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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 48 min ago

The state of Linux graphic design tools in 2019 (Opensource.com)

Thursday 25th of April 2019 07:50:40 PM
Over at Opensource.com, Jason Brock tries out Linux graphics tools, with an eye toward their ability to replace the proprietary tools he uses on a day-to-day basis. Overall, the tools held their own for a variety of tasks (e.g. logo and ad design, publication layout), though the lack of a certain type of tool brought the overall grade down to a B+: "The lack of available wireframing and prototyping applications really brought down the average, but I'd still call it a successful exercise. As I mentioned at the beginning, design is a craft and it relies on collaboration. All of the tools I looked at—Inkscape, LibreDraw, GIMP, and Scribus—can run just as well on Windows or MacOS as they do on any Linux distribution. The ability to create robust artwork and share editable files with stakeholders and colleagues on the platform of their choice means that a serious argument could be made that these tools are even more versatile than their proprietary counterparts."

[$] Some 5.1 development statistics

Thursday 25th of April 2019 04:38:43 PM
The release of the 5.1-rc6 kernel prepatch on April 21 indicates that the 5.1 development cycle is getting close to its conclusion. So naturally the time has come to put together some statistics describing where the changes merged for 5.1 came from. It is, for the most part, a fairly typical development cycle.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 25th of April 2019 02:30:02 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (putty and systemd), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and kernel-tools), Gentoo (ming and qemu), openSUSE (openexr and slurm), SUSE (ImageMagick, jasper, ntfs-3g_ntfsprogs, openssh, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (php5 and tcpflow).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 25, 2019

Thursday 25th of April 2019 12:07:29 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 25, 2019 is available.

[$] Devuan, April Fools, and self-destruction

Wednesday 24th of April 2019 09:57:03 PM

An April Fools joke that went sour seems to be at least the proximate cause for a rather large upheaval in the Devuan community. For much of April 1 (or March 31 depending on time zone), the Devuan web site looked like it had been taken over by attackers, which was worrisome to many, but it was all a prank. The joke was clever, way over the top, unprofessional, or some combination of those, depending on who is describing it, but the incident and the threads on the devuan-dev mailing list have led to rancor, resignations, calls for resignations, and more.

Mozilla’s 2019 Internet Health Report

Wednesday 24th of April 2019 05:24:09 PM
The Mozilla Blog introduces Mozilla's 2019 Internet Health Report. "In the Report’s three spotlight articles, we unpack three big issues: One examines the need for better machine decision making — that is, asking questions like Who designs the algorithms? and What data do they feed on? and Who is being discriminated against? Another examines ways to rethink the ad economy, so surveillance and addiction are no longer design necessities. The third spotlight article examines the rise of smart cities, and how local governments can integrate tech in a way that serves the public good, not commercial interests."

[$] On technological liberty

Wednesday 24th of April 2019 05:15:06 PM

In his keynote at the 2019 Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW), longtime workshop participant Andrew Wilson looked at the past, but he went much further back than, say, the history of free software—or even computers. His talk looked at technological liberty in the context of classical liberal philosophic thinking. He mapped some of that thinking to the world of free and open-source software (FOSS) and to some other areas where our liberties are under attack.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 24th of April 2019 03:00:56 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dovecot, flashplugin, ghostscript, and jenkins), Fedora (glpi, hostapd, python-urllib3, and znc), openSUSE (apache2, audiofile, libqt5-qtvirtualkeyboard, php5, and SDL2), Scientific Linux (kernel), SUSE (curl and dovecot23), and Ubuntu (advancecomp and freeradius).

[$] The sustainability of open source for the long term

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019 03:50:07 PM

The problem of "sustainability" for open-source software is a common topic of conversation in our community these days. We covered a talk by Bradley Kuhn on sustainability a month ago. Another longtime community member, Luis Villa, gave his take on the problem of making open-source projects sustainable at the 2019 Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) in Barcelona. Villa is one of the co-founders of Tidelift, which is a company dedicated to helping close the gap so that the maintainers of open-source projects get paid in order to continue their work.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019 03:01:39 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (java-1.7.0-openjdk), Debian (ghostscript and wget), Gentoo (apache, glib, opendkim, and sqlite), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-alt, kernel-rt, ovmf, polkit, and python27-python), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk), and SUSE (php72).

