Hat (rh-nginx114-nginx), SUSE (curl, ibus, MozillaFirefox, firefox-glib2, firefox-gtk3, openldap2, openssl, openssl1, python-urllib3, and util-linux and shadow), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, and wpa).

Moving Firefox to a faster 4-week release cycle

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 09:07:32 PM
The Mozilla blog has an announcement that Firefox will be moving to 4-week release cycle, starting in 2020. "Shorter release cycles provide greater flexibility to support product planning and priority changes due to business or market requirements. With four-week cycles, we can be more agile and ship features faster, while applying the same rigor and due diligence needed for a high-quality and stable release. Also, we put new features and implementation of new Web APIs into the hands of developers more quickly." The Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) release cadence will remain the same.

[$] The properties of secure IoT devices

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 09:03:13 PM
At Open Source Summit North America 2019, David Tarditi from Microsoft gave a talk on seven different properties for highly secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The properties are based on a Microsoft Research white paper [PDF] from 2017. His high-level summary of the talk was that if you are creating a device that will be connecting to the internet and you don't want it to get "owned", you should pay attention to the properties he would be describing. Overall, it was an interesting talk, with good analysis of the areas where effort needs to be focused to produce secure IoT devices, but it was somewhat marred by an advertisement for a proprietary product (which, naturally, checked all the boxes) at the end of the talk.

CentOS Linux 7 (1908) released

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 04:46:23 PM
A new release of CentOS Linux 7 is available. This release is tagged as 1908 and derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 source code. The release notes have the details. CentOS Linux 7 (1908) is also available for several alternate architectures.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 02:50:35 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (dino-im, python2.7, python3.4, and wpa), Fedora (kmplayer), openSUSE (podman and samba), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (thunderbird), Slackware (expat), SUSE (curl), and Ubuntu (apache2).

[$] Maintainers Summit topics: pull depth, hardware vulnerabilities, etc.

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 05:57:47 AM
The final sessions at the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit covered a number of relatively quick topics, including the "pull depth" for code going into the mainline, the handling of hardware vulnerabilities, the ABI status of tracepoints, and more.

Richard Stallman resigns from the FSF

Tuesday 17th of September 2019 05:39:16 AM
With a brief announcement, the Free Software Foundation has let it be known that founder Richard Stallman has resigned both as president and from the board of directors. "The board will be conducting a search for a new president, beginning immediately. Further details of the search will be published on fsf.org".

[$] Linus Torvalds on the kernel development community

Monday 16th of September 2019 05:22:22 PM
The Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit is all about the development process, so it is natural to spend some time on how that process is working at the top of the maintainer hierarchy. The "is Linus happy?" session during the 2019 summit revealed that things are working fairly well at that level, but that, as always, there are a few things that could be improved.

Stable kernel updates

Monday 16th of September 2019 02:35:05 PM
Stable kernels 5.2.15, 4.19.73, 4.14.144, 4.9.193, and 4.4.193 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 16th of September 2019 02:27:28 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (ansible, faad2, linux-4.9, and thunderbird), Fedora (jbig2dec, libextractor, sphinx, and thunderbird), Mageia (expat, kconfig, mediawiki, nodejs, openldap, poppler, thunderbird, webkit2, and wireguard), openSUSE (buildah, ghostscript, go1.12, libmirage, python-urllib3, rdesktop, and skopeo), SUSE (python-Django), and Ubuntu (exim4, ibus, and Wireshark).

[$] The stable-kernel process

Monday 16th of September 2019 10:05:10 AM
The stable kernel process is a perennial topic of discussion at gatherings of kernel developers; the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit was no exception. Sasha Levin ran a session there where developers could talk about the problems they have with stable kernels and ponder solutions.

The 5.3 kernel is out

Monday 16th of September 2019 05:50:13 AM
The 5.3 kernel is available at last. The announcement includes a long discussion about user-space regressions — an ext4 filesystem performance improvement had caused some systems to fail booting due to a lack of entropy early after startup. "It's more that it's an instructive example of what counts as a regression, and what the whole 'no regressions' kernel rule means. The reverted commit didn't change any API's, and it didn't introduce any new bugs. But it ended up exposing another problem, and as such caused a kernel upgrade to fail for a user. So it got reverted."

