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Review: First impressions of Project Trident 18.12

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Reviews
BSD

I have a lot of mixed feelings and impressions when it comes to Trident. On the one hand, the operating system has some great technology under the hook. It has cutting edge packages from the FreeBSD ecosystem, we have easy access to ZFS, boot environments, and lots of open source packages. Hardware support, at least on my physical workstation, was solid and the Lumina desktop is flexible.

However, there were a lot of problems I ran into during this trial. Some of them are matters of taste or style. The installer looks unusually crude, for example, and the mixed icon styles weren't appealing. Similarly, switching themes made some icons in toolbars disappear. These are not functional issues, just presentation ones. There were some functional problems too though. For example, needing to close and re-open AppCafe to see available packages, or the desktop not resizing when running Trident in a virtual machine, which required that I change the display settings at each login.

Lumina has come a long way and is highly flexible and I like the available alternative widgets for desktop elements. This is useful because Lumina's weakest link on Trident seems to be its defaults as I had some trouble with the "Start" application menu and I think some work to polish the initial impression would be helpful.

The biggest issues though were with security. Trident ships with some extra security features in place, but most of them can be easily bypassed by any user by simply opening the Control Panel to view or kill processes or even add or remove packages. Some systems intentionally give the user full access by running everything as root, but in those cases at least the administrator knows they have complete access. This situation seems worse since Trident gives the illusion of security and limited access, but any curious user can run administrator tools. I think the project needs time to mature before I would recommend using it.

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ZFS and FreeBSD

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BSD
  • ZFS Boot Environments Are Helping To Improve The Resilience Of FreeBSD Upgrades

    Besides the ZFS file-system just being a heck of a lot better all-around than FreeBSD's traditional UFS, tooling around ZFS paired with its native snapshot capabilities is allowing for more resilient installations and upgrades of FreeBSD.

    FreeBSD developer Allan Jude talked at last weekend's FOSDEM conference about "magic upgrades" in making FreeBSD system upgrades atomic, safe, and fast by leveraging ZFS Boot Environments.

  • FOSDEM 2019 | BSD Now 284

    We recap FOSDEM 2019, FreeBSD Foundation January update, OPNsense 19.1 released, the hardware-assisted virtualization challenge, ZFS and GPL terror, ClonOS 19.01-RELEASE, and more.

MidnightBSD 1.1

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BSD

I’m happy to announce the availability of MidnightBSD 1.1 for amd64 and i386. This is a minor release to fix a few hardware and security issues that have come up since the 1.0 release. It is strongly recommended that you upgrade, particularly if you have newer Intel hardware.

This release also includes a new version of OpenSSL. This is a move from 1.0.1 to 1.0.2p in base. Many mports are built with a package and will likely not be affected. It is still recommended that you rebuild any mports using SSL or update the packages as appropriate.

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Also: Desktop-Friendly MidnightBSD 1.1 Released

NetBSD 9.0 Will Have Performance & Security Improvements

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BSD

The recently releases of FreeBSD 12.0 and DragonFlyBSD 5.4 have been exciting in the BSD space while moving forward there is the NetBSD 9.0 release a ways out on the horizon.

NetBSD 9.0 has yet to be branched, but it was talked about this weekend at FOSDEM 2019 by developer Benny Siegert. Enhancing the security of NetBSD 9.0 is now kernel ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization), a kernel leak detector, Kernel Address Space Address Sanitizer (KASAN), Kernel Undefined Behavior Sanitizer (KUBSAN), user-space sanitizers, and other security work.

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Review: FreeNAS 11.2

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BSD

In my opinion, FreeNAS is probably one of the easier NAS solutions to set up and it has probably the nicest web-based interface I have used. The web portal looks nice, I think it is well organized and there are a huge number of features. Further, FreeNAS offers good documentation and is fairly light on resources. The base system is smaller than 1GB on the disk and typically uses less than 1GB of RAM.

I also like the support for ZFS, an advanced file system well known for its reliability, snapshots and ability to handle vast amounts of data. FreeNAS makes setting up ZFS volumes, and user accounts on these volumes, a point-n-click process and I applaud the developers for that.

On the negative side of things, some features did not work for me. I struggled with plugins and file synchronization through the web portal (working with files from the command line worked fine for me) and getting networking set up properly took more effort than I had expected. I was also a bit concerned about the lack of local security. If your server is headless or in a locked room, it is not a big deal to have root logged in, but for a lot of environments it is not advisable to leave root logged in at the console.

