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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: 54 min 24 sec ago

Firefox OS, B2G OS, and Gecko

9 hours 21 min ago
Ari Jaaksi and David Bryant posted a note to the B2G (Boot to Gecko) OS community looking at the end of Firefox OS development and at what happens to the code base going forward. "In the spring and summer of 2016 the Connected Devices team dug deeper into opportunities for Firefox OS. They concluded that Firefox OS TV was a project to be run by our commercial partner and not a project to be led by Mozilla. Further, Firefox OS was determined to not be sufficiently useful for ongoing Connected Devices work to justify the effort to maintain it. This meant that development of the Firefox OS stack was no longer a part of Connected Devices, or Mozilla at all. Firefox OS 2.6 would be the last release from Mozilla. Today we are announcing the next phase in that evolution. While work at Mozilla on Firefox OS has ceased, we very much need to continue to evolve the underlying code that comprises Gecko, our web platform engine, as part of the ongoing development of Firefox. In order to evolve quickly and enable substantial new architectural changes in Gecko, Mozilla’s Platform Engineering organization needs to remove all B2G-related code from mozilla-central. This certainly has consequences for B2G OS. For the community to continue working on B2G OS they will have to maintain a code base that includes a full version of Gecko, so will need to fork Gecko and proceed with development on their own, separate branch." (Thanks to Paul Wise)

Tuesday's security updates

12 hours 21 min ago

Arch Linux has updated gnutls (certificate verification bypass), lib32-gnutls (certificate verification bypass), lib32-openssl (multiple vulnerabilities), openssl (multiple vulnerabilities), and wireshark-cli (multiple vulnerabilities).

Debian has updated jackrabbit (cross-site request forgery) and python-django (cross-site request forgery).

Debian-LTS has updated firefox-esr (multiple vulnerabilities).

Fedora has updated community-mysql (F24: SQL injection/privilege escalation).

openSUSE has updated firefox, nss (13.1: multiple vulnerabilities) and openssl (13.2: multiple vulnerabilities).

Red Hat has updated openssl (RHEL6,7: multiple vulnerabilities).

Slackware has updated openssl (denial of service).

SUSE has updated openssl (SLES12: multiple vulnerabilities).

Ubuntu has updated python-django (cross-site request forgery).

[$] Systemd programming, 30 months later

13 hours 41 min ago

Some time ago, we published a pair of articles about systemd programming that extolled the value of providing high-quality unit files in upstream packages. The hope was that all distributions would use them and that problems could be fixed centrally rather than each distribution fixing its own problems independently. Now, 30 months later, it seems like a good time to see how well that worked out for nfs-utils, the focus of much of that discussion. Did distributors benefit from upstream unit files, and what sort of problems were encountered?

Announcing the KDE Advisory Board

Monday 26th of September 2016 09:21:30 PM
KDE e.V. introduces the KDE Advisory Board. "One of the core goals of the Advisory Board is to provide KDE with insights into the needs of the various organizations that surround us. We are very aware that we need the ability to combine our efforts for greater impact and the only way we can do that is by adopting a more diverse view from outside of our organization on topics that are relevant to us. This will allow all of us to benefit from one another's experience."

Security advisories for Monday

Monday 26th of September 2016 04:23:59 PM

Debian has updated imagemagick (code execution), libarchive (three vulnerabilities), openssl (regression in previous update), and unadf (two vulnerabilities).

Debian-LTS has updated dropbear (two vulnerabilities), dwarfutils (two vulnerabilities), mactelnet (code execution), openssl (multiple vulnerabilities), and policycoreutils (sandbox escape).

Fedora has updated bash (F24; F23: code execution) and firefox (F24; F23: multiple vulnerabilities).

Gentoo has updated bundler (installs malicious gem files) and qemu (multiple vulnerabilities).

