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OSS Leftovers

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  • Spinnaker is the next big open source project to watch

    Spinnaker is an open source continuous delivery (CD) platform from Netflix and Google, though it now also has the backing of other major software companies. Spinnaker 1.0 launched last July, so it’s not the newest kid on the block, but the service is slowly but surely gaining momentum now, with users that include Target, Adobe, Daimler and Capital One, as well as a growing ecosystem of vendors who support it.

    Today, after a few years of working on the project without any formal structure in place, the Spinnaker project announced that it is growing up and putting a formal governance system in place at the project’s second community summit in Seattle this week.

  • Andy Wingo: heap object representation in spidermonkey

    I was having a look through SpiderMonkey's source code today and found something interesting about how it represents heap objects and wanted to share.

    I was first looking to see how to implement arbitrary-length integers ("bigints") by storing the digits inline in the allocated object. (I'll use the term "object" here, but from JS's perspective, bigints are rather values; they don't have identity. But I digress.) So you have a header indicating how many words it takes to store the digits, and the digits follow. This is how JavaScriptCore and V8 implementations of bigints work.

    Incidentally, JSC's implementation was taken from V8. V8's was taken from Dart. Dart's was taken from Go. We might take SpiderMonkey's from Scheme48. Good times, right??

    When seeing if SpiderMonkey could use this same strategy, I couldn't find how to make a variable-sized GC-managed allocation. It turns out that in SpiderMonkey you can't do that! SM's memory management system wants to work in terms of fixed-sized "cells". Even for objects that store properties inline in named slots, that's implemented in terms of standard cell sizes. So if an object has 6 slots, it might be implemented as instances of cells that hold 8 slots.

    Truly variable-sized allocations seem to be managed off-heap, via malloc or other allocators. I am not quite sure how this works for GC-traced allocations like arrays, but let's assume that somehow it does.

  • Pocket Offers New Features to Help People Read, Watch and Listen across iOS, Android and Web

    We know that when you save something to Pocket, there is a reason why. You are saving something you want to learn about, something that fascinates you, something that will help shape and change you. That’s why we’ve worked hard to make Pocket a dedicated, quiet place to focus so that you can come back and absorb what you save when you are ready.

    The trick is, in the reality of our lives, it’s not always that simple. Our lives don’t always have a quiet moment with a coffee cup in hand with Pocket in the other. We have work to do, kids to take care of, school to attend. But with Pocket we’ve always worked hard to ensure that Pocket gives you tools to fit content around your life, freeing you from the moment of distraction and putting you in control.

  • OpenBSD's unveil()

    One of the key aspects of hardening the user-space side of an operating system is to provide mechanisms for restricting which parts of the filesystem hierarchy a given process can access. Linux has a number of mechanisms of varying capability and complexity for this purpose, but other kernels have taken a different approach. Over the last few months, OpenBSD has inaugurated a new system call named unveil() for this type of hardening that differs significantly from the mechanisms found in Linux.

    The value of restricting access to the filesystem, from a security point of view, is fairly obvious. A compromised process cannot exfiltrate data that it cannot read, and it cannot corrupt files that it cannot write. Preventing unwanted access is, of course, the purpose of the permissions bits attached to every file, but permissions fall short in an important way: just because a particular user has access to a given file does not necessarily imply that every program run by that user should also have access to that file. There is no reason why your PDF viewer should be able to read your SSH keys, for example. Relying on just the permission bits makes it easy for a compromised process to access files that have nothing to do with that process's actual job.

  • digest 0.6.18

    Earlier today, digest version 0.6.18 arrived on CRAN. It will get uploaded to Debian in due course.

    digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64 and murmur32 algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects.

  • Did your first pull request get accepted?
  • Clazy 1.4 released

    Clazy 1.4 has been released and brings 10 new checks.

    Clazy is a clang compiler plugin which emits warnings related to Qt best practices. We’ll be showing Clazy at Qt World Summit in Boston, Oct 29-30, where we are a main Sponsor.

  • I'd like to interject for a moment

    Mastodon is merely an implementation of Fediverse. As it happens, only one of my Fediverse channels runs on Mastodon (the Japanese language one at Pawoo). Main one still uses Gnusocial, the anime one was on Gnusocial and migrated to Pleroma a few months ago. All of them are communicating using the OStatus protocol, although a movement is afoot to switch to ActivityPub. Hopefully it's more successful than the migration from RSS to Atom was.

