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UK's National Cyber Security Centre Give Advice on Securing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

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Dubbed Bionic Beaver, the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system was launched in April 2018 as the latest release of Canonical's popular Ubuntu Linux OS, and it's a long-term support release that will receive security and software updates for the next five years, until April 2023. The Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS point release is also available for download and includes all the latest security updates.

Being based on the Linux kernel, Ubuntu is already a secure computer operating system compared to Windows or macOS, but if you're living in the UK (United Kingdom) and you need to configure your Ubuntu 18.04 LTS installations for maximum security, the National Cyber Security Centre tells you how.

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Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

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  • Free software log (June 2018)

    Well, this is embarassingly late, but not a full month late. That's what counts, right?

    It's quite late partly because I haven't had the right combination of time and energy to do much free software work since the beginning of June. I did get a couple of releases out then, though. wallet 1.4 incorporated better Active Directory support and fixed a bunch of build system and configuration issues. And rra-c-util 7.2 includes a bunch of fixes to M4 macros and cleans up some test issues.

  • The State of Gaming On Debian In 2018

    Happening now in Hsinchu, Taiwan is Debian's DebConf 18. Of the many interesting talks at this multi-day event is X11 veteran Keith Packard talking about gaming on Debian.

    Keith Packard talked on Monday about Debian gaming, the state of the open-source graphics drivers, his recent work on improving the Linux stack for Steam VR / VR HMDs, work being done to help reduce micro-stuttering, the state of these components in Debian unstable, and other related topics.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 538
  • GCHQ subsidiary publishes Ubuntu 18.04 security guide

    The National Cyber Security Centre, a department of the UK spy agency, GCHQ, has published a new security guidance document for Ubuntu 18.04 which can help administrators set up and Ubuntu systems securely. The recommendations provided are in accordance with the NCSC’s best security practices and are intended for the public and private sectors who want to set up new systems, home users can also learn from it.

  • NCSC Publishes Full Guideline Documentation on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Security Configuring

    Just recently, the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) in the UK published an advisory on configuring the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in accordance with their security best practices. The NCSC generally publishes many similar guidelines for a variety of devices and internet topics, including Multi Factor authentication, and security reviews of various platforms such as Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365.

How to upgrade from Ubuntu Linux 16.04 to 18.04

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When Canonical's Ubuntu Linux 18.04 arrived, this outstanding Linux distribution had only one little problem: You couldn't directly jump from the last Long Term Support (LTS) version, Ubuntu 16.04, to the latest version. Now, with the release of the first point Ubuntu 18.04 update, Ubuntu 18.04.1, you can finally do it easily.

Of course, you could always update from one version of Ubuntu to the other. You just had to have your home directory on another partition or drive. Since most people don't bother with that, upgrading was a chore.

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Ubuntu 18.04 -- MATE and Budgie editions

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The Budgie desktop, at least in Ubuntu, is a curious thing. On one hand it appears to cater to relative novices to Linux with all the emphasis on install help in the beginning. On the other, there's quite a reliance on keyboard shortcuts. Despite MATE upping its game with the various layout options in tweak tool, Budgie appears more modern, stylish and has kept the focus on on-line integration of the GNOME Shell. With the Raven side-panel on the right it reminds me of early mock-ups of GNOME 3 which featured a side panel with notifications, a calendar and all sorts of options.

The Budgie edition appeared more solid for everyday use. I did not experience the crashes or weird behaviour of panel applets that had plagued the MATE desktop, probably induced by frequent layout changes. The Budgie edition also did not throw as many unexpected error messages at me and hibernate worked.

Budgie also suffered from the delayed shutdown of systemd jobs but not as frequently as the MATE edition. It has been suggested this is due to the operating system not being able to find swap or a missing swap partition. I cannot confirm this. I completed both installations the same way as a custom setup and while the hibernate option was available in Budgie it was not in the installed MATE edition. Hibernate and resume from swap worked in Budgie but still stop job delays occurred here as well. This was mostly the case after running for longer periods of time under heavy load and when the laptop had been running hot, through multimedia use or with browser tabs like Google Drive or Google Docs open which alone topped 225MB use of RAM. Power and CPU usage were about equal for given tasks, but Budgie consumed far more memory from the start.

