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Syndicate content is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
Updated: 2 hours 58 min ago

[$] An update on the Android problem

Tuesday 7th of November 2017 08:51:42 AM
Android has been a great boon to the kernel community, having brought a great deal of growth in both the user and the development communities. But Android has also been a problem in that devices running it ship with kernels containing large amounts (often millions of lines) of out-of-tree code. That fragments the development community and makes it impossible to run mainline kernels on this hardware. The problematic side of Android was discussed at the 2017 Maintainer Summit; the picture that resulted is surprisingly optimistic.

Enlightenment DR 0.22.0 Release

Monday 6th of November 2017 10:00:59 PM
Enlightenment DR 0.22.0 has been released. This version of the desktop shell features improved Wayland support, improvements to new gadget infrastructure, a sudo/ssh askpass utility gui, tiling policy improvements, and integrated per-window volume controls, along with a switch to the Meson build system.

[$] Bash the kernel maintainers

Monday 6th of November 2017 09:39:43 PM
Laurent Pinchart ran a session at the 2017 Embedded Linux Conference Europe entitled "Bash the kernel maintainers"; the idea was to get feedback from developers on their experience working with the kernel community. A few days later, the Maintainers Summit held a free-flowing discussion on the issues that were brought up in that session. Some changes may result from this discussion, but it also showed how hard it can be to change how kernel subsystem maintainers work.

Concerning a Statement by the Conservancy (Software Freedom Law Center Blog)

Monday 6th of November 2017 08:08:33 PM
The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) has responded to a recent blog post from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) regarding the SFC's trademark. SFLC has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to cancel the SFC trademark due to a likelihood of confusion between the two marks; SFC posted about the action on its blog. Now, SFLC is telling its side of the story: "At the end of September, SFLC notified the US Patent and Trademark Office that we have an actual confusion problem caused by the trademark 'Software Freedom Conservancy,' which is confusingly similar to our own pre-existing trademark. US trademark law is all about preventing confusion among sources and suppliers of goods and services in the market. Trademark law acts to provide remedies against situations that create likelihood of, as well as actual, confusion. When you are a trademark holder, if a recent mark junior to yours causes likelihood of or actual confusion, you have a right to inform the PTO that the mark has issued in error, because that’s not supposed to happen. This act of notifying the PTO of a subsequently-issued mark that is causing actual confusion is called a petition to cancel the trademark. That’s not some more aggressive choice that the holder has made; it is not an attack, let alone a 'bizarre' attack, on anybody. That’s the name of the process by which the trademark holder gets the most basic value of the trademark, which is the right to abate confusion caused by the PTO itself."

[$] A report from the Realtime Summit

Monday 6th of November 2017 06:22:48 PM
The 2017 Realtime Summit (RT-Summit) was hosted by the Czech Technical University on Saturday, October 21 in Prague, just before the Embedded Linux Conference. It was attended by more than 50 individuals with backgrounds ranging from academic to industrial, and some local students daring enough to spend a day with that group. Guest author Mathieu Poirier provides summaries of some of the talks from the summit.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 6th of November 2017 03:56:11 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (curl, lib32-curl, lib32-libcurl-compat, lib32-libcurl-gnutls, libcurl-compat, libcurl-gnutls, libmupdf, mupdf, mupdf-gl, mupdf-tools, and zathura-pdf-mupdf), CentOS (liblouis), Debian (graphicsmagick, imagemagick, irssi, openssl, openssl1.0, redis, and wordpress), Mageia (lucene, poppler, and x11-server), SUSE (libwpd and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (liblouis).

[$] Kernel regression tracking, part 2

Monday 6th of November 2017 03:46:21 PM
The tracking of kernel regressions was discussed at the 2017 Kernel Summit; the topic made a second appearance at the first-ever Maintainers Summit two days later. This session was partly a repeat of what came before for the benefit of those (including Linus Torvalds) who weren't at the first discussion, but some new ground was covered as well.

Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc8

Monday 6th of November 2017 07:00:04 AM
The 4.14-rc8 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "But to actually have decided that we don't need an rc8 this release, it would have had to be really totally quiet, and it wasn't. Nothing looks scary, but we did have a few reverts in here still, and I'll just feel happier giving 4.14 another final week. .. and I really hope that _will_ be the final week, and we don't find anything new scary." Along with the various fixes, this prepatch also adds SPDX license tags to a lot of kernel source files.

Tarreau: Look back to an end-of-life LTS kernel: 3.10

Sunday 5th of November 2017 02:24:36 PM
Willy Tarreau reflects on his experience maintaining the 3.10 long-term kernel on the occasion of the release of the final update, 3.10.108. "First, there's no such notion of 'important fixes'. Even serious vendors employing several kernel developers got caught missing some apparently unimportant fixes and remaining vulnerable for more than two years after LTS was fixed. So you can imagine the level of quality you may expect from a $60 WiFi router vendor claiming to apply the same practices... The reality is that a bug is a bug, and until it's exploited it's not considered a vulnerability."

We're switching to a DCO for source code contributions (GitLab blog)

Friday 3rd of November 2017 05:20:44 PM
The GitLab open-source (and open-core) project hosting site has announced that it is moving away from its Contributor License Agreement (CLA) to a Developers Certificate of Origin (DCO), which is what is used by the Linux kernel, for example, to cover contributions made to its code base. "A Contributor License Agreement (CLA) is the industry standard for open source contributions to other projects, but it's unpopular with developers, who don't want to enter into legal terms and are put off by having to review a lengthy contract and potentially give up some of their rights. Contributors find the agreement unnecessarily restrictive, and it's deterring developers of open source projects from using GitLab. We were approached by Debian developers to consider dropping the CLA, and that's what we're doing." LWN looked at some of the background of this issue back in June.