    Yet, I noticed that a lot of people fall to the idea that Mastodon is an exclusive brand. Rarely one has to know or care what MTA someone else uses. Microsoft was somewhat successful in establishing Outlook as such a powerful brand to the exclusion of the compatible e-mail software. The maintainer of Mastodon is doing his hardest to present it as a similar brand, and regrettably, he's very successful at that.

  • How to level up your organization's security expertise

    IT security is critical to every company these days. In the words of former FBI director Robert Mueller: “There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”

    At the same time, IT security is constantly evolving. We all know we need to keep up with the latest trends in cybersecurity and security tooling, but how can we do that without sacrificing our ability to keep moving forward on our business priorities?

    No single person in your organization can handle all of the security work alone; your entire development and operations team will need to develop an awareness of security tooling and best practices, just like they all need to build skills in open source and in agile software delivery. There are a number of best practices that can help you level up the overall security expertise in your company through basic and intermediate education, subject matter experts, and knowledge-sharing.

More in Tux Machines

Slovak advocates want parliament to push for open source

Slovak proponents of the use of free and open source software are rallying for their country’s parliament to approve plans to share the source code of software solutions developed by and for public services. They are concerned that proprietary software vendors will lobby for changes to the eGovernment act, a strategic IT Government proposal that is to be discussed in parliament in March or April. Read more

Intel Graphics: Discrete Graphics Cards and SVT-AV1

  • Intel Preps For Discrete Graphics Cards With Linux Patches
    Intel has confirmed that recent patches to its Linux graphics driver were related to its continued work on preparing the ecosystem for its new line of discrete graphics cards. Phoronix reported that Intel released 42 such patches with more than 4,000 lines of code between them on February 14. The main purpose of the patches was to introduce the concept of memory regions in "preparation for upcoming devices with device local memory." (Such as, you know, discrete graphics cards.) [...] Still, any information about Intel's graphics plans is welcome. Right now the graphics market is dominated by AMD and Nvidia, and as we noted in December, Intel is probably the only company that even has a possibility of successfully introducing a new discrete graphics architecture. Why not enjoy the occasional glimpse behind the curtain as that architecture's being built?
  • SVT-VP9 Is Intel's Latest Open-Source Video Encoder Yielding High Performance VP9
    At the start of the month Intel open-sourced SVT-AV1 aiming for high-performance AV1 video encoding on CPUs. That complemented their existing SVT-HEVC encoder for H.265 content and already SVT-AV1 has been seeing nice performance improvements. Intel now has released SVT-VP9 as a speedy open-source VP9 video encoder. Uploaded on Friday was the initial public open-source commit of SVT-VP9, the Intel Scalable Video Technology VP9 encoder. With this encoder they are focusing on being able to provide real-time encoding of up to two 4Kp60 streams on an Intel Xeon Gold 6140 processor. SVT-VP9 is under a BSD-style license and currently runs on Windows and Linux.

How I got my job in Linux: from Newbie to Pro

I was peeved, because I’d spent my own money on building a computer and buying Microsoft Windows to put on it. Money that I really needed to pay the rent and put food in my belly. I also felt sorry for all the people that I’d end up re-installing Windows on their PC to fix their problem. I knew that most of them would probably be back in the store six or so months later with the same complaint. Almost by accident, I found Linux. I was in the magazine section of the PC shop I worked in one day in late 1999. I saw a magazine called ‘Linux Answers’. On the cover was a copy of Red Hat Linux 6.0. Before long, I had done the unthinkable: I had deleted Windows in a rage of fury because it had completely crashed and wouldn’t start up. All of my MP3s, photos and documents, all but gone save for a few backups on CDs I had lying around. Back in those days I had no idea that I would have been able to salvage those files with Linux; I just blithely reformatted my hard disk and went cold-turkey, believing everything that the magazine said, I forced myself into the abyss of the unknown! These were exciting times! I remember the blue text-mode installer, the glare of the many lines of text flying by when the machine started up for the first time. It looked really un-user friendly. Eventually, the screen flipped into what I’d later know to be called ‘runlevel 5’ and I could see a graphical login screen. Little did I know it, but that flashing cursor was the beginning to a whole new world of computing for me. Read more

Linux 5.0-rc7

A nice and calm week, with statistics looking normal. Just under half drivers (gpu, networking, input, md, block, sound, ...), with the rest being architecture fixes (arm64, arm, x86, kvm), networking and misc (filesystem etc). Nothing particularly odd stands out, and everything is pretty small. Just the way I like it. Shortlog appended, Linus Read more