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The inventor of Linux is furious at Intel

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Security

Linux inventor and founder Linus Torvalds is not known for holding back strong opinions he has about computers, which is why he's become one of the loudest voices critical of Intel's handling of the so-called Meltdown bug, which was revealed on Wednesday and could enable an attacker to steal confidential information, including passwords.

"I think somebody inside of Intel needs to really take a long hard look at their CPU's, and actually admit that they have issues instead of writing PR blurbs that say that everything works as designed," Torvalds wrote in a sharply-worded email sent on to a Linux list on Wednesday.

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Also: SUSE Responds to Meltdown and Spectre CPU Vulnerabilities in SLE and openSUSE

Debian, SUSE, Canonical

Red Hat

  • Red Hat responds to the Intel processor flaw

    These problems seem to have come about as a result of "speculative execution" -- an optimization technique that involves doing work before it is known whether that work will be needed. Correcting the vulnerabilities, therefore, comes at a performance price. More information on this tradeoff is available from this Red Hat post. Patches could slow down systems by as much as 30% -- a hit that most users are likely to feel. However, the specific performance impact will be workload dependent. To address Spectre in the short term, Red Hat has modified the kernel by default to not use the performance features that enable the vulnerability. Their customers do have the option to disable the patch and use the performance features. While Red Hat is working with chip manufacturers and OEMs on a longer-term solution, this option gives customers a way to make their own security and performance decisions

  • Red Hat, tech giants move to counter major security flaws Meltdown, Spectre

    Computer security experts have discovered two major security flaws in the microprocessors inside nearly all of the world’s computers.

    The two problems, called Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, including mobile devices, personal computers, servers running in so-called cloud computer networks.

  • Speculative Execution Exploit Performance Impacts - Describing the performance impacts to security patches for CVE-2017-5754 CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715

    The recent speculative execution CVEs address three potential attacks across a wide variety of architectures and hardware platforms, each requiring slightly different fixes. In many cases, these fixes also require microcode updates from the hardware vendors. Red Hat has delivered updated Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernels that focus on securing customer deployments. The nature of these vulnerabilities and their fixes introduces the possibility of reduced performance on patched systems. The performance impact depends on the hardware and the applications in place.

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More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Screenshot Tour and Statistics

  • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Screenshot Tour | What’s New
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today's howtos

Licensing in Kate and Other KDE News/Changes

  • MIT licensed KSyntaxHighlighting usage
    With the KDE Frameworks 5.50 release, the KSyntaxHighlighting framework was re-licensed to the MIT license. This re-licensing only covers the actual code in the library and the bundled themes but not all of the syntax highlighting definition data files. One of the main motivation points was to get QtCreator to use this, if possible, instead of their own implementation of the Kate highlighting they needed to create in the past due to the incompatible licensing of KatePart at that time (and the impossibility to do a quick split/re-licensing of the parts in question).
  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 41
  • KDE Will Now Set Scale Factor For GTK Apps, Plasma Gets Other Scaling & UI Polishing Too
    KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly recap of interesting development activities impacting Plasma, Frameworks, and the Applications stack. When the display scaling factor for KDE is set to an integer, KDE will now export that as well to the GNOME/GTK environment variables of GDK_SCALE/GDK_DPI_SCALE, for helping out GTK applications running on the KDE desktop so they should still scale appropriately. The Wayland behavior was already correct while this should help out GTK X11 applications. The GNOME/GTK scaling though only supports scaling by integer numbers.

Graphics: NVIDIA, Kazan, Sway and Panfrost

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    NVIDIA developers have expressed interest in helping the open-source GCC libstdc++ and LLVM Clang libc++ standard libraries in bringing up support for the standardized parallel algorithms. C++17 brings parallelized versions for some of the algorithms exposed by the C++ standard library, but sadly GCC's libstdc++ and LLVM's libc++ do not yet support these parallel algorithms while the rest of their C++17 support is in great shape. Going back over a year Intel has been interested in contributing parallel support code to these C++ standard libraries that could be shared by both projects. The Intel path builds in abstractions for supporting different underlying thread/parallelism APIs.
  • The Rust-Written Kazan Vulkan Driver Lights Up Its Shader Compiler
    This week the Kazan project (formerly known as "Vulkan-CPU") celebrated a small but important milestone in its trek to having a CPU-based Vulkan software implementation. As a refresher, Kazan is the project born as Vulkan-CPU during the 2017 Google Summer of Code. The work was started by student developer Jacob Lifshay and he made good progress last summer on the foundation of the project and continued contributing past the conclusion of that Google-funded program. By the end of the summer he was able to run some simple Vulkan compute tests. He also renamed Vulkan-CPU to Kazan (Japanese for "volcano").
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