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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: 1 hour 54 min ago

Analyzing the Linux boot process (opensource.com)

Tuesday 16th of January 2018 08:13:40 PM
Alison Chaiken looks in detail at how the kernel boots on opensource.com. "Besides starting buggy spyware, what function does early boot firmware serve? The job of a bootloader is to make available to a newly powered processor the resources it needs to run a general-purpose operating system like Linux. At power-on, there not only is no virtual memory, but no DRAM until its controller is brought up."

[$] Deadline scheduling part 1 — overview and theory

Tuesday 16th of January 2018 03:57:53 PM
The deadline scheduler enables the user to specify a realtime task's requirements using well-defined realtime abstractions, allowing the system to make the best scheduling decisions, guaranteeing the scheduling of realtime tasks even in higher-load systems. This article, the first in a series of two, provides an introduction to realtime scheduling (deadline scheduling in particular) and some of the theory behind it.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 16th of January 2018 03:40:17 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (ca-certificates, gdk-pixbuf, and graphicsmagick), Fedora (qtpass), openSUSE (python-openpyxl and syncthing), Slackware (kernel), and Ubuntu (gdk-pixbuf).

LSFMM 2018 call for proposals

Monday 15th of January 2018 04:49:45 PM
The 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit will be held April 23-25 in Park City, Utah. The call for proposals has just gone out with a tight deadline: they need to be received by January 31. "LSF/MM is an invitation-only technical workshop to map out improvements to the Linux storage, filesystem and memory management subsystems that will make their way into the mainline kernel within the coming years."

[$] Meltdown/Spectre mitigation for 4.15 and beyond

Monday 15th of January 2018 04:46:59 PM
While some aspects of the kernel's defenses against the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were more-or-less in place when the problems were disclosed on January 3, others were less fully formed. Additionally, many of the mitigations (especially for the two Spectre variants) had not been seen in public prior to the disclosure, meaning that there was a lot of scope for discussion once they came out. Many of those discussions are slowing down, and the kernel's initial response has mostly come into focus. The 4.15 kernel will include a broad set of mitigations, while some others will have to wait for later; read on for details on where things stand.

[$] Active state management of power domains

Monday 15th of January 2018 04:35:19 PM
The Linux kernel's generic power domain (genpd) subsystem has been extended to support active state management of the power domains in the 4.15 development cycle. Power domains were traditionally used to enable or disable power to a region of a system on chip (SoC) but, with the recent updates, they can control the clock rate or amount of power supplied to that region as well. These changes improve the kernel's ability to run the system's hardware at the optimal power level for the current workload.

Click below (subscribers only) for the full article contributed by Viresh Kumar.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 15th of January 2018 03:49:19 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (qtpass), Debian (libkohana2-php, libxml2, transmission, and xmltooling), Fedora (kernel and qpid-cpp), Gentoo (PolarSSL and xen), Mageia (flash-player-plugin, irssi, kernel, kernel-linus, kernel-tmb, libvorbis, microcode, nvidia-current, php & libgd, poppler, webkit2, and wireshark), openSUSE (gifsicle, glibc, GraphicsMagick, gwenhywfar, ImageMagick, libetpan, mariadb, pngcrush, postgresql94, rsync, tiff, and wireshark), and Oracle (kernel).

Kernel prepatch 4.15-rc8

Monday 15th of January 2018 12:17:13 AM
The 4.15-rc8 kernel prepatch is out for testing. Among other things, it includes the "retpoline" mechanism intended to mitigate variant 2 of the Spectre vulnerability. Testing of this change will be hard, though, since it requires a version of GCC that almost nobody has — watch LWN for a full article in the near future. "I'm still hoping that this will be the last rc, despite all the Meltdown and Spectre hoopla. But we will just have to see, it obviously requires this upcoming week to not come with any huge surprises."