Mageia has updated gdk-pixbuf2.0 (denial of service), golang (denial of service), libarchive (file overwrite), libtorrent-rasterbar (denial of service), php (multiple vulnerabilities), and wireshark (multiple vulnerabilities).

openSUSE has updated curl (Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities), flash-player (13.1: multiple vulnerabilities), gd (Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities), gtk2 (Leap42.1; 13.2: code execution), firefox, nss (Leap42.1, 13.2: multiple vulnerabilities), samba (Leap42.1: crypto downgrade), thunderbird (13.1: multiple vulnerabilities), tiff (13.1: multiple vulnerabilities), and wpa_supplicant (Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities).

Slackware has updated php (multiple vulnerabilities).

Ubuntu has updated openssl (regression in previous update).

OpenSSL security advisory for September 26

Monday 26th of September 2016 01:12:27 PM
This OpenSSL security advisory is notable in that it's the second one in four days; sites that updated after the first one may need to do so again. "This security update addresses issues that were caused by patches included in our previous security update, released on 22nd September 2016. Given the Critical severity of one of these flaws we have chosen to release this advisory immediately to prevent upgrades to the affected version, rather than delaying in order to provide our usual public pre-notification."

Kernel prepatch 4.8-rc8

Monday 26th of September 2016 01:04:15 PM
The 4.8-rc8 kernel prepatch is out. "Things actually did start to calm down this week, but I didn't get the feeling that there was no point in doing one final rc, so here we are. I expect the final 4.8 release next weekend, unless something really unexpected comes up."

Prodromou: Adopt a pump.io server

Monday 26th of September 2016 08:27:59 AM

Evan Prodromou, creator of identi.ca and pump.io, has put a call out for interested parties to adopt the administration of public pump.io microblogging servers, which he is currently funding out of his own pocket. "Almost all of them are on $5/month Digital Ocean droplets, which makes them relatively cheap for a single person to support. If you decide you want to adopt a server, E14N will sell you the domain and all the software and data for $1. But you'll be obligated to keep the server running pump.io for at least a year, and if you decide you don't want to run it, you have to sell it back to me." There are currently around 25 servers in the federated network initially started by Prodromou, which does not count other pump.io instances. He notes that one important exception is the identi.ca site, which is significantly larger than the rest, and which he would like to find a trusted non-profit organization to maintain.

Stable kernel updates 4.7.5 and 4.4.22

Saturday 24th of September 2016 02:02:46 PM
The 4.7.5 and 4.4.22 stable kernel updates are available. These are relatively large updates containing the usual important fixes.

Mitchell: The MIT License, Line by Line

Friday 23rd of September 2016 04:11:19 PM

At his blog, Kyle E. Mitchell ("who is not your attorney") takes a close, line-by-line reading of the popular MIT software license. The details he points out begin on line one with the license's title: "'The MIT License' is a not a single license, but a family of license forms derived from language prepared for releases from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has seen a lot of changes over the years, both for the original projects that used it, and also as a model for other projects. The Fedora Project maintains a kind of cabinet of MIT license curiosities, with insipid variations preserved in plain text like anatomical specimens in formaldehyde, tracing a wayward kind of evolution."

Despite the license being only 171 words, Mitchell finds quite a bit to expand on, such as the ambiguities of the phrase "to deal in the Software without restriction": "As a result of this mishmash of legal, industry, general-intellectual-property, and general-use terms, it isn’t clear whether The MIT License includes a patent license. The general language 'deal in' and some of the example verbs, especially 'use', point toward a patent license, albeit a very unclear one. The fact that the license comes from the copyright holder, who may or may not have patent rights in inventions in the software, as well as most of the example verbs and the definition of 'the Software' itself, all point strongly toward a copyright license." Nevertheless, Mitchell notes, "despite some crusty verbiage and lawyerly affectation, one hundred and seventy one little words can get a hell of a lot of legal work done."

Friday's security updates

Friday 23rd of September 2016 01:55:01 PM

Debian has updated firefox-esr (multiple vulnerabilities).

