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Saturday, 17 Mar 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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Quick Roundup

Type Title Author Replies Last Postsort icon
Story NXP IoT platform links ARM/Linux Layerscape SoCs to cloud Rianne Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 7:06pm
Story Games Leftovers Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 12:44pm
Story OSS Leftovers Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 11:43am
Story Best Linux distros for small businesses in 2018 Rianne Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 11:35am
Story Openwashing 'Cloud' Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 11:34am
Story today's howtos Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 11:23am
Story Red Hat and Fedora Leftovers Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 10:45am
Story Security: CPU Patches, PostgreSQL, Apple 'Back Door' Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 10:43am
Story Ubuntu Has Made its Minimal Images Even More Minimal — Just 28MB! Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 10:27am
Story Linux Beats Windows To Become The Most Popular Development Platform: Stack Overflow Survey 2018 Roy Schestowitz 16/03/2018 - 9:26am

Linux Mint Devs to Enable Faster Launching of Apps on Cinnamon for Linux Mint 19

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As you probably know already, Cinnamon is the default desktop environment of the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint operating system. It uses parts of the GNOME Stack at its core, which means that it's not so lightweight as its MATE or Xfce counterparts, so launching apps isn't as fast as you'd like it to be lately.

That's why the Linux Mint development team spent some time earlier this year to investigate and debug any performance hogs in Cinnamon, especially when launching the pre-installed applications. They compared Cinnamon with the Metacity window manager and found out that the former was six times slower.

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Chromium and Firefox Web Browsers Are Now Installable as Snaps on Ubuntu Linux

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Canonical's Snappy technologies are becoming more and more popular these days as the company behind the widely used Ubuntu plans to enable them by default and even make them a first-class citizen in future releases of its Linux-based operating system.

The great thing about Snap apps is that they are secure by design, utilizing a container-style approach mechanism for deploying software on various GNU/Linux distributions that support Canonical's Snappy universal binary format.

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Qt Creator 4.6 RC released

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We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.6 RC!

Since the beta release we have been busy with bug fixing. Please refer to the beta blog post and our change log for an overview of what is new in Qt Creator 4.6. As always this is a final call for feedback from you before we release 4.6.0, so we would be happy to hear from you on our bug tracker, the mailing list, or on IRC.

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Mozilla: New Firefox Snap, Firefox 60 Plans and These Weeks in Firefox

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  • Firefox is now available as a Snap package

    The latest version of Mozilla Firefox is available as a Snap package for Ubuntu and other Linux distros. Not just any ol’d Snap package either, but an official, made-by-Mozilla Snap package. It’s arrival, without any sort of formal fanfare (yet) has been a long time coming.

  • Firefox 60 Is In Beta With Web Authentication & Policy Engine Support

    Other changes in Firefox 60.0 beta include the new Firefox Quantum CSS engine being used to render the browser's user-interface, enhanced camera privacy indicators, support for promises with IndexedDB transactions, and more.

    There doesn't appear to be anything new with regards to Wayland support in Firefox 60 Beta.

    Firefox 60.0 should be officially released in early May.

  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 34

Amid congressional mandate to open source DoD’s software code, serves as guidepost

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As part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Department has until June to start moving much of its custom-developed software source code to a central repository and begin managing and licensing it via open source methods.

The mandate might prove daunting for an organization in which open source practices are relatively scarce, especially considering that, until recently, there was no established open source playbook for the federal government. That’s begun to change, however, with the Office of Management and Budget’s, and its DoD corollary,, run by the Defense Digital Service (DDS).

In February, underwent a “relaunch,” changing it from a GitHub-hosted, text-only, how-to guide to what its managers say is both a code repository and a full-fledged toolset for software program managers who need guidance on how to engage in open source practices within the government.

