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Claudio Matsuoka: Frankensystem

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OS

Another post about the Lone Gunmen. Watching carefully the computer screen depicted in the last episode, it seemed to be a bit more ellaborated than your average HollywoodOS (which usually has a green 1200/75 terminal that beeps at each received character along with a spinning wireframe 3D model and a progress bar). The Gunmen OS (which I suspect is in fact MacOS 9 with Kaleidoscope) is a bit different:

1. It runs on a 800MHz Powerbook Titanium (but apparently also in PCs or PC-like hardware scattered through the episodes).
2. Window frames have 4dwm-style decoration but with four buttons in the upper right corner.
3. General UI appearance is somewhat reminescent of old Amiga Workbench gadgets and stuff.
4. A file is being downloaded to c:\archive\scope_op\ like in old DOS (or Windows).
5. There’s an editor with a chunk of AppleScript code, including:

Full Post with interesting pix.

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LWN on Linux: 'Secure' Boot, AF_XDP Patch, 4.17 Release and 'Beep'

  • Kernel lockdown locked out — for now
    As the 4.17 merge window opened, it seemed possible that the kernel lockdown patch set could be merged at last. That was before the linux-kernel mailing list got its hands on the issue. What resulted was not one of the kernel community's finest moments. But it did result in a couple of evident conclusions: kernel lockdown will almost certainly not be merged for 4.17, but something that looks very much like it is highly likely to be accepted in a subsequent merge window. As a reminder: the purpose of the lockdown patches is to enforce a distinction between running as root and the ability to run code in kernel mode. Proponents of UEFI secure boot maintain that this separation is necessary; otherwise the promise of secure boot (that the system will only run trusted code in kernel mode) cannot be kept. Closing off the paths by which a privileged attacker could run arbitrary code in kernel mode requires disabling a number of features in the kernel; see the above-linked article for the details. Most users will never miss the disabled features, but there are always exceptions. [...] One other aspect of this issue that came up briefly is the fear that, if Linux looks like a tool that can be used to compromise secure-boot systems running Windows, that Microsoft might blacklist the signing key and render Linux unbootable on most x86 hardware. David Howells expressed this worry, for example. Greg Kroah-Hartman said, though, that he has researched this claim numerous times and it has turned out to be an "urban myth".
  • Accelerating networking with AF_XDP
    The Linux network stack does not lack for features; it also performs well enough for most uses. At the highest network speeds, though, any overhead at all is too much; that has driven the most demanding users toward specialized, user-space networking implementations that can outperform the kernel for highly constrained tasks. The express data path (XDP) development effort is an attempt to win those users back, with some apparent success so far. With the posting of the AF_XDP patch set by Björn Töpel, another piece of the XDP puzzle is coming into focus.
  • The first half of the 4.17 merge window
    As of this writing, 5,392 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.17 release. The 4.17 merge window is thus off to a good start, but it is far from complete. The changes pulled thus far cover a wide part of the core kernel as well as the networking, driver, and filesystem subsystems.
  • What the beep?
    A "simple" utility to make a system beep is hardly the first place one would check for security flaws, but the strange case of the "Holey Beep" should perhaps lead to some rethinking. A Debian advisory for the beep utility, which was followed by another for Debian LTS, led to a seemingly satirical site publicizing the bug (and giving it the "Holey Beep" name). But that site also exploits a new flaw in the GNU patch program—and the increased scrutiny on beep has led to more problems being found.

Games: Cities: Skylines - Parklife expansion, Supposedly Wonderful Future, Serious Sam 4

Graphics: AMD, RADV, RadeonSI, Mesa 18.0.1

  • AMDGPU DRM Gets "GFXOFF" Patches To Turn Off Graphics Engine
    AMD's Huang Rui has posted a set of 20 patches providing "GFXOFF" support for the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager Linux kernel driver. GFXOFF is a new graphics processor feature that allows for powering off the graphics engine when it would otherwise be idle with no graphics workload. Obviously, this would equate to a potentially significant power savings with that engine being able to be shut-off.
  • RADV Driver Lands Support For Vulkan's New Descriptor Indexing Extension
    Earlier this month with the Vulkan 1.1.72 specification update was the new VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing extension that is quickly being well received by developers. The VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing extension allows for creating large descriptor sets made up of all their combined resources and selecting those resources via dynamic indexes in a shader.
  • RadeonSI Now Appears To Support "RX Vega M" With Intel Core CPUs
    One of the most common Linux hardware questions I've received dozens of times in the past few weeks alone has been over the support for "RX Vega M" Vega-based graphics processors found on select newer Intel Kabylake CPUs. It appears RadeonSI at least should now support these Radeon graphics on Intel CPUs.
  • mesa 18.0.1
  • Mesa 18.0.1 Released With A Number Of Fixes
    In addition to Mesa 17.3.9 being released today, Mesa 18.0.1 also rolled out the door as the first point release to last quarter's Mesa 18.0 series. Mesa 18.0.1 features improvements to its Meson build system support, several RADV Vulkan driver fixes, various fixes to the Gallium3D Nine (D3D9) state tracker, various Intel driver fixes, several core Mesa improvements, and then the other random smothering of fixes collected over the past few weeks.