SFLC Files Bizarre Legal Action Against Its Former Client, Software Freedom Conservancy (Conservancy Blog)

Friday 3rd of November 2017 04:15:36 PM
The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) blog reveals a recent action taken by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) to try to cancel the trademark for SFC. On September 22, SFLC filed a complaint with the US Patent and Trademark Office asking that the trademark be canceled because there is a likelihood of confusion between the trademarks: "Registrant's SOFTWARE FREEDOM CONSERVANCY Mark is confusingly similar to Petitioner's SOFTWARE FREEDOM LAW CENTER Mark." On November 2, SFC filed a response that lists the defenses it plans to use. From the blog post: "We are surprised and sad that our former attorneys, who kindly helped our organization start in our earliest days and later excitedly endorsed us when we moved from a volunteer organization to a staffed one, would seek to invalidate our trademark. Conservancy and SFLC are very different organizations and sometimes publicly disagree about detailed policy issues. Yet, both non-profits are charities organized to promote the public's interest. Thus, we are especially disappointed that SFLC would waste the precious resources of both organizations in this frivolous action."

Security updates for Friday

Friday 3rd of November 2017 02:45:53 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (bchunk and openjdk-8), Fedora (kernel and seamonkey), Mageia (ansible, sdl2, sdl2_image, mingw, and tomcat), Oracle (kernel and liblouis), Red Hat (liblouis and samba), Scientific Linux (liblouis), Slackware (mariadb and openssl), and SUSE (ceph, kernel, and qemu).

[$] A kernel self-testing update

Thursday 2nd of November 2017 03:06:52 PM
Shuah Khan is the maintainer of the kernel's self-test subsystem. At the 2017 Kernel Summit, she presented an update on the recent developments in kernel testing and led a related discussion. Much work has happened around self-testing in the kernel, but there remains a lot to be done.

Four new stable kernels

Thursday 2nd of November 2017 03:06:23 PM
The 4.13.11, 4.9.60, 4.4.96, and 3.18.79 stable kernels have been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman. There are, as usual, important fixes throughout the tree in these updates and users of those kernel series should upgrade.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 2nd of November 2017 02:45:30 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (thunderbird), Fedora (glusterfs, gnome-shell, java-1.8.0-openjdk, lucene, openvpn, poppler, and xen), openSUSE (xen), and Ubuntu (libreoffice and samba).

[$] Weekly Edition for November 2, 2017

Thursday 2nd of November 2017 12:36:31 AM
The Weekly Edition for November 2, 2017 is available.

Canonical joins GNOME Foundation Advisory Board (Ubuntu Insights)

Wednesday 1st of November 2017 10:12:11 PM
On the Ubuntu Insights blog, Canonical has announced that it has joined the GNOME Foundation advisory board. "We hope to share the results of our many years of user research, testing plus the needs of our large and diverse user base to help map out the best way for the entire GNOME ecosystem to benefit from our membership. The GNOME community have been very welcoming to Ubuntu, and we are already seeing the fruits of their labour in 17.10. Night Light, Captive Portal detection, the new Control Center, and a host of new features are now available to Ubuntu Desktop users by default by way of the GNOME desktop. We look forward to working closely with the GNOME Foundation, and to many years of happy collaboration."

[$] Using eBPF and XDP in Suricata

Wednesday 1st of November 2017 07:31:23 PM

Much software that uses the Linux kernel does so at comparative arms-length: when it needs the kernel, perhaps for a read or write, it performs a system call, then (at least from its point of view) continues operation later, with whatever the kernel chooses to give it in reply. Some software, however, gets pretty intimately involved with the kernel as part of its normal operation, for example by using eBPF for low-level packet processing. Suricata is such a program; Eric Leblond spoke about it at Kernel Recipes 2017 in a talk entitled "eBPF and XDP seen from the eyes of a meerkat".

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 1st of November 2017 02:51:10 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (graphicsmagick, libdatetime-timezone-perl, openjpeg2, thunderbird, and tzdata), Fedora (curl, glusterfs, java-1.8.0-openjdk, lame, lucene, SDL2, systemd, and xen), Red Hat (python-django), and Ubuntu (linux-lts-trusty and quagga).

[$] Improving printk()

Wednesday 1st of November 2017 02:14:12 PM
When a kernel developer wants to communicate a message to user space, be it for debugging or to report a serious problem with the system, the venerable printk() function is usually the tool of choice. But, as Steve Rostedt (accompanied by Petr Mladek and Sergey Senozhatsky) noted during a brief session at the 2017 Kernel Summit, printk() has not aged well. In particular, it can affect the performance of the system as a whole; the roots of that problem and a possible solution were discussed, but a real solution will have to wait for the appearance of the code.

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    Most people consider a college education the key to future success, but for many students, the cost is insurmountable. The growing open educational resource (OER) movement is attempting to address this problem by providing a high-quality, low-cost alternative to traditional textbooks, while at the same time empowering students and educators in innovative ways. One of the leaders in this movement is Robin DeRosa, a professor at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. I have been enthusiastically following her posts on Twitter and invited her to share her passion for open education with our readers. I am delighted to share our discussion with you.

Android Leftovers

Linux 4.10 To Linux 4.15 Kernel Benchmarks

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been enjoying its time on Linux 4.15. In addition to the recent boot time tests and kernel power comparison, here are some raw performance benchmarks looking at the speed from Linux 4.10 through Linux 4.15 Git. With this Broadwell-era Core i7 5600U laptop with 8GB RAM, HD Graphics, and 128GB SATA 3.0 SSD with Ubuntu 17.10 x86_64, the Linux 4.10 through 4.15 Git mainline kernels were benchmarked. Each one was tested "out of the box" and the kernel builds were obtained from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel archive. Read more