[$] Opening up the GnuBee open NAS system

Friday 12th of January 2018 04:37:06 PM
GnuBee is the brand name for a line of open hardware boards designed to provide Linux-based network-attached storage. Given the success of the crowdfunding campaigns for the first two products, the GB-PC1 and GB-PC2 (which support 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives respectively), there appears to be a market for these devices. Given that Linux is quite good at attaching storage to a network, it seems likely they will perform their core function more than adequately. My initial focus when exploring my GB-PC1 is not the performance but the openness: just how open is it really? The best analogy I can come up with is that of a door with rusty hinges: it can be opened, but doing so requires determination.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 12th of January 2018 04:06:03 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (intel-ucode), Debian (gifsicle), Fedora (awstats and kernel), Gentoo (icoutils, pysaml2, and tigervnc), Mageia (dokuwiki and poppler), Oracle (kernel), SUSE (glibc, kernel, microcode_ctl, tiff, and ucode-intel), and Ubuntu (intel-microcode).

Introducing Nextcloud Talk

Thursday 11th of January 2018 07:02:51 PM
Nextcloud has announced Nextcloud Talk, a fully open source video meeting software that is on-premise hosted and end-to-end encrypted. "Nextcloud Talk makes it easier than ever to host a privacy-respecting audio/video communication service for home users and enterprises. Business users have optional access to the Spreed High Performance Back-end offering enterprise-class scalability, reliability, and features through a Nextcloud subscription. With the easy-to-use interface, users can engage colleagues, friends, partners or customers, working in real time through High Definition (H265 based) audio and video in web meetings and webinars."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 11th of January 2018 04:13:34 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (glibc and lib32-glibc), Debian (ming and poco), Fedora (electron-cash, electrum, firefox, heketi, microcode_ctl, and python-jsonrpclib), openSUSE (clamav-database and ucode-intel), Red Hat (flash-plugin), SUSE (OBS toolchain), and Ubuntu (webkit2gtk).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for January 11, 2018

Thursday 11th of January 2018 01:47:48 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for January 11, 2018 is available.

[$] Eelo seeks to make a privacy-focused phone

Wednesday 10th of January 2018 09:27:50 PM

A focus on privacy is a key feature being touted by a number of different projects these days—from KDE to Tails to Nextcloud. One of the biggest privacy leaks for most people is their phone, so it is no surprise that there are projects looking to address that as well. A new entrant in that category is eelo, which is a non-profit project aimed at producing not only a phone, but also a suite of web services. All of that could potentially replace the Google or Apple mothership, which tend to collect as much personal data as possible.

A tribute to James Dolan, co-creator of SecureDrop

Wednesday 10th of January 2018 06:20:45 PM
Freedom of the Press Foundation has a tribute to James Dolan, who died over the holidays at the age of 36. James worked with Aaron Swartz and journalist Kevin Poulsen to build the original prototype of SecureDrop, an open-source whistleblower submission system. "He was our first full-time employee at Freedom of the Press Foundation, and quickly set out to teach other developers, contributors, and anyone interested in how the system worked. He poured his heart and soul into the work, traveling to newsrooms around North America to teach IT staffs and journalists in person how to install and use SecureDrop. He completely reworked the installation process, he pushed us to get independent security audits of the system, and he helped us hire the initial team that would take over SecureDrop once he was gone." LWN covered a LibrePlanet talk on SecureDrop back in March 2017. (Thanks to Paul Wise)

Stable kernel updates

Wednesday 10th of January 2018 04:10:34 PM
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernels 4.14.13, 4.9.76, and 4.4.111. As usual, they all contain important fixes and users should update.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 10th of January 2018 04:02:41 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (awstats, gdk-pixbuf, plexus-utils, and plexus-utils2), Fedora (asterisk, gimp, heimdal, libexif, linux-firmware, mupdf, poppler, thunderbird, webkitgtk4, wireshark, and xrdp), openSUSE (diffoscope, irssi, and qemu), SUSE (java-1_7_0-ibm, kernel-firmware, and qemu), and Ubuntu (irssi, kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-euclid, linux-kvm, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, linux-raspi2, ruby1.9.1, ruby2.3, and sssd).

notmuch release 0.26 now available

Wednesday 10th of January 2018 02:40:44 PM
Version 0.26 of the notmuch email client/indexer is available with a long list of new features. "It's now possible to include the cleartext of encrypted e-mails in the notmuch index. This makes it possible to search your encrypted e-mails with the same ease as searching cleartext."

