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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 16 min ago

SUNY math professor makes the case for free and open educational resources (Opensource.com)

Friday 23rd of February 2018 10:26:29 PM
Opensource.com looks at the availability of open educational resources (OERs), where to find them, and what the advantages of OERs are. Math and computer science professor David Usinski is a strong advocate for OERs and was interviewed for the article. "The ability to customize the curriculum is one of David's favorite benefits of OER. 'The intangible aspect is that OER has allowed me to reinvent my curriculum and take ownership of the content. With a textbook, I am locked into the chapter-by-chapter approach by one or two authors,' he says. Because of OER 'I am no longer hindered or confined by published materials and now have the flexibility to create the curriculum that truly addresses the course outcomes.' By freely sharing the content he creates, other instructors can also benefit."

Uiterwijk: Fedora package delivery security

Friday 23rd of February 2018 10:05:04 PM
On his blog, Patrick Uiterwijk writes about about Fedora packaging and how the distribution works to ensure its users get valid updates. Packages are signed, but repository metadata is not (yet), but there are other mechanisms in place to keep users from getting outdated updates (or to not get important security updates). "However, when a significant security issue is announced and we have repositories that include fixes for this issue, we have an 'Emergency' button. When we press that button, we tell our servers to immediately regard every older repomd.xml checksum as outdated. This means that when we press this button, every mirror that does not have the very latest repository data will be regarded as outdated, so that our users get the security patches as soon as possible. This does mean that for a period of time only the master mirrors are trusted until other mirrors sync their data, but we prefer this solution over delaying getting important fixes out to our users and making them vulnerable to attackers in the meantime."

Stable kernels 4.4.117, 4.9.83, 4.14.21, and 4.15.5 released

Friday 23rd of February 2018 03:54:29 PM
The 4.4.117, 4.9.83, 4.14.21, and 4.15.5 stable kernels have been released. They contain a large number of updates throughout the tree; users should upgrade.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 23rd of February 2018 03:27:30 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (cups, gcc-6, irssi, kernel, and squid3), Fedora (mupdf), Mageia (irssi, mpv, qpdf, and quagga), openSUSE (libmad and postgresql95), SUSE (kernel and php5), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux-lts-trusty, linux-raspi2, and wavpack).

[$] Some advanced BCC topics

Thursday 22nd of February 2018 09:01:07 PM
The BPF virtual machine is working its way into an increasing number of kernel subsystems. The previous article in this series introduced the BPF Compiler Collection (BCC), which provides a set of tools for working with BPF. But there is more to BCC than a set of administrative tools; it also provides a development environment for those wanting to create their own BPF-based utilities. Read on for an exploration of that environment and how it can be used to create programs and attach them to tracepoints.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 22nd of February 2018 02:32:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (strongswan), Fedora (torbrowser-launcher), openSUSE (libdb-4_5, libdb-4_8, postgresql96, python3-openpyxl, and xv), Red Hat (rh-maven35-jackson-databind), and Ubuntu (kernel, libreoffice, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, and linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 22, 2018

Thursday 22nd of February 2018 03:12:41 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 22, 2018 is available.

[$] New tricks for XFS

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 11:48:35 PM

The XFS filesystem has been in the kernel for fifteen years and was used in production on IRIX systems for five years before that. But it might just be time to teach that "old dog" of a filesystem some new tricks, Dave Chinner said, at the beginning of his linux.conf.au 2018 presentation. There are a number of features that XFS lacks when compared to more modern filesystems, such as snapshots and subvolumes; but he has been thinking—and writing code—on a path to get them into XFS.

[$] An overview of Project Atomic

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 10:38:50 PM

Terms like "cloud-native" and "web scale" are often used and understood as pointless buzzwords. Under the layers of marketing, though, cloud systems do work best with a new and different way of thinking about system administration. Much of the tool set used for cloud operations is free software, and Linux is the platform of choice for almost all cloud applications. While just about any distribution can be made to work, there are several projects working to create a ground-up system specifically for cloud hosts. One of the best known of these is Project Atomic from Red Hat and the Fedora Project.

