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Friday, 16 Apr 21 - Tux Machines is a community-driven public service/news site which has been around for over a decade and a half and primarily focuses on GNU/LinuxSubscribe now Syndicate content

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Quick Roundup

today's howtos

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  • How to set up an SSH tarpit in Ubuntu Server 20.04 - TechRepublic

    In your never-ending quest to secure your Linux servers, you've probably found a lot of times the breaches happen through SSH. No matter how secure it is, it can still be cracked. That's why you might need to consider setting up a tarpit for that service.

  • How to create an SNS topic on AWS using Terraform

    In this article, we will create an SNS topic with an access policy that will allow our own account to perform all SNS actions on the topic. We will carry out this activity using Terraform. Before we proceed with the article, it is assumed that you have a basic understanding of SNS and Terraform. You can also check my article here if you want to learn to create an SNS topic using Cloudformation.
    Click here to see all arguments and parameters available for SNS in Terraform. You can then use them to customize the SNS.

  • Ubuntu: how to use Screen [Guide]

    Screen is a handy tool as it allows users to save and come back to terminal sessions without having to keep the terminal window open. While many Linux users use this software on Linux servers, it can also be useful to Ubuntu users who want to always come back to a terminal program without having to keep the terminal open at all times.

  • How to install Atom Text Editor on Deepin 20.2 [Ed: But it is controlled by Microsoft now]

    In this video, we are looking at how to install Atom Text Editor on Deepin 20.2.

  • How to Change Arduino IDE Background Theme, Colors, and Font Scheme - IoT Tech Trends

    If you use Arduino frequently, the default interface can feel monotonous and boring. Against a white background, the text may be hard to read. Ever thought of adding more color and variety to your IoT development? For this, you should be able to customize your Arduino IDE with different background themes, colors, and font schemes.

    As the following steps illustrate, it’s actually quite easy to personalize your Arduino IDE experience. Whether you prefer a Count Dracula dark theme or an ocean-green font style, we have you covered. There’s no need for any advanced programming editors, such as command shell, Atom, or Notepad++.

  • How to install a MUGEN GAME on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install a MUGEN GAME on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

    If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

Proprietary Software Leftovers (Chrome and ProtonMail)

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  • Stable Channel Update for Desktop

    The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 90 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.

    Chrome 90.0.4430.72 contains a number of fixes and improvements -- a list of changes is available in the log. Watch out for upcoming Chrome and Chromium blog posts about new features and big efforts delivered in 90.

  • Chrome 90 Released With AV1 Encode, New APIs

    Google officially promoted Chrome 90 to its stable channel today as the latest feature update to their cross-platform web browser.

    Exciting us the most with Chrome 90 is AV1 encode support now in place with the main use-case being for WebRTC usage. Chrome is making use of the reference libaom encoder for CPU-based AV1 encoding and with powerful enough hardware can be used for real-time video conferencing.

  • ProtonMail Users can Now Access Proton Calendar (beta) for Free

    ProtonMail is one of the best secure email services out there. While alternatives like Tutanota already offer a calendar feature, ProtonMail did not offer it for all the users.

    The calendar feature (in beta) was limited to paid users. Recently, in an announcement, ProtonMail has made it accessible for all users for free.

    It is worth noting that it is still in beta but accessible to more users.

Modular HMI touch-panel runs on Raspberry Pi CM4

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Seeed unveiled a $195, Raspberry Pi CM4-based “ReTerminal” HMI device with a 5-inch, 1280 x 720 touchscreen, a crypto chip, WiFi/BT, GbE, micro-HDMI, CSI, 2x USB, and 40-pin and PCIe expansion.

Seeed has announced a modular human-machine interface (HMI) device based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. The ReTerminal, which will go on pre-order later this month starting at $195, features a 5-inch touchscreen.

Read more

Also: Customizable artificial intelligence and gesture recognition

Videos/Audiocasts/Shows: Thelio Major by System76, Ubuntu Podcast, and More

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  • Full Review: The 2021 Thelio Major by System76

    I decided to purchase a System76 Thelio Major desktop for use in the studio, in order to cut through my video renders and other workloads faster. After spending some time with this awesome desktop, I give it a full review in this video.

  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S14E06 – Flap Bake Signal

    This week we have been deploying bitwarden_rs and get the Stream Deck to work well on Ubuntu. We discuss how much we really use desktop environments, bring you a GUI love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

    It’s Season 14 Episode 06 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

  • Leaving Doom Emacs For GNU Emacs? - DT Live!

