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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: 7 min 48 sec ago

Another stable kernel

Monday 17th of December 2018 11:24:43 PM
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernel 4.4.168. As usual, there are important fixes and users should upgrade.

Padovan: A dream come true

Monday 17th of December 2018 05:41:50 PM
Gustavo Padovan notes an important milestone in Linux graphics development: "The dream finally came true in 2018 with the release of the Google Pixel 3, the first Android phone running with the mainline graphics stack. A feat that was deemed impossible 10 years ago is now a reality thanks to a lot of hard work from the entire community."

A 3.18 kernel update

Monday 17th of December 2018 04:50:54 PM
Stable kernel 3.18.130 has been released with important fixes; users should upgrade.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 17th of December 2018 03:22:43 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (php5, poppler, and samba), Fedora (firefox, mbedtls, nbdkit, pdns-recursor, php, php-symfony, php-symfony3, and php-symfony4), Gentoo (CouchDB, scala, and spamassassin), Mageia (firefox, libwpd, nss, and thunderbird), openSUSE (Chromium, cups, ghostscript, kernel, openvswitch, phpMyAdmin, qemu, and tcpdump), Red Hat (RHGS WA), and SUSE (ansible, openldap2, openvswitch, qemu, and tcpdump).

4.20-rc7 and stable kernels

Monday 17th of December 2018 09:24:06 AM
Linus has released 4.20-rc7, saying: "The plan remains the same: if everything continues normally, I'll release 4.20 just before christmas, and then just have a more leisurely merge window than normal."

On the stable side, 4.19.10, 4.14.89, and 4.9.146 are out with a new set of important fixes.

[$] Relief for retpoline pain

Friday 14th of December 2018 10:27:25 PM
Indirect function calls — calls to a function whose address is stored in a pointer variable — have never been blindingly fast, but the Spectre hardware vulnerabilities have made things far worse. The indirect branch predictor used to speed up indirect calls in the CPU can no longer be used, and performance has suffered accordingly. The "retpoline" mechanism was a brilliant hack that proved faster than the hardware-based solutions that were tried at the beginning. While retpolines took a lot of the pain out of Spectre mitigation, experience over the last year has made it clear that they still hurt. It is thus not surprising that developers have been looking for alternatives to retpolines; several of them have shown up on the kernel lists recently.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 14th of December 2018 03:55:58 PM
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (ghostscript, git, java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, kernel, NetworkManager, python-paramiko, ruby, sos-collector, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), Debian (gcc-4.9), and SUSE (amanda, ntfs-3g_ntfsprogs, and tiff).

[$] Linux in mixed-criticality systems

Thursday 13th of December 2018 05:23:54 PM
The Linux kernel is generally seen as a poor fit for safety-critical systems; it was never designed to provide realtime response guarantees or to be certifiable for such uses. But the systems that can be used in such settings lack the features needed to support complex applications. This problem is often solved by deploying a mix of computers running different operating systems. But what if you want to support a mixture of tasks, some safety-critical and some not, on the same system? At a talk given at LinuxLab 2018, Claudio Scordino described an effort to support this type of mixed-criticality system.

A set of stable kernels

Thursday 13th of December 2018 04:18:15 PM
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernels 4.19.9, 4.14.88, 4.9.145, 4.4.167, and 3.18.129. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 13th of December 2018 04:10:19 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr), Fedora (singularity), openSUSE (compat-openssl098, cups, firefox, mozilla-nss, and xen), and SUSE (cups, exiv2, ghostscript, and git).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for December 13, 2018

Thursday 13th of December 2018 12:42:02 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for December 13, 2018 is available.

[$] DMA and get_user_pages()

Wednesday 12th of December 2018 04:55:28 PM

In the RDMA microconference of the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), John Hubbard, Dan Williams, and Matthew Wilcox led a discussion on the problems surrounding get_user_pages() (and friends) and the interaction with DMA. It is not the first time the topic has come up, there was also a discussion about it at the Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit back in April. In a nutshell, the problem is that multiple parts of the kernel think they have responsibility for the same chunk of memory, but they do not coordinate their activities; as might be guessed, mayhem can sometimes ensue.