I think whether FreeNAS is a good choice for managing storage will depend a lot on how comfortable the administrator is with FreeBSD. For people who are comfortable setting up a FreeBSD server and manually adding storage pools, there may not be a lot of added benefit to FreeNAS. However, if you want to manage a lot of storage space and other services through a polished point-n-click web interface rather than manually doing everything through the command line, then FreeNAS is an excellent tool. There are a few rough edges to work out, I think, but on the whole I found FreeNAS made administering ZFS volumes and related services pleasantly straight forward.

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Enjoy Netflix? You Should Thank FreeBSD

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BSD

Netflix uses FreeBSD and open source software to deliver its content efficiently worldwide.
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BSD: OpenSSH Fix and FreeBSD in DRM Giant

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BSD
  • OpenSSH Progress Display Missing Character Encoding Spoofing Vulnerability [CVE-2019-6109]

    A vulnerability in the Secure Copy Protocol (SCP) client utility of OpenSSH could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a spoofing attack on a targeted SCP client system.

  • Netflix Continues Experiencing Great Performance In Using FreeBSD For Their CDN

    It's been a love affair going on for years, but should you not already know, Netflix has long been leveraging FreeBSD as part of its in-house content delivery network (CDN) for serving its millions of users with on-demand video. This weekend at FOSDEM, Jonathan Looney of the company talked about their usage of FreeBSD.

    Netflix remains one of the big FreeBSD studios and continues leveraging that BSD operating system for its network performance on their "Open Connect" CDN. What is even more unique about their FreeBSD setup is they closely track the CURRENT/head version of FreeBSD rather than sticking to the stable releases.

Audiocasts: BSD Now, Ubuntu Podcast, and This Week in Linux

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Linux
Interviews
BSD
Ubuntu
  • Graphical Interface-View | BSD Now 283

    We’re at FOSDEM 2019 this week having fun. We’d never leave you in a lurch, so we have recorded an interview with Niclas Zeising of the FreeBSD graphics team for you. Enjoy.

  • Ubuntu Podcast S11E99 – Listener Get Together

    We’re having a Get Together in Reading, UK on Saturday March 16th 2019. The exact venue is not decided yet, but will be in Reading town centre.

    We’d like to gauge how many people might come, so please sign in and mark yourself as wanting to come.

  • WINE 4.0, LXQt 0.14, Parrot OS, Mastodon, MythTV, Gitea, APT Vulnerability | This Week in Linux 52

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got some big new releases from the WINE project, LXQt, Parrot OS, Mastodon, MythTV, Gitea, and many more! We’ll also check out a security issue regarding the APT package manager and a potential blunder coming to Chromium based browsers. Then we’ll cover a new really cool utility to control GPU Overclocking on Linux. Later in the show, we’ll check out some new Linux Hardware and some Linux Gaming news. All that and much more!

OPNsense 19.1 released

Filed under
Security
BSD

For more than four years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

The 19.1 release, nicknamed "Inspiring Iguana", consists of a total of 620 individual changes since 18.7 came out 6 months ago, spread out over12 intermediate releases including the recent release candidates. That is the average of 2 stable releases per month, security updates and important bug fixes included! If we had to pick a few highlights it would be: The firewall alias API is finally in place. The migration to HardenedBSD 11.2 has been completed. 2FA now works with a remote LDAP / local TOTP
combination. And the OpenVPN client export was rewritten for full API support as well.

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Fresh Linux vs. BSD CPU/System Benchmark Results Across Five Operating Systems

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
BSD

With carrying out the ZFS/HAMMER2 vs. Linux ZoL and other file-system benchmarks this weekend, while having those clean installs of each operating system under test, I also took the opportunity to run some other non-storage benchmarks.

This is just a brief comparison for your weekend enjoyment of some extra CPU/system focused benchmarks on TrueOS Unstable tracking FreeBSD 13.0-CURRENT, FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.1, Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo in its current development state, and the latest release of the rolling Clear Linux.