    New to Emacs and want to learn how to config it? Install Emacs and follow along with me on the stream. Though I have been using a preconfigured Emacs distribution (Doom Emacs), in this livestream I will start with a fresh installation of GNU Emacs and write a config to suit my needs.

Security Leftovers

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  • Security updates for Thursday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (xorg-server), Fedora (kernel), openSUSE (clamav, fluidsynth, python-bleach, spamassassin, and xorg-x11-server), Red Hat (gnutls and nettle, libldb, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (clamav, util-linux, and xorg-x11-server), and Ubuntu (network-manager and underscore).

  • 100 million more IoT devices are exposed—and they won’t be the last

    Over the last few years, researchers have found a shocking number of vulnerabilities in seemingly basic code that underpins how devices communicate with the Internet. Now, a new set of nine such vulnerabilities are exposing an estimated 100 million devices worldwide, including an array of Internet-of-things products and IT management servers. The larger question researchers are scrambling to answer, though, is how to spur substantive changes—and implement effective defenses—as more and more of these types of vulnerabilities pile up.

    Dubbed Name:Wreck, the newly disclosed flaws are in four ubiquitous TCP/IP stacks, code that integrates network communication protocols to establish connections between devices and the Internet. The vulnerabilities, present in operating systems like the open source project FreeBSD, as well as Nucleus NET from the industrial control firm Siemens, all relate to how these stacks implement the “Domain Name System” Internet phone book. They all would allow an attacker to either crash a device and take it offline or gain control of it remotely. Both of these attacks could potentially wreak havoc in a network, especially in critical infrastructure, health care, or manufacturing settings where infiltrating a connected device or IT server can disrupt a whole system or serve as a valuable jumping-off point for burrowing deeper into a victim's network.

  • ISTIO-SECURITY-2021-003
  • Announcing Istio 1.8.5

    This release fixes the security vulnerability described in our April 15th post.

  • Announcing Istio 1.9.3

    This release fixes the security vulnerability described in our April 15th post.

Latest From Mozillans

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  • Opportunity Sizing: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

    My peers at Mozilla are running workshops on opportunity sizing. If you're unfamiliar, opportunity sizing is when you take some broad guesses at how impactful some new project might be before writing any code. This gives you a rough estimate of what the upside for this work might be.

    The goal here is to discard projects that aren't worth the effort. We want to make sure the juice is worth the squeeze before we do any work.

    If this sounds simple, it is. If it sounds less-than-scientific, it is! There's a lot of confusion around why we do opportunity sizing, so here's a blog post.

  • Allen Wirfs-Brock: Personal Digital Habitats

    In the eight years since I wrote that blog post not much has changed in how we think about and use our various devices. Each device is still a world unto itself. Sure, there are cloud applications and services that provide support for coordinating some of “my stuff” among devices. Collaborative applications and sync services are more common and more powerful—particularly if you restrict yourself to using devices from a single company’s ecosystem. But my various devices and their idiosyncratic differences have not “faded into the background.”

    Why haven’t we done better? A big reason is conceptual inertia. It’s relatively easy for software developers to imagine and implement incremental improvement to the status quo. But before developers can create a new innovative system (or users can ask for one) they have to be able to envision it and have a vocabulary for talking about it. So, I’m going to coin a term, Personal Digital Habitat, for an alternative conceptual model for how we could integrate our personal digital devices. For now, I’ll abbreviate it as PDH because each for the individual words are important. However, if it catches on I suspect we will just say habitat, digihab, or just hab.

    A Personal Digital Habitat is a federated multi-device information environment within which a person routinely dwells. It is associated with a personal identity and encompasses all the digital artifacts (information, data, applications, etc.) that the person owns or routinely accesses. A PDH overlays all of a person’s devices1 and they will generally think about their digital artifacts in terms of common abstractions supported by the PDH rather than device- or silo-specific abstractions. But presentation and interaction techniques may vary to accommodate the physical characteristics of individual devices.

  • Alex Gibson: My eighth year working at Mozilla

    Well, that was the most short sighted and optimistic take ever, eh? It feels like a decade since I wrote that, and a world away from where we all stand today. I would normally write a post on this day to talk about some of the work that I’ve been doing at Mozilla over the past 12 months, but that seems kinda insignificant right now. The global pandemic has hit the world hard, and while we’re starting to slowly to recover, it’s going to be a long process. Many businesses world wide, including Mozilla, felt the direct impact of the pandemic. I count myself fortunate to still have a stable job, and to be able to look after my family during this time. We’re all still healthy, and that’s all that really matters right now.