Some of the more significant changes in 5.3 include scheduler utilization clamping, the pidfd_open() and clone3() system calls, bounded loop support for BPF programs, support for the 0.0.0.0/8 IPv4 address range, a new configuration option for the soon-to-be-merged realtime preemption code, and more. See the KernelNewbies 5.3 page for lots of details.

[$] Dealing with automated kernel bug reports

Sunday 15th of September 2019 07:36:54 AM
There is value in automatic testing systems, but they also present a problem of their own: how can one keep up with the high volume of bug reports that they generate? At the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit, Shuah Khan ran a session dedicated to this issue. There was general agreement that the reports are hard to deal with, but not a lot of progress toward a solution.

[$] Defragmenting the kernel development process

Saturday 14th of September 2019 07:22:20 AM
The first session at the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit was a last-minute addition to the schedule. Dmitry Vyukov's Linux Plumbers Conference session on the kernel development process (slides [PDF]) had inspired a number of discussions that, it was agreed, should carry over into the summit. The result was a wide-ranging conversation about the kernel's development tools and what could be done to improve them.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 13th of September 2019 02:49:22 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (curl, dnsmasq, and golang-go.crypto), Mageia (docker, firefox, flash-player-plugin, ghostscript, links, squid, sympa, tcpflow, thunderbird, and znc), openSUSE (srt), Oracle (.NET Core, kernel, libwmf, and poppler), Scientific Linux (firefox), SUSE (cri-o, curl, java-1_8_0-ibm, python-SQLAlchemy, and python-urllib3), and Ubuntu (curl and expat).

[$] Comparing GCC and Clang security features

Thursday 12th of September 2019 10:33:56 PM
Hardening must be performed at all levels of a system, including in the compiler that is used to build that system. There are two viable compilers in the free-software community now, each of which offers a different set of security features. Kees Cook ran a session during the Toolchains microconference at the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference that examined the security-feature support provided by both GCC and LLVM Clang, noting the places where each one could stand to improve.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 12th of September 2019 02:48:51 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (exim, firefox, and webkit2gtk), Debian (libonig and opensc), Fedora (cobbler), Oracle (firefox and kernel), Red Hat (flash-plugin, kernel, kernel-rt, rh-maven35-jackson-databind, rh-nginx110-nginx, and rh-nginx112-nginx), Scientific Linux (kernel), Slackware (curl, mozilla, and openssl), SUSE (ceph, libvirt, and python-Werkzeug), and Ubuntu (vlc and webkit2gtk).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 12, 2019

Thursday 12th of September 2019 12:31:58 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 12, 2019 is available.

[$] Topics from the Open Printing microconference

Wednesday 11th of September 2019 06:40:10 PM
On day two of the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference, two of the principals behind the Open Printing project led the very first Open Printing microconference. Project leader Till Kamppeter and program manager Aveek Basu described the current state of printing on Linux and some of the plans for the future, including supporting scanning for multi-function devices. The picture they painted was rosy, at least for printing, which may not quite match the experience of many Linux users. As with many projects, though, Open Printing is starved for contributors—something that was reflected in the sparse attendance at the microconference.

[$] The USB debugging arsenal

Wednesday 11th of September 2019 04:31:08 PM
At the 2019 Embedded Linux Conference North America, which was held in San Diego in August, Krzysztof Opasiak gave a presentation on demystifying the ways to monitor—and even change—USB traffic on a Linux system. He started with the basics of the USB protocol and worked up into software and hardware tools to observe, modify, and fuzz the messages that get sent. Those tools are part of the arsenal that is available to those interested in looking deeply into USB.

