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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 hours 23 min ago

FSFE: Youth Hacking 4 Freedom

Tuesday 28th of September 2021 05:45:34 PM
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is organizing the coding competition "Youth Hacking 4 Freedom" (YH4F) for European teenagers (14-18). Six winners will receive a cash prize and a trip to Brussels. There will be an opening event October 10 and registration will remain open until October 31. On Monday 1 November 2021, a five-month coding phase starts and the participants focus on coding until March 2022. Participants may bring all their imagination to the competition; they may code any type of software they want, as long as it is Free Software. The software project can be a stand-alone program written from scratch, or you can modify or combine existing programs. Everything is welcome! The participants will have the chance to briefly follow each other’s work and exchange ideas.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 28th of September 2021 03:09:38 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel), openSUSE (gd, grilo, nodejs14, and transfig), Oracle (nodejs:14 and squid), Red Hat (kernel and shim and fwupd), SUSE (apache2, atftp, gd, and python-Pillow), and Ubuntu (apache2, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.11, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.4, linux-azure, linux-azure-5.4, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.4, linux-gke, linux-gke-5.4, linux-gkeop, linux-gkeop-5.4, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.4, and vim).

[$] The 2021 Kernel Maintainers Summit

Monday 27th of September 2021 05:19:21 PM
The Kernel Maintainers Summit is an invitation-only gathering of top-level kernel subsystem maintainers; it is concerned mostly with process-oriented issues that are not easily worked out on the mailing lists. There was no maintainers summit in 2020; plans had been made to hold it in an electronic form, but there turned out to be a lack of things to talk about. In 2021, though, a number of interesting topics turned up, so an online gathering was held on September 24 as part of the Linux Plumbers Conference.

Read on for a summary of the discussions held at this year's Summit.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 27th of September 2021 02:22:39 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (kernel, libxml-security-java, and openssl), Fedora (fetchmail and python-rsa), openSUSE (grafana-piechart-panel and opera), and Red Hat (nodejs:14).

Kernel prepatch 5.15-rc3

Sunday 26th of September 2021 11:03:09 PM
The third 5.15 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "So after a somewhat rocky merge window and second rc, things are now actually looking pretty normal for rc3. Knock wood".

Weekend stable kernel updates

Sunday 26th of September 2021 07:04:40 PM
The 5.14.8, 5.10.69, 5.4.149, 4.19.208, 4.14.248, 4.9.284, and 4.4.285 stable kernels have all been released; each contains another set of important fixes.

Results from the 2021 Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board election

Friday 24th of September 2021 07:55:45 PM
The 2021 election for the Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory board resulted in all five incumbent members (Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet, Steven Rostedt, Ted Ts'o, and Sasha Levin) being re-elected. Of the 1,012 developers authorized to vote, 237 actually cast ballots.

[$] Two security improvements for GCC

Friday 24th of September 2021 05:04:24 PM
It has often been said that the competition between the GCC and LLVM compilers is good for both of them. One place where that competition shows up is in the area of security features; if one compiler adds a way to harden programs, the other is likely to follow suit. Qing Zhao's session at the 2021 Linux Plumbers Conference told the story of how GCC successfully played catch-up for two security-related features that were of special interest to the kernel community.

coreutils-9.0 released

Friday 24th of September 2021 03:49:40 PM
The GNU Core Utilities (coreutils) has announced the release of version 9.0 of "the basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities" used by the GNU operating system and various Linux distributions. In the year and a half or so since the last major release (8.32), various new features were added, including: cp has changed how it handles data
  • enables CoW [copy on write] by default (through FICLONE ioctl),
  • uses copy offload where available (through copy_file_range),
  • detects holes differently (though SEEK_HOLE)
  • This also applies to mv and install.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 24th of September 2021 02:17:42 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (mupdf), Fedora (ghostscript, gifsicle, and ntfs-3g), openSUSE (kernel and nodejs14), and SUSE (curl, ffmpeg, gd, hivex, kernel, nodejs14, python-reportlab, sqlite3, and xen).

Poettering: Authenticated Boot and Disk Encryption on Linux

Thursday 23rd of September 2021 03:35:55 PM
Here's a lengthy missive from Lennart Poettering taking Linux distributors to task for inadequately protecting systems from physical attacks.