Games: Stellaris, OpenTTD, Rain on Your Parade

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  • Stellaris: Nemesis expansion and the free 3.0 'Dick' update are out now

    Probably the biggest update and expansion launch for Stellaris yet, Stellaris: Nemesis and the 3.0 'Dick' update are out now. Paradox actually released something of a double-patch with both 3.0 and 3.0.1 landing today to bring big new features and some needed fixes found while testing.

  • Building and management sim Voxel Tycoon arrives on Steam and it's fantastic | GamingOnLinux

    Are you a fan of OpenTTD or the Transport Fever series? You should look at Voxel Tycoon, a brand new Early Access release on Steam that comes with Linux support and it's looking very good. Note: personal purchase.

    It's technically been available for a long time already, as it had a pre-alpha available on which has now been removed. Steam is the main store for it now. This is also the first time I've jumped in to play and it impresses instantly. It offers up a Cities Skylines level of beautiful simplicity in the presentation of it, which is good because these types of transport sims usually confuse the heck of it me. Here though, it's just great.

  • Finding joy in ruining everyone's day in Rain on Your Parade - out now

    Available now with Linux support, Rain on Your Parade is a comedy puzzle-like game about being a cloud and raining all over everyone and not giving a hoot. Note: key provided by the developer.

    Rain on Your Parade is like nothing else! You could say it's in the spirit of games like Untitled Goose Game, the idea is that you're just there to mess with people and have as much fun as you can while doing so — it's a total joy. There's plenty more to it than just raining on people though, there's a certain strategy you will need to it. The game also gradually gives you a few fun tools to cause more havoc too including thunder, lightning, tornadoes and more.

IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

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Red Hat
  • IBM signs up to Eclipse Foundation's Adoptium working group to push out free, certified JDK binaries

    IBM has joined the Eclipse Adoptium working group as an enterprise member and committed to building and publishing Java SE TCK-certified JDK binaries with OpenJ9 free of charge.

  • Why Operators are essential for Kubernetes

    As a solutions architect, I spend a lot of my time talking to my customers about Kubernetes. In every one of those conversations, it’s guaranteed that the topic of Kubernetes Operators will come up. Operators, and their relationship to Red Hat OpenShift, aren't always clear to those who are just starting out on their container adoption journey.

    Kubernetes has allowed the deployment and management of distributed applications to be heavily automated. A lot of that automation comes out of the box but Kubernetes wasn’t designed to know about all application types. So sometimes it’s necessary to extend the understanding of a specific type of application that Kubernetes has. Otherwise you have to manage a large part of these applications manually that ultimately defeats the purpose of deploying on Kubernetes. Operators allow you to capture how you can write code to automate a task beyond what Kubernetes itself provides.

    This post assumes you know what Kubernetes is and how it works and have some knowledge of OpenShift. So what are Operators and why are they so important in explaining what Red Hat OpenShift is?

  • MontaVista Joins the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation as a Principal Sponsor

    MontaVista Software has today joined the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation as a Principal Sponsor, endorsing the Rocky Linux distribution as an alternative solution to the CentOS Linux project as a Red Hat Enterprise Linux compatible solution. MontaVista will continue providing the MVShield program services for Long term support of both CentOS Linux and Rocky Linux baselines.

  • In the enterprise, Kubernetes has to play by the same rules as other platforms

    Without a doubt, Kubernetes is the most important thing that has happened in enterprise computing in the past two decades, rivalling the transformation that swept over the datacenter with server virtualization, first in the early 2000s on RISC/Unix platforms and then during the Great Recession when commercial-grade server virtualization became available on X86 platforms at precisely the moment it was most needed.

    All things being equal, the industry would have probably preferred to go straight to containers, which are lighter weight than server virtualization and which are designed explicitly for service-oriented architectures – now called microservices – but it is the same idea of chopping code into smaller chunks so it can be maintained, extended, or replaced piecemeal.

    This is precisely why Google spent so much time in the middle 2000s creating what are now seen as relatively rudimentary Linux containers and the Borg cluster and container controllers. Seven years ago, as it was unclear what the future platform might look like; OpenStack, which came out of NASA and Rackspace Hosting, was a contender, and so was Mesos, which came out of Twitter, but Kubernetes, inspired by Borg and adopting a universal container format derived from Docker, has won.

  • Three Tenancy Models For Kubernetes

    Kubernetes clusters are typically used by several teams in an organization. In other cases, Kubernetes may be used to deliver applications to end users requiring segmentation and isolation of resources across users from different organizations. Secure sharing of Kubernetes control plane and worker node resources allows maximizing productivity and saving costs in both cases.

