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December 2019

One Of The Reasons Why Linux 5.5 Can Be Running Slower

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Going back to the start of December with the Linux 5.5 merge window we have encountered several significant performance regressions. Over the weeks since we've reproduced the behavior on both Intel and AMD systems along with large and small CPUs. Following some holiday weekend bisecting fun, here is the cause at least partially for the Linux 5.5 slowdowns.

On a number of different systems this month we've seen several regressions in real-world workloads like NPB and Parboil, PostgreSQL, Memcached, RocksDB, and also synthetic tests like the Hackbench scheduler benchmark. Worth noting, as to be explained, all these systems were running Ubuntu Linux.

But even with hitting these regressions on multiple systems, we're now past mid-way through the Linux 5.5 cycle without any solution in place or much fuss on the kernel mailing list... So perhaps it's something not reproducible by the configurations of many upstream developers. Ultimately, yes, that is partially the cause as to be explained. Yet all the Ubuntu daily kernel images have seemingly been affected by the Linux 5.5 lower performance on these multiple systems.

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Freedb is shutting down

Filed under
OSS
  • Urgent notice

    freedb.org and its services will be shut down on March 31st of 2020.

  • freedb is shutting down in March, 2020 (free music database)

    Freedb is a free online database of track listings for millions of CDs. Without this type of database, you’d either end up with a bunch of nameless files, or you’d have to manually type the album names, artist info, song titles, and other data into your computer.

    While FreeDB isn’t the only game in town, it’s been one of the most prominent services providing track listing data for nearly two decades — and according to a note at the freedb website, it’ll shut down at the end of March, 2020.

    Freedb data was originally based on information from the CDDB (Compact Disc Database), which eventually became proprietary software and which prohibited unlicensed applications from using that data. So freedb, which is a free service operated under a GPL license, now consists of user-generated data.

Audiocasts/Shows: Open Source Security Podcast, GNU World Order and Linux Action News

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Linux 5.5-rc4

Filed under
Linux

To absolutely nobody's surprise, last week was very quiet indeed. It's
hardly even worth making an rc release, but there are _some_ fixes in
here, so here's the usual weekly Sunday afternoon rc.

It's drivers (gpio, i915, scsi, libata), some cifs fixes, and io_uring
fixes. And some kunit/selftest updates. And one or two other random
small things.

Go test it, you still have some time before the New Year's Eve
celebrations commence. Let's all hope for a happy new year, but I
suspect the next rc is going to be on the small side too as most
people are probably still in holiday mode..

Linus

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Also: Linux 5.5-rc4 Released Following A Light Christmas Week

Your Full Guide on Migrating from Windows 7 to Linux

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft

Windows 7 was released a decade ago in 2009. A lot of people consider it to be the best Windows version Microsoft has ever made. Sadly Microsoft announced that Windows 7 will be disconnected in 14th of January, 2020. Being disconnected means that your OS will no longer receive updates, including security updates, at all. Which puts you in danger and under the pressure of switching to another OS as a lot of other apps will gradually stop working on Windows 7 too.

According to NetMarketShare (which is a very horrible source btw), 26% of desktop users are still using Windows 7, which is really huge considering that the OS will become out of service in few days. So, where to go from here? You could pay $100 to upgrade to Windows 10, which is very much heavier, full of data-collection mechanisms and adware. Or, you know, you could switch into using Linux, which is miles ahead of Windows in terms of almost everything.

This article will take you in detailed tour on why you should switch to Linux from Windows 7 (if you still haven’t), how to do it and everything else you may need to know.

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Early Experiences With PinePhone

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets
  • Talking about Pine

    At GNU Health Con (now more than two weeks ago) I gave a talk on saturday afternoon about Pine. Thanks to TLLim for providing me we slides (we caught up at Linux App Summit) to start off the talk. I dove down a little more into the products that are available, saying “this is not a sales talk” but ..

