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Mozilla: More on Gervase Markham and Thunderbird 60

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Moz/FF
  • In Memoriam: Gervase Markham

    Gerv was Mozilla’s first intern. He arrived in the summer of 2001, when Mozilla staff was still AOL employees. It was a shock that AOL had allocated an intern to the then-tiny Mozilla team, and we knew instantly that our amazingly effective volunteer in the UK would be our choice.

    When Gerv arrived a few things about him jumped out immediately. The first was a swollen, shiny, bright pink scar on the side of his neck. He quickly volunteered that the scar was from a set of surgeries for his recently discovered cancer. At the time Gerv was 20 or so, and had less than a 50% chance of reaching 35. He was remarkably upbeat.

    The second thing that immediately became clear was Gerv’s faith, which was the bedrock of his response to his cancer. As a result the scar was a visual marker that led straight to a discussion of faith. This was the organizing principle of Gerv’s life, and nearly everything he did followed from his interpretation of how he should express his faith.

  • Thunderbird email client gets a new look, new features, and a new logo

    A new version of Thunderbird is now available to download.

    Thunderbird 60 is the first stable release of the ephemeral desktop email client since the launch of Thunderbird 52 way back in early 2017.

    A year in development — but has it been worth the wait?

  • Mozilla Thunderbird 60.0 Ships With New Photon Look, Important Changes

    After more than one year since the previous major stable release (52.0), Mozilla Thunderbird 60.0 was released with some important changes, including a new Firefox-like "Photon" look, new logo, and attachment management improvements, among others.

    The free and open source email, news, RSS and chat client Thunderbird version 60.0 includes a Firefox-like Photon look, in which the tabs are square (and other theme improvements), along with new light and dark themes. WebExtension themes are enabled in Thunderbird with version 60, and you'll also find multiple chat themes.

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Raspbian Linux distribution updated, but with one unexpected omission

Those last two are the ones that really produced some excitement in the Raspberry Pi community. Just look at that next to last one... so innocent looking... but then go and look at the discussion in the Pi Forums about it. For those who might not be familiar with it, Mathematica (and the Wolfram language) is a technical computing system that is very widely used in both education and industry. It has been included on the Raspberry Pi since the beginning, and when you consider that a normal "desktop" license costs €160 for a "student", or €345 for "home and hobby", it's an exceptionally good deal to get it for free with a $35 Raspberry Pi. That makes it a bit easier to understand why some users would be upset about it being removed. Read more

Games: Kingdom Rush Origins, Jackbox Games, Gaming on the Latest Ubuntu

2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance

The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the second of this year's three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month's LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December. MakuluLinux is a relatively new Linux OS. Its positive reputation has been developing since 2015. The three-year growth spurt involved a variety of desktop environments. Its small developer team has delivered a surprisingly efficient and productive desktop distribution in a relatively short time period. It is unusual to see a startup rise so quickly to offer an innovative and highly competitive computing platform. Series 15 is not an update of last year's editions. This latest release introduces some radical changes that were under development for the last two years. The Series 15 releases of LinDoz and Flash include a complete rip-and-replace rebuild on top of an in-house developed computing base. LinDoz and Flash have been reworked completely from the ground up. Read more

Kernel: LWN Linux Articles Now Outside the Paywall

  • What's a CPU to do when it has nothing to do?
    It would be reasonable to expect doing nothing to be an easy, simple task for a kernel, but it isn't. At Kernel Recipes 2018, Rafael Wysocki discussed what CPUs do when they don't have anything to do, how the kernel handles this, problems inherent in the current strategy, and how his recent rework of the kernel's idle loop has improved power consumption on systems that aren't doing anything. The idle loop, one of the kernel subsystems that Wysocki maintains, controls what a CPU does when it has no processes to run. Precise to a fault, Wysocki defined his terms: for the purposes of this discussion, a CPU is an entity that can take instructions from memory and execute them at the same time as any other entities in the same system are doing likewise. On a simple, single-core single-processor system, that core is the CPU. If the processor has multiple cores, each of those cores is a CPU. If each of those cores exposes multiple interfaces for simultaneous instruction execution, which Intel calls "hyperthreading", then each of those threads is a CPU.
  • New AT_ flags for restricting pathname lookup
    System calls like openat() have access to the entire filesystem — or, at least, that part of the filesystem that exists in the current mount namespace and which the caller has the permission to access. There are times, though, when it is desirable to reduce that access, usually for reasons of security; that has proved to be especially true in many container use cases. A new patch set from Aleksa Sarai has revived an old idea: provide a set of AT_ flags that can be used to control the scope of a given pathname lookup operation. There have been previous attempts at restricting pathname lookup, but none of them have been merged thus far. David Drysdale posted an O_BENEATH option to openat() in 2014 that would require the eventual target to be underneath the starting directory (as provided to openat()) in the filesystem hierarchy. More recently, Al Viro suggested AT_NO_JUMPS as a way of preventing lookups from venturing outside of the current directory hierarchy or the starting directory's mount point. Both ideas have attracted interest, but neither has yet been pushed long or hard enough to make it into the mainline.
  • Some numbers from the 4.19 development cycle
    The release of 4.19-rc6 on September 30 is an indication that the 4.19 development cycle is heading toward its conclusion. Naturally, that means it's time to have a look at where the contributions for this cycle came from. The upheavals currently playing out in the kernel community do not show at this level, but there are some new faces to be seen in the top contributors this time around. As of this writing, 13,657 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline for 4.19.
  • The modernization of PCIe hotplug in Linux
    PCI Express hotplug has been supported in Linux for fourteen years. The code, which is aging, is currently undergoing a transformation to fit the needs of contemporary applications such as hot-swappable flash drives in data centers and power-manageable Thunderbolt controllers in laptops. Time for a roundup. The initial PCI specification from 1992 had no provisions for the addition or removal of cards at runtime. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, various proprietary hotplug controllers, as well as the vendor-neutral standard hotplug controller, were conceived and became supported by Linux through drivers living in drivers/pci/hotplug. PCI Express (PCIe), instead, supported hotplug from the get-go in 2002, but its embodiments have changed over time. Originally intended to hot-swap PCIe cards in servers or ExpressCards in laptops, today it is commonly used in data centers (where NVMe flash drives need to be swapped at runtime) and by Thunderbolt (which tunnels PCIe through a hotpluggable chain of converged I/O switches, together with other protocols such as DisplayPort).