So, does the scheme so far implemented by generic Linux distributions protect us against the latter two scenarios? Unfortunately not at all. Because distributions set up disk encryption the way they do, and only bind it to a user password, an attacker can easily duplicate the disk, and then attempt to brute force your password. What's worse: since code authentication ends at the kernel — and the initrd is not authenticated anymore —, backdooring is trivially easy: an attacker can change the initrd any way they want, without having to fight any kind of protections.

The article contains a lot of suggestions for how to do things better.

[$] Improvements to GCC's -fanalyzer option

Thursday 23rd of September 2021 03:11:07 PM
For the second year in a row, the GNU Tools Cauldron (the annual gathering of GNU toolchain developers) has been held as a dedicated track at the online Linux Plumbers Conference. For the 2021 event, that track started with a talk by David Malcolm on his work with the GCC -fanalyzer option, which provides access to a number of static-analysis features. Quite a bit has been happening with -fanalyzer and more is on the way with the upcoming GCC 12 release, including, possibly, a set of checks that have already found at least one vulnerability in the kernel.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 23rd of September 2021 02:38:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (ruby-kaminari and tomcat8), Mageia (389-ds-base, ansible, apache, apr, cpio, curl, firefox, ghostscript, gifsicle, gpac, libarchive, libgd, libssh, lynx, nextcloud-client, openssl, postgresql, proftpd, python3, thunderbird, tor, and vim), openSUSE (chromium, ffmpeg, grilo, hivex, linuxptp, and samba), Oracle (go-toolset:ol8, kernel, kernel-container, krb5, mysql:8.0, and nodejs:12), SUSE (ffmpeg, firefox, grilo, hivex, kernel, linuxptp, nodejs14, and samba), and Ubuntu (ca-certificates, edk2, sqlparse, and webkit2gtk).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 23, 2021

Thursday 23rd of September 2021 12:35:43 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 23, 2021 is available.

Courtès: What's in a package

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 08:21:45 PM
Over at the Guix-HPC blog, Ludovic Courtès writes about trying to package the PyTorch machine-learning library for the Guix distribution. Building from source in a user-verifiable manner is part of the philosophy behind Guix, but there were a number of problems that were encountered: The first surprise when starting packaging PyTorch is that, despite being on PyPI, PyTorch is first and foremost a large C++ code base. It does have a setup.py as commonly found in pure Python packages, but that file delegates the bulk of the work to CMake.

The second surprise is that PyTorch bundles (or "vendors", as some would say) source code for no less than 41 dependencies, ranging from small Python and C++ helper libraries to large C++ neural network tools. Like other distributions such as Debian, Guix avoids bundling: we would rather have one Guix package for each of these dependencies. The rationale is manifold, but it boils down to keeping things auditable, reducing resource usage, and making security updates practical.

[$] A discussion on folios

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 06:52:16 PM
A few weeks ago, Matthew Wilcox might have guessed that his session at the 2021 Linux Plumbers Conference would be focused rather differently. But, as we reported earlier in September, his folio patch set ran into some, perhaps unexpected, opposition and, ultimately, did not land in the mainline for 5.15. Instead of discussing how to use folios as part of the File Systems microconference, he led a discussion that was, at least in part, on the path forward for them.

GNOME 41 released

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 06:11:41 PM
The GNOME project has announced the release of GNOME 41. The most notable changes this in release include an improved Software app, new multitasking settings, and enhanced power management features. With these changes, GNOME is smarter, more flexible, and offers a richer and more engaging experience than ever before.

The new release also comes with significant improvements for developers, including a new developer documentation website, a major new version of the Human Interface Guidelines, new features in the Builder IDE, GTK 4 enhancements, and much more.

Postgres 14: It's The Little Things (Kerstiens)

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 04:31:40 PM
Craig Kerstiens highlights some of the "little things" featured in the upcoming PostgreSQL 14 release.

And now in PostgreSQL 14 there is this seemingly small update, pipeline mode, which, according to the docs, allows applications to send a query without having to read the result of the previously sent query. Taking advantage of the pipeline mode, a client will wait less for the server, since multiple queries/results can be sent/received in a single network transaction.

An update on Memory Safety in Chrome

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 04:27:54 PM
The Google security blog provides an overview of what is being done to address memory-safety problems in the Chrome browser.

In parallel, we’ll be exploring whether we can use a memory safe language for parts of Chrome in the future. The leading contender is Rust, invented by our friends at Mozilla. This is (largely) compile-time safe; that is, the Rust compiler spots mistakes with pointers before the code even gets to your device, and thus there’s no performance penalty. Yet there are open questions about whether we can make C++ and Rust work well enough together. Even if we started writing new large components in Rust tomorrow, we’d be unlikely to eliminate a significant proportion of security vulnerabilities for many years.