    The Kubernetes Multi-Tenancy Working Group is chartered with defining tenancy models for Kubernetes and making it easier to operationalize tenancy related use cases. This blog post, from the working group members, describes three common tenancy models and introduces related working group projects.

    We will also be presenting on this content and discussing different use cases at our Kubecon EU 2021 panel session, Multi-tenancy vs. Multi-cluster: When Should you Use What?.

Devices With GNU/Linux and Other Free Systems

  • New SecurStor microSD Cards Support ARM Raspbian Linux

    In response to the growing need for data protection, ATP Electronics, the global leader in specialized storage and memory solutions, has launched the SecurStor microSD cards – the latest in its line of secure NAND flash storage products for the Internet of Things (IoT), education, automotive, defense, aerospace and other applications requiring confidentiality and reliability.

    “Removable storage media such as microSD cards provide great convenience and versatility for storing and transporting data. However, such convenience also exposes them to risks of unauthorized access,” said Chris Lien, ATP Embedded Memory Business Unit Head. “In many instances, the boot image may be compromised, corrupting the operating system or rendering the system unusable. Malware may be introduced, or private information may be disclosed and used for damaging intents. Amidst such dangerous scenarios, we have made security a key priority for all ATP products.”

  • RK3566 & RK3568 processors to get Linux mainline support soon

    Rockchip RK3566 & RK3568 processors were just officially announced at the end of the year, and soon followed with announcements of related such as Core-3568J AI Core system-on-module, some Android 11 TV boxes, Station P2 mini PC, and RK3566/RK3568 development boards.

    But it did not take long, as RK3566/RK3568 are about the get support for mainline Linux, with engineers from Collabora and Rockchip having recently committed preliminary support for RK356x platforms, notably using Pine64 Quartz64 SBC for testing.

  • Perf-V Beetle board features GAP8 multi-core RISC-V AI MCU

    GreenWaves Technologies introduced the GAP8 low-power RISC-V IoT processor optimized for artificial intelligence applications in 2018. The multi-core (8+1) RISC-V processor is especially suitable for image and audio algorithms including convolutional neural network (CNN) inference.

    The same year, the company launched the GAPUINO development kit that sold and (still sells) for $229 with QVGA camera and a multisensor board with four microphones, an STMicro VL53 Time of flight sensor, an IR sensor, a pressure sensor, a light sensor, a temperature & humidity sensor, and a 6-axis accelerometer/gyroscope. But there’s now a much more affordable solution to evaluate GAP8 multi-core RISC-V MCU with PerfXLab Perf-V Beetle board.

  • The Axon platform offers WiFi & LoRa IoT messaging in a compact form factor (Crowdfunding)

    The board can be programmed with Python (MicroPython?), plot graphics with Matlab, control up to four relays, and integrate with Axon Cloud apps. As I understand it, the MCU – USB switch selects the source of the data: either USB or UART.

    There are already many ESP8266 boards around, so Axon is probably mostly interesting when connected with a LoRa module as it offers an ultra-compact WiFi + LoRa IoT solution.

  • Check LoRaWAN deployments on the go with WisGate Developer Base USB dongle

    RAKWireless just had their “Big Tech Bloom” event services they announced many new LPWAN products ranging from WisDM fleet management system, OpenWrt based Wisgate OS, new industrial LoRaWAN gateways like WisGate Edge Lite 2, their first STM32WL module, as well as 9 new modules for WisBlock modular IoT platform with MIC, e-Paper display, GPS, an ESP32 based WisBlock core, etc…

    But today, I’ll have a look at the new $99 WisGate Developer Base, a USB dongle that connects to a laptop for LoRaWAN networks evaluation, for example, to check the coverage before installing a new gateway. Alternatively, it could also be used to add LoRaWAN gateway capability to existing embedded hardware like routers or industrial PCs.

  • LoRaWAN BACnet gateway uses Raspberry Pi CM3+ for building automation

    A few years about we wrote about BASpi I/O Raspberry Pi HAT compatible with BACNet, a data communication protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks, also known as the ISO 16484-6 standard, and used for HVACs, lightings, elevators, fire safety, and other systems found in buildings.

  • A first look at Allwinner D1 Linux RISC-V SBC and Processor

    Last year, we reported that Allwinner was working on an Alibaba XuanTie C906 based RISC-V processor that would be found in low-cost Linux capable single board computers selling for as low as $12.

