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November 2018

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

Filed under
Debian
Ubuntu
  • glBSP

    I was surprised to see glBSP come up for adoption; I found out when I was installing something entirely unrelated, thanks to the how-can-i-help package. (This package is a great idea: it tells you about packages you have installed which are in danger of being removed from Debian, or have other interesting bugs filed against them. Give it a go!) glBSP is a dependency on another of my packages, WadC, so I adopted it fairly urgently.

    glBSP is a node-building tool for Doom maps. A Map in Doom is defined in a handful of different lumps of data. The top-level, canonical data structures are relatively simple: THINGS is a list of things (type, coordinates, angle facing); VERTEXES is a list of points for geometry (X/Y coordinates); SECTORS define regions (light level, floor height and texture,…), etc. Map authoring tools can build these lumps of data relatively easily. (I've done it myself: I generate them all in liquorice, that I should write more about one day.)

  • How to Connect Your Android Phone to Ubuntu Wirelessly

    Easy: all you need is a modern Linux distro like Ubuntu and an open-source GNOME Shell extension called ‘GSConnect‘.

    GSConnect is a totally free, feature packed add-on that lets you connect your Android phone to Ubuntu over a wireless network, no USB cable required!

    In this post we talk about the features the extension offers, and show you how to install GSConnect on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and above so that you can try it out for yourself!

Security: FSB and NSA in Linux, HTTPS is Not Enough, Microsoft Back Doors and Exploits (e.g. WannaCry), 5G China Scare

Filed under
Security
  • Linux 4.21 Positioned To Pickup Streebog Crypto Support Developed By Russia's FSB

    In addition to Linux 4.21 set to land Adiantum as the crypto algorithm backed by Google following the company's falling out with the NSA's Speck crypto for low-end data encryption, Streebog is also set to be introduced as a cryptographic hash function developed in large part by the Russian government.

    The Linux kernel patches introducing the Streebog code were posted back in October for review. Those patches were spearheaded by a developer from Russia's ALT Linux distribution. Those patches are now queued into the crypto subsystem's development branch ahead of the Linux 4.21 kernel.

  • HTTPS Is Almost Everywhere. So Why Isn’t the Internet Secure Now?

    Chrome used to display the word “Secure” and a green padlock in the address bar when you were visiting a website using HTTPS. Modern versions of Chrome simple have a little gray lock icon here, without the word “Secure.”

    That’s partly because HTTPS is now considered the new baseline standard. Everything should be secure by default, so Chrome only warns you that a connection is “Not Secure” when you’re accessing a site over an HTTP connection.

    However, the word “Secure” is also gone because it was a little misleading. It sounds like Chrome is vouching for the contents of the site as if everything on this page is “secure.” But that’s not true at all. A “secure” HTTPS site could be filled with malware or be a fake phishing site.

  • WannaCry: One year later, is the world ready for another major attack? [Ed: Somehow that neglects to mention that this was largely the result of a collusion involving Microsoft and the NSA]
  • UK gov report to raise fresh security concerns over Huawei's 5G kit

Linux Apps on Chromebooks Getting Google Drive, Play Store File Access Support

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Linux apps on Chromebooks are slowly but surely gaining their legs. Sure, we’re still missing a few things here and there, but progress on this front is moving along at a nice, swift pace and today we are happy to be talking about another progression that will help the overall user experience in an important and meaningful way.

Read more

GNU: GCC and Wget Release

Filed under
GNU
  • GCC Compiler Picks Up New Option To Help With Live Kernel Patching

    Adding to the list of new features for GCC 9 due out early next year is a new -flive-patching= flag to help with scenarios like live Linux kernel patching.

    This GCC live-patching support addition was done by Oracle and is about controlling the optimizations/behavior when wanting to compile code for the context of applying it as a live patch. In particular, for Linux kernel live patching to avoid system reboots when applying security/maintenance updates. With Oracle the focus is on their own Ksplice live kernel patching to avoid reboots but this work should also be relevant to the likes of SUSE's kGraft and Red Hat's Kpatch kernel live patching.

  • GNU Wget 1.20 Released

    Noteworthy Changes in this release:
    Add new option `--retry-on-host-error` to treat local errors as transient and hence Wget will retry to download the file after a brief waiting period.
    Fixed multiple potential resource leaks as found by static analysis
    Wget will now not create an empty wget-log file when running with -q and -b switches together
    When compiled using the GnuTLS >= 3.6.3, Wget now has support for TLSv1.3
    Now there is support for using libpcre2 for regex pattern matching
    When downloading over FTP recursively, one can now use the

GameShell Linux-based Console Upgraded: New Board, 1GB Ram, HDMI Port

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming
Gadgets

About a year ago, Clockwork put up a Linux-powered handheld gaming console called GameShell on Kickstarter website.

This portable retro console is shipped as a DIY kit that can let you play games, learn to code and also teach you a little about how the hardware works. And the best part is that it lets you upgrade the system without replacing it.

Read more

5 Reasons Why Linux OS Is A Hot Favorite Among Coders

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux

Operating systems have come a long way in the past few decades. What was once dominated by Microsoft Windows or Apple MacOS is no longer the norm these days. After Y2K, a variety of OS have come into play as a result of people exploring the computing environment. One particular series of OS that has caught attention of the users is Linux. Although it was introduced way back in 1991, it gained popularity over time due to its decentralised development approach and a solid support from the software developer community as well.

Here we explore some reasons why Linux made it to the top among developers and tech enthusiasts.

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Programming: Python, C++, Java and More

Filed under
Development
  • Amsterdam Python meetup, november 2018

    My summary of the 28 november python meetup at the Byte office. I myself also gave a talk (about cookiecutter) but I obviously haven't made a summary of that.

  • Trip Report: C++ Standards Meeting in San Diego, November 2018

    A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of the ISO C++ Standards Committee (also known as WG21) in San Diego, California. This was the third committee meeting in 2018; you can find my reports on preceding meetings here (June 2018, Rapperswil) and here (March 2018, Jacksonville), and earlier ones linked from those. These reports, particularly the Rapperswil one, provide useful context for this post.

    This meeting broke records (by a significant margin) for both attendance (~180 people) and number of proposals submitted (~270). I think several factors contributed to this. First, the meeting was in California, for the first time in the five years that I’ve been attending meetings, thus making it easier to attend for Bay Area techies who weren’t up for farther travels. Second, we are at the phase of the C++20 cycle where the door is closing for new proposals targeting to C++20, so for people wanting to get features into C++20, it was now or never. Finally, there has been a general trend of growing interest in participation in C++ standardization, and thus attendance has been rising even independently of other factors.

    This meeting was heavily focused on C++20. As discussed in the committee’s standardization schedule document, this was the last meeting to hear new proposals targeting C++20, and the last meeting for language features with significant library impact to gain design approval. A secondary focus was on in-flight Technical Specifications, such as Library Fundamentals v3.

    To accommodate the unprecedented volume of new proposals, there has also been a procedural change at this meeting. Two new subgroups were formed: Evolution Incubator (“EWGI”) and Library Evolution Incubator (“LEWGI”), which would look at new proposals for language and library changes (respectively) before forwarding them to the Evolution or Library Evolution Working Groups (EWG and LEWG). The main purpose of the incubators is to reduce the workload on the main Evolution groups by pre-filtering proposals that need additional work before being productively reviewed by those groups. A secondary benefit was to allow the attendees to be spread out across more groups, as otherwise EWG and LEWG would have likely exceeded their room capacities.

  • The Future of OpenJDK at Red Hat

    With the release of Java 11, the transition of Java into an OpenJDK-first project is finally complete. The days of most Java installations using the proprietary OracleJDK binaries are at an end. This increased focus on Open and Free Java naturally brings the contributions of companies other than Oracle into greater prominence. InfoQ recently spoke with Rich Sharples, Senior Director of Product Management for Middleware at Red Hat, to discuss OpenJDK and Red Hat's involvement with it.

  • PyBites: 3 Cool Things You Can do With the dateutil Module
  • Subtleties of Python

    A good software engineer understands how crucial attention to detail is; minute details, if overlooked, can make a world of difference between a working unit and a disaster. That’s why writing clean code matters a lot—and clean code isn’t just about neat indentation and formatting; it’s about paying attention to those details that can affect production.

