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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: 29 min ago

Security updates for Monday

Monday 5th of February 2018 04:02:43 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (dokuwiki and p7zip), Fedora (kernel, pdns, rsync, and webkitgtk4), openSUSE (chromium and translate-toolkit), Red Hat (jboss-ec2-eap and Red Hat Satellite 6), Slackware (php), and SUSE (bind and firefox).

Meet India’s women Open Source warriors (Factor Daily)

Monday 5th of February 2018 02:26:31 PM
The Factor Daily site has a look at work to increase the diversity of open-source contributors in India. "Over past two months, we interviewed at least two dozen people from within and outside the open source community to identify a set of women open source contributors from India. While the list is not conclusive by any measure, it’s a good starting point in identifying the women who are quietly shaping the future of open source from this part of the world and how they dealt with gender biases."

[$] 4.16 Merge window part 1

Friday 2nd of February 2018 09:35:28 PM
As of this writing, just over 6,700 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.16 development cycle. Given that there are a number of significant trees yet to be pulled, the early indications are that 4.16 will be yet another busy development cycle. What follows is a summary of the significant changes merged in the first half of this merge window.

Free Electrons becomes Bootlin

Friday 2nd of February 2018 05:09:01 PM
Longtime embedded Linux development company Free Electrons has just changed its name to Bootlin due to a trademark dispute (with "FREE SAS, a French telecom operator, known as the owner of the free.fr website"). It is possible that Free Electrons may lose access to its "free-electrons.com" domain name as part of the dispute, so links to the many resources that Free Electrons hosts (including documentation and conference videos) should be updated to use "bootlin.com". "The services we offer are different, we target a different audience (professionals instead of individuals), and most of our communication efforts are in English, to reach an international audience. Therefore Michael Opdenacker and Free Electrons’ management believe that there is no risk of confusion between Free Electrons and FREE SAS. However, FREE SAS has filed in excess of 100 oppositions and District Court actions against trademarks or name containing “free”. In view of the resources needed to fight this case, Free Electrons has decided to change name without waiting for the decision of the District Court. This will allow us to stay focused on our projects rather than exhausting ourselves fighting a long legal battle."

GNU C Library 2.27 released

Friday 2nd of February 2018 03:50:46 PM
Version 2.27 of the GNU C Library is out. This release includes support for static PIE executables, a number of security-oriented improvements (and fixes for several CVE numbers), support for memory protection keys, and much more.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 2nd of February 2018 03:21:23 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (systemd and thunderbird), Debian (squid and squid3), Fedora (firefox), Mageia (java-1.8.0-openjdk and sox), openSUSE (ecryptfs-utils and libXfont), Oracle (systemd and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), and Ubuntu (dovecot and w3m).

How I coined the term 'open source' (Opensource.com)

Friday 2nd of February 2018 01:41:44 AM
Over at Opensource.com, Christine Peterson has published her account of coining the term "open source". Originally written in 2006, her story on the origin of the term has now been published for the first time. The 20 year anniversary of the adoption of "open source" is being celebrated this year by the Open Source Initiative at various conferences (recently at linux.conf.au, at FOSDEM on February 3, and others). "Between meetings that week, I was still focused on the need for a better name and came up with the term "open source software." While not ideal, it struck me as good enough. I ran it by at least four others: Eric Drexler, Mark Miller, and Todd Anderson liked it, while a friend in marketing and public relations felt the term "open" had been overused and abused and believed we could do better. He was right in theory; however, I didn't have a better idea, so I thought I would try to go ahead and introduce it. In hindsight, I should have simply proposed it to Eric Raymond, but I didn't know him well at the time, so I took an indirect strategy instead. Todd had agreed strongly about the need for a new term and offered to assist in getting the term introduced. This was helpful because, as a non-programmer, my influence within the free software community was weak. My work in nanotechnology education at Foresight was a plus, but not enough for me to be taken very seriously on free software questions. As a Linux programmer, Todd would be listened to more closely."

[$] Mixed-criticality support in seL4

Thursday 1st of February 2018 11:03:26 PM
Linux tries to be useful for a wide variety of use cases, but there are some situations where it may not be appropriate; safety-critical deployments with tight timing constraints would be near the top of the list for many people. On the other hand, systems that can run safety-critical code in a provably correct manner tend to be restricted in functionality and often have to be dedicated to a single task. In a linux.conf.au 2018 talk, Gernot Heiser presented work that is being done with the seL4 microkernel system to safely support complex systems in a provably safe manner.