    The good news is that we won’t have to wait much longer as Allwinner D1 RISC-V processor is slated for an announcement next week, and a business card-sized SBC, also made by Allwinner, will become available in May. Some of the information is already available to developers in China, and CNX Software managed to obtain information about the Linux RISC-V SBC and Allwinner D1 processor.

today's howtos

  • How To Cast YouTube Videos From Your Phone To Raspberry Pi Using YouTube On TV ( - Linux Uprising Blog

    This article explains how to use YouTube on TV ( on a Raspberry Pi, and control it using the YouTube app from your mobile device, almost as if you're using a Chromecast.

    Once you set up everything, you'll be able to use the cast button from the YouTube app on your phone to connect to YouTube on TV running on your Raspberry Pi (using Chromium web browser in kiosk mode), and use your phone as a YouTube remote. You'll be able to play videos, add videos to queue, change the volume using the phone's volume keys, etc. Also, multiple phones (so multiple users) can connect, play and add videos to the queue at the same time.

    Note that I've only tested this using Android phones, so I'm not sure if it also works with iOS. I guess it should, but I don't own any iOS devices.

  • How To Display Linux Commands Cheatsheets Using Eg

    Learning Linux commands are getting easier day by day! If you know how to use man pages properly, you are halfway across Linux commandline journey. There are also some good man page alternatives available which helps you to display Linux commands cheatsheets. Unlike the man pages, these tools will only display concise examples for most commands and exclude all other theoretical part. Today, let us discuss one more useful addition to this list. Say hello to eg, a command line cheatsheet tool to display useful examples for Linux commands.

    Eg provides practical examples for many Linux and Unix commands. If you want to quickly find out examples of a specific Linux command without going through the lengthy man pages, eg is your companion. Just run eg followed by the name of the command and get the concise examples of the given command right at the Terminal window. It is that simple!

  • How To Install Ruby on Rails on Debian 10 - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Ruby on Rails on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a web application framework based on the Ruby programming language. It is a server-side MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework that provides default structures for a database, an internet service, and sites. It allows you to use Ruby in combination with HTML, CSS, and similar programming languages.

    This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Ruby on Rails on a Debian 10 (Buster).

  • How to Test Website Loading Speed in Linux

    The website loading speed or response time is very important for any webmaster because it will impact search engine rankings and user experience. So if you are a system administrator or webmaster then it is important for you to test your website speed and take immediate action to speed up it. There are several web-based and command-line tools available to test your website speed.

  • Russell Coker: Basics of Linux Kernel Debugging

    Firstly a disclaimer, I’m not an expert on this and I’m not trying to instruct anyone who is aiming to become an expert. The aim of this blog post is to help someone who has a single kernel issue they want to debug as part of doing something that’s mostly not kernel coding. I welcome comments about the second step to kernel debugging for the benefit of people who need more than this (which might include me next week). Also suggestions for people who can’t use a kvm/qemu debugger would be good.

    Below is a command to run qemu with GDB. It should be run from the Linux kernel source directory. You can add other qemu options for a blog device and virtual networking if necessary, but the bug I encountered gave an oops from the initrd so I didn’t need to go further. The “nokaslr” is to avoid address space randomisation which deliberately makes debugging tasks harder (from a certain perspective debugging a kernel and compromising a kernel are fairly similar). Loading the bzImage is fine, gdb can map that to the different file it looks at later on.

  • A beginner's guide to load balancing |

    When the personal computer was young, a household was likely to have one (or fewer) computers in it. Children played games on it during the day, and parents did accounting or programming or roamed through a BBS in the evening. Imagine a one-computer household today, though, and you can predict the conflict it would create. Everyone would want to use the computer at the same time, and there wouldn't be enough keyboard and mouse to go around.

    This is, more or less, the same scenario that's been happening to the IT industry as computers have become more and more ubiquitous. Demand for services and servers has increased to the point that they could grind to a halt from overuse. Fortunately, we now have the concept of load balancing to help us handle the demand.

Zorin OS 16 Enters Beta with Stunning New Look, Faster and Smoother Performance

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Promising to be the "most advanced release ever," Zorin OS 16 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and features a revamped look and feel to make the transition from Windows to Linux easier and more enjoyable, as the main goal of Zorin OS remains to be the number one MS Windows alternative for Linux newcomers.

The new look of Zorin OS 16 consists of a new theme that's easier on the eyes and features beautiful animations, new artwork and wallpapers, as well as revamped lock screen that features a blurred version of the desktop background.

