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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.

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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

Videos/Audiocasts/Shows: GNU/Linux and Python, Fresh Look at LMDE 4 Beta

  • Hopeful for HAMR | TechSNAP 423

    We explore the potential of heat-assisted magnetic recording and get excited about a possibly persistent L2ARC. Plus Jim's journeys with Clear Linux, and why Ubuntu 18.04.4 is a maintenance release worth talking about.

  • 2020-02-21 | Linux Headlines

    Red Hat OpenStack Platform reaches version 16, Google announces the mentors for this year’s Summer of Code, DigitalOcean secures new funding, the Raspberry Pi 4’s USB-C power problems get a fix, and the GTK Project unveils its new website.

  • Talk Python to Me: #252 What scientific computing can learn from CS

    Did you come into Python from a computational science side of things? Were you just looking for something better than Excel or Matlab and got pulled in by all the Python has to offer?  That's great! But following that path often means some of the more formal practices from software development weren't part of the journey.  On this episode, you'll meet Martin Héroux, who does data science in the context of academic research. He's here to share his best practices and lessons for data scientists of all sorts.

  • Matt Layman: Templates and Logic - Building SaaS #45

    In this episode, we added content to a template and talked about the N+1 query bug. I also worked tricky logic involving date handling. The first change was to update a course page to include a new icon for any course task that should be graded. After adding this, we hit an N+1 query bug, which is a performance bug that happens when code queries a database in a loop. We talked about why this happens and how to fix it. After finishing that issue, we switched gears and worked on a tricky logic bug. I need a daily view to fetch data and factor in the relative time shift between the selected day and today. We wrote an involved test to simulate the right conditions and then fixed the code to handle the date shift properly.

  • LMDE 4 Beta Debbie Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) 4 Debbie.

KVM and Xen Project: Commercial Exploitation and Unikraft Work

  • Cloud, Linux vendors cash in on KVM-based virtualization

    Vendors such as Red Hat, IBM, Canonical and Google rely on KVM-based virtualization technology for many of their virtualization products because it enables IT administrators to execute multiple OSes on the same hardware. As a result, it has become a staple in IT admins' virtual systems. KVM was first announced in October 2006 and was added to the mainline Linux kernel in February 2007, which means that if admins are running a Linux machine, they can run KVM out of the box. KVM is a Type 1 hypervisor, which means that each individual VM acts similar to a regular Linux process and allocates resources accordingly. Other Type 1 hypervisors include Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VM Server for x86 and VMware ESXi.

  • Unikraft: Building Powerful Unikernels Has Never Been Easier!

    Two years ago, the Xen Project introduced Unikraft (http://unikraft.org) as an incubation project. Over the past two years, the Unikraft project has seen some great momentum. Since the last release, the community has grown about 20% and contributions have diversified a great deal. Contributions from outside the project founders (NEC) now make up 63% of all contributions, up from about 25% this time last year! In addition, a total of 56,739 lines were added since the last release (0.3). [...] Finally, the Unikraft team’s Simon Kuenzer recently gave a talk at FOSDEM titled “Unikraft: A Unikernel Toolkit”. Simon, a senior systems researcher at NEC Labs and the lead maintainer of Unikraft, spoke all about Unikraft and provided a comprehensive overview of the project, where it’s been and what’s in store.

Gopher: When Adversarial Interoperability Burrowed Under the Gatekeepers' Fortresses

In the early 1990s, personal computers did not arrive in an "Internet-ready" state. Before students could connect their systems to UMN's network, they needed to install basic networking software that allowed their computers to communicate over TCP/IP, as well as dial-up software for protocols like PPP or SLIP. Some computers needed network cards or modems, and their associated drivers. That was just for starters. Once the students' systems were ready to connect to the Internet, they still needed the basic tools for accessing distant servers: FTP software, a Usenet reader, a terminal emulator, and an email client, all crammed onto a floppy disk (or two). The task of marshalling, distributing, and supporting these tools fell to the university's Microcomputer Center. For the university, the need to get students these basic tools was a blessing and a curse. It was labor-intensive work, sure, but it also meant that the Microcomputer Center could ensure that the students' newly Internet-ready computers were also configured to access the campus network and its resources, saving the Microcomputer Center thousands of hours talking students through the configuration process. It also meant that the Microcomputer Center could act like a mini App Store, starting students out on their online journeys with a curated collection of up-to-date, reliable tools. That's where Gopher comes in. While the campus mainframe administrators had plans to selectively connect their systems to the Internet through specialized software, the Microcomputer Center had different ideas. Years before the public had heard of the World Wide Web, the Gopher team sought to fill the same niche, by connecting disparate systems to the Internet and making them available to those with little-to-no technical expertise—with or without the cooperation of the systems they were connecting. Gopher used text-based menus to navigate "Gopherspace" (all the world's public Gopher servers). The Microcomputer Center team created Gopher clients that ran on Macs, DOS, and in Unix-based terminals. The original Gopher servers were a motley assortment of used Macintosh IIci systems running A/UX, Apple's flavor of Unix. The team also had access to several NeXT workstations. Read more Also: The Things Industries Launches Global Join Server for Secure LoRaWAN

