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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 43 min ago

[$] Bringing the Android kernel back to the mainline

Thursday 15th of November 2018 08:17:27 PM
Android devices are based on the Linux kernel but, since the beginning, those devices have not run mainline kernels. The amount of out-of-tree code shipped on those devices has been seen as a problem for most of this time, and significant resources have been dedicated to reducing it. At the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference, Sandeep Patil talked about this problem and what is being done to address it. The dream of running mainline kernels on Android devices has not yet been achieved, but it may be closer than many people think.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta

Thursday 15th of November 2018 06:44:44 PM
Red Hat has announced the release of RHEL 8 Beta. "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta introduces the concept of Application Streams to deliver userspace packages more simply and with greater flexibility. Userspace components can now update more quickly than core operating system packages and without having to wait for the next major version of the operating system. Multiple versions of the same package, for example, an interpreted language or a database, can also be made available for installation via an application stream. This helps to deliver greater agility and user-customized versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux without impacting the underlying stability of the platform or specific deployments."

Security updates for Thursday

Thursday 15th of November 2018 03:59:39 PM
Security updates have been issued by Fedora (kde-connect, mingw-SDL2_image, SDL2_image, and subscription-manager), Red Hat (flash-plugin), SUSE (openssh-openssl1, systemd, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-azure, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, postgresql-10, and python2.7).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 15, 2018

Thursday 15th of November 2018 01:21:28 AM
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for November 15, 2018 is available.

[$] A report from the Automated Testing Summit

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 10:21:10 PM

In the first session of the Testing & Fuzzing microconference at the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), Kevin Hilman gave a report on the recently held Automated Testing Summit (ATS). Since the summit was an invitation-only gathering of 35 people, there were many at LPC who were not at ATS but had a keen interest in what was discussed. The summit came out of a realization that there is a lot of kernel testing going on in various places, but not a lot of collaboration between those efforts, Hilman said.

[$] Device-tree schemas

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 06:56:20 PM
Device trees have become ubiquitous in recent years as a way of describing the hardware layout of non-discoverable systems, such as many ARM-based devices. The device-tree bindings define how a particular piece of hardware is described in a device tree. Drivers then implement those bindings. The device-tree documentation shows how to use the bindings to describe systems: which properties are available and which values they may have. In theory, the bindings, drivers and documentation should be consistent with each other. In practice, they are often not consistent and, even when they are, using those bindings correctly in actual device trees is not a trivial task. As a result, developers have been considering formal validation for device-tree files for years. Recently, Rob Herring proposed a move to a more structured documentation format for device-tree bindings using JSON Schema to allow automated validation.

Results: Linux Foundation Technical Board Election 2018

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 05:02:57 PM
The results of the 2018 election for members of the Linux Foundation's Technical Advisory Board have been posted; the members elected this time around are Chris Mason, Laura Abbott, Olof Johansson, Dan Williams, and Kees Cook. Abbott and Cook are new members to the board this time around. (The other TAB members are Ted Ts'o, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet, Tim Bird, and Steve Rostedt).

Stable kernel updates

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 04:12:15 PM
Stable kernels 4.19.2, 4.18.19, 4.14.81, and 4.9.137 have been released. They all contain a relatively large set of important fixes and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Wednesday

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 04:03:34 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (powerdns and powerdns-recursor), Debian (ceph and spamassassin), Fedora (feh, flatpak, and xen), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-rt, openstack-cinder, python-cryptography, and Red Hat Single Sign-On 7.2.5), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.4, python3.5).

[$] Debian, Rust, and librsvg

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 12:46:20 AM

Debian supports many architectures and, even for those it does not officially support, there are Debian ports that try to fill in the gap. For most user applications, it is mostly a matter of getting GCC up and running for the architecture in question, then building all of the different packages that Debian provides. But for packages that need to be built with LLVM—applications or libraries that use Rust, for example—that simple recipe becomes more complicated. How much the lack of Rust support for an unofficial architecture should hold back the rest of the distribution was the subject of a somewhat acrimonious discussion recently.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 03:43:54 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (firmware-nonfree and imagemagick), Fedora (cabextract, icecast, and libmspack), openSUSE (icecast), Red Hat (httpd24), Slackware (libtiff), SUSE (apache-pdfbox, firefox, ImageMagick, and kernel), and Ubuntu (clamav, spamassassin, and systemd).