    At the end of the day there were lots of people seriously interested in Pine hardware. If I can’t even not sell devices, what am I to do?

  • Yet Another Librem 5 and PinePhone comparison

    Let's start off with mentioning that both these new phones are great steps forward for Linux. While they will probably not beat Android and iOS in popularity, they will at least give Linux power users a device that can be called a Linux phone instead of the usual "technically it's running Linux because that's only a kernel". These phones not only run the latest, mainline Linux kernel, they also have the desktop stacks people are already familiar with.

  • PinePhone review

    Holy shit! This is the phone I have always wanted. I have never been this excited about the mobile sector before. However: the software side is totally absent — phone calls are very dubious, SMS is somewhat dubious, LTE requires some hacks, and everything will have to be written from the ground up.

    I have a PinePhone developer edition model, which I paid for out of pocket1 and which took an excruciatingly long time to arrive. When it finally arrived, it came with no SIM or microSD card (expected), and the eMMC had some half-assed version of Android on it which just boot looped without POSTing to anything useful2. This didn’t bother me in the slightest — like any other computer I’ve purchased, I planned on immediately flashing my own OS on it. My Linux distribution of choice for it is postmarketOS, which is basically the mobile OS I’d build if I wanted to build a mobile OS.

Libre RISC-V Accelerator Secures 300k EUR In Grants, Still Undecided About The ISA

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

Libre RISC-V, the project aiming to create an open-source accelerator that would run a Vulkan software renderer in being an "open-source GPU" aiming for just 25 FPS @ 720p or 5~6 GFLOPS, has managed to secure 300k EUR in grants for their work.

Last year they already secured a 50k EUR grant for working on this low-end chip that initially was envisioned to be an open-source RISC-V SoC. Though more recently Libre RISC-V is seriously looking at using an OpenPOWER architecture design rather than RISC-V.

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10 Best Webcams for Ubuntu in 2020

Filed under
Hardware
Ubuntu

If you have Ubuntu installed on desktop computer then you need to install Webcam externally for making work related video conferencing, connecting with loved ones or broadcasting your video gaming skills to the world. In recent years developers have made much advancement in Ubuntu OS to support more webcams in the market but before buying one for Ubuntu you must make sure it integrates well with Ubuntu drivers.

There are many reliable and high on quality webcams available in market from makers like Logitech, Pro Stream and LOETAD. But there are some things you must consider buying one for your Ubuntu. So before starting with list of webcams for Ubuntu, let’s have a roundup of things you must consider before buying a webcam.

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More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Best Linux laptop for 2021: Which one should you buy?

I remember, back in my early days of Linux, finding a laptop that could run the open-source operating system was tricky business. You might get a distribution to work with the video chipset. You might even find one that interacts with your soundcard. If you could manage to get wireless working, you were something special. That was then, and this is a very different time. Now, you can find Linux pre-installed laptops all over the place. Companies like System76, Tuxedo Computers, Juno Computers, Dell, Lenovo and HP are all producing laptops that support or are even fully certified to run Linux. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Paradox of the perfect code editor

    Imagine if someone summoned a magical genie and wished for a perfect code editor. Since it is perfect, does that mean it provides you everything you ever need to code the optimal solution? Or since it is perfect, does it enable you to accomplish the coding aspect instantly?

    Thus, the paradox:

    Does the perfect code editor mean that you spend nearly 100% of your work time using the editor or does it mean you spend nearly 0% of your work time using the editor?

  • I write code 100 hours/week, here's why I probably won't stop

    I feel strongly you should never feel compelled or required to do what I am doing. Any company, manager, or person asking you to do so is horrible and you should get out quick. I don’t want to contribute to that culture or feed it.

    But-I love what I’m doing. I love the amount of progress I’m able to achieve every day. I love my time spent solving problems. I love what I’ve achieved so far. I want to go further than ever before - I’ve been marathon coding for as long as I can remember, and I’m not going to stop. I need to see how far I can go.

    I love the choices I’ve made in life. I hope you love yours too.

