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Leftovers: Certifications, KDE, Ubuntu and Security

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  • Top 5 options for Linux certifications

    Linux certifications present an interesting mix of distribution- and brand-agnostic credentials, as well as vendor-specific ones. Many of these offerings provide data center professionals with defined pathways to learn, use and master Linux OS management, features and potential Linux use cases.

    Other programs are more ad hoc and specific to certain IT roles, such as systems engineers or IT administrators, but they go beyond self-taught curriculums and forums. Each program includes coursework and an exam. Depending on the certification, admins can buy everything as a bundle or pay separately for study materials and exams.

  • SimpleMailQt v2.0.0-beta1

    On my last post I talked about the new async simplemail-qt API that I wanted to add, yesterday I finished the work required to have that.

    SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) as the name says it’s a very simple but strict protocol, you send a command and MUST wait for the reply, which is rather inefficient but it’s the way it is, having it async means I don’t need an extra thread (+some locking) just to send an email, no more GUI freezes or an HTTP server that is stalled.

    The new Server class has a state machine that knows what reply we are waiting, and which status code is the successful one. Modern SMTP servers have PIPELING support, but it’s rather different from HTTP PIPELING, because you still have to wait for several commands before you send another command, in fact it only allows you to send the FROM the RECIPIENTS email list and DATA commands at once, parse each reply and then send the mail data, if you send the email data before you are allowed by the DATA command the server will just close the connection.

  • Plasma 5 for Slackware – November ktown release

    Dear all, today I released KDE-5_19.11 and it comes with some upgrades to official Slackware packages. Don’t worry – Pat Volkerding kindly added the shared libraries of the official Slackware packages to aaa_elflibs, so if you have been updating your Slackware-current installation properly then nothing will break when you update Slackware’s exiv2 and LibRaw packages to the newer versions contained in the November release of ‘ktown‘.
    Official Slackware package updates for exiv2 and LibRaw will come sometime soon, but it will require Pat to recompile several other packages as well that depend on exiv2 and/or LibRaw. I needed the new exiv2 to compile the latest digikam, so I was pleased with Pat’s cooperation to make this a smooth ‘ktown‘ upgrade for you.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 604
  • Ubuntu-ready Apollo Lake mini-PC features Myriad X AI accelerator

    IEI’s rugged, “ITG-100AI” DIN-rail PC runs on an Apollo Lake SoC and a new “Mustang-MPCIE-MX2” mini-PCIe card with dual Myriad X VPUs. The system ships with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SATA SSD plus GbE, serial, USB, and M.2.

    IEI has launched a compact, Intel Apollo Lake based “ITG-100AI” computer for industrial AI that showcases its Mustang-MPCIE-MX2 AI acceleration card. The fanless, 137 x 102.8 x 49.4mm ITG-100AI supports DIN-rail or desktop mounting and offers a 0 to 50°C range with airflow, as well as 5G shock resistance compliant with IEC68-2-27 and vibration resistance per MIL-STD-810G 514.6C-1.

  • Vulnerability Values Fluctuate Between White, Grey and Black Hats

    A black hat selling vulnerabilities can make as much money as a white hat researcher using bug bounty programs, or a grey hat working for a nation state doing reverse engineering.

    Speaking at a Tenable conference in London last week, director of research Oliver Rochford said that to have people do vulnerability research is expensive, and all of the white, black and grey markets are symbiotic, as despite the difference between being legal and illegal, the different factors “mirror each other as it starts with vulnerability discovery.”

    Rochford said that this “shows how professional cybercrime has become,” pointing to the fact that the main difference between criminal and legal sides are ethics. In one slide, Rochford pointed out vulnerability discovery, exploit research and development are the same for both offense and defensive sides, while the differences fall at the "operationalization" side, where offensive sides look at espionage, sabotage and fraud, while defense sides look at threat intelligence and compensating control adaptation.

    In his research, Rochford showed that in some cases you can earn more as a white hat vulnerability manager than as a black hat, with a black hat able to earn around $75,000 in this sort of work. Rochford said this “is achievable and attractive” and while it was more lucrative to do it legally, if it is not “it is a way to make a living.”