As to the choice of desktop, you will know your preferences. Budgie seems more integrated and, with that, more stable at the moment and overall this edition made a better impression. It also presents a lot of options under the hood of which I could only scratch the surface for this review. I for my part am not going to keep any release of Bionic Beaver around for long although I like both desktops. It is just too buggy and running too hot to be used as a long-term stable operating system.

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Also: National Cyber Security Centre publish Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Security Guide

50 Best Ubuntu Apps You Should Be Using Right Now

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A comprehensive list of more than 50 essential Ubuntu applications that would surely help improve your Ubuntu experience.
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Ubuntu: Dell XPS 13, Kata Containers and Ubuntu 18.04.1

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  • Ubuntu 18.04 now available for pre-install on Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

    If you’re in the market for a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition notebook, you can now order it with Ubuntu 18.04 pre-installed. The option is currently only available in the U.S. but Europeans will be able to get it pre-installed in early August. It’s notable for Canonical, the firm that makes Ubuntu, because it signals the first availability of the new release on a major OEM’s hardware since the April launch.

  • Dell XPS 13 Now Shipping With Brand New Version Of Ubuntu Linux
  • Dell XPS13 Developer Edition ships with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS pre-installed

    Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop is now available in the US on with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) pre-installed, with European availability expected in early August. The launch signals the first availability of Ubuntu’s latest LTS on a major OEM’s hardware since its release in April. Canonical and Dell have worked together to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the XPS 13 to ensure a seamless experience from first use.

    The new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is available in the US with ten configurations featuring up to 1TB SSD, up to 16GB RAM and the latest 8th generation Intel Quad Core processors. The XPS 13 Developer Edition provides impressive power for a range of applications whether for use in enterprise, at home or by developers. All configurations feature the world’s first InfinityEdge 13.3” near borderless display housed in a sleek silver magnesium body, which is the smallest in its class. Display options are available in either Full HD or Ultra HD resolutions with the option of touch on the latter.

  • Kata Containers – now available in the Snap Store

    Kata Containers is now available as a Snap and to install from the Snap Store. Kata Containers is a lightweight, fast to boot, virtual machine (VM) designed to provide the speed of containers and the isolation of VMs. Inside the VMs, the processes run on kernel namespaces, whereas on the host the virtual machine utilises the hardware-enforced isolation provided by the CPU.

  • Ubuntu 18.04.1 Released: Download The First Bionic Beaver Point Release Here

    In case you were waiting for the first point release of Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver, it’s time to go ahead and grab that upgrade. In my own experience, many conservative Ubuntu Linux users tend to wait for the first point releases as they are more stable as compared to the initial ones.

Future Lubuntu Releases Won't Focus on Old PCs, Will Offer a Modular Linux OS

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From the moment it was created eight years ago, Lubuntu was always known as the official Ubuntu flavor targeted at users of "old computers from 10 years ago," mainly because it shipped with the very lightweight and less resource-hungry LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) as default user interface a.k.a desktop environment and corresponding apps.

It never was a bloated operating system and will never be, but since 32-bit computers are going away and are very hard to find these days, the development team decided that it's time to shift the main target of Lubuntu from old PCs to modern, yet functional and modular GNU/Linux distribution that won't stand in your way.

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You Can Now Install Kata Containers VM as a Snap on Ubuntu, Other Linux Distros

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Canonical and the Kata Containers project announced today the availability of open-source, lightweight and fast Kata Container virtual machines in the Snap Store.

Recently launched, the Kata Containers project combines technologies from the Intel Clear Containers and Hyper runV to provide the Open Source community with extremely lightweight and super fast booting virtual machines that have been designed with the speed of Linux containers and the security offered by virtual machines to seamlessly plug into the containers ecosystem.

Kata Containers consists of six components, including a kernel, the well-known QEMU virtualization software, as well as a runtime, an agent, a proxy, and a shim. Thanks to its agnostic architecture, Kata Containers virtual machines can run on multiple hypervisors and architectures, including 64-bit, PowerPC64, and ARM64, and are compatible with both the CRI specification of Kubernetes and OCI specification of Docker containers.

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A Look at Pop!_OS 18.04, Xubuntu 18.04.1 Released

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  • Pop!_OS 18.04: the state of the art in GNU/Linux on desktop

    The genius of the System76 team was in realising that all the components for a usable, convenient, and delightful GNU/Linux desktop experience are already here, they’re just not tastefully curated. They took the best bits of the Linux ecosystem, added some of their own special sauce, and ended up creating a minimal, coherent, consistent and – at times – delightful experience.

    Take note, because this is a inflection point in desktop Linux.

    If you had asked me a few years ago, these are not words I thought I would ever be using to describe a Linux distribution. And they’re not just words. I recently switched my main development machine from a Macbook to a notebook running Pop!_OS after falling in love with it in a virtual machine.

  • Xubuntu: 18.04.1 Released

    The first point release for 18.04 Bionic Beaver has now been released.

    As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Now Available with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Pre-Installed

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The Dell XPS 13 is a powerful and premium laptop featuring 8th generation Intel Quad Core processors, up to 16GB RAM, and up to 1TB SSD storage. It also features the world's first InfinityEdge 13.3-inch near bezel-less display with either Full HD or Ultra HD and touchscreen on the UHD option, as well as a sleek magnesium body with a silver finish. And now, you can purchase it in the United States with Canonical's latest and long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system.

"We are delighted to have worked in close partnership with Dell for the launch of their latest XPS 13 Developer Edition pre-installed with our newest LTS release. Dell’s superior hardware combined with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS provides an excellent, reliable experience straight out of the box. Building on our longstanding relationship with Dell over the last six years, we look forward to seeing 18.04 LTS roll out on further models in the coming months," comments Will Cooke, Desktop Engineering Director, Canonical.

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Also: Dell XPS 13 (9370) Developer Edition finally available with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS

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More in Tux Machines

Security: Updates, US Demand for Back Doors, and Microsoft's Collusion with the NSA Keeps Serving Crackers

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • State Department Still Sucks At Basic Cybersecurity And Senators Want To Know Why
    The senators are hoping the State Department will have answers to a handful of cybersecurity-related questions by October 12th, but given the agency's progress to compliance with a law that's been on the book for two years at this point, I wouldn't expect responses to be delivered in a timelier fashion. The agency's track record on security isn't great and these recent developments only further cement its reputation as a government ripe for exploitation. The agency's asset-tracking program only tracks Windows devices, its employees are routinely careless with their handling of classified info, and, lest we forget, its former boss ran her own email server, rather than use the agency's. Of course, given this long list of security failures, there's a good possibility an off-site server had more baked-in security than the agency's homebrew.
  • EternalBlue Vulnerability Puts Pirated Windows Systems at Malware Risk [Ed: Microsoft's collusion with the NSA (for US-controlled back doors) continues to cost billions... paid by people who foolishly chose or accepted PCs with Windows.]
    A particular vulnerability that has been codenamed EternalBlue is to be blamed for this misfortune. The malware risk especially affects computers which use pirated Windows versions. This gap in security has its traces back in the legacies of US secret service NSA. Even after several years, many systems continue to be vulnerable. For more than three years, US intelligence was using it for performing hidden attacks on all kinds of targets. The agency finally had to leak the vulnerability to Microsoft due to the danger of hacking by a famous hacker group, Shadow Brokers. Microsoft then consequently had to abandon a patch day for the very first time in the company’s history for filling in the gap as quickly as possible.

today's howtos

Moving Compiler Dependency Checks to Kconfig

One reason became clear recently when Linus Torvalds asked developers to add an entirely new system of dependency checks to the Kconfig language, specifically testing the capabilities of the GCC compiler. It's actually an important issue. The Linux kernel wants to support as many versions of GCC as possible—so long as doing so would not require too much insanity in the kernel code itself—but different versions of GCC support different features. The GCC developers always are tweaking and adjusting, and GCC releases also sometimes have bugs that need to be worked around. Some Linux kernel features can only be built using one version of the compiler or another. And, some features build better or faster if they can take advantage