    In this article, you’ll see a couple of short cases of problematic code in Python and how they can be improved. Please note that these are just examples and in no way must you interpret them to universally apply for real-world problems.

  • A Tale of Two Commits

    I’ve discussed and linked to articles about the advantages of splitting patches into small pieces to the point that I don’t feel the need to reiterate it here. This is a common approach at Mozilla, especially (but not just) in Firefox engineering, something the Engineering Workflow group is always keeping in mind when planning changes and improvements to tools and processes.

    Many Mozilla engineers have a particular approach to working with small diffs, something, I’ve realized over time, that seems to be pretty uncommon in the industry: the stacking of commits together in a logical series that solves a particular problem or implements a specific feature. These commits are generally authored, reviewed, updated, and even landed as a set. They tell a complete story; indeed, you could view this process as similar to writing a novel: the book is written, edited, and published as a complete unit.

  • Common architectural elements for modern integration architectures

    In Part 1 of this series, we explored a use case around integration being the key to transforming your customer experience.

    I laid out how I’ve approached the use case and how I’ve used successful customer portfolio solutions as the basis for researching a generic architectural blueprint. The only thing left to cover was the order in which you’ll be led through the blueprint details.

Free-floating Ubuntu social bot chats up astronauts on International Space Station

Filed under
Ubuntu

An Ubuntu-powered social robot called CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON) has begun work on the International Space Station. The self-navigating bot recognizes faces and answers questions relayed to a ground-based IBM Watson computer.

A social robot with an Ubuntu OS has launched on the International Space Station (ISS) to answer astronauts’ questions via voice and an 8-inch display. On Nov. 15, German astronaut Alexander Gerst demonstrated the CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON) robot in action, showing off its facial recognition, voice assistance, and ability to autonomously navigate in the weightless environment of the ISS. CIMON can also play music, document results of experiments, or search for objects using its image recognition capability.

Read more

Graphics: Sway 1.0 Closer, AMDGPU FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync Update

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Sway 1.0 Beta 2 Rolls Out For Feature-Rich i3-Compatible Wayland Compositor

    The release of Sway 1.0 as the popular i3-compatible Wayland compositor is one step closer with the latest beta update.

    Sway 1.0 Beta 2 offers various i3 compatibility updates, implements the Wayland presentation-time protocol, introduces multi-seat support to the Swaylock, supports additional i3 window types, and has other usability enhancements while for the most part is made up of bug fixes. Bug fixes for Sway 1.0 Beta 2 range from XWayland fixes, Swaybar output hotplug handling, and a variety of other corrections.

  • AMDGPU FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync Is Set To Land For Linux 4.21

    AMD developers have a miraculous Christmas present for their open-source Linux users, particularly Linux gamers with FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync displays... This last major feature missing from AMDGPU DRM driver that's long been sought after is finally set to land in the mainline Linux kernel!

    It has been a long time coming but the FreeSync support (or VESA Adaptive-Sync / HDMI VRR) is finally set to be merged with the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel cycle. FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync/VRR as a reminder is about adjusting monitor refresh rates dynamically without any mode change to reduce stuttering, tearing, and input lag. Previously this support was just available for Radeon Linux users via the AMDGPU-PRO components and not from the standard Linux kernel driver.

More in Tux Machines

Fedora 30 Workstation review - Smarter, faster and buggier

Fedora 30 is definitely one of the more interesting releases of this family in a long-time. It brings significant changes, including solid improvements in the desktop performance and responsiveness. Over the years, Fedora went from no proprietary stuff whatsoever to slowly acknowledging the modern needs of computing, so now it gives you MP3 codecs and you can install graphics drivers and such. Reasonable looks, plus good functionality across the board. However, there were tons of issues, too. Printing to Samba, video screenshot bug, installer cropped-image slides, package management complications, mouse cursor lag, oopses, average battery life, and inadequate usability out of the box. You need to change the defaults to have a desktop that can be used in a quick, efficient way without remembering a dozen nerdy keyboard shortcuts. All in all, I like the freshness. In general, it would seem the Linux desktop is seeing a cautious revival, and Fedora's definitely a happy player. But there are too many rough edges. Well, we got performance tweaks after so many years, and codecs, we might get window buttons and desktop icons one day back, too. Something like 6/10, and definitely worth exploring. I am happy enough to do two more tests. I will run an in-vivo upgrade on the F29 instance on this same box, and then also test the distro on an old Nvidia-powered laptop, which will showcase both the support for proprietary graphics (didn't work the last time) and performance improvements, if they scale for old hardware, too. That's all for now. Read more