More in Tux Machines

Canonical Outs New Linux Kernel Security Update for All Supported Ubuntu OSes

Canonical released today a new Linux kernel security update for all supported Ubuntu releases to address three vulnerabilities across all supported architectures. The new Linux kernel security update addresses three vulnerabilities affecting the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 ESM (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Precise Pangolin) operating systems. The first security issue addressed in this update is a a buffer overflow (CVE-2019-14835) discovered by Peter Pi in Linux kernel's virtio network backend (vhost_net) implementation, which could allow an attacker in the guest system to either execute arbitrary code in the host OS or crash the host operating system by causing a denial of service. Read more

Games Leftovers

  • AMD Linux Driver's LRU Bulk Moves Can Be A Big Help For Demanding Linux Games

    Sadly not currently queued as a fix for the Linux 5.4 kernel, re-enabling the LRU bulk moves functionality can be a significant boost for helping with the Radeon graphics driver performance for Linux gaming. As written about last week, there's been some signs of soon re-enabling the performance-boosting "bulk moves" functionality. The LRU bulk moves functionality was disabled in the AMDGPU driver back during Linux 4.20 but since Linux 5.1 it's believed all the bugs have been ironed out for this functionality to migrate PD/PT buffers to the least recently used list in a bulk operation.

  • This Is the Police spin-off strategy game Rebel Cops has released with Linux support

    Focusing exclusively on the turn-based combat found in This Is the Police 2, the new spin-off game Rebel Cops is officially out now with Linux support. Note: Copy provided by GOG. A new criminal power which has set foot in town and the community leaders, politicians and local police have basically surrendered and so it seemed like all hope was lost. That was, until you and you crew stepped in. You lead a rough and ready group of renegade cops who refuse to give in.

  • The latest update to the city-builder god game The Universim adds riots, Twitch integration and some automation

    Crytivo continue expanding their city-builder The Universim, with the Pitchfork Patch now out and it's quite a big one. Added in this patch is a new Riots feature. If you fail them, they will respond. So if global happiness drops too low or there's too much crime you might see your nuggets run around rioting. Fires might be caused, damage to structures and more. They can be dealt with a few ways like letting them burn out, arresting them or using some god powers. The Stone Age Town Hall has been added in, allowing a little more automation. This building allows Elders to sort out the essential needs of your nuggets (like food and water), it will also auto-assign workers to buildings and more allowing you to sit back and appreciate watching everything grow.

  • A95X Max Plus S922X TV Box Targets Gaming with Wii-like Motion Sensing Remote & Bluetooth Gamepad

    Unless a new processor is out, we don’t cover most TV boxes as they mostly provide the same features with little differentiation between products.

  • Area 86, an amusing physics-based escape room puzzler is coming to Linux

    Area 86 takes the idea of an escape room game and turns it into a physics-based puzzler and it's coming to Linux next month. Linux support is already in and live, as the developer actually sent a preview copy to our GamingOnLinux Curator on Steam. Inspired by the likes of Human: Fall Flat, Overcooked and Portal it tasks you with helping a little robot escape a series of rooms and it's actually quite amusing.

  • Prison Architect updated with more free content, needs a fix for it running on Linux

    Now that Paradox own the rights to Prison Architect and Double Eleven are in charge of development, they're continuing the free updates. The Slammer update was released yesterday and one of the major changes is an overhaul to Deployment. The presentation of visuals of the interface were improved so you can see your prison, you can assign Armed Guards and Dog Handlers to patrols and zones, you can have 2 different intersecting patrol routes plus routes and zones can be prioritized.

  • Paradox have released a big free update for Europa Universalis IV, fix included for Linux

    Paradox Development Studio have released another big free content update to the empire building game Europa Universalis IV.

  • Receiver, the experimental FPS from Wolfire Games had a big update recently (updated)

    Receiver is a name I've not heard in a long time, the indie FPS released back in 2013 by Wolfire Games and it's just seen a big update. There's no new enemies or levels in this update, instead Wolfire focused on the tech that runs the game. In this case it's the Unity game engine and they gave it quite a big update. It also adds in some graphical prettiness and other bits like that.

  • Backspace Bouken, the dungeon crawler that needs you to type out encounters has a fresh demo out

    RNG Party Games recently put out a freshly baked demo version of the typing dungeon crawler Backspace Bouken. It's a really sweet idea and thoroughly flips classic dungeon crawling on its head.