The x32 subarchitecture may be removed

Wednesday 12th of December 2018 04:52:42 PM
The x32 subarchitecture is a software variant of x86-64; it runs the processor in the 64-bit mode, but uses 32-bit pointers and arithmetic. The idea is to get the advantages of x86-64 without the extra memory usage that goes along with it. It seems, though, that x32 is not much appreciated; few distributions support it and the number of users appears to be small. So now Andy Lutomirski is proposing its eventual removal:

I propose that we make CONFIG_X86_X32 depend on BROKEN for a release or two and then remove all the code if no one complains. If anyone wants to re-add it, IMO they're welcome to do so, but they need to do it in a way that is maintainable.

If there are x32 users out there, now would be a good time for them to speak up.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 12th of December 2018 03:46:33 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, lib32-openssl, lib32-openssl-1.0, openssl, openssl-1.0, texlive-bin, and wireshark-cli), Fedora (perl), openSUSE (pdns), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (kernel), Slackware (mozilla), SUSE (kernel, postgresql10, qemu, and xen), and Ubuntu (firefox, freerdp, freerdp2, pixman, and poppler).

Git 2.20.0 released

Wednesday 12th of December 2018 08:49:27 AM
Git 2.20.0 is out. Changes include interdiff generation support in git format-patch, an improved ability to cope with corrupted patches in git am, a number of performance and usability improvements, and more.

Firefox 64 released

Tuesday 11th of December 2018 07:49:15 PM
The Mozilla Blog takes a look at the Contextual Feature Recommender (CFR) in Firefox 64. "Aimed at people who are looking to get more out of their online experience or ways to level up. CFR is a system that proactively recommends Firefox features and add-ons based on how you use the web. For example, if you open multiple tabs and repeatedly use these tabs, we may offer a feature called “Pinned Tabs” and explain how it works. Firefox curates the suggested features and notifies you. With today’s release, we will start to rollout with three recommended extensions which include: Facebook Container, Enhancer for YouTube and To Google Translate. This feature is available for US users in regular browsing mode only. They will not appear in Private Browsing mode. Also, Mozilla does NOT receive a copy of your browser history. The entire process happens locally in your copy of Firefox." The release notes contain more details about this release.

[$] Large files with Git: LFS and git-annex

Tuesday 11th of December 2018 07:43:47 PM

Git does not handle large files very well. While there is work underway to handle large repositories through the commit graph work, Git's internal design has remained surprisingly constant throughout its history, which means that storing large files into Git comes with a significant and, ultimately, prohibitive performance cost. Thankfully, other projects are helping Git address this challenge. This article compares how Git LFS and git-annex address this problem and should help readers pick the right solution for their needs.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 11th of December 2018 04:14:41 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (php7.0), Fedora (keepalived, kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, mingw-uriparser, and uriparser), openSUSE (pdns-recursor), Oracle (kernel), SUSE (compat-openssl098, glibc, java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, opensc, python, python-base, python-cryptography, python-pyOpenSSL, samba, and soundtouch), and Ubuntu (cups).

[$] Measuring container security

Tuesday 11th of December 2018 02:55:51 PM

There are a lot of claims regarding the relative security of containers versus virtual machines (VMs), but there has been little in the way of actually trying to measure those differences. James Bottomley gave a talk in the refereed track of the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) that described work that targets filling in that gap. He and his colleagues have come up with a measure that, while not perfect, gives a starting point for further efforts.

Nextcloud 15 released

Tuesday 11th of December 2018 08:35:10 AM
Version 15 of the Nextcloud productivity and communications platform is out. New features include Mastodon integration, two-factor authentication, a number of user-interface improvements, and more.