Read more

Myth busted: Can you run sway/wayland’s i3 without systemd or elogind?

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For a while, we have heard this justification, among distributions that have refused systemd as init, that elogind was adopted as a necessity for running wayland which is the future of graphical desktops. Some future this is, but anyway. For Artix it was a day one decision, for Void and Adelie it has been a year or more, for Slackware a few months. But it is only a handful of distros at this point that have totally refused the use of elogind and stick to consolekit2 (which was recently upgraded upstream unlike common myth that has it abandoned). Consolekit2 can handle logind functionality but can’t provide seat management. So there is seatd, a daemon that just does this. So count the different functions, unrelated to each other, that systemd provides all in one huge blob.Sway is the equivalent of i3 for wayland. For i3 users their setup transfers 100% to sway, all modified functionality will be there once you login.

Wlroots is wayland’s modular library. This is native in obarun and maintained to help wayland function without systemd/elogind. It is currently kept back at 0.12 as Arch but will be soon upgraded to 0.13.

Greetd – wlgreet is a display manager compatible with wayland. This has a PKGBUILD at the link above so you can build it appropriately for Obarun.

None of these are officially supported as a desktop setup in Obarun yet, but the setup is a demonstration that it can be done. Can it be done with sysv, openrc, runit? We don’t know. Can it be done with s6? Since it is done within Obarun it can be done. Whether you can handle the complex service setup without 66 and in lack of any other service manager, who knows! Of course you can cheat and employ 66, do the setup, then remove 66 and leave it as is, as a pseudo custom s6 setup of services. Don’t cry if one day you decide to switch services, disable one, enable another, without 66. The procedure can make a tough man cry.

Gavin Falconer or bbsg in Obarun forum, has started this thread for the discussion of this project/solution. A how-to instructional thread. A few of us have tried it and made it work. I am sure it will receive plenty of attention and refinements in the near future, and possibly be adopted officially as an Obarun setup, with all the related packages added to the repositories. For now it is a community project, and it is proof that it can be done.

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gThumb Image Viewer 3.11.3 Adds JPEG XL (.jxl) Support [Ubuntu PPA]

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gThumb, GNOME image viewer and organizer, released version 3.11.3 a few days ago. Here?s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

gThumb 3.11.3 adds support for JPEG XL ? the next generation image coding standard.

JPEG XL (.jxl) is based on ideas from Google?s Pik format and Cloudinary?s FUIF format. It is the next-generation, general-purpose image compression codec by the JPEG committee. Some popular apps, e.g., ImageMagick, XnView MP, have already added support for the image format.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series OpenCL / CUDA / OptiX Compute + Rendering Benchmarks

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Recently from NVIDIA we received the rest of the NVIDIA RTX 30 series line-up for cards we haven't been able to benchmark under Linux previously, thus it's been a busy month of Ampere benchmarking for these additional cards and re-testing the existing parts. Coming up next week will be a large NVIDIA vs. AMD Radeon Linux gaming benchmark comparison while in this article today is an extensive look at the GPU compute performance for the complete RTX 20 and RTX 30 series line-up under Linux with compute tests spanning OpenCL, Vulkan, CUDA, and OptiX RTX under a variety of compute and rendering workloads.

Now having access to the current RTX 30 series line-up, first up is a look at the NVIDIA GPU compute performance across all these cards and the prior generation RTX 20 parts. All of these new and existing graphics cards were freshly (re)tested on Ubuntu 20.04 with the Linux 5.8 kernel and using the NVIDIA 460.67 driver stack with CUDA 11.2 as the latest software components as of testing time.

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Ubuntu Touch for the PinePhone is moving to a new kernel for better hardware support

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Ubuntu Touch can run on dozens of smartphones that originally shipped with Android thanks to the Halium tool that allows the Linux distribution to communicate with the hardware in those phones using Android drivers.

But if you’re running Ubuntu Touch on a PinePhone, you don’t need Halium since the phone supports mainline Linux kernels or modified kernels like Megi’s kernel, which is usually way ahead of the pack when it comes to adding features to support the phone’s hardware.

Up until recently Ubuntu Touch for the Pinephone had been using a version of Linux kernel 5.6, but recently the developers have started to move to Megi’s 5.10 and 5.11 kernels which brings improved hardware stability and reliability.