O'Callahan: The Fight For Patent-Unencumbered Media Codecs Is Nearly Won

Wednesday 10th of January 2018 01:33:01 PM
Robert O'Callahan notes an important development in the fight for media codecs without patent issues. "Apple joining the Alliance for Open Media is a really big deal. Now all the most powerful tech companies — Google, Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, Facebook, Amazon, Intel, AMD, ARM, Nvidia — plus content providers like Netflix and Hulu are on board. I guess there's still no guarantee Apple products will support AV1, but it would seem pointless for Apple to join AOM if they're not going to use it: apparently AOM membership obliges Apple to provide a royalty-free license to any 'essential patents' it holds for AV1 usage."

[$] A look at the handling of Meltdown and Spectre

Tuesday 9th of January 2018 11:15:23 PM

The Meltdown/Spectre debacle has, deservedly, reached the mainstream press and, likely, most of the public that has even a remote interest in computers and security. It only took a day or so from the accelerated disclosure date of January 3—it was originally scheduled for January 9—before the bugs were making big headlines. But Spectre has been known for at least six months and Meltdown for nearly as long—at least to some in the industry. Others that were affected were completely blindsided by the announcements and have joined the scramble to mitigate these hardware bugs before they bite users. Whatever else can be said about Meltdown and Spectre, the handling (or, in truth, mishandling) of this whole incident has been a horrific failure.

More in Tux Machines

Librem 5 Phone Progress Report

  • Librem 5 Phone Progress Report – The First of Many More to Come!
    First, let me apologize for the silence. It was not because we went into hibernation for the winter, but because we were so busy in the initial preparation and planning of a totally new product while orienting an entirely new development team. Since we are more settled into place now, we want to change this pattern of silence and provide regular updates. Purism will be giving weekly news update posts every Tuesday, rotating between progress on phone development from a technology viewpoint (the hardware, kernel, OS, etc.) and an art of design viewpoint (UI/UX from GNOME/GTK to KDE/Plasma). To kickoff this new update process, this post will discus the technological progress of the Librem 5 since November of 2017.
  • Purism Eyeing The i.MX8M For The Librem 5 Smartphone, Issues First Status Update
    If you have been curious about the state of Purism's Librem 5 smartphone project since its successful crowdfunding last year and expedited plans to begin shipping this Linux smartphone in early 2019, the company has issued their first status update.

Benchmarking Retpoline-Enabled GCC 8 With -mindirect-branch=thunk

We have looked several times already at the performance impact of Retpoline support in the Linux kernel, but what about building user-space packages with -mindirect-branch=thunk? Here is the performance cost to building some performance tests in user-space with -mindirect-branch=thunk and -mindirect-branch=thunk-inline. Read more

An introduction to Inkscape for absolute beginners

Inkscape is a powerful, open source desktop application for creating two-dimensional scalable vector graphics. Although it's primarily an illustration tool, Inkscape is used for a wide range of computer graphic tasks. The variety of what can be done with Inkscape is vast and sometimes surprising. It is used to make diagrams, logos, programmatic marketing materials, web graphics, and even for paper scrapbooking. People also draw game sprites, produce banners, posters, and brochures. Others use Inkscape to draft web design mockups, detail layouts for printed circuit boards, or produce outline files to send to laser cutting equipment. Read more

Behind the scenes with Pop!_OS Linux

In October, Linux PC maker System76 released its homegrown version of Linux, Pop!_OS, giving users the choice between its legacy Ubuntu operating system or the new Pop!_OS flavor of Linux. Recently Opensource.com gave away a System76 laptop with Pop!_OS installed, which made me curious about the company and this new version of Linux, so I spoke with Cassidy James Blaede, Pop!_OS's user experience (UX) designer. Blaede joined System76 in 2014, fresh out of college at the University of Northern Iowa and marriage to his wife, Katie. While in college, he co-founded the elementary OS project and interned at UX consultancy Visual Logic, both of which influenced his work for System76. He started at System76 as a front-end developer and was later promoted to UX architect. Read more