[$] Licenses and contracts

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 06:36:02 PM

Some days it seems that wherever two or more free-software enthusiasts gather together, there also shall be licensing discussions. One such, which can get quite heated, is the question of whether a given free-software license is a license, or whether it is really a contract. This distinction is important, because most legal systems treat the two differently. I know from personal experience that that discussion can go on, unresolved, for long periods, but it had not previously occurred to me to wonder whether this might be due to the answer being different in different jurisdictions. Fortunately, it has occurred to some lawyers to wonder just that, and three of them came together at FOSDEM 2018 to present their conclusions.

Subscribers can read on for a report on the talk by guest author Tom Yates.

[$] Open-source trusted computing for IoT

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 05:23:30 PM

At this year's FOSDEM in Brussels, Jan Tobias Mühlberg gave a talk on the latest work on Sancus, a project that was originally presented at the USENIX Security Symposium in 2013. The project is a fully open-source hardware platform to support "trusted computing" and other security functionality. It is designed to be used for internet of things (IoT) devices, automotive applications, critical infrastructure, and other embedded devices where trusted code is expected to be run.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 03:43:19 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (libmspack), Debian (zziplib), Fedora (ca-certificates, firefox, freetype, golang, krb5, libreoffice, monit, patch, plasma-workspace, ruby, sox, tomcat, and zziplib), openSUSE (dovecot22, glibc, GraphicsMagick, libXcursor, mbedtls, p7zip, SDL_image, SDL2_image, sox, and transfig), Red Hat (chromium-browser), and Ubuntu (cups, libvirt, and qemu).

Hovmöller: Moving a large and old codebase to Python3

Wednesday 21st of February 2018 01:03:35 AM
Anders Hovmöller has posted an account of migrating a large application to Python 3. There were multiple steps on the journey and plenty of lessons learned. "Our philosophy was always to go py2 -> py2/py3 -> py3 because we just could not realistically do a big bang in production, an intuition that was proven right in surprising ways. This meant that 2to3 was a non starter which I think is probably common. We tried a while to use 2to3 to detect Python 3 compatibility issues but quickly found that untenable too. Basically it suggests changes that will break your code in Python 2. No good. The conclusion was to use six, which is a library to make it easy to build a codebase that is valid in both in Python 2 and 3."

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 20th of February 2018 04:10:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (libav), Gentoo (chromium, firefox, libreoffice, mysql, and ruby), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (bind9).

[$] BPF comes to firewalls

Monday 19th of February 2018 11:17:40 PM
The Linux kernel currently supports two separate network packet-filtering mechanisms: iptables and nftables. For the last few years, it has been generally assumed that nftables would eventually replace the older iptables implementation; few people expected that the kernel developers would, instead, add a third packet filter. But that would appear to be what is happening with the newly announced bpfilter mechanism. Bpfilter may eventually replace both iptables and nftables, but there are a lot of questions that will need to be answered first.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 19th of February 2018 04:03:07 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (irssi), Debian (bind9, gcc-4.9, plasma-workspace, quagga, and tomcat-native), Fedora (p7zip), Mageia (nasm), openSUSE (exim, ffmpeg, irssi, mpv, qpdf, quagga, rrdtool, and rubygem-puppet), and SUSE (p7zip and xen).

SuiteCRM 7.10 released

Monday 19th of February 2018 02:25:41 PM
SuiteCRM is a fork of the formerly open-source SugarCRM customer relationship management system. The 7.10 release has been announced. "SuiteCRM 7.10 includes a long list of enhancements, improving user experience, adding new functionality and providing a new REST API. This edition of SuiteCRM also assists companies to be ready for GDPR, including opt-in functionality to track the consent of individuals."

Kernel prepatch 4.16-rc2

Monday 19th of February 2018 04:04:38 AM
The second 4.16 kernel prepatch is out. "Go out and test, it all looks fine."

Some weekend stable kernel updates

Sunday 18th of February 2018 09:15:44 PM
The 4.15.4, 4.14.20, 4.9.82, 4.4.116, and 3.18.95 stable kernel updates have all been released. These kernels contain a relatively large set of important fixes and updates.

[$] The boot-constraint subsystem

Friday 16th of February 2018 06:57:02 PM
The fifth version of the patch series adding the boot-constraint subsystem is under review on the linux-kernel mailing list. The purpose of this subsystem is to honor the constraints put on devices by the bootloader before those devices are handed over to the operating system (OS) — Linux in our case. If these constraints are violated, devices may fail to work properly once the kernel starts reconfiguring the hardware; by tracking and enforcing those constraints, instead, we can ensure that hardware continues to work properly until the kernel is fully operational.

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.