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Android and Linux games on Chromebooks will soon get massive performance gains

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Linux for Chromebooks has come a long way since Google introduced it in Chrome OS 69 a couple of years ago. On supported devices, it opened the door to an extensive library of desktop apps for users, like video editing tools and IDEs. GPU acceleration was an important milestone that made graphic intensive Linux app usable on Chrome OS. This is thanks to Virgil 3D, a component that allows the Linux container to tap into the hardware's GPU. In exciting news shared by Luke Short from VMware, Google is working on adding Vulkan passthrough into Virgil to improve app performance.

A round of commits spotted on GitLab shows that Google's Chia-l Wu has been working around a year to add Vulkan passthrough support into Virgil 3D from the QEMU hypervisor. Wu helped Valve in the past by submitting a set of patches for Mesa — an OpenGL library — to reduce load times in games. Work-in-progress code allows commercial and Proton-based Steam games to run on Chromebooks.

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Security: Scans, Distributed Weakness Filing (DWF), CodeReady Dependency Analytics, and Free Software Tools for Security

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  • Scanning for secrets

    Projects, even of the open-source variety, sometimes have secrets that need to be maintained. They can range from things like signing keys, which are (or should be) securely stored away from the project's code, to credentials and tokens for access to various web-based services, such as cloud-hosting services or the Python Package Index (PyPI). These credentials are sometimes needed by instances of the running code, and some others benefit from being stored "near" the code, but these types of credentials are not meant to be distributed outside of the project. They can sometimes mistakenly be added to a public repository, however, which is a slip that attackers are most definitely on the lookout for. The big repository-hosting services like GitHub and GitLab are well-placed to scan for these kinds of secrets being committed to project repositories—and they do.

    Source-code repositories represent something of an attractive nuisance for storing this kind of information; project developers need the information close to hand and, obviously, the Git repository qualifies. But there are a few problems with that, of course. Those secrets are only meant to be used by the project itself, so publicizing them may violate the terms of service for a web service (e.g. Twitter or Google Maps) or, far worse, allow using the project's cloud infrastructure to mine cryptocurrency or allow anyone to publish code as if it came from the project itself. Also, once secrets get committed and pushed to the public repository, they become part of the immutable history of the repository. Undoing that is difficult and doesn't actually put the toothpaste back in the tube; anyone who cloned or pulled from the repository before it gets scrubbed still has the secret information.

    Once a project recognizes that it has inadvertently released a secret via its source-code repository, it needs to have the issuer revoke the credential and, presumably issue a new one. But there may be a lengthy window of time before the mistake is noticed; even if it is noticed quickly, it may take some time to get the issuer to revoke the secret. All of that is best avoided, if possible.

  • Resurrecting DWF

    Five years ago, we looked at an effort to assist in the assignment of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) IDs, especially for open-source projects. Developers in the free-software world have often found it difficult to obtain CVE IDs for the vulnerabilities that they find. The Distributed Weakness Filing (DWF) project was meant to reduce the friction in the CVE-assignment process, but it never really got off the ground. In a blog post, Josh Bressers said that DWF was hampered by trying to follow the rules for CVEs. That has led to a plan to restart DWF, but this time without the "yoke of legacy CVE".

  • Vulnerability analysis for Golang applications with Red Hat CodeReady Dependency Analytics

    Red Hat CodeReady Dependency Analytics, powered by Snyk Intel Vulnerability database, helps developers find, identify, and fix security vulnerabilities in their code. In the latest 0.3.2 release, we focused on supporting vulnerability analysis for Golang application dependencies, providing easier access to vulnerability details uniquely known to Snyk, and other user experience improvements.

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Kernel: OpenZFS, LRU, GCC Plugins, and Killing off /dev/kmem

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  • OpenZFS 2.1-rc3 Delivers More Fixes - Phoronix

    OpenZFS 2.1 is nearing release as the next feature update to this open-source ZFS file-system implementation currently supporting Linux and FreeBSD systems.

    OpenZFS 2.1 is an exciting evolutionary update over last November's OpenZFS 2. release. The headline feature of OpenZFS 2.1 is Distributed Spare Raid "dRAID" support. OpenZFS 2.1 is also introducing a new "compatibility" property for Zpool feature sets, a new zpool_influxdb command for Zpool statistics into InfluxDB time-series databases, and various other alterations.

  • The multi-generational LRU

    One of the key tasks assigned to the memory-management subsystem is to optimize the system's use of the available memory; that means pushing out pages containing unused data so that they can be put to better use elsewhere. Predicting which pages will be accessed in the near future is a tricky task, and the kernel has evolved a number of mechanisms designed to improve its chances of guessing right. But the kernel not only often gets it wrong, it also can expend a lot of CPU time to make the incorrect choice. The multi-generational LRU patch set posted by Yu Zhao is an attempt to improve that situation.
    In general, the kernel cannot know which pages will be accessed in the near future, so it must rely on the next-best indicator: the set of pages that have been used recently. Chances are that pages that have been accessed in the recent past will be useful again in the future, but there are exceptions. Consider, for example, an application that is reading sequentially through a file. Each page of the file will be put into the page cache as it is read, but the application will never need it again; in this case, recent access is not a sign that the page will be used again soon.

    The kernel tracks pages using a pair of least-recently-used (LRU) lists. Pages that have been recently accessed are kept on the "active" list, with just-accessed pages put at the head of the list. Pages are taken off the tail of the list if they have not been accessed recently and placed at the head of the "inactive" list. That list is a sort of purgatory; if some process accesses a page on the inactive list, it will be promoted back to the active list. Some pages, like those from the sequentially read file described above, start life on the inactive list, meaning they will be reclaimed relatively quickly if there is no further need for them.

    There are more details, of course. It's worth noting that there are actually two pairs of lists, one for anonymous pages and one for file-backed pages. If memory control groups are in use, there is a whole set of LRU lists for each active group.

    Zhao's patch set identifies a number of problems with the current state of affairs. The active/inactive sorting is too coarse for accurate decision making, and pages often end up on the wrong lists anyway. The use of independent lists in control groups makes it hard for the kernel to compare the relative age of pages across groups. The kernel has a longstanding bias toward evicting file-backed pages for a number of reasons, which can cause useful file-backed pages to be tossed while idle anonymous pages remain in memory. This problem has gotten worse in cloud-computing environments, where clients have relatively little local storage and, thus, relatively few file-backed pages in the first place. Meanwhile, the scanning of anonymous pages is expensive, partly because it uses a complex reverse-mapping mechanism that does not perform well when a lot of scanning must be done.

  • The future of GCC plugins in the kernel

    The process of hardening the kernel can benefit in a number of ways from support by the compiler. In recent years, the Kernel Self Protection Project has brought this support from the grsecurity/PaX patch set into the kernel in the form of GCC plugins; LWN looked into that process back in 2017. A recent discussion has highlighted the fact that the use of GCC plugins brings disadvantages as well, and some developers would prefer to see those plugins replaced.

    The discussion started when Josh Poimboeuf reported an issue he encountered when building out-of-tree modules with GCC plugins enabled. In his case, the compilation would fail when the GCC version used to compile the module was even slightly different from the one used to build the kernel. He included a patch to change the error he received into a warning and disable the affected plugin. Later in the thread, Justin Forbes explained how the problematic configuration came about; it happens within the Fedora continuous-integration system, which starts by building a current toolchain snapshot. Other jobs then compile out-of-tree modules with the new toolchain, without recompiling the kernel itself. Since GCC plugins were enabled, all jobs with out-of-tree modules have been failing.

    The idea of changing the error into a warning was met with a negative response from the kernel build-system maintainer, Masahiro Yamada, who stated: "We are based on the assumption that we use the same compiler for in-tree and out-of-tree". Poimboeuf responded that what he sees in real-world configurations doesn't match that assumption.

  • Killing off /dev/kmem

    The recent proposal from David Hildenbrand to remove support for the /dev/kmem special file has not sparked a lot of discussion. Perhaps that is because today's youngsters, lacking an understanding of history, may be wondering what that file is in the first place and, thus, be unclear on why it may matter. Chances are that /dev/kmem will not be missed, but in passing it takes away a venerable part of the Unix kernel interface.
    /dev/kmem provides access to the kernel's address space; it can be read from or written to like an ordinary file, or mapped into a process's address space. Needless to say, there are some mild security implications arising from providing that sort of access; even read access to this file is generally enough to expose credentials and allow an attacker to take over a system. As a result, protections on /dev/kmem have always tended to be restrictive, but it remains the sort of open back door into the kernel that makes anybody who worries about security worry even more.

    It is a rare Linux system that enables /dev/kmem now. As of the 2.6.26 kernel release in July 2008, the kernel only implements this special file if the CONFIG_DEVKMEM configuration option is enabled. One will have to look long and hard for a distributor that enables this option in 2021; most of them disabled it many years ago. So its disappearance from the kernel is unlikely to create much discomfort.

    It's worth noting that Linux systems still support /dev/mem (without the "k"), which once provided similar access to all of the memory in the system. It has long been restricted to I/O memory; system RAM is off limits. The occasional user-space device driver still needs /dev/mem to function, but it's otherwise unused.

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