Debian-LTS has updated wordpress (multiple vulnerabilities).

Fedora has updated distribution-gpg-keys (F23: privilege escalation), mock (F23: privilege escalation), openvas-libraries (F24; F23: multiple vulnerabilities), openvas-scanner (F24; F23: denial of service), and shiro (F24: access control bypass).

openSUSE has updated pdns (13.2, Leap 42.1: multiple vulnerabilities).

Oracle has updated kernel (4.1.12 O6; O7: multiple vulnerabilities; 3.8.13 O7; O6: multiple vulnerabilities; 2.6.39 O6; O5: multiple vulnerabilities).

Slackware has updated openssl (14.0, 14.1, 14.2, -current: multiple vulnerabilities) and pidgin (13.0, 13.1, 13.137, 14.0, 14.1: mysterious vulnerabilities).

Ubuntu has updated openssl (12.04, 14.04, 16.04: multiple vulnerabilities).

Garrett: Microsoft aren't forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems

Thursday 22nd of September 2016 08:03:35 PM
Matthew Garrett looks at the real problem behind the inability of some Lenovo laptops to run Linux. "The real problem here is that Intel do very little to ensure that free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware - we still have no information from Intel on how to configure systems to ensure good power management, we have no support for storage devices in "RAID" mode and we have no indication that this is going to get better in future. If Intel had provided that support, this issue would never have occurred."

A pile of security updates for Thursday

Thursday 22nd of September 2016 07:17:15 PM
Arch Linux has updated firefox (multiple vulnerabilities), irssi (code execution), and tomcat7 (proxy injection).

CentOS has updated firefox (C5, C6, C7: multiple vulnerabilities).

Debian has updated wireshark (LTS: dissector vulnerabilities), irssi (denial of service), and openssl (multiple vulnerabilities).

Fedora has updated drupal7-google_analytics (F23, F24: cross-site scripting), drupal7-panels (F23, F24: multiple vulnerabilities), jasper (F23: multiple code-execution vulnerabilities), mod_cluster (F24: "remote exploits"), nodejs-string-dot-prototype-dot-repeat (F23: "update for security reasons"), php-horde-Horde-Mime-Viewer (F23, F24: cross-site scripting), php-horde-Horde-Text-Filter (F23, F24: cross-site scripting), and xen (F23: multiple vulnerabilities).

Mageia has updated chromium-browser-stable (29 CVEs), curl (code execution), file-roller (file deletion), flash-player-plugin (26 CVEs), icu (code execution), jsch (path traversal vulnerability), libksba (denial of service), nodejs (remote code execution), slock (lock bypass), and tomcat (traffic redirection).

openSUSE has updated opera (multiple vulnerabilities).

Oracle has updated firefox (OL5, OL6, OL7: multiple vulnerabilities).

Scientific Linux has updated firefox (SL5-7: multiple vulnerabilities).

Slackware has updated irssi (denial of service), pidgin (17 CVE numbers), and firefox (multiple vulnerabilities).

SUSE has updated java-1_7_1-ibm (SLES12: three CVEs described as "Unspecified vulnerability in Oracle Java SE 7u101 and 8u92 allows local users to affect confidentiality, integrity, and availability via vectors related to Deployment"), and java-1_6-0-ibm (SLES11: one unspecified vulnerability).

Ubuntu has updated firefox (multiple vulnerabilities), gdk-pixbuf (code execution), irssi (denial of service), and thunderbird (code execution).

Note that there appear to be differences of opinion as to whether the irssi vulnerability can be exploited for code execution.

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 22, 2016

Thursday 22nd of September 2016 01:18:35 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 22, 2016 is available.

GNOME 3.22 released

Wednesday 21st of September 2016 06:36:39 PM
The GNOME Project has announced the release of GNOME 3.22, "Karlsruhe". "This release brings comprehensive Flatpak support. GNOME Software can install and update Flatpaks, GNOME Builder can create them, and the desktop provides portal implementations to enable sandboxed applications. Improvements to core GNOME applications include support for batch renaming in Files, sharing support in GNOME Photos, an updated look for GNOME Software, a redesigned keyboard settings panel, and many more."