Huang: Spectre/Meltdown Pits Transparency Against Liability

Thursday 1st of February 2018 07:36:45 PM
Here's a blog post from "bunnie" Huang on the tension between transparency and product liability around hardware flaws. "The open source community could use the Spectre/Meltdown crisis as an opportunity to reform the status quo. Instead of suing Intel for money, what if we sue Intel for documentation? If documentation and transparency have real value, then this is a chance to finally put that value in economic terms that Intel shareholders can understand. I propose a bargain somewhere along these lines: if Intel releases comprehensive microarchitectural hardware design specifications, microcode, firmware, and all software source code (e.g. for AMT/ME) so that the community can band together to hammer out any other security bugs hiding in their hardware, then Intel is absolved of any payouts related to the Spectre/Meltdown exploits."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 1st of February 2018 04:22:09 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium-browser, krb5, and smarty3), Fedora (firefox, GraphicsMagick, and moodle), Mageia (rsync), openSUSE (bind, chromium, freeimage, gd, GraphicsMagick, libtasn1, libvirt, nodejs6, php7, systemd, and webkit2gtk3), Red Hat (chromium-browser, systemd, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (systemd), and Ubuntu (curl, firefox, and ruby2.3).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 1, 2018

Thursday 1st of February 2018 02:17:38 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 1, 2018 is available.

[$] Too many lords, not enough stewards

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 10:37:44 PM

For anyone who has followed Daniel Vetter's talks over the last year or two, it is fairly clear that he is not happy with the kernel development process and the role played by kernel maintainers. In a strongly worded talk at linux.conf.au (LCA) 2018 in Sydney, he further explored the topic (that he also raised at LCA 2017) in a talk entitled "Burning down the castle". In his view, kernel development is broken and it is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

Schaller: An update on Pipewire – the multimedia revolution

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 08:14:58 PM
Christian Schaller provides us with an update on the state of the new PipeWire multimedia system. "So as you probably noticed one thing we didn’t mention above is how to deal with PulseAudio applications. Handling this usecase is still on the todo list and the plan is to at least initially just keep PulseAudio running on the system outputting its sound through PipeWire. That said we are a bit unsure how many applications would actually be using this path because as mentioned above all GStreamer applications for instance would be PipeWire native automatically through the PipeWire GStreamer plugins."

[$] Containers from user space

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 07:17:36 PM
In a linux.conf.au 2018 keynote called "Containers from user space" — an explicit reference to the cult film "Plan 9 from Outer Space" — Jessie Frazelle took the audience on a fast-moving tour of the past, present, and possible future of container technology. Describing the container craze as "amazing", she covered topics like the definition of a container, security, runtimes, container concepts in programming languages, multi-tenancy, and more.

Some stable kernel updates

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 04:45:55 PM
The latest stable kernel updates are: 4.14.16, 4.9.79, 4.4.114, and 3.18.93. Each contains a relatively large set of important fixes and updates.

[$] The effect of Meltdown and Spectre in our communities

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 04:40:17 PM

A late-breaking development in the computing world led to a somewhat hastily arranged panel discussion at this year's linux.conf.au in Sydney. The embargo for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities broke on January 4; three weeks later, Jonathan Corbet convened representatives from five separate parts of our community, from cloud to kernel to the BSDs and beyond. As Corbet noted in the opening, the panel itself was organized much like the response to the vulnerabilities themselves, which is why it didn't even make it onto the conference schedule until a few hours earlier.

GDB 8.1 released

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 04:30:29 PM
Version 8.1 of the GDB debugger is out. Changes include better support for the Rust language and various other improvements to make debugging easier; see the announcement and the news file for the full list.

LibreOffice 6.0 released

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 03:43:58 PM
The LibreOffice 6.0 release is available. Changes include a new help system, a better spelling checker, OpenPGP support, better document interoperability, improvements to LibreOffice Online, and more. "LibreOffice 6.0 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users."

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 31st of January 2018 02:23:18 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dnsmasq, libmupdf, mupdf, mupdf-gl, mupdf-tools, and zathura-pdf-mupdf), CentOS (kernel), Debian (smarty3, thunderbird, and unbound), Fedora (bind, bind-dyndb-ldap, coreutils, curl, dnsmasq, dnsperf, gcab, java-1.8.0-openjdk, libxml2, mongodb, poco, rubygem-rack-protection, transmission, unbound, and wireshark), Red Hat (collectd, erlang, and openstack-nova), SUSE (bind), and Ubuntu (clamav and webkit2gtk).