IBM/Red Hat and POWER9/OpenBMC

  • Network Automation: Why organizations shouldn’t wait to get started

    For many enterprises, we don’t need to sing the praises of IT automation - they already get it. They understand the value of automation, have invested in a platform and strategy, and have seen first-hand the benefits IT automation can deliver. However, unlike IT automation, according to a new report from Forrester Research 1, network automation is still new territory for many organizations. The report, "Jump-Start Your Network Automation," found that 56% of global infrastructure technology decision makers have implemented/are implementing or are expanding/upgrading their implementation of automation software, while another 19% plan to implement it over the next 12 months. But those same organizations that are embracing IT automation haven’t necessarily been able to take that same initiative when it comes to automating their networks. Even if they know it will be beneficial to them, the report found that organizations often struggle with even the most basic questions around automating their networks.

  • Using a story’s theme to inform the filmmaking: Farming for the Future

    The future of farming belongs to us all. At least that’s the message I got from researching Red Hat’s most recent Open Source Stories documentary, Farming for the Future. As a self-proclaimed city boy, I was intrigued by my assignment as director of the short documentary, but also felt like the subject matter was worlds away. If it did, in fact, belong to all of us how would we convey this to a general audience? How could we use the film’s theme to inform how we might approach the filmmaking to enhance the storytelling?

  • Raptor Rolls Out New OpenBMC Firmware With Featureful Web GUI For System Management

    While web-based GUIs for system management on server platforms with BMCs is far from anything new, Raptor Computing Systems with their libre POWER9 systems does now have a full-functioning web-based solution for their OpenBMC-powered systems and still being fully open-source. As part of Raptor Computing Systems' POWER9 desktops and servers being fully open-source down to the firmware/microcode and board designs, Raptor has used OpenBMC for the baseboard management controllers but has lacked a full-featured web-based system management solution on the likes of the Talos II and Blackbird systems up until now.

  • Introduction to open data sets and the importance of metadata

    More data is becoming freely available through initiatives such as institutions and research publications requiring that data sets be freely available along with the publications that refer to them. For example, Nature magazine instituted a policy for authors to declare how the data behind their published research can be accessed by interested readers. To make it easier for tools to find out what’s in a data set, authors, researchers, and suppliers of data sets are being encouraged to add metadata to their data sets. There are various forms for metadata that data sets use. For example, the US Government data.gov site uses the standard DCAT-US Schema v1.1 whereas the Google Dataset Search tool relies mostly on schema.org tagging. However, many data sets have no metadata at all. That’s why you won’t find all open data sets through search, and you need to go to known portals and explore if portals exist in the region, city, or topic of your interest. If you are deeply curious about metadata, you can see the alignment between DCAT and schema.org in the DCAT specification dated February 2020. The data sets themselves come in various forms for download, such as CSV, JSON, GeoJSON, and .zip. Sometimes data sets can be accessed through APIs. Another way that data sets are becoming available is through government initiatives to make data available. In the US, data.gov has more than 250,000 data sets available for developers to use. A similar initiative in India, data.gov.in, has more than 350,000 resources available. Companies like IBM sometimes provide access to data, like weather data, or give tips on how to process freely available data. For example, an introduction to NOAA weather data for JFK Airport is used to train the open source Model Asset eXchange Weather Forecaster (you can see the model artifacts on GitHub). When developing a prototype or training a model during a hackathon, it’s great to have access to relevant data to make your solution more convincing. There are many public data sets available to get you started. I’ll go over some of the ways to find them and provide access considerations. Note that some of the data sets might require some pre-processing before they can be used, for example, to handle missing data, but for a hackathon, they are often good enough.

  • Red Hat Helps Omnitracs Redefine Logistics And Transportation Software

    Fleet management technology provider Omnitracs, LLC, has delivered its Omnitracs One platform on the foundation of Red Hat OpenShift. Using the enterprise Kubernetes platform along with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Omnitracs One is a cloud-native offering and provides an enhanced user experience with a clear path towards future innovations. With Red Hat’s guidance, Omnitracs said it was able to embrace a shift from on-premises development technologies to cloud-native services, improving overall operations and creating a more collaborative development process culture.