A set of stable kernels

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 03:30:29 PM
Stable kernels 5.14.7, 5.10.68, 5.4.148, 4.19.207, 4.14.247, 4.9.283, and 4.4.284 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

More in Tux Machines

Open Hardware and GNU/Linux Devices

  • ESP32 Clock Pushes Outrun Graphics Over Composite | Hackaday

    We’ve covered plenty of clocks powered by the ESP32, but this one from [Marcio Teixeira] is really something special. Rather than driving a traditional physical display, the microcontroller is instead generating a composite video signal of an animated digital clock. This could be fed into whatever device you wish, but given the 80’s synthwave style it’s pumping out, you’ll probably want to find a suitably retro CRT to do it justice.

  • The Quadrivium EnsembleBot Is A Labour Of Love

    The Quadrivium EnsembleBot project is a mashup between old school musical instruments and the modern MIDI controlled world. Built by a small team over several years, these hand crafted instruments look and sound really nice. [...] This project is by no means unique, lately we’ve covered controlling a church organ with MIDI, as well as a neat Arduino Orchestra, but the EnsembleBot is just so much more.

  • Common Sense – using the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT on Ubuntu Impish Indri | Ubuntu

    Dave Jones from the Canonical Raspberry Pi team has put together a helpful guide for those getting started with the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT on Ubuntu Impish Indri. We’ve reproduced an edited version below, or you can read the full post on his blog along with other great Raspberry Pi tips!

  • Wheeled payload robot can control elevators

    SLAMTEC’s wheeled “Hermes” robot runs Android on an RK3399 and can carry up to 16 kg payloads. The autonomous bot includes 360° Lidar, depth cameras, WiFi and 4G links, a 7.5-hour battery, and an elevator controller.

  • RK3399-based programmable wheeled robot works across multiple floors

    Powered by a Rockchip RK3399 mainboard, the Hermes robot platform supports autonomous path-finding, robot collaboration, cross-floor delivery, smart obstacle avoidance, safety features, and autonomous Recharging. It can be controlled with a REST API, programmed with C++ SDK, or a program called RoboStudio available for Windows and Android.

Kernel and Graphics: Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA

  • Intel teases 'software-defined silicon' with Linux kernel contribution – and won't say why

    Intel has teased a new tech it calls "Software Defined Silicon" (SDSi) but is saying almost nothing about it – and has told The Register it could amount to nothing. SDSi popped up around three weeks ago in a post to the Linux Kernel mailing list, in which an Intel Linux software engineer named David Box described it as "a post-manufacturing mechanism for activating additional silicon features".

  • RadeonSI Lands Another "Very Large" Optimization To Further Boost SPECViewPerf - Phoronix

    In recent months we have seen a lot of RadeonSI optimizations focused on SPECViewPerf with AMD seemingly trying to get this open-source OpenGL driver into very capable shape moving forward for workstation GL workloads. Hitting Mesa 22.0-devel today is yet another round of patches for tuning SPECViewPerf.

  • Vendors Including NVIDIA Talk Up New OpenCL Extensions For Vulkan Interop, NN Inference - Phoronix

    Last Friday night we spotted OpenCL 3.0.9 with several new extensions included. Today The Khronos Group is formally announcing these latest OpenCL additions focused on Vulkan interoperability as well as neural network inferencing. These new extensions for OpenCL 3.0 include an integer dot product extension for neural network inferencing (cl_khr_integer_dot_product) with a focus on 8-bit integer support.

  • RadeonSI Enables NGG Shader Culling For Navi 1x Consumer GPUs - Phoronix

    As another possible performance win for RadeonSI Gallium3D as AMD's open-source Radeon OpenGL driver on Linux systems is enabling of NGG culling for Navi 1x consumer graphics processors rather than limiting it only to newer Navi 2x (RDNA2) GPUs. Merged on Monday was a patch to enable shader culling for Navi 1x consumer SKUs with no longer limiting it to Navi 2x / GFX10.3 or when using various debug options. This culling was also enabled for Navi 1x GPUs but only for the "Pro" graphics SKUs.

Databases: Managing Database Migrations, PostgreSQL-Related Releases

KDE Plasma 5.18.8, Bugfix Release for October

Plasma 5.18 was released in February 2020 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. Read more