[$] BBR congestion control

Wednesday 21st of September 2016 04:39:57 PM
Congestion-control algorithms are unglamorous bits of code that allow network protocols (usually TCP) to maximize the throughput of any given connection while simultaneously sharing the available bandwidth equitably with other users. New algorithms tend not to generate a great deal of excitement; the addition of TCP New Vegas during the 4.8 merge window drew little fanfare, for example. The BBR (Bottleneck Bandwidth and RTT) algorithm just released by Google, though, is attracting rather more attention; it moves away from the mechanisms traditionally used by these algorithms in an attempt to get better results in a network characterized by wireless links, meddling middleboxes, and bufferbloat.

Security advisories for Wednesday

Wednesday 21st of September 2016 03:36:21 PM

Arch Linux has updated curl (code execution), lib32-curl (code execution), and lib32-jansson (denial of service).

Debian has updated wireshark (multiple vulnerabilities).

Debian-LTS has updated unadf (two vulnerabilities).

Red Hat has updated firefox (RHEL5,6,7: multiple vulnerabilities).

SUSE has updated mysql (SLE11-SP3,4: multiple unspecified vulnerabilities).

CouchDB 2.0 released

Wednesday 21st of September 2016 02:52:59 PM
The Apache CouchDB database project has announced its 2.0 release. New features include clustering support, a new query language, a new administrative interface, and more. "CouchDB 2.0 is 99% API compatible with the 1.x series and most applications should continue to just work."

The curious case of the switch statement (fuzzy notepad)

Wednesday 21st of September 2016 02:49:37 PM
The fuzzy notepad blog is carrying a post about the switch statement with just about everything one might want to know about its past, present, and possible future. "As we’ve seen, the switch statement has had basically the same form for 49 years. The special case labels are based on syntax derived directly from fixed-layout FORTRAN on punchcards in 1957, several months before my father was born. I hate it."

Catanzaro: GNOME 3.22 core apps

Wednesday 21st of September 2016 02:33:05 PM
Michael Catanzaro lays down the rules for which GNOME applications distributions should package if they want to claim to provide a "pure GNOME experience." "Selecting the right set of default applications is critical to achieving a quality user experience. Installing redundant or overly technical applications by default can leave users confused and frustrated with the distribution. Historically, distributions have selected wildly different sets of default applications. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it’s clear that some distributions have done a much better job of this than others."

More in Tux Machines

Proxmox VE 4.3 released

Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH today announced the general availability of Proxmox Virtual Environment 4.3. The hyper-converged open source server virtualization solution enables users to create and manage LXC containers and KVM virtual machines on the same host, and makes it easy to set up highly available clusters as well as to manage network and storage via an integrated web-based management interface. The new version of Proxmox VE 4.3 comes with a completely new comprehensive reference documentation. The new docu framework allows a global as well as contextual help function. Proxmox users can access and download the technical documentation via the central help-button (available in various formats like html, pdf and epub). A main asset of the new documentation is that it is always version specific to the current user’s software version. Opposed to the global help, the contextual help-button shows the user the documentation part he currently needs. Read more