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Also: Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Enterprise Open Source Offers Options to Agencies

Security: Torvalds Rant Over AMD Flaws/Report, Intel Microcode Updates, Yahoo and Kubernetes

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  • Linus Torvalds Roasts CTS Labs After They Exposed AMD Chip Vulnerabilities

    Just a couple of days back, CTS researchers exposed more than a dozen ‘critical’ vulnerabilities in AMD chips marketed under the brand names Ryzen and Epyc. The company also claimed that a backdoor exists in AMD processors. Their revelation came with a well-decorated website, a whitepaper, and a video.

  • Torvalds wades into CTS Labs' AMD chip security report
  • Linux Torvalds casts shade on CTS Labs' AMD CPU flaw security report
  • Intel Rolls Out Updated, Post-Spectre CPU Microcode (20180312)

    Intel has published the Intel Processor Microcode Package for Linux 20180312 release with the latest improvements around the microcode-based approach for Spectre CPU vulnerability mitigation, succeeding their microcode updates from earlier in the year.

  • Judge Says Yahoo Still On The Hook For Multiple Claims Related To Three Billion Compromised Email Accounts

    A federal judge is going to let a bunch of people keep suing Yahoo over its three-year run of continual compromise. Yahoo had hoped to get the class action suit tossed, stating that it had engaged in "unending" efforts to thwart attacks, but apparently it just wasn't good enough to prevent every single one of its three billion email accounts from falling into the hands of hackers.

  • 3 best practices for securing Kubernetes environments

    The Kubernetes orchestration platform is such a gigantic open source project that its evolution is inherently rapid. The pace of change significantly increases the importance of adhering to security best practices when using the ever-changing Kubernetes platform to automate deployment, scaling, and management of containerized cloud-native applications.

    Ultimately, effective security also supports the entire Kubernetes project, since the technology's overall adoption depends on the confidence and trust that Kubernetes earns and establishes. That said, standard security procedures and practices that work well in traditional environments are often inadequate for securing Kubernetes environments, where traffic is vastly more dynamic, and where there must be security in place around the pods, containers, nodes, and images.

Games: Pillars of Eternity, Life is Strange and More

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today's howtos

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How Open Source Approach is Impacting Science

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In this new Science category within It’s FOSS, we dive into the exciting world of Innovative Science to explore and find out about how the Linux-based Operating System and Open Source are playing a significant role in the major scientific breakthroughs that are taking place in our daily lives.

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Also: Researchers develop open-source, clinically validated template for 3D-printed stethoscope

10 Hello World programs for your Raspberry Pi

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"Hello world" is the beginning of everything when it comes to computing and programming. It's the first thing you learn in a new programming language, and it's the way you test something out or check to see if something's working because it's usually the simplest way of testing simple functionality.

Warriors of programming language wars often cite their own language's "hello world" against that of another, saying theirs is shorter or more concise or more explicit or something. Having a nice simple readable "hello world" program makes for a good intro for beginners learning your language, library, framework, or tool.

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Graphics Leftovers

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  • Intel Graphics Driver Developers Begin Eyeing The Linux 4.18 Kernel

    The Linux 4.16 kernel is at least two or three weeks out from being released, but Intel has already submitted their i915 DRM driver feature changes for Linux 4.17 and are now beginning to think about their feature changes for Linux 4.18.

    Intel's feature changes for Linux 4.17 are now staged in DRM-Next with hitting that soft cutoff deadline ahead of the next kernel cycle. Intel Direct Rendering Manager updates for Linux 4.17 include Cannonlake "Gen 10" graphics now being considered stable, the very early bits of Icelake "Gen 11" support, and a lot of low-level code improvements. To little surprise, Linux 4.17 is looking like another exciting cycle on the feature/improvement front.

  • Intel BayTrail Gets Minor Graphics Improvement On Coreboot, Now Supports OpRegion

    While there doesn't appear to be too many Intel BayTrail users out there running systems with Coreboot, this generation of hardware that's been a bit notorious with Linux users due to varying issues can now find at least a bit better graphics support with the latest Coreboot code.

  • Mesa 18.0 Is Now Primed For Releasing Soon

    Mesa 18.0's delay of more than one month and without any new release candidate came while the open-source Intel developers were hunkered down to clear the remaining blocker bugs.