  • Might and Delight just announced Book of Travels, a unique new RPG that will support Linux

    Might and Delight (Meadow, Shelter) announced something very interesting just recently called Book of Travels. It's what they say is a TMO (Tiny Multiplayer Online) game and it looks pretty awesome. It sounds like nothing else, this could be one of the most unique RPGs I've seen in a very long time. With an art style that looks like it has been painted, with a land that's inspired by old-world fairytales, Eastern mythologies and early industrial eras. I'm most curious to see how they're handling the online side though. Their current explanation doesn't help much, just that "other players are few, but your paths will cross - it’s up to you to choose to travel together or go it alone". There's no Guilds or other social stuff, to make "your temporary fellowships unique and memorable".

  • Beautiful sci-fi point and click adventure ENCODYA is fully funded and heading to Linux

    ENCODYA is a very impressive sci-fi point and click adventure with a fantastic style and the good news is the recent Kickstarter campaign was very much a success. Ending yesterday with €46,543 from 603 backers. Curiously, for that amount of funding that's quite a small amount of supporters. Looking at the tiers, they had three people sign up to the €5,000 level to be classed as a "co-producer" giving them a few bonuses like a logo during the start and end screen. Pretty amazing really to see a few people give such a huge amount of support to an indie game.

today's leftovers: startx, podcasts. games, Debian, events, Mozilla and more

  • The return of startx(1) for non-root users [with some caveats]

    Mark Kettenis (kettenis@) has recently committed changes which restore a certain amount of startx(1)/xinit(1) functionality for non-root users.

  • Talking to machines: Lisp and the origins of AI

    The Command Line Heroes podcast explores the invention of Lisp and the rise of thinking computers powered by open source software.

  • 09/17/2019 | Linux Headlines

    Richard Stallman resigns from the board of the Free Software Foundation and his position at MIT. Plus Microsoft's latest open source project, Oracle's new Linux distribution, and a release date for CentOS 8.

  • The new Steam Library Beta is officially out for you to try

    The day has finally arrived, Valve have now put out a Beta for the massive overhaul to the Steam Library so you can try it yourself. A huge amount has changed but likely some rough edges to be found since it's not quite finished. Promising though, a lot better in many ways than the old and stale interface that Steam has currently.

  • No hammer or nails needed for the Humble Builder Bundle now live

    The Humble Builder Bundle just went live with a couple of nice Linux games included, another chance to get a good deal.

  • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (July and August 2019)

    The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months: Keng-Yu Lin (kengyu) Judit Foglszinger (urbec) The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months: Hans van Kranenburg Scarlett Moore Congratulations!

  • A recap of the Linux Plumbers Conference 2019

    This year’s Linux Plumbers Conference concluded on the 11th of September 2019. This invitation-only conference for Linux top kernel developers was held in Lisbon, Portugal this year. The conference brings developers working on the plumbing of Linux – kernel subsystems, core libraries, windowing systems, etc. to think about core design problems. Unlike most tech conferences that generally discuss the future of the Linux operating system, the Linux Plumbers Conference has a distinct motive behind it. In an interview with ZDNet, Linus Torvalds, the Linux creator said, “The maintainer summit is really different because it doesn’t even talk about technical issues. It’s all about the process of creating and maintaining the Linux kernel.” In short, the developers attending the conference know confidential and intimate details about some of the Linux kernel subsystems, and maybe this is why the conference has the word ‘Plumbers’ in it.

  • OpenForum Academy Workshop - Exploring Modern Dimensions of Openness

    The OpenForum Academy held its second 2019 workshop in Brussels this week. OpenForum Academy is a European-based independent think tank which explains the merits of openness in computing to policy makers, industry and communities across Europe. This workshop series aims at being a forum for practitioners, academics and policy makers to collaborate on various topics of openness and freedom. It is organized by OpenForum Europe, enabling it to bridge between the abstract academic world and policy discussions at the European Commissions. We set out to explore focus topics to answer current challenges to openness that the academy will develop insights and recommendations for. These topics will shape the work of OpenForum Academy for the near future. The workshop was opened by a series of input presentations. One of those was on “Addressing lock-in challenges through the use of open source software projects” by Björn Lundell, a fellow of the academy and professor at the University of Skövde in Sweden. He explained for example the need for open source solutions to read and write data formats of digital assets of long-term importance.