[$] Increasing open-source inclusivity with paper circuits

Tuesday 30th of January 2018 06:38:46 PM
Open-source software has an inclusiveness problem that will take some innovative approaches to fix. But, Andrew "bunnie" Huang said in his fast-moving linux.conf.au 2018 talk, if we don't fix it we may find we have bigger problems in the near future. His approach to improving the situation is to make technology more accessible — by enabling people to create electronic circuits on paper and write code for them.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Sunjun partners with Collabora to offer LibreOffice in the Cloud
  • Tackling the most important issue in a DevOps transformation
    You've been appointed the DevOps champion in your organisation: congratulations. So, what's the most important issue that you need to address?
  • PSBJ Innovator of the Year: Hacking cells at the Allen Institute
  • SUNY math professor makes the case for free and open educational resources
    The open educational resources (OER) movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years, as educators—from kindergarten classes to graduate schools—turn to free and open source educational content to counter the high cost of textbooks. Over the past year, the pace has accelerated. In 2017, OERs were a featured topic at the high-profile SXSW EDU Conference and Festival. Also last year, New York State generated a lot of excitement when it made an $8 million investment in developing OERs, with the goal of lowering the costs of college education in the state. David Usinski, a math and computer science professor and assistant chair of developmental education at the State University of New York's Erie Community College, is an advocate of OER content in the classroom. Before he joined SUNY Erie's staff in 2007, he spent a few years working for the Erie County public school system as a technology staff developer, training teachers how to infuse technology into the classroom.

Mozilla: Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society, New AirMozilla Audience Demo, Firefox Telemetry

  • Net Neutrality, NSF and Mozilla's WINS Challenge Winners, openSUSE Updates and More
    The National Science Foundation and Mozilla recently announced the first round of winners from their Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (WINS) challenges—$2 million in prizes for "big ideas to connect the unconnected across the US". According to the press release, the winners "are building mesh networks, solar-powered Wi-Fi, and network infrastructure that fits inside a single backpack" and that the common denominator for all of them is "they're affordable, scalable, open-source and secure."
  • New AirMozilla Audience Demo
    The legacy AirMozilla platform will be decommissioned later this year. The reasons for the change are multiple; however, the urgency of the change is driven by deprecated support of both the complex back-end infrastructure by IT and the user interface by Firefox engineering teams in 2016. Additional reasons include a complex user workflow resulting in a poor user experience, no self-service model, poor usability metrics and a lack of integrated, required features.
  • Perplexing Graphs: The Case of the 0KB Virtual Memory Allocations
    Every Monday and Thursday around 3pm I check dev-telemetry-alerts to see if there have been any changes detected in the distribution of any of the 1500-or-so pieces of anonymous usage statistics we record in Firefox using Firefox Telemetry.

Games: All Walls Must Fall, Tales of Maj'Eyal

  • All Walls Must Fall, the quirky tech-noir tactics game, comes out of Early Access
    This isometric tactical RPG blends in sci-fi, a Cold War that never ended and lots of spirited action. It’s powered by Unreal Engine 4 and has good Linux support.
  • Non-Linux FOSS: Tales of Maj'Eyal
    I love gaming, but I have two main problems with being a gamer. First, I'm terrible at video games. Really. Second, I don't have the time to invest in order to increase my skills. So for me, a game that is easy to get started with while also providing an extensive gaming experience is key. It's also fairly rare. All the great games tend to have a horribly steep learning curve, and all the simple games seem to involve crushing candy. Thankfully, there are a few games like Tales of Maj'Eyal that are complex but with a really easy learning curve.

KDE and GNOME: KDE Discover, Okular, Librsvg, and Phone's UI Shell

  • This week in Discover, part 7
    The quest to make Discover the most-loved Linux app store continues at Warp 9 speed! You may laugh, but it’s happening! Mark my words, in a year Discover will be a beloved crown jewel of the KDE experience.
  • Okular gains some more JavaScript support
    With it we support recalculation of some fields based on others. An example that calculates sum, average, product, minimum and maximum of three numbers can be found in this youtube video.
  • Librsvg's continuous integration pipeline
    With the pre-built images, and caching of Rust artifacts, Jordan was able to reduce the time for the "test on every commit" builds from around 20 minutes, to little under 4 minutes in the current iteration. This will get even faster if the builds start using ccache and parallel builds from GNU make. Currently we have a problem in that tests are failing on 32-bit builds, and haven't had a chance to investigate the root cause. Hopefully we can add 32-bit jobs to the CI pipeline to catch this breakage as soon as possible.
  • Design report #3: designing the UI Shell, part 2
    Peter has been quite busy thinking about the most ergonomic mobile gestures and came up with a complete UI shell design. While the last design report was describing the design of the lock screen and the home screen, we will discuss here about navigating within the different features of the shell.