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Ubuntu 17.04 review: Don’t call it abandonware, per se

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Ubuntu

Last month, it finally happened. Six years after its tumultuous switch from GNOME 2 to the homegrown Unity desktop, Canonical announced it was abandoning work on Unity. Going forward, the company will switch the default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME beginning with next year's 18.04 LTS release. This means Canonical is also abandoning the development of the Mir display server and its unified interface of Ubuntu for phones and tablets. The company's vision of "convergence," as Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth termed it, has officially died.

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Also new about Ubuntu:

  • What happened at Canonical

    We ask the person sitting across the table from us what it’s like to work at Canonical and they stare at their drink for a while contemplating the question: “Most companies purely want to make money,” says the Canonical employee, who we’ll call ‘DeepC’ as they want to remain anonymous. “Whereas I feel, in Canonical it’s been almost like… ‘play thing’ is the wrong word, but it’s kind of like a sandbox of ideas.”

    The exciting and sometimes frustrating Canonical sandbox has lost a lot of its buckets and spades in the last month. The company that financially backs the Ubuntu distribution, which is used by tens of millions of Linux users, is in the process of a massive transformation.

    [...]

    To get to IPO, the company has decided to seek outside investment, as revealed by the Register, so within two days of the blog post, Canonical managed to run town halls explaining its IPO ambitions to staff scattered across the globe (the company has many remote workers living in over 80 countries), and announcing the departure of popular CEO, Jane Silber, and the return of Shuttleworth as chief executive officer.

  • Canonical and Qualcomm: Delivering Unprecedented Scaling

    Canonical has been one of the earliest visionary stalwarts igniting and driving early market enablement for 64-bit ARM server compute. With the commercial availability and support for Ubuntu Openstack on 64-bit ARM v8-A architecture, Canonical further accelerated the industry’s imagination for innovative platform architectures enabling the next generation of scale and automation.

  • 10 snaps written in April

    If you haven’t heard of snaps yet, they are a new way for developers to package their apps, bringing with it many advantages over the more traditional package formats such as .deb, .rpm, and others. They are secure, isolated and allow apps to be rolled back should an issue occur. Also they aim to work on any distribution or device, from IoT devices to servers, desktops to mobile devices. Snaps really are the future of Linux application packaging!

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Oracle: New VirtualBox 5.2 Beta, SPARC M8 Processors Launched

  • VirtualBox 5.2 to Let Users Enable or Disable Audio Input and Output On-the-Fly
    Oracle announced new updates for its popular, cross-platform and open-source virtualization software, the third Beta of the upcoming VirtualBox 5.2 major release and VirtualBox 5.1.28 stable maintenance update. We'll start with the stable update, VirtualBox 5.1.28, as it's more important for our readers using Oracle VM VirtualBox for all of their virtualization needs. The VirtualBox 5.1 maintenance release 28 is here to improve audio support by fixing various issues with both the ALSA and OSS backends, as well as an accidental crash with AC'97.
  • SPARC M8 Processors Launched
    While Oracle recently let go of some of their SPARC team, today marks the launch of the SPARC M8. The initial SPARC M8 line-up includes the T8-1, T8-2, T8-4. M8-8, and SuperCluster M8-8 servers.

Wikileaks Releases Spy Files Russia, CCleaner Infected, Equifax Has a Dirty Little Secret

  • Spy Files Russia
    This publication continues WikiLeaks' Spy Files series with releases about surveillance contractors in Russia. While the surveillance of communication traffic is a global phenomena, the legal and technological framework of its operation is different for each country. Russia's laws - especially the new Yarovaya Law - make literally no distinction between Lawful Interception and mass surveillance by state intelligence authorities (SIAs) without court orders. Russian communication providers are required by Russian law to install the so-called SORM ( Система Оперативно-Розыскных Мероприятий) components for surveillance provided by the FSB at their own expense. The SORM infrastructure is developed and deployed in Russia with close cooperation between the FSB, the Interior Ministry of Russia and Russian surveillance contractors.
  • Malware-Infected CCleaner Installer Distributed to Users Via Official Servers for a Month
    Hackers have managed to embed malware into the installer of CCleaner, a popular Windows system optimization tool with over 2 billion downloads to date. The rogue package was distributed through official channels for almost a month. CCleaner is a utilities program that is used to delete temporary internet files such as cookies, empty the Recycling Bin, correct problems with the Windows Registry, among other tasks. First released in 2003, it has become hugely popular; up to 20 million people download it per month. Users who downloaded and installed CCleaner or CCleaner Cloud between Aug. 15 and Sept. 12 should scan their computers for malware and update their apps. The 32-bit versions of CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 were affected.
  • Equifax Suffered a Hack [sic] Almost Five Months Earlier Than the Date It Disclosed
  • This is why you shouldn’t use texts for two-factor authentication

    For a long time, security experts have warned that text messages are vulnerable to hijacking — and this morning, they showed what it looks like in practice.

Amazon Changes Rental ('Cloud') Model on GNU/Linux

Devices/Hardware: Embedded/Boards, CODESYS, and EPYC Linux Performance

  • Linux friendly IoT gateway runs on 3.5-inch Bay Trail SBC
    While the MB-80580 SBC lists SATA II, the gateway indicates SATA III. Also, the gateway datasheet notes that the RS232 ports can all be redirected to RS232/422/485. Software includes Windows IoT Core and Server, as well as Yocto, Ubuntu Snappy Core, and CentOS Linux distributions.
  • Rugged panel PC scales up to a 19-inch touchscreen
    The fanless, IP65-rated WinSystems “PPC65B-1x” panel PC runs Linux or Win 10 on a quad-core Atom E3845, and offers 10.4 to 19-inch resistive touchscreens.
  • CODESYS announces CODESYS-compatible SoftPLC for open Linux device platforms
  • EPYC Linux performance from AMD
    Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD's new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores.  The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz.  Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications.   Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138's in the dust.  They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD's last server offerings.  The evolution is something to behold.
  • Opteron vs. EPYC Benchmarks & Performance-Per-Watt: How AMD Server Performance Evolved Over 10 Years
    By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven't, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago.