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Monday, 19 Nov 18 - Tux Machines is a community-driven public service/news site which has been around for over a decade and primarily focuses on GNU/LinuxSubscribe now Syndicate content

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Unite Shell: Making GNOME Shell More Like Ubuntu's Unity

Filed under
GNOME
Ubuntu

If you are/were a fan of Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment, Unite-Shell is one of the most promising efforts to date for making the current GNOME 3 stack more like Unity.

The Unite Shell is an extension to GNOME Shell for configuring it to look just like Ubuntu's Unity 7. While it made waves a bit earlier this month, a Phoronix reader reported in over the weekend just how good it looks and works that it's worthy of an extra shout-out.

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New/Updated Fedora 29 ISO and Red Hat's Dan Walsh

Filed under
Red Hat
  • Testers needed for New Fedora 29 updated isos

    The Fedora Respin Sig has been working on being able to produce Fedora 29 updated isos. This past week we have been able to produce updated isos. We are looking for Testers to help test the isos for release. If you are willing to help please join us in #fedora-respins on the Freenode irc network tomorrow 20181119.

  • Video: Container Security

    Red Hat's Dan (Mr. SELinux) Walsh gave a talk about Container Security at the USENIX LISA 2018 conference.

Is Linux IoT a potential big new market for EUC vendors?

Filed under
Linux

One thing we’re seeing now is how Linux for IoT is clearly a big trend, with several well-known vendors developing Linux IoT operating systems. A 2018 survey from earlier this year found that it dominates IoT, with about 72% using Linux-based OSes.

This could have an effect on players big and small in our space, so let’s take a look at what’s going on.

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Also: What Do You Want To See Out Of The Redesigned, Next-Gen Raspberry Pi?

7 command-line tools for writers

Filed under
OSS

For most people (especially non-techies), the act of writing means tapping out words using LibreOffice Writer or another GUI word processing application. But there are many other options available to help anyone communicate their message in writing, especially for the growing number of writers embracing plaintext.

There's also room in a GUI writer's world for command line tools that can help them write, check their writing, and more—regardless of whether they're banging out an article, blog post, or story; writing a README; or prepping technical documentation.

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Stumbling into Linux and open source from Vietnam to Amsterdam

Filed under
Linux
OSS

Since the beginning of time... no, really, just the beginning of Opensource.com in 2010, our writers have shared personal stories of how they got into open source or Linux (many times both).

Some had friends in school remark "You don't know Linux? What's going on with you, dude?" Some came in through the gateway of gaming, and others were simply looking for alternatives.

When I came on the scene in 2012 as a newcomer to open source and Linux, I saw these stories as pure gold. They get to the heart of why people are so passionate about it and why they love talking about it with other people who "get it." Now I'm one of those people, too.

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Review: NetBSD 8.0

Filed under
Reviews
BSD

NetBSD, like its close cousins (FreeBSD and OpenBSD) does not do a lot of hand holding or automation. It offers a foundation that will run on most CPUs and we can choose to build on that foundation. I mention this because, on its own, NetBSD does not do much. If we want to get something out of it, we need to be willing to build on its foundation - we need a project. This is important to keep in mind as I think going into NetBSD and thinking, "Oh I'll just explore around and expand on this as I go," will likely lead to disappointment. I recommend figuring out what you want to do before installing NetBSD and making sure the required tools are available in the operating system's repositories.

Some of the projects I embarked on this week (using ZFS and setting up file sharing) worked well. Others, like getting multimedia support and a full-featured desktop, did not. Given more time, I'm sure I could find a suitable desktop to install (along with the required documentation to get it and its services running), or customize one based on one of the available window managers. However, any full featured desktop is going to require some manual work. Media support was not great. The right players and codecs were there, but I was not able to get audio to play smoothly.

My main complaint with NetBSD relates to my struggle to get some features working to my satisfaction: the documentation is scattered. There are four different sections of the project's website for documentation (FAQs, The Guide, manual pages and the wiki). Whatever we are looking for is likely to be in one of those, but which one? Or, just as likely, the tutorial we want is not there, but is on a forum or blog somewhere. I found that the documentation provided was often thin, more of a quick reference to remind people how something works rather than a full explanation.

As an example, I found a couple of documents relating to setting up a firewall. One dealt with networking NetBSD on a LAN, another explored IPv6 support, but neither gave an overview on syntax or a basic guide to blocking all but one or two ports. It seemed like that information should already be known, or picked up elsewhere.