  • The reports of Perl’s death have been greatly exaggerated

    But you know what? Perl’s still going. It’s had a steady cadence of year­ly releas­es for the past decade, intro­duc­ing new fea­tures and fenc­ing in bad behav­ior while main­tain­ing an admirable lev­el of back­ward com­pat­i­bil­i­ty. Yes, there was a too-​long adven­ture devel­op­ing what start­ed as Perl 6, but that lan­guage now has its own iden­ti­ty as Raku and even has facil­i­ties for mix­ing Perl with its native code or vice versa.

  • Share with us your say on interoperability benefits in digital public service delivery

    As the the ISA2 programme and ELISE are coming to an end, is the right time to reflect on what we have achieved together and how to build on that in the next generation programmes.

  • How BSD Authentication Works

    The way OpenBSD authenticates users is quite different from other Unix-like operating systems. Most other systems like AIX, Solaris, Linux, the other BSDs, and MacOS, use a framework called Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM). The two main implementations are Linux PAM and OpenPAM. PAM modules are created as dynamically loaded shared objects, which communicate using a combination of common and implementation specific interfaces (Linux-PAM and OpenPAM). It's configured using the pam.d directory and pam.conf file. While it can be flexible, it's highly complex and very easy to mis-configure, leaving you open to strange and hard to track down authentication bugs. On top of that, the fact that it's a shared library means that any vulnerability in a poorly vetted authentication module gives attackers direct access to the internals of your application. Author Michael W. Lucas said it best when he described PAM as unstandardized black magic.

    OpenBSD on the other hand uses a mechanism called BSD Authentication. It was originally developed for a now-defunct proprietary operating system called BSD/OS by Berkeley Software Design Inc., who later donated the system. It was then adopted by OpenBSD in release 2.9. BSD Auth is comparatively much simpler than PAM. Modules or, authentication "styles", are instead stand alone applications or scripts that communicate over IPC. The module has no ability to interfere with the parent and can very easily revoke permissions using pledge(2) or unveil(2). The BSD Authentication system of configured through login.conf(5).

  • Explaining top(1) on FreeBSD

    We all know and have at least once used the top(1) command to track information about our cpu and processes, but how many of you know what each field means? Today we will guide you through each of these fields. By default, top(1) displays the ‘top’ processes on each system and periodically updates this information every 2.0 seconds using the raw cpu use percentage to rank the processes in the list.

Integrity/Availability, Security, and DRM

  • Sinclair hit by ransomware attack, TV stations disrupted [iophk: Windows TCO]

    Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates dozens of TV stations across the U.S., said Monday that some of its servers and work stations were encrypted with ransomware and that data was stolen from its network.

  • Sinclair hit by ransomware attack, TV stations disrupted [iophk: Windows TCO]

    The Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company either owns or operates 21 regional sports network and owns, operates or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets.

  • Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink

    For more than a decade now, computer printer manufacturers have been engaged in an endless quest called: "let's be as annoying as humanly possible." That quest, driven by a desire to monopolize and boost the sale of their own printer cartridges, has resulted in all manner of obnoxious DRM and other restrictions designed to make using cheaper, third-party printing cartridges a monumental headache. Often, software or firmware updates have been designed to intentionally grind printing to a halt if you try to use these alternative options.

  • Caskading Failures

    In case you hadn’t heard, Let’s Encrypt’s root certificate expired on September 30th, causing many old applications and devices to reject connections to any site secured by certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt. At Cider and Saddle, all of our services are backed by a Let’s Encrypt wildcard certificate, which we’d configured to automatically renew when needed. We thought that meant we’d be in the clear; after all, we were sure to keep our production system up-to-date, and as long as the system’s CA certificates were fresh, there shouldn’t be any issues.

    We were wrong.

    On October 3rd, one of our community members noticed Cask was throwing 500 errors upon visiting the page. Scrubbing through the logs, it was pretty easy to guess what was going on: [...]