[$] C library system-call wrappers, or the lack thereof

Monday 12th of November 2018 11:01:33 PM
User-space developers may be accustomed to thinking of system calls as direct calls into the kernel. Indeed, the first edition of The C Programming Language described read() and write() as "a direct entry into the operating system". In truth, user-level "system calls" are just functions in the C library like any other. But what happens when the developers of the C library refuse to provide access to system calls they don't like? The result is an ongoing conflict that has recently flared up again; it shows some of the difficulties that can arise when the system as a whole has no ultimate designer and the developers are not talking to each other.

Security updates for Monday

Monday 12th of November 2018 04:15:14 PM
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (curl, lib32-curl, lib32-libcurl-compat, lib32-libcurl-gnutls, libcurl-compat, libcurl-gnutls, systemd, and thunderbird), Debian (ansible, ghostscript, qemu, thunderbird, and xen), Fedora (community-mysql, gettext, links, mysql-connector-java, xen, and zchunk), Gentoo (icecast, libde265, okular, pango, and PHProjekt), Mageia (ansible, audiofile, iniparser, libtiff, mercurial, opencc, and python-dulwich), openSUSE (accountsservice, apache2, audiofile, curl, libarchive, ntfs-3g_ntfsprogs, opensc, python, python-base, qemu, soundtouch, and systemd), Oracle (git, java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, kernel, python-paramiko, thunderbird, and xorg-x11-server), Red Hat (rh-git29-git), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (gettext and libmspack).

Kernel prepatch 4.20-rc2

Monday 12th of November 2018 12:08:00 AM
The 4.20-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "Fairly normal week, aside from me traveling".

Some weekend stable kernel updates

Saturday 10th of November 2018 07:57:50 PM
The 4.18.18, 4.14.80, 4.9.136, 4.4.163, and 3.18.125 stable kernel updates have all been released; each contains a relatively large set of important fixes.

The 3.18.x updates may be about to come to an end, since it is not clear that anybody is using them. "And from what I can see in the 'real world', no one is actually updating devices that rely on 3.18.y to the newer kernel releases. So I think I'm going to stop maintaining this tree soon unless someone speaks up and says 'I am using it!'"

The kernel pull-request tracker bot

Friday 9th of November 2018 05:19:36 PM
Since the beginning, one part of the kernel-development task has been watching the mainline to see whether one's work had been merged. That is about to change with the advent of the pull-request tracker bot, which will inform maintainers when one of their pull requests has made it into the mainline. Konstantin Ryabitsev, who put this service together, plans to expand it to other trees once things have settled down.

[$] ktask: optimizing CPU-intensive kernel work

Friday 9th of November 2018 04:21:12 PM
As a general rule, the kernel is supposed to use the least amount of CPU time possible; any time taken by the kernel is not available for the applications the user actually wants to run. As a result, not a lot of thought has gone into optimizing the execution of kernel-side work requiring large amounts of CPU. But the kernel does occasionally have to take on CPU-intensive tasks, such as the initialization of the large amounts of memory found on current systems. The ktask subsystem posted by Daniel Jordan is an attempt to improve how the kernel handles such jobs.

Security updates for Friday

Friday 9th of November 2018 03:17:23 PM
Security updates have been issued by Debian (nginx), Fedora (icu, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, libgit2, php-pear-CAS, roundcubemail, and ruby), Gentoo (firefox, libX11, openssl, and python), openSUSE (thunderbird), Oracle (java-11-openjdk, kernel, and spice-server), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-ibm and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (spice-server), SUSE (curl, libepubgen, liblangtag, libmwaw, libnumbertext, libreoffice, libstaroffice, libwps, myspell-dictionaries, xmlsec1, libxkbcommon, openssh, and xorg-x11-server), and Ubuntu (pyopenssl).

[$] iwd: simplifying WiFi management

Thursday 8th of November 2018 04:57:04 PM
It has been nearly 13 years since Jeff Garzik proclaimed that Linux was "proving its superiority in the area of crappy wireless (WiFi) support". Happily, the situation has improved somewhat since then, but that doesn't mean that things can't get better yet. During the Embedded Linux Conference portion of the 2018 Open Source Summit Europe, Marcel Holtmann described the work being done to create iwd, a new system for configuring and managing WiFi connections. If this project has its way, future users will have little room for complaint about how WiFi works on Linux systems.

