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Kernel: Xen Summit, Linux Plumbers Conference, Linux KVM 'Oops' and Micron Bugs

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Linux
  • Xen Summit 2020 Pivots to a Virtual Experience

    In light of continued Covid-19 safety concerns, the 2020 XenProject Developer and Design Summit will now be held virtually on July 6-9. As our in-person event shifts to a virtual one, we are taking careful consideration to ensure the Xen Summit will continue to be a great forum to learn, connect, and grow.

    Attendees will have the ability to network, attend presentations with live Q&A, and hash out technical issues in design sessions – all virtually, from anywhere.

  • Linux Plumbers Conference: Containers and Checkpoint/Restore Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the Containers and Checkpoint/Restore Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

    After another successful Containers Microconference last year , there’s still a lot more work to be done. Last year we discussed the intersection between the new mount api and containers, various new vfs features including a strong and fruitful discussion about id shifting, several new security hardening aspects, and improvements when restarting syscalls during checkpoint/restore. Last year’s microconference topics led to quite a few patches that have since landed in the upstream kernel with others actively being discussed. This includes, various improvements to seccomp syscall interceptions, the implementation of a new process creation syscall, the implementation of pidfds, and the addition of time namespaces.

  • Linux KVM Virtualization Had Mistakenly Been Applying L1TF Workaround To Unaffected CPUs

    The all-important Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) code for open-source virtualization had mistakenly been applying its L1TF workaround for unaffected CPUs -- namely AMD EPYC CPUs -- for the past several months until the issue was uncovered this week.

    Only Intel CPUs are vulnerable to L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) / Foreshadow, but the KVM code ended up applying L1TF workarounds to guests on unaffected processors. The change that borked KVM's L1TF handling was mainlined back in January and subsequently back-ported to the various maintained kernel branches as a "fix" thus found on the various LTS kernels currently and just not the recent 5.x kernels released this calendar year.

  • Linux Kernel Seeing Workaround Revived For Buggy Micron NAND Block Erase Behavior

    A new patch series has been revived from work originally published by Micron back in 2018 for dealing with the behavior on their planar 2D NAND devices where in rare cases when issuing block erase commands, the flash block might not actually be erased and this could lead to further problems down the road when touching said block.

    Five patches sent out today revive Micron's work in dealing with some of their legacy 2D NAND devices where when a block erase command is issued, the block erase operation completes and a pass status returned, the flash block might have not been erased. But making matters worse is that operations on said blocks could in rare cases lead to subtle failures or corruption.

Self-promotional hype

  • Safe-Linking: Making Linux exploitation harder

    Safe-Linking had the potential to block several major exploits that Check Point has investigated over the years, that turned ‘broken’ software products to ‘unexploitable’ products. “In the case of our research into smart lightbulb vulnerabilities, this would have blocked the exploit and attack.”

    While Safe-Linking is not a magic bullet that will stop all exploit attempts against modern-day heap implementations, the company says, it is another step in the right direction. “By forcing attackers to have a memory leak vulnerability before they can even start their exploit, we have raised the security bar and made exploitations harder to execute. This, in turn, helps to better protect users globally.”

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Linux 5.8 Kernel: Qualcomm Adreno, MacBooks and AMD

  • Qualcomm Adreno 650 + 640 GPUs To Be Supported By Mainline Linux 5.8 Kernel

    The crew working on the MSM DRM driver from Freedreno / Google / Code Aurora (Qualcomm) have an interesting batch of changes for this open-source GPU driver for Qualcomm Adreno hardware come Linux 5.8. New hardware to be supported by this open-source MSM driver in Linux 5.8 include Qualcomm's Adreno 405, 640, and 650 series. The Adreno 405 is an old, low-end part from the 400 series and used by the Snapdragon 415/615/616/617 SoCs. The Adreno 405 support isn't particularly exciting but it's there for those interested along with the relevant MSM8x36 changes to the MDP5 code.

  • Linux 5.8 Picking Up A Quirk For Being Able To Reboot The 2009 MacBook Without Hangs

    With the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle a quirk is being added to be able to reboot the 2009 era Apple MacBook without needing to boot with any special flags. Up to now the 2009 Apple MacBook (Macbook6,1) required a reboot=pci boot parameter added to the kernel otherwise when rebooting the system there would be a hang. This late 2009 MacBook (MC207LL/A) with Core 2 Duo CPU is very slow by today's standards and hopefully many of you still aren't using it in production, but should you be doing so and running new kernel releases, with Linux 5.8 the kernel can reboot without hanging or needing to manually add the flag.

  • AMD Energy Driver Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.8 For Core/Package Power Sensors

    Landing this weekend in hwmon-next ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel cycle is the recently reported on "amd_energy" driver for supporting AMD Zen/Zen2 core and package energy sensors. This is the recently reported on work of a Google engineer allowing AMD Zen CPUs to expose power usage on Linux via the Runtime Average Power Limiting (RAPL) framework. The amd_energy driver is making it to the Linux 5.8 kernel by way of the hardware monitoring "hwmon" subsystem thanks to this Google open-source contribution.

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