    Fortunately, it appears the remaining Mesa 18.0 blocker bugs are now resolved, meaning the official release could come in a matter of days depending if they decide to first do a Mesa 18.0-rc5 release for last minute testing.

  • Mir Devs Are Still Working On An Example Mir Desktop Session For Ubuntu 18.04

    While Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" is just one month away from release, the developers working on the Mir display server code are still working to get an example desktop session into this release.

    Details remain light but in writing yesterday about changes the UBports' team needs to make for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support, longtime Mir developer Alan Griffiths commented, "The Mir team is aiming to have the necessary tweaks in place for the 18.04 release along with an example "Mir" desktop session." The tweaks needed for Mir in Ubuntu 18.04 are not using Mir-on-Mir and client applications using libmirclient cannot be using EGL otherwise only software-based rendering will work.

  • Mesa 18.0 Has Been Off The Tracks For More Than One Month

    Mesa 18.0 had been due for release around mid-February, but that didn't happen and there hasn't even been a release candidate in more than one month.

    Mesa 18.0-RC4 was released back on 9 February and since then there hasn't been an RC5 or a new release.

  • Uniform Packing For RadeonSI NIR, Helps Reduce CPU Overhead

    Timothy Arceri of Valve's open-source Linux GPU driver team is out with his latest set of patches to further enhance the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

    Timothy's latest objective remains with improving the RadeonSI NIR back-end for using this modern intermediate representation alternative to Gallium3D TGSI. NIR is important for getting the OpenGL 4.6 bits in place with SPIR-V ingestion / better interoperability with the RADV Vulkan driver and the already-written code paths using NIR.

  • Supporting virtual reality displays in Linux

    At (LCA) 2017 in Hobart, Tasmania, Keith Packard talked with kernel graphics maintainer Dave Airlie about how virtual reality devices should be hooked up to Linux. They both thought it would be pretty straightforward to do, so it would "only take a few weeks", but Packard knew "in reality it would take a lot longer". In a talk at LCA 2018 in Sydney, Packard reported back on the progress he has made; most of it is now in the upstream kernel.

    Packard has been consulting for Valve, which is a game technology company, to add support for head-mounted displays to Linux. Those displays have an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for position and orientation tracking and a display with some optics. The display is about 2Kx1K pixels in the hardware he is working with; that is split in half for each eye. The displays also have a "bunch of lenses", which makes them "more complicated than you would hope".

    The display is meant to block out the real world and to make users believe they inhabit the virtual reality. "It's great if you want to stumble into walls, chairs, and tables." Nearly all of the audience indicated they had used a virtual reality headset, leading Packard to hyperbolically proclaim that he is the last person in the universe to obtain one.

New in LWN About Linux (Now Outside Paywall)

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  • LinuxBoot: Linux as firmware

    Both the free-software and security communities have recently been focusing on the elements of our computers that run below the operating system. These proprietary firmware components are usually difficult or impossible to extend and it has long been suspected (and proven in several cases) that there are significant security concerns with them. The LinuxBoot Project is working to replace this complex, proprietary, and largely unknown firmware with a Linux kernel. That has the added benefit of replacing the existing drivers in the firmware with well-tested drivers from Linux.

    To understand LinuxBoot and the problem it's working to solve, we first have to discuss how computers actually boot. We usually think of a running system as including the hardware, operating system (OS), and applications. However, for a number of reasons, there are several layers that run between the hardware and the OS. Most users are aware of UEFI (which replaced the older BIOS); for many systems, it prepares the system to run and loads the bootloader. These necessary functions are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Even after the computer finishes loading the OS, there are multiple embedded systems also running on the system entirely separate from the OS. Most notably, the Intel Management Engine (ME) runs a complete Minix operating system, while System Management Mode (SMM) is used to run code for certain events (e.g. laptop lid gets closed) in a way that is completely invisible to the running OS.