PostgreSQL 11.1, 10.6, 9.6.11, 9.5.15, 9.4.20, and 9.3.25 released

Thursday 8th of November 2018 03:36:39 PM
There is a whole new set of PostgreSQL releases out there, the main purpose of which is to include an important security fix. "Using a purpose-crafted trigger definition, an attacker can run arbitrary SQL statements with superuser privileges when a superuser runs `pg_upgrade` on the database or during a pg_dump dump/restore cycle. This attack requires a `CREATE` privilege on some non-temporary schema or a `TRIGGER` privilege on a table. This is exploitable in the default PostgreSQL configuration, where all users have `CREATE` privilege on `public` schema." Note that this is the final update for the 9.3 series; users on that version should be planning an upgrade in the near future.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • OpenStack regroups
    Only a few years ago, OpenStack was the hottest open-source project around, with a bustling startup ecosystem to boot. The project, which gives enterprises the tools to run the equivalent of AWS in their own private data centers, ran into trouble as it tried to tackle too many individual projects at the same time and enterprises took longer than expected to adopt it. That meant many a startup floundered or was acquired before it was able to gain traction while the nonprofit foundation that manages the project started to scale back its big tent approach and refocused on its core services.
  • SD Times news digest: Docker and MuleSoft’s partnership, ActiveState’s open-source language automation category, and Instana’s automatic Python instrumentation
    Docker and MuleSoft have announced a new partnership to modernize applications and accelerate digital transformation. As part of the partnership, the companies will work together to deliver new capabilities for legacy apps with APIs, legacy apps without APIs and new apps created in Docker. In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform will be combined with Docker Enterprise.
  • ActiveState Creates Open Source Language Automation Category
  • New open source cloud discovery tool arrives from Twistlock
    Cloud Discovery connects to cloud providers' native platform APIs to discover services such as container registries, managed Kubernetes platforms, and serverless services, and requires only read permissions. Other key features include:
  • Google Open-Sources "Amber" Multi-API Shader Test Framework
    The newest open-source graphics project out of Google is called Amber and it's a multi-API shader testing framework focused on capturing and communicating of shader bugs. Google's Amber tries to make it easier to capture/communicate shader bugs with a scripting-based workflow. The captured shaders can be in binary form, SPIR-V assembly, or a higher-level shading language. Amber is currently focused on supporting the Vulkan and Dawn graphics APIs.
  • Microsoft allies with Facebook on AI software [Ed: Evil likes/attracts evil. Now they can do their crimes together while blaming "AI". Longtime Microsoft propagandist Jordan Novet has decided to add the Microsoft lie (PR campaign) "Microsoft loves Linux" (in photo form) to an article that has nothing to do with Linux.]
  • Microsoft alliance with Facebook signals shift in AI approach

Android Leftovers

Security Leftovers

Devices: Adding Linux to A PDP-11, Adding GNU/Linux Software to Chrome OS, and Adding Ubuntu to Android

  • Adding Linux To A PDP-11
    The UNIBUS architecture for DEC’s PDPs and Vaxxen was a stroke of genius. If you wanted more memory in your minicomputer, just add another card. Need a drive? Plug it into the backplane. Of course, with all those weird cards, these old UNIBUS PDPs are hard to keep running. The UniBone is the solution to this problem. It puts Linux on a UNIBUS bridge, allowing this card to serve as a memory emulator, a test console, a disk emulator, or any other hardware you can think of. The key to this build is the BeagleBone, everyone’s second-favorite single board computer that has one feature the other one doesn’t: PRUs, or a programmable real-time unit, that allows you to blink a lot of pins very, very fast. We’ve seen the BeagleBone be used as Linux in a terminal, as the rest of the computer for an old PDP-10 front panel and as the front end for a PDP-11/03.
  • Chrome OS Linux apps will soon be able to access your entire Downloads folder and Google Drive
    Google is working hard to turn Chrome OS into more than just a browser, but a real, functional operating system for consumers of all kinds. Most recently, they’ve invited developers to the platform with Linux app support that enables all of their tools, including Android Studio, to work as expected. Soon, your Chrome OS and Google Drive files will be even more accessible to your Linux apps. [...] According to a new commit on the Chromium Gerrit, that’s all about to change. The commit primarily pertains to a new dialog that will be shown when sharing ‘root’ folders like My Drive or Downloads with your Chrome OS Linux apps (internally known as Crostini) container. The dialog is intended to forewarn you that sharing a root folder is a bit more serious than just sharing a sub-folder, and to be sure you know what you’re doing.
  • Samsung Note 9 and Tab S4 owners can run a full Ubuntu Desktop – Linux on Dex
    We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display. Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.