Newcomers are likely to be a bit confused by software management guides for the same reason. Some pages refer to using a tool called pkg_add, others use pkgsrc and its make utility, others mention pkgin. Ultimately, these tools each give approximately the same result, but work differently and yet are mentioned almost interchangeably. I have used NetBSD before a few times and could stumble through these guides, but new users are likely to come away confused.

One quirk of NetBSD, which may be a security feature or an inconvenience, depending on one's point of view, is super user programs are not included in regular users' paths. This means we need to change our path if we want to be able to run programs typically used by root. For example, shutdown and mount are not in regular users' paths by default. This made checking some things tricky for me.

Ultimately though, NetBSD is not famous for its convenience or features so much as its flexibility. The operating system will run on virtually any processor and should work almost identically across multiple platforms. That gives NetBSD users a good deal of consistency across a range of hardware and the chance to experiment with a member of the Unix family on hardware that might not be compatible with Linux or the other BSDs.

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Security: Cracking, Fingerprinting and Open Source Security Podcast

Filed under
Security
  • 50 countries vow to fight cybercrime - US, Russia don’t

    Fifty nations and over 150 tech companies pledged Monday to do more to fight criminal activity on the internet, including interference in elections and hate speech. But the United States, Russia and China are not among them.

    The group of governments and companies pledged in a document entitled the “Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace” to work together to prevent malicious activities like online censorship and the theft of trade secrets.

  • Researchers Find Critical Vulnerability In Optical In-Display Fingerprint Sensors, Allowed Attackers To Unlock Devices Instantly

    In-Display Fingerprint sensors seem like an upcoming trend in smartphones. Conventional fingerprint sensors have become quite reliable over the years, but it’s still limited by design. With conventional fingerprint sensors, you need to locate the sensor and then unlock your phone. With the scanner placed under the display, unlocking the device feels much more natural. The technology is still in its infancy and hasn’t really matured yet, but a few companies like OnePlus have already put out phones with In-Display fingerprint sensors.

    Optic sensors used in most of the In-Display fingerprint scanners these days aren’t very accurate and some researchers even discovered a big vulnerability in them, which was patched recently. The vulnerability discovered by Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab gave attackers a free pass, allowing them to bypass the lock screen completely.

    Yang Yu, a researcher from the same team stated that this was a persistent problem present in every In-Display Fingerprint scanner module they tested, also adding that the vulnerability is a design fault of In-display fingerprint sensors.

  • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 123 - Talking about Kubernetes and container security with Liz Rice

    Josh and Kurt talk to Liz Rice about Kubernetes and container security. How did we get where we are today, what's new and exciting today, and where do we think things are going.

OSS: OpenCV 4.0, Google BERT, and Google "Pastel" in Vulkan 1.1.93

Filed under
Google
  • OpenCV 4.0 Released As The Overhauled Computer Vision Library, Adds Experimental Vulkan

    OpenCV 4.0 is now officially out as the widely-used real-time computer vision library.

    This is a big update for OpenCV and also marks converting it into a C++11 library. Besides shifting more to a C++ focus, OpenCV 4.0 also has performance improvements, DNN improvements, a QR code detector, a Kinect Fusion module, and various other additions.

  • Google’s Move To Open Source BERT May Change NLP Forever

    In 1954, with the success of the Georgetown experiment in which the scientists used a machine to translate random sentences from Russian to English, the field of computational linguistics took giant strides towards building an intelligent machine capable of recognising and translating speech. These models were even used in translations during the Nuremberg trials. Nonetheless, the future of machine translation was nowhere close to the forecast due to sluggish computational devices and scarcity of data to train on.

    [...]

    Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers or BERT, which was open sourced earlier this month, offers a new ground to embattle the intricacies involved in understanding the language models.

    Pre-training a binarised prediction model helps understanding common NLP tasks like Question Answering or Natural language Inference.

    Unidirectional models are efficiently trained by predicting each word conditioned on the previous words in the sentence. However, it is not possible to train bidirectional models by simply conditioning each word on its previous and next words, since this would allow the word that’s being predicted to indirectly “see itself” in a multi-layer model.

  • Vulkan 1.1.93 Released With Two New Extensions, Adds ID For Google "Pastel"

    Continuing to make Sunday mornings more entertaining are new Vulkan documentation updates on their weekly-ish update cycle. 

    Vulkan 1.1.93 brings a lot of the usual fixes/clarifications to the growing documentation. There are though some interesting bits: two new extensions and the driver ID being added for "Pastel".

Lars Wirzenius Retiring from Debian, Ubuntu 18.04 Retiring in 2028, and Daniel Stenberg (Curl) Leaving Mozilla

Filed under
Moz/FF
Debian
Ubuntu
  • Lars Wirzenius: Retiring from Debian

    I've started the process of retiring from Debian. Again. This will be my third time. It'll take a little while I take care of things to do this cleanly: uploading packages to set Maintainer to QA, removing myself from Plant Debian, sending the retirement email to -private, etc.