  • Shrinking the kernel with a hammer

    This is the fourth article of a series discussing various methods of reducing the size of the Linux kernel to make it suitable for small environments. Reducing the kernel binary has its limits and we have pushed them as far as possible at this point. Still, our goal, which is to be able to run Linux entirely from the on-chip resources of a microcontroller, has not been reached yet. This article will conclude this series by looking at the problem from the perspective of making the kernel and user space fit into a resource-limited system.

    A microcontroller is a self-contained system with peripherals, memory, and a CPU. It is typically small, inexpensive, and has low power-consumption characteristics. Microcontrollers are designed to accomplish one task and run one specific program. Therefore, the dynamic memory content of a microcontroller is usually much smaller than its static content. This is why it is common to find microcontrollers equipped with many times more ROM than RAM.

    For example, the ATmega328 (a popular Arduino target) comes with 32KB of flash memory and only 2KB of static memory (SRAM). Now for something that can boot Linux, the STM32F767BI comes with 2MB of flash and 512KB of SRAM. So we'll aim for that resource profile and figure out how to move as much content as possible from RAM to ROM.

  • Preventing kernel-stack leaks

    The kernel stack is a small, frequently reused region of memory in each thread's address space. That reuse allows for efficient memory use and good performance as a result of cache locality, but it also presents a problem: data left on the stack can also end up being reused in ways that were not intended. The PaX patch set contains a mechanism designed to clear that data from the stack and prevent leaks, but an attempt to merge that code into the kernel has run into a snag.

    By design, the C language does not define the contents of automatic variables — those that are created on the stack when the function defining them is called. If the programmer does not initialize automatic variables, they will thus contain garbage values; in particular, they will contain whatever happened to be left on the stack in the location where the variables are allocated. Failure to initialize these variables can, as a result, lead to a number of undesirable behaviors. Writing an uninitialized variable to user space will leak the data on the stack, which may be sensitive in one way or another. If the uninitialized value is used within the function, surprising results may ensue; if an attacker can find a way to control what will be left on the stack, they may be able to exploit this behavior to compromise the kernel. Both types of vulnerability have arisen in the kernel in the past and will certainly continue to pop up in the future.

LLVM Release Schedules and DragonFFI

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​Linus Torvalds slams CTS Labs over AMD vulnerability report

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CTS Labs, a heretofore unknown Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup, has claimed it's found over a dozen security problems with AMD Ryzen and EPYC processors. Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, doesnt buy it.

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Open source project aims to build embedded Linux hypervisor

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The Linux Foundation announced an Intel-backed embedded reference hypervisor project called “ACRN” that features real-time and safety-critical features for Linux and Android IoT and automotive projects.

At the Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, Oregon, the Linux Foundation announced a project called ACRN (like “acorn”) based on Intel technology that will develop a lightweight, open source embedded reference hypervisor. Licensed with the permissive BSD-3-Clause, the technology supports a variety of IoT applications including automotive.

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Microsoft is Still Evil and Dangerous

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Sound Open Firmware (SOF) and Nvidia-Docker

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  • Intel Open-Sources Sound Firmware, Pushing For More Open Firmware

    Imad Sousou, Intel's GM of the Open-Source Technology Center, had some interesting remarks to make during his keynote today as part of this week's Embedded Linux Conference in Portland.

    First up, they have two new open-source project announcements: ACRN and Sound Open Firmware (SOF).

    Sound Open Firmware has us most excited with Intel's focus now on opening up more of their firmware, beginning with audio. Sound Open Firmware includes an open-source audio DSP firmware and SDK. The SOF stack works on all Intel hardware platforms and can assist in debugging audio/DSP issues.

  • A Primer on Nvidia-Docker — Where Containers Meet GPUs

    GPUs are critical for training deep learning models and neural networks. Though it may not be needed for simple models based on linear regression and logistic regression, complex models designed around convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks heavily rely on GPUs. Especially computer vision-related models based on frameworks such as Caffe2 and TensorFlow have a dependency on GPU.