  • Name That Toon: Endpoint Protection

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Events: KVM Forum 2019 and "Bar Charts for Diversity"

  • A recap of KVM Forum 2019

    The 13th KVM Forum virtualization conference took place in Lyon, France in October 2019. One might think that development may have finished on the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) module that was merged in Linux 2.6.20 in 2007, but this year's conference underscored the amount of work still being done, particularly on side-channel attack mitigation, I/O device assignment with VFIO and mdev, footprint reduction with micro virtual machines (VMs), and with the ability to run VMs nested within VMs. Many talks also involved the virtual machine monitor (VMM) user-space programs that use the KVM kernel module—of which QEMU is the most widely used.

  • Enhancing KVM for guest protection and security

    A key tenet in KVM is to reuse as much Linux infrastructure as possible and focus specifically on processor virtualization. Back in 2007, this meant a smaller code base and less friction with the other kernel subsystems, especially when compared with other virtualization technologies such as Xen. This led to KVM being merged into the mainline with relative ease. But now, in the era of microarchitectural vulnerabilities, the priorities have shifted, and the KVM's reliance on other kernel subsystems can be a liability. For one thing, the host kernel widens the TCB (Trusted Computing Base) and makes for a larger attack surface. In addition, kernel data structures such as the direct memory map give Linux access to guest memory even when it is not strictly necessary and make it impossible to fully enforce the principle of least privilege. In his talk "Enhancing KVM for Guest Protection and Security" (slides [PDF]) presented at KVM Forum 2019, long-time KVM contributor Jun Nakajima explained this risk and suggested some strategies to mitigate it.

  • Bar charts for diversity

    At the Linux App Summit I gave an unconference talk titles Hey guys, this conference is for everyone. The “hey guys” part refers to excluding people from a talk or making them feel uncomfortable – you can do this unintentionally, and the take-away of the talk was that you, (yes, you) can be better. I illustrated this mostly with conversational distance, a favorite topic of mine that I can demonstrate easily on stage. There’s a lot of diversity in how far people stand away from strangers, while explaining something they care about. The talk wasn’t recorded, but I’ve put the slides up. Another side of diversity can be dealt with by statistics. Since I’m a mathematician, I have a big jar of peanuts and raisins in the kitchen. Late at night I head down to the kitchen and grab ten items from the jar. Darn, all of them are raisins. What are the odds!? Well, a lot depends on whether there are any peanuts in the jar at all; what percentage is peanuts; whether I’m actually picking things randomly or not. There’s a convenient tool that Katarina Behrens pointed me to, which can help figure this out. Even if there’s only a tiny fraction of peanuts in the jar, there’s an appreciable chance of getting one (e.g. change the percentage on that page to 5% and you’ll see).

Linux on the MAG1 8.9 inch mini-laptop (Ubuntu and Fedora)

The Magic Ben MAG1 mini-laptop is a 1.5 pound notebook computer that measures about 8.2″ x 5.8″ x 0.7″ and which features an 8.9 inch touchscreen display and an Intel Core m3-8100Y processor. As I noted in my MAG1 review, the little computer also has one of the best keyboards I’ve used on a laptop this small and a tiny, but responsive trackpad below the backlit keyboard. Available from GeekBuying for $630 and up, the MAG1 ships with Windows 10, but it’s also one of the most Linux-friendly mini-laptops I’ve tested to date. [...] I did not install either operating system to local storage, so I cannot comment on sleep, battery life, fingerprint authentication, or other features that you’d only be able to truly test by fully installing Ubuntu, Fedora, or another GNU/Linux-based operating system. But running from a liveUSB is a good way to kick the tires and see if there are any obvious pain points before installing an operating system, and for the most part the two operating systems I tested look good to go. Booting from a flash drive is also pretty easy. Once you’ve prepared a bootable drive using Rufus, UNetbootin, or a similar tool, just plug it into the computer’s USB port, hit the Esc key during startup to bring up the UEFI/SETUP utility. Read more Also: Top 10 technical skills that will get you hired in 2020

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