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  • Monitoring Bandwidth On Linux: Top 5 Tools in 2019

    Don’t we all wish our networks had infinite bandwidth? The reality is, however, that it is often a severely limited resource. Add to that the fact that bandwidth over-utilization can have huge impacts on network performance and we have a recipe for disaster.

    The solution: set up some bandwidth monitoring system. A lot of them are available. Most of them run on Windows, though, and if your OS of choice it Linux, your options are slightly more limited. You still have plenty of options, however, and we’re about to introduce the best tools for bandwidth monitoring on Linux.

    We’ll begin by introducing bandwidth monitoring and explain what it is. Next, we’ll cover the ins and outs of the Simple Network Management Protocol, or SNMP, one of the most-used monitoring technology. Our next order of business will be to have a look a Linux as an operating system but, more specifically, as a platform for monitoring tools. And finally, we’ll briefly review some of the best tools for bandwidth monitoring on Linux and describe their best features.

  • Bangle.js — A Hackable Smartwatch Powered By Google’s TensorFlow

    The world of smartwatches is ruled mostly by the likes of Apple Watch and WearOS-based devices. But we have seen a few attempts from the open-source community, including PineTime and AsteroidOS. Now, the tech world has got something new to play with — an open-source hackable smartwatch called Bangle.js.

    It’s co-developed by NearForm Research and Espruino, which showcased its latest offering to the attendees of the NodeConf 2019. Until now, the two companies provided digital badges at the conference.

  • Can Google’s New Open Source Tool Make Kubernetes Less Painful?

    Google has pushed Skaffold – a command line tool that automates Kubernetes development workflow – out to the developer community, saying the tool is now generally available after 5,000 commits from nearly 150 contributors to the project.

    Kubernetes – the de facto container orchestration standard – has become the linchpin of much cloud-native computing, sitting underneath swathes of cloud-based tools to manage how applications run across a wide range computing environments.

  • Molly de Blanc: Rebellion

    We spend a lot of time focusing on the epic side of free software and user freedom: joys come from providing encrypted communication options to journalists and political dissidents; losses are when IoT devices are used to victimize and abuse.

    I think a lot about the little ways technology interacts with our lives, the threats to or successes for user freedom we encounter in regular situations that anyone can find themselves able to understand: sexting with a secure app, sharing DRM-free piece of media, or having your communications listened to by a “home assistant.”

    When I was writing a talk about ethics and IoT, I was looking for these small examples of the threats posed by smart doorbells. False arrests and racial profiling, deals with law enforcement to monitor neighborhoods, the digital panopticon — these are big deals. I remembered something I read about kids giving their neighbor a pair of slippers for Christmas. This sort of anonymous gift giving becomes impossible when your front door is constantly being monitored. People laughed when I shared this idea with them — that we’re really losing something by giving up the opportunity to anonymously leave presents.

    We are also giving up what my roommate calls “benign acts of rebellion.” From one perspective, making it harder for teenagers to sneak out at night is a good thing. Keeping better tabs on your kids and where they are is a safety issue. Being able to monitor what they do on their computer can prevent descent into objectively bad communities and behavior patterns, but it can also prevent someone from participating in the cultural coming of age narratives that help define who we are as a society and give us points of connection across generations.

  • FOSSA Wins CNBC Upstart 100 Award [Ed: FOSSA can be a misleading name. They merely deal with data about FOSS but are themselves not FOSS but proprietary software.]

    FOSSA, the open source management company, today announced that it has been selected for the prestigious Upstart 100 List, CNBC's annual list of 100 top startups to watch. The Upstart 100 is an exclusive collection of companies that are building brands, raising money and creating jobs on their path to becoming tomorrow's household names. CNBC's selection committee chose FOSSA from more than 600 nominees, scored across eight equally weighted quantitative metrics, including scalability, sales growth and workforce diversity.

  • Fugue Fregot is now open sourced to enhance the experience working with the Rego policy language

    Rego is part of the Open Policy Agent (OPA) policy engine, which Fugue adopted this year as its policy as code implementation for cloud security and compliance.

    Developed as an alternative to Open Policy Agent’s (OPA) built-in interpreter, Fregot provides error handling that is easy to understand and manage with step-by-step debugging.

  • Chrome, Edge, Safari hacked at elite Chinese hacking contest
  • The Relationship Between Open Source Software and Standard Setting

    Standards and open source development are both processes widely adopted in the ICT industry to develop innovative technologies and drive their adoption in the market. Innovators and policy makers assume that a closer collaboration between standards and open source software development would be mutually beneficial. The interaction between the two is however not yet fully understood, especially with regard to how the intellectual property regimes applied by these organisations influence their ability and motivation to cooperate. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the interaction between standard development organisations (SDOs) and open source software (OSS) communities. The analysis is based on 20 case studies, a survey of stakeholders involved in SDOs and OSS communities, an expert workshop, and a comprehensive review of the literature. In the analysis, we differentiate according to the governance of SDOs and OSS communities, but also considering the involved stakeholders and subject matter. We discuss the preconditions, forms and impacts of collaboration, before we eventually focus on the complementarity of the different Intellectual Property Right (IPR) regimes. Finally, we derive policy recommendations addressing SDOs, OSS communities and policy makers.

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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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