    In supervised machine learning, a set of features and labels are used to train a model. Deep learning algorithms don’t even need explicit features to evolve trained models. They pretty much “learn” from existing datasets designated for training, testing, and evaluation.

Software: AMP, GCompris, Terminus, PyCharm, Rcpp, Curl

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  • AMP – A Vi/Vim Inspired Text Editor for Linux Terminal

    Amp is a lightweight, fully-featured Vi/Vim inspired text editor for your Linux terminal, written in Rust. It provides the core interaction model of Vi/Vim in a simplified way, and puts together the fundamental features required for a modern text editor.

    It is a zero-configuration, no-plugins and terminal-based user interface that combines extremely well with terminal emulators such as tmux and Alacritty. Amp also supports a modal, keyboard-driven interface inspired by Vim that makes navigating and editing text fast.

  • GCompris Qt 0.90
  • Terminus – A Web Technology Based Modern Terminal

    Terminus is a cross-platform, open source, web technology based Terminal for modern age. It is heavily inspired from Hyper, a beautiful terminal built on web technologies. Unlike the traditional terminals, Terminus ships with some cool features by default. It is fully customizable with multiple app themes and color schemes for the terminal. We can spawn or hide Terminus using a global hotkey. It keeps the current directory in all newly opened tabs. You can also extend the functionality of Terminus by installing plugins.

  • PyCharm - Python IDE Full Review

    Pycharm is a Python Integrated Development Environment for Professional Developers and also anyone who can code in python or even learning how to code in python. There are two versions, a paid professional version or a community edition which is free for use. Though not all features in the professional version are included in the community edition. Alright, let’s dig into it.

  • Rcpp 0.12.16: A small update
  • Here’s curl 7.59.0

    We ship curl 7.59.0 exactly 49 days since the previous release (a week shorter than planned because of reasons).


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lkml: remove eight obsolete architectures

In the end, it seems that while the eight architectures are extremely different, they all suffered the same fate: There was one company in charge of an SoC line, a CPU microarchitecture and a software ecosystem, which was more costly than licensing newer off-the-shelf CPU cores from a third party (typically ARM, MIPS, or RISC-V). It seems that all the SoC product lines are still around, but have not used the custom CPU architectures for several years at this point. Read more

If you hitch a ride with a scorpion… (Coverity)

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KDE: Kdenlive, Kubuntu, Elisa, KDE Connect

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    Timeline refactoring, new Pro features, packages for fast and easy install, Windows version and a bunch of other activities are happening in the Kdenlive world NOW!
  • Kubuntu 17.10 Guide for Newbie Part 9
    This is the 9th article, the final part of the series. This ninth article gives you more documentations to help yourself in using Kubuntu 17.10. The resources are online links to certain manuals and ebooks specialized for Kubuntu basics, command lines usage, software installation instructions, how to operate LibreOffice and KDE Plasma.
  • KDE's Elisa Music Player Preparing For Its v0.1 Released
    We have been tracking the development of Elisa, one of several KDE music players, since development started about one year ago. Following the recent alpha releases, the KDE Elisa 0.1 stable release is on the way. Elisa developers are preparing the Elisa v0.1 release and they plan to have it out around the middle of April.
  • KDE Connect Keeps Getting Better For Interacting With Your Desktop From Android
    KDE Connect is the exciting project that allows you to leverage your KDE desktop from Android tablets/smartphones for features like sending/receiving SMS messages from your desktop, toggling music, sharing files, and much more. KDE Connect does continue getting even better.
  • First blog & KDE Connect media control improvements
    I've started working on KDE Connect last November. My first big features were released yesterday in KDE Connect 1.8 for Android, so cause for celebration and a blog post! My first big feature is media notifications. KDE Connect has, since it's inception, allowed you to remotely control your music and video's. Now you can also do this with a notification, like all Android music apps do! So next time a bad song comes up, you don't need to switch to the KDE Connect app. Just click next on the notification without closing you current app. And just in case you don't like notifications popping up, there's an option to disable it.