    I've had a rough year, and Debian has also stopped being fun for me. There's a number of Debian people saying and doing things that I find disagreeable, and the process of developing Debian is not nearly as nice as it could be. There's way too much friction pretty much everywhere.

    For example, when a package maintainer uploads a package, the package goes into an upload queue. The upload queue gets processed every few minutes, and the packages get moved into an incoming queue. The incoming queue gets processed every fifteen minutes, and packages get imported into the master archive. Changes to the master archive get pushed to main mirrors every six hours. Websites like lintian.debian.org, the package tracker, and the Ultimate Debian Database get updated at time. (Or their updates get triggered, but it might take longer for the update to actually happen. Who knows. There's almost no transparency.)

    The developer gets notified, by email, when the upload queue gets processed, and when the incoming queue gets processed. If they want to see current status on the websites (to see if the upload fixed a problem, for example), they may have to wait for many more hours, possibly even a couple of days.

  • Linux: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be supported for a full decade

    Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for ten years. Long Term Support releases of Ubuntu usually enjoy just five years of support, so this doubling is highly significant.

    Shuttleworth -- the founder of Canonical and Ubuntu -- made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, and the change is a tactical maneuver that will help Ubuntu better compete against the likes of Red Hat/IBM. It is also an acknowledgement that many industries are working on projects that will not see the light of day for many years, and they need the reassurance of ongoing support from their Linux distro. Ubuntu can now offer this.

  • Daniel Stenberg: I’m leaving Mozilla

    It's been five great years, but now it is time for me to move on and try something else.

    During these five years I've met and interacted with a large number of awesome people at Mozilla, lots of new friends! I got the chance to work from home and yet work with a global team on a widely used product, all done with open source. I have worked on internet protocols during work-hours (in addition to my regular spare-time working with them) and its been great! Heck, lots of the HTTP/2 development and the publication of that was made while I was employed by Mozilla and I fondly participated in that. I shall forever have this time ingrained in my memory as a very good period of my life.

    [...]

    I had worked on curl for a very long time already before joining Mozilla and I expect to keep doing curl and other open source things even going forward. I don't think my choice of future employer should have to affect that negatively too much, except of course in periods.

    With me leaving Mozilla, we're also losing Mozilla as a primary sponsor of the curl project, since that was made up of them allowing me to spend some of my work days on curl and that's now over.

    Short-term at least, this move might increase my curl activities since I don't have any new job yet and I need to fill my days with something...

Games: Developer Priority Interrupt and Linux Gaming Performance

Filed under
Gaming
  • First-person dungeon crawler 'Delver' now has an open source engine and editor

    Developer Priority Interrupt has officially released the game engine and editor behind their first-person dungeon crawler as open source. This is the same developer who made 'Shockolate', a cross-platform open source System Shock.

    Writing on Twitter a few days ago, the developer said "In fun and scary news, we've just open sourced the tech behind Delver".

  • Linux Gaming Performance Can Be Impaired By STIBP, But Hope May Be On The Horizon

    It's been a busy past few days of benchmarking after discovering earlier this week the Linux 4.20 performance was dropping, bisecting the cause to be the introduction of STIBP for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 mitigation, and seeing just how significant is the impact. Here are my latest tests and findings.

Linux 4.20-rc3

Filed under
Linux

The only unusual thing last week was my travel - not any code issues.
That caused a few pulls to be delayed by a day or two, but nothing
else.

And now I'm back home, and 4.20-rc3 is out there.

The changes in rc3 are pretty tiny, which means that the statistics
look slightly different from the uysual ones - drivers only account
for less than a third of the patch, for example. But that really isn't
because of anything odd going on anywhere else, it all looks like just
random noise in the distribution of patches. So we have about one
third driver updates, one third arch updates, and one third "core"
(kernel, mm, fs, networking).

Read more

Also: Linux 4.20-rc3 Kernel Released

20-Way AMD / NVIDIA Linux Gaming Benchmarks For The 2018 Holidays

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Gaming

If you are hoping to pick-up a new graphics card during the upcoming holiday sales, here is a 20-way NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison using a wide assortment of GPUs while using the very newest graphics drivers and a variety of OpenGL/Vulkan titles.

In preparation for the Radeon RX 590 launch this week, I've been re-testing my available graphics cards on the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers and newest kernel (unlike some Windows sites that may regurgitate their existing data points for months at a time, Phoronix tests are always done fresh on the current/latest components). But with the Radeon RX 590 currently being a dud on Linux with the current AMDGPU kernel code, I decided to keep testing including some older graphics cards to make for this twenty-way comparison ahead of Black Friday sales and the holidays.

