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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: 48 min 45 sec ago

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 24, 2020

3 hours 24 min ago
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for September 24, 2020 is available.

[$] OpenPGP in Thunderbird

6 hours 29 min ago
It is a pretty rare event to see a nearly 21-year-old bug be addressed—many projects are nowhere near that old for one thing—but that is just what has occurred for the Mozilla Thunderbird email application. An enhancement request filed at the end of 1999 asked for a plugin to support email encryption, but it has mostly languished since. The Enigmail plugin did come along to fill the gap by providing OpenPGP support using GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG), but was never part of Thunderbird. As part of Thunderbird 78, though, OpenPGP is now fully supported within the mail user agent (MUA).

Six stable kernels

9 hours 22 min ago
Stable kernels 5.8.11, 5.4.67, 4.19.147, 4.14.199, 4.9.237, and 4.4.237 have been released with important fixes. Users should upgrade.

[$] Removing run-time disabling for SELinux in Fedora

12 hours 53 min ago
Disabling SELinux is, perhaps sadly in some ways, a time-honored tradition for users of Fedora, RHEL, and other distributions that feature the security mechanism. Over the years, SELinux has gotten easier to tolerate due to the hard work of its developers and the distributions, but there are still third-party packages that recommend or require disabling SELinux in order to function. Up until fairly recently, the kernel has supported disabling SELinux at run time, but that mechanism has been deprecated—in part due to another kernel security feature. Now Fedora is planning to eliminate the ability to disable SELinux at run time in Fedora 34, which sparked some discussion in its devel mailing list.

Security updates for Wednesday

14 hours 1 min ago
Security updates have been issued by openSUSE (libetpan, libqt4, lilypond, otrs, and perl-DBI), Red Hat (kernel-rt), Slackware (seamonkey), SUSE (grafana, libmspack, openldap2, ovmf, pdns, rubygem-actionpack-5_1, and samba), and Ubuntu (debian-lan-config, ldm, libdbi-perl, and netty-3.9).

[$] Python 3.9 is around the corner

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020 10:17:49 PM
Python 3.9.0rc2 was released on September 17, with the final version scheduled for October 5, roughly a year after the release of Python 3.8. Python 3.9 will come with new operators for dictionary unions, a new parser, two string operations meant to eliminate some longstanding confusion, as well as improved time-zone handling and type hinting. Developers may need to do some porting for code coming from Python 3.8 or earlier, as the new release has removed several previously-deprecated features still lingering from Python 2.7.

[$] Accurate timestamps for the ftrace ring buffer

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020 09:29:15 PM
The function tracer (ftrace) subsystem has become an essential part of the kernel's introspection tooling. Like many kernel subsystems, ftrace uses a ring buffer to quickly communicate events to user space; those events include a timestamp to indicate when they occurred. Until recently, the design of the ring buffer has led to the creation of inaccurate timestamps when events are generated from interrupt handlers. That problem has now been solved; read on for an in-depth discussion of how this issue came about and the form of its solution.

Linux Journal is Back

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020 08:38:27 PM
Linux Journal has returned under the ownership of Slashdot Media. "As Linux enthusiasts and long-time fans of Linux Journal, we were disappointed to hear about Linux Journal closing its doors last year. It took some time, but fortunately we were able to get a deal done that allows us to keep Linux Journal alive now and indefinitely. It's important that amazing resources like Linux Journal never disappear."

Firefox 81.0

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020 03:46:40 PM
Firefox 81.0 is out. This version allows you to control media from the keyboard or headset, introduces the Alpenglow theme, adds ArcoForm support to fill in, print, and save supported PDF forms, and more. See the release notes for details.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020 02:43:27 PM
Security updates have been issued by Mageia (mysql-connector-java), openSUSE (chromium, curl, libqt4, and singularity), Red Hat (bash and kernel), SUSE (python-pip and python3), and Ubuntu (busybox, ceph, freeimage, libofx, libpam-tacplus, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-azure-4.15, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oracle, novnc, and tnef).

Cook: Security things in Linux v5.7

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020 01:35:53 PM
Kees Cook catches up with the security-related changes in the 5.7 kernel. "The kernel’s Linux Security Module (LSM) API provide a way to write security modules that have traditionally implemented various Mandatory Access Control (MAC) systems like SELinux, AppArmor, etc. The LSM hooks are numerous and no one LSM uses them all, as some hooks are much more specialized (like those used by IMA, Yama, LoadPin, etc). There was not, however, any way to externally attach to these hooks (not even through a regular loadable kernel module) nor build fully dynamic security policy, until KP Singh landed the API for building LSM policy using BPF. With this, it is possible (for a privileged process) to write kernel LSM hooks in BPF, allowing for totally custom security policy (and reporting)."