  • Mozilla first reveals, then conceals, paid support plan for Firefox

    In return for the fee, Mozilla said on the now-absent Firefox enterprise site - still visible through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine - customers would be able to privately report bugs via a new web portal and receive fixes on a timeline dependent on the impact and urgency of the problem. Customers would also be able to file requests for help with Firefox's installation and deployment, management policies, functionality and customization.

  • Trabant Calculator - a Data Visualization of TreeHerder Jobs Durations

    Its goal is to give a better sense on how much computations are going on in Mozilla automation. Current TreeHerder UI surfaces job durations, but only per job. To get a sense on how much we stress our automation, we have to click on each individual job and do the sum manually. This tool is doing this sum for you. Well, it also tries to rank the jobs by their durations. I would like to open minds about the possible impact on the environment we may have here. For that, I am translating these durations into something fun that doesn’t necessarily make any sense.

  • FOSSA scores $8.5 million Series A to help enterprise manage open-source licenses
  • First Digital-Only Bank in China Joins Linux Foundation

    The Linux Foundation today announced that WeBank is joining at the Gold level. It joins Alibaba, Dell, Facebook, Toyota, Uber and Verizon among other Linux Foundation members at this level.

  • First Digital-Only Bank in China Joins Linux Foundation

    WeBank is both the first privately-owned bank and the first digital-only bank in China. It was built with technology at its core and is committed to promoting innovative technologies. It recently led the transfer of the FATE (Federated AI Technology Enabler) to the Linux Foundation. FATE is a federated learning framework that fosters collaboration across companies and institutes to perform AI model training and inference in accordance with user privacy, data confidentiality and government regulations.

SUSE: Containers, IBM, Predictions and Openwashing SAP

  • Demystifying Containers – Part III: Container Images

    This series of blog posts and corresponding talks aims to provide you with a pragmatic view on containers from a historic perspective. Together we will discover modern cloud architectures layer by layer, which means we will start at the Linux Kernel level and end up at writing our own secure cloud native applications. Simple examples paired with the historic background will guide you from the beginning with a minimal Linux environment up to crafting secure containers, which fit perfectly into todays’ and futures’ orchestration world. In the end it should be much easier to understand how features within the Linux kernel, container tools, runtimes, software defined networks and orchestration software like Kubernetes are designed and how they work under the hood.

  • Announcing the new IBM LinuxONE III – Combined with SUSE for One of the Most Secure Platforms on the Planet

    Our guest blog writer is Kara Todd, Director of Linux at IBM with an exciting announcement from IBM – with SUSE Linux Enterprise playing an integral role! Announcing the new IBM LinuxONE III – the system you need for the most secure, flexible system to support your initiatives today, and you need that system to grow and evolve with you for tomorrow. The latest LinuxONE system was designed to support your mission-critical initiatives and allow you to be innovative as you design and scale your environment. LinuxONE III provides features for advanced data protection and privacy, enterprise resiliency and scalability, and cloud enablement and integration. These tools set the foundation to enable you to build with flexibility, deliver with confidence, and protect the future.

  • Top 10 Technology Predictions for 2019 Revisited – Here’s my Personal Performance Appraisal

    Open source continues to play a key role in all these other dominant technology trends. That’s why 82% of large organizations are more receptive to open source than they were 5 years ago, and 83% of hiring managers are looking for open source talent as a priority. So, how did I do overall with my predictions? Based on my own appraisal, I scored a creditable 9/10, and I’m feeling pretty good about that. However, I guess I wasn’t taking a huge risk. By way of full disclosure, I track all of these trends as part of my role at SUSE, and as a leading technology partner, SUSE works very closely with all its customers.

  • Introduction to SUSE Linux Enterprise is now available on openSAP