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Also: Phoronix Test Suite 8.6 M3 Released With More Benchmark Analytics From The CLI

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today's leftovers

Software: 14 Excellent Free Plotting Tools and Texinfo 6.6

  • 14 Excellent Free Plotting Tools
    A plotting tool is computer software which helps to analyze and visualize data, often of a scientific nature. Using this type of software, users can generate plots of functions, data and data fits. Software of this nature typically includes additional functionality, such as data analysis functions including curve fitting. A good plotting tool is very important for generating professional looking graphics for inclusion in academic papers. However, plotting tools are not just useful for academics, engineers, and scientists. Many users will need to plot graphs for other purposes such as presentations. Fortunately, Linux is well endowed with plotting software. There are some heavyweight commercial Linux applications which include plotting functionality. These include MATLAB, Maple, and Mathematica. Without access to their source code, you have limited understanding of how the software functions, and how to change it. The license costs are also very expensive. And we are fervent advocates of open source software. The purpose of this article is to help promote open source plotting tools that are available. To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 14 excellent plotting tools. Many of the applications are very mature. For example, gnuplot has been in development since the mid-1980s. The choice of plotting software may depend on which programming language you prefer. For example, if your leaning towards Python, matplotlib is an ideal candidate as it’s written in, and designed specifically for Python. Whereas, if you’re keen on the R programming language, you’ll probably prefer ggplot2, which is one of the most popular R packages. With good reason, it offers a powerful model of graphics that removes a lot of the difficulty in making complex multi-players graphics. R does come with “base graphics” which are the traditional plotting functions distributed with R. But gpplot2 takes graphics to the next level.
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  • [GNU] Texinfo 6.6 released
    We have released version 6.6 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

Bare-Metal Kubernetes Servers and SUSE Servers

  • The Rise of Bare-Metal Kubernetes Servers
    While most instances of Kubernetes today are deployed on virtual machines running in the cloud or on-premises, there is a growing number of instances of Kubernetes being deployed on bare-metal servers. The two primary reasons for opting to deploy Kubernetes on a bare- metal server over a virtual machine usually are performance and reliance on hardware accelerators. In the first instance, an application deployed at the network edge might be too latency-sensitive to tolerate the overhead created by a virtual machine. AT&T, for example, is working with Mirantis to deploy Kubernetes on bare-metal servers to drive 5G wireless networking services.
  • If companies can run SAP on Linux, they can run any application on it: Ronald de Jong
    "We have had multiple situations with respect to security breaches in the last couple of years, albeit all the open source companies worked together to address the instances. As the source code is freely available even if something goes wrong, SUSE work closely with open source software vendors to mitigate the risk", Ronald de Jong, President of -Sales, SUSE said in an interview with ET CIO.
  • SUSE Public Cloud Image Life-cycle
    It has been a while since we published the original image life-cycle guidelines SUSE Image Life Cycle for Public Cloud Deployments. Much has been learned since, technology has progressed, and the life-cycle of products has changed. Therefore, it is time to refresh things, update our guidance, and clarify items that have led to questions over the years. This new document serves as the guideline going forward starting February 15th, 2019 and supersedes the original guideline. Any images with a date stamp later than v20190215 fall under the new guideline. The same basic principal as in the original guideline applies, the image life-cycle is aligned with the product life-cycle of the product in the image. Meaning a SLES image generally aligns with the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server life-cycle and a SUSE Manager image generally aligns with the SUSE Manager life-cycle.

Steam's Slipping Grip and Release of Wine-Staging 4.2

  • Steam's iron grip on PC gaming is probably over even if the Epic Games Store fails
     

    It doesn’t matter though. Whether Epic succeeds or not, Steam has already lost. The days of Valve’s de facto monopoly are over, and all that matters is what comes next.

  • Wine-Staging 4.2 Released - Now Less Than 800 Patches Atop Upstream Wine
    Wine 4.2 debuted on Friday and now the latest Wine-Staging release is available that continues carrying hundreds of extra patches re-based atop upstream Wine to provide various experimental/testing fixes and other feature additions not yet ready for mainline Wine.  Wine-Staging for a while has been carrying above 800 patches and at times even above 900, but with Wine-Staging 4.2 they have now managed to strike below the 800 patch level. It's not that they are dropping patches, but a lot of the Wine-Staging work has now been deemed ready for mainline and thus merged to the upstream code-base. A number of patches around the Windows Codecs, NTDLL, BCrypt, WineD3D, and other patches have been mainlined thus now coming in at a 798 patch delta.