Security updates for Monday

Monday 21st of September 2020 02:51:36 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (inspircd and modsecurity), Fedora (chromium, cryptsetup, gnutls, mingw-libxml2, and seamonkey), openSUSE (ark, chromium, claws-mail, docker-distribution, fossil, hylafax+, inn, knot, libetpan, libjpeg-turbo, libqt4, librepo, libvirt, libxml2, lilypond, mumble, openldap2, otrs, pdns-recursor, perl-DBI, python-Flask-Cors, singularity, slurm_18_08, and virtualbox), SUSE (jasper, less, ovmf, and rubygem-actionview-4_2), and Ubuntu (sa-exim).

Kernel prepatch 5.9-rc6

Monday 21st of September 2020 12:22:09 AM
The 5.9-rc6 kernel prepatch is out. "The one thing that does show up in the diffstat is the softscroll removal (both fbcon and vgacon), and there are people who want to save that, but we'll see if some maintainer steps up. I'm not willing to resurrect it in the broken form it was in, so I doubt that will happen in 5.9, but we'll see what happens."

Precursor: an open-source mobile hardware platform

Sunday 20th of September 2020 11:30:34 PM
Andrew "bunnie" Huang has announced a new project called "Precursor"; it is meant to be a platform for makers to create interesting new devices. "Precursor is unique in the open source electronics space in that it’s designed from the ground-up to be carried around in your pocket. It’s not just a naked circuit board with connectors hanging off at random locations: it comes fully integrated—with a rechargeable battery, a display, and a keyboard—in a sleek, 7.2 mm (quarter-inch) aluminum case." You can't get one yet, but the crowdfunding push starts soon.

[$] Four short stories about preempt_count()

Friday 18th of September 2020 02:49:19 PM
The discussion started out as a straightforward patch set from Thomas Gleixner making a minor change to how preemption counting is handled. The resulting discussion quickly spread out to cover a number of issues relevant to core-kernel development in surprisingly few messages; each of those topics merits a quick look, starting with how the preemption counter itself works. Sometimes a simple count turns out to not be as simple as it seems.

Bottomley: Creating a home IPv6 network

Friday 18th of September 2020 02:48:22 PM
James Bottomley has put together a detailed recounting of what it took to get IPv6 fully working on his network. "One of the things you’d think from the above is that IPv6 always auto configures and, while it is true that if you simply plug your laptop into the ethernet port of a cable modem it will just automatically configure, most people have a more complex home setup involving a router, which needs some special coaxing before it will work. That means you need to obtain additional features from your ISP using special DHCPv6 requests."

Security updates for Friday

Friday 18th of September 2020 02:22:53 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and netbeans), Oracle (mysql:8.0 and thunderbird), SUSE (rubygem-rack and samba), and Ubuntu (apng2gif, gnupg2, libemail-address-list-perl, libproxy, pulseaudio, pure-ftpd, samba, and xawtv).

Stable kernels 5.8.10, 5.4.66, and 4.19.146

Thursday 17th of September 2020 04:05:21 PM
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the 5.8.10, 5.4.66, and 4.19.146 stable kernels. They contain important fixes throughout the tree and users should upgrade.

GNOME's new versioning scheme

Thursday 17th of September 2020 03:22:35 PM
The GNOME Project has announced a change to its version-numbering scheme; the next release will be "GNOME 40". "After nearly 10 years of 3.x releases, the minor version number is getting unwieldy. It is also exceedingly clear that we're not going to bump the major version because of technological changes in the core platform, like we did for GNOME 2 and 3, and then piling on a major UX change on top of that. Radical technological and design changes are too disruptive for maintainers, users, and developers; we have become pretty good at iterating design and technologies, to the point that the current GNOME platform, UI, and UX are fairly different from what was released with GNOME 3.0, while still following the same design tenets."

[$] The seqcount latch lock type

Thursday 17th of September 2020 02:49:46 PM
The kernel contains a wide variety of locking primitives; it can be hard to stay on top of all of them. So even veteran kernel developers might be forgiven for being unaware of the "seqcount latch" lock type or its use. While this lock type has existed in the kernel for several years, it is only being formalized with a proper type declaration in 5.10. So this seems like a good time to look at what these locks are and how they work.