Events: Automotive at LF, Linux Clusters Institute, Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC)

  • Automotive Linux Summit and Open Source Summit Japan Keynote Speakers and Schedule Announced
    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source has announced the speaker line up for Open Source Summit Japan and Automotive Linux Summit. One registration provides access to all content at both events, which will be held July 17-19 at the Toranomon Hills Forum in Tokyo. Open Source Summit Japan (OSSJ) and Automotive Linux Summit (ALS) will bring together top talent from companies on the leading edge of innovation including Toyota Motor Corporation, Uber, Intel, Sony, Google, Microsoft and more. Talks will cover a range of topics, with ALS talks on everything from infrastructure and hardware to compliance and security; and OSSJ sessions on AI, Linux systems, cloud infrastructure, cloud native applications, open networking, edge computing, safety and security and open source best practices.
  • Register Now for the 2019 Introductory Linux Clusters Institute Workshop
    Registration is now open for the 2019 Linux Clusters Institute (LCI) Introductory Workshop,which will be held August 19-23, 2019 at the Rutgers University Inn & Conference Center in New Brunswick, NJ. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of setting up and administering a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster and will be led by leading HPC experts.
  • Additional early bird slots available for LPC 2019
    The Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) registration web site has been showing “sold out” recently because the cap on early bird registrations was reached. We are happy to report that we have reviewed the registration numbers for this year’s conference and were able to open more early bird registration slots. Beyond that, regular registration will open July 1st. Please note that speakers and microconference runners get free passes to LPC, as do some microconference presenters, so that may be another way to attend the conference. Time is running out for new refereed-track and microconference proposals, so visit the CFP page soon. Topics for accepted microconferences are welcome as well.

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Illumos-Powered OmniOS Gets Updated Against MDS / ZombieLoad Vulnerabilities
    While it was just earlier this month that the OpenSolaris/Illumos-based OmniOS saw a big LTS release, it's already been succeeded by a new release given the recent Intel MDS / Zombieload CPU vulnerabilities coming to light. There are new spins of OmniOS for all supported releases. These new OmniOS Community Edition releases mitigate against the Multiarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) vulnerabilities and also bundle in the updated Intel CPU microcode.
  • Hackers Hack A Forum For Hacked Accounts: Here’s How
    A group of hackers failed to deploy security mechanisms to secure the storage where they store hacked accounts and another hacker group hacked it. The story is indeed funny and real. Infamous forum named OGUSERS which is popular amongst hackers for obtaining “OG” Instagram, Twitter usernames, hacked accounts of Domino’s Pizza, Steam, PlayStation Network, and other online accounts was hacked by a hacker group and its data was published in another hacker forum.
  • Security Announcement: Disabling SMT by default on affected Intel processors
    This is an important announcement with an upcoming change in the next Core Update of IPFire. Because of the recent vulnerabilities in Intel processors, the IPFire team has decided, that - to keep systems as secure as possible - Simultaneous Multi-Processing (SMT) is automatically disabled if the processor is vulnerable to one of the attacks. SMT is also called Intel(R) Hyper-Threading Technology and simulates more virtual cores than the system has. This allows to perform faster processing when applications benefit from it. Unfortunately with networking, we benefit from that. Therefore the effect of disabling SMT will be a very signifiant performance impact of around 30% or more. Applications that will be affected in IPFire are the firewall throughput itself as well as other CPU and memory-bound tasks like the web proxy and the Intrusion Prevention System. On systems that are not vulnerable for this attack, SMT is being left enabled. If you still want to disable it, please do so in the BIOS of your firewall.

Android Leftovers