Games for GNU/Linux

Security News

  • Tuesday's security updates
  • New Open Source Linux Ransomware Divides Infosec Community
    Following our investigation into this matter, and seeing the vitriol-filled reaction from some people in the infosec community, Zaitsev has told Softpedia that he decided to remove the project from GitHub, shortly after this article's publication. The original, unedited article is below.
  • Fax machines' custom Linux allows dial-up hack
    Party like it's 1999, phreakers: a bug in Epson multifunction printer firmware creates a vector to networks that don't have their own Internet connection. The exploit requirements are that an attacker can trick the victim into installing malicious firmware, and that the victim is using the device's fax line. The firmware is custom Linux, giving the printers a familiar networking environment for bad actors looking to exploit the fax line as an attack vector. Once they're in that ancient environment, it's possible to then move onto the network to which the the printer's connected. Yves-Noel Weweler, Ralf Spenneberg and Hendrik Schwartke of Open Source Training in Germany discovered the bug, which occurs because Epson WorkForce multifunction printers don't demand signed firmware images.
  • Google just saved the journalist who was hit by a 'record' cyberattack
    Google just stepped in with its massive server infrastructure to run interference for journalist Brian Krebs. Last week, Krebs' site, Krebs On Security, was hit by a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that took it offline, the likes of which was a "record" that was nearly double the traffic his host Akamai had previously seen in cyberattacks. Now just days later, Krebs is back online behind the protection of Google, which offers a little-known program called Project Shield to help protect independent journalists and activists' websites from censorship. And in the case of Krebs, the DDoS attack was certainly that: The attempt to take his site down was in response to his recent reporting on a website called vDOS, a service allegedly created by two Israeli men that would carry out cyberattacks on behalf of paying customers.
  • Krebs DDoS aftermath: industry in shock at size, depth and complexity of attack
    “This attack didn’t stop, it came in wave after wave, hundreds of millions of packets per second,” says Josh Shaul, Akamai’s vice president of product management, when Techworld spoke to him. “This was different from anything we’ve ever seen before in our history of DDoS attacks. They hit our systems pretty hard.” Clearly still a bit stunned, Shaul describes the Krebs DDoS as unprecedented. Unlike previous large DDoS attacks such as the infamous one carried out on cyber-campaign group Spamhaus in 2013, this one did not use fancy amplification or reflection to muster its traffic. It was straight packet assault from the old school.
  • iOS 10 makes it easier to crack iPhone back-ups, says security firm
    INSECURITY FIRM Elcomsoft has measured the security of iOS 10 and found that the software is easier to hack than ever before. Elcomsoft is not doing Apple any favours here. The fruity firm has just launched the iPhone 7, which has as many problems as it has good things. Of course, there are no circumstances when vulnerable software is a good thing, but when you have just launched that version of the software, it is really bad timing. Don't hate the player, though, as this is what Elcomsoft, and what Apple, are supposed to be doing right. "We discovered a major security flaw in the iOS 10 back-up protection mechanism. This security flaw allowed us to develop a new attack that is able to bypass certain security checks when enumerating passwords protecting local (iTunes) back-ups made by iOS 10 devices," said Elcomsoft's Oleg Afonin in a blog post.
  • After Tesla: why cybersecurity is central to the car industry's future
    The news that a Tesla car was hacked from 12 miles away tells us that the explosive growth in automotive connectivity may be rapidly outpacing automotive security. This story is illustrative of two persistent problems afflicting many connected industries: the continuing proliferation of vulnerabilities in new software, and the misguided view that cybersecurity is separate from concept, design, engineering and production. This leads to a ‘fire brigade approach’ to cybersecurity where security is not baked in at the design stage for either hardware or software but added in after vulnerabilities are discovered by cybersecurity specialists once the product is already on the market.

Ofcom blesses Linux-powered, open source DIY radio ‘revolution’

Small scale DAB radio was (quite literally) conceived in an Ofcom engineer’s garden shed in Brighton, on a Raspberry Pi, running a full open source stack, in his spare time. Four years later, Ofcom has given the thumbs up to small scale DAB after concluding that trials in 10 UK cities were judged to be a hit. We gave you an exclusive glimpse into the trials last year, where you could compare the specialised proprietary encoders with the Raspberry Pi-powered encoders. “We believe that there is a significant level of demand from smaller radio stations for small scale DAB, and that a wider roll-out of additional small scale services into more geographic areas would be both technically possible and commercially sustainable,” notes Ofcom. Read more