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KDE: libqaccessibilityclient, kdenlive, and more

Filed under
KDE
  • libqaccessibilityclient v0.3.0

    Hi, I’ve been asked to make a new release of libqaccessibilityclient, which seemed like a good idea. So here we go: https://download.kde.org/stable/libqaccessibilityclient/ – version 0.3.0 is now available. I’d like to say thanks to the KDE sysadmins for being super fast.

    Now if I wasn’t involved with the accessibility project, I’d have no clue what this is about… so What is libqaccessibilityclient?

  • Video Editing for foss-gbg

    Editing videos for foss-gbg and foss-north has turned into something that I do on almost a montly basis. I’ve tried a few workflows, but landed in using kdenlive and, when needed, Audacity. I’m not a very advanced audio person, so if kdenlive would incorporate basic noise reduction and a compressor, I stay within one tool.

    Before I describe the actual process, I want to mention something about the hardware involved. There are so many things that you can do when producing this type of contents. However, all the pieces that you add to the puzzle is another point of failure. The motto is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Hence, we use a single video camera with an integrated microphone. This is either an action cam, or a JVC video camera. In most cases this just works. In some cases the person talking has a microphone and then we try to place the camera close to a speaker. It has happened that we’ve recorded someone whispering just by the camera…

    As we don’t have a dedicated microphone for the speaker, we get an audio stream that includes the reaction of the audience. That is in my opinion a good thing. It captures the mood of the event. However, we also get quite a lot of background noise which is bad. For this, I rely on this workflow from Rich Bowen. Basically, I extract the audio stream from the recording, massage it in Audacity, and then re-introduce it.

  • KDE Plasma, Dolphin & Discover Pick Up More Features Ahead Of The Holidays

    It's been another busy week in the KDE development space ahead of the holidays and developer Nate Graham has done another great job detailing all of the changes made over the past week for this open-source desktop environment.

Linux as a Library: Unikernels are Coming

Filed under
Linux

If you think about it, an operating system kernel is really just a very powerful shared library that offers services to many programs. Of course, it is a very powerful library, but still — its main purpose is to provide services to programs. Your program probably doesn’t use all of the myriad services the kernel provides. Even a typical system might not fully use all the things that are in a typical kernel. Red Hat has a new initiative to bring a technology called unikernels to the forefront. A unikernel is a single application linked with just enough of the kernel for it to execute. As you might expect, this can result in a smaller system and better security.

It can also lead to better performance. The unikernel doesn’t have to maintain devices and services that are not used. Also, the kernel and the application can run in the same privilege ring. That may seem like a security hole, but if you think about it, the only reason a regular kernel runs at a higher privilege is to protect itself from a malicious application modifying the kernel to do something bad to another application. In this case, there is no other application.

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc

Coreboot Support Taking Shape For Intel Icelake

Filed under
Hardware
OSS

Intel developers have been punctual in their bring-up of Icelake support within Coreboot.

Intel's open-source developers have already been busy for more than a year on bringing up bits of Icelake CPU and graphics support within the Linux ecosystem from new instructions for the GCC compiler, enabling the "Gen 11" graphics, adding the new device IDs, and other kernel and user-space for preparing for this exciting generation of Intel hardware.

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Linus Torvalds Comments On STIBP & He's Not Happy - STIBP Default Will End Up Changing

It turns out that Linus Torvalds himself was even taken by surprise with the performance hit we've outlined on Linux 4.20 as a result of STIBP "Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors" introduction as well as back-porting already to stable series for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 protection. He doesn't want this enabled in full by default. All of the benchmarking I've been doing the past few days to shine the light on the Linux kernel's STIBP addition appears to be paying off. My tests have found Linux 4.20 to incur significant performance penalties in many workloads -- in fact, more so than some of the earlier Spectre and Meltdown mitigations -- and STIBP is already being back-ported to stable series like Linux 4.19.2. PHP, Pythom, Java, and many other workloads are measurably affected and even the gaming performance to some extent. Read more

Submissions now open for the Fedora 30 supplemental wallpapers

Each release, the Fedora Design team works with the community on a set of 16 additional wallpapers. Users can install and use these to supplement the standard wallpaper. Submissions are now open for the Fedora 30 Supplemental Wallpapers, and will remain open until January 31, 2019 Have you always wanted to start contributing to Fedora but don’t know how? Submitting a supplemental wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to start as a Fedora contributor. Keep reading to learn how. Read more

Android Leftovers