[$] SGX: when 20 patch versions aren't enough

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019 03:00:01 PM
Intel's "Software Guard Extensions" (SGX) feature allows the creation of encrypted "enclaves" that cannot be accessed from the rest of the system. Normal code can call into an enclave, but only code running inside the enclave itself can access the data stored there. SGX is pitched as a way of protecting data from a hostile kernel; for example, an encryption key stored in an enclave should be secure even if the system as a whole is compromised. Support for SGX has been under development for over three years; LWN covered it in 2016. But, as can be seen from the response to the latest revision of the SGX patch set, all that work has still not answered an important question: what protects the kernel against a hostile enclave?

A year with Spectre: a V8 perspective

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019 01:29:04 PM
Here's an article on the V8 blog describing the work that was done to mitigate Spectre vulnerabilities in the V8 JavaScript engine. "Our research reached the conclusion that, in principle, untrusted code can read a process’s entire address space using Spectre and side channels. Software mitigations reduce the effectiveness of many potential gadgets, but are not efficient or comprehensive. The only effective mitigation is to move sensitive data out of the process’s address space."

A Goodbye to Joe Armstrong

Monday 22nd of April 2019 04:10:00 PM
The Erlang community mourns the loss of Joe Armstrong, known as the father of Erlang. "He was part of the Erlang landscape, always interested in what people had to say. His passion and enjoyment about the craft, even in his 60s, was still high up at levels I don't even know I ever had or will ever have, and I have to say I am envious of him for that. I don't know what it will be like to have this community without him around. He was humble. He was approachable. He was excited. He was creative. His legacy is not just in code, but in the communities in which he instantly became a central part. He will be missed."

Security updates for Monday

Monday 22nd of April 2019 02:54:30 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (java-1.8.0-openjdk and java-11-openjdk), Debian (clamav, debian-security-support, and drupal7), Fedora (egl-wayland, elementary-camera, elementary-code, elementary-terminal, ephemeral, geocode-glib, gnome-characters, gnome-shell-extension-gsconnect, group-service, libmodulemd, libxmlb, mate-user-admin, mesa, meson, mpris-scrobbler, reportd, switchboard-plug-display, switchboard-plug-pantheon-shell, wingpanel, and wireshark), openSUSE (blueman and glibc), and Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk).

The end of Scientific Linux

Monday 22nd of April 2019 01:49:01 PM
Fermilab has maintained Scientific Linux, a derivative of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for many years. That era is coming to an end, though: "Toward that end, we will deploy CentOS 8 in our scientific computing environments rather than develop Scientific Linux 8. We will collaborate with CERN and other labs to help make CentOS an even better platform for high-energy physics computing." Maintenance of the SL6 and SL7 distributions will continue as scheduled.

Debian project leader election 2019 results

Monday 22nd of April 2019 01:46:26 PM
The election for the Debian project leader has concluded; the leader for the next year will be Sam Hartman. See this page for the details of the vote.

Kernel prepatch 5.1-rc6

Sunday 21st of April 2019 11:41:41 PM
The 5.1-rc6 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "It's Easter Sunday here, but I don't let little things like random major religious holidays interrupt my kernel development workflow. The occasional scuba trip? Sure. But everybody sitting around eating traditional foods? No. You have to have priorities."

Weekend stable kernel updates

Saturday 20th of April 2019 02:50:37 PM
The 5.0.9, 4.19.36, 4.14.113, and 4.9.170 stable kernel updates have all been released. These moderately large updates contain yet another set of important fixes.

[$] Implementing fully immutable files

Friday 19th of April 2019 02:57:19 PM
Like all Unix-like systems, Linux implements the traditional protection bits controlling who can access files in a filesystem (and what access they have). Fewer users, perhaps, are aware of a set of additional permission bits hidden away behind the chattr and lsattr commands. Among other things, these bits can make a file append-only, mark a file to be excluded from backups, cause a file's data to be automatically overwritten on deletion, or make a file immutable. The implementation of many of these features is incomplete at best, so perhaps it's not surprising that immutable files can still be changed in certain limited circumstances. Darrick Wong has posted a patch set changing this behavior, implementing a user-visible behavioral change that he describes as "an extraordinary way to destroy everything".

Security updates for Friday

Friday 19th of April 2019 12:45:45 PM
Security updates have been issued by Fedora (atomic-reactor and osbs-client), openSUSE (libqt5-qtbase, lxc, tar, wget, and xmltooling), Scientific Linux (java-1.8.0-openjdk and java-11-openjdk), SUSE (php5), and Ubuntu (znc).