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Not the Gentoo Weekly Newsletter, Part 5

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Gentoo

Learning buzzwords: Turing-complete

There are times when you need some big words to impress people. Proactively embiggen your reputation, leveraging intellectual stimuli to cause synergetic paradigm shifts. That kind of big words. So here's a good one for all discussions about computer programming and programming languages:

Turing-complete

But we need to give you some context so you know when to use it and when it's not appropriate. So let's start with Turing. That's just the family name of Alan Turing, a british mathematician who committed suicide because he was gay and the secret service was unable to employ such perverted people (what a dark age that was ...). He was also involved in code cracking in the second World War and one of the early pioneers of digital computing. But because he was a maths guy he tried to model computers abstracly so he could deduce what they can effectively compute.

So as a thought experiment he abstracted a computing device to be a tape to store things, a read/write head that can move along the tape and some internal state of the machinery that decides what to do next. So for example the abstract turing machine would read a "1" from the tape, look in its state and then decide to write a "0" there and move one field to the left. Keep in mind that no such machine really exists, it's just a mental model for discussing computability. Also you may notice an interesting abstraction: Wether the machine reads a "1" or a "red flower" symbol is equivalent. Numbers are symbols, and symbols are numbers. Mmmmh ...

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More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu: Snapcraft, Intel, AMD Patches, and Telemetry

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Snapcraft
    Canonical, the company behind operating system and Linux distribution Ubuntu, is looking to help developers package, distribute and update apps for Linux and IoT with its open-source project Snapcraft. According to Evan Dandrea, engineering manager at Canonical, Snapcraft “is a platform for publishing applications to an audience of millions of Linux users.” The project was initially created in 2014, but recently underwent rebranding efforts.
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Now Certified on Select Intel NUC Mini PCs and Boards for IoT Development, LibreOffice 6.0.5 Now Available, Git 2.8 Released and More
    Canonical yesterday announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is certified on select Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards for IoT development. According to the Ubuntu blog post, this pairing "provides benefits to device manufacturers at every stage of their development journey and accelerates time to market." You can download the certified image from here. In other Canonical news, yesterday the company released a microcode firmware update for Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the Spectre vulnerability, Softpedia reports. The updated amd64-microcode packages for AMD CPUs are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), "all AMD users are urged to update their systems."
  • Canonical issues Spectre v2 fix for all Ubuntu systems with AMD chips
    JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU'D HEARD THE END of Spectre, Canonical has released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users that have AMD processors in a bid to rid of the vulnerability. The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were made public at the beginning of this year, affecting literally billions of devices that had been made in the past two decades.
  • A first look at desktop metrics
    We first announced our intention to ask users to provide basic, not-personally-identifiable system data back in February. Since then we have built the Ubuntu Report tool and integrated it in to the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS initial setup tool. You can see an example of the data being collected on the Ubuntu Report Github page.

Most secure Linux distros in 2018

Think of a Linux distribution as a bundle of software delivered together, based on the Linux kernel - a kernel being the core of a system that connects software to hardware and vice versa – with a GNU operating system and a desktop environment, giving the user a visual way to operate the system via a graphical user interface. Linux has a reputation as being more secure than Windows and Mac OS due to a combination of factors – not all of them about the software. Firstly, although desktop Linux users are on the up, Linux environments are far less common in the grand scheme of things than Windows devices on personal computers. The Linux community also tends to be more technical. There are technical reasons too, including fundamental differences in the way the distribution architecture tends to be structured. Nevertheless over the last decade security-focused distributions started to appear, which will appeal to the privacy-conscious user who wants to avoid the worldwide state-sanctioned internet spying that the west has pioneered and where it continues to innovate. Of course, none of these will guarantee your privacy, but they're a good start. Here we list some of them. It is worth noting that security best practices are often about process rather than the technology, avoiding careless mistakes like missing patches and updates, and using your common sense about which websites you visit, what you download, and what you plug into your computer. Read more

Red Hat and Fedora News

4MLinux 26.0 BETA released.

4MLinux 26.0 BETA is ready for testing. Basically, at this stage of development, 4MLinux BETA has the same features as 4MLinux STABLE, but it provides a huge number of updated packages, including major changes in the core of the system, which now uses the GNU C Library 2.27 and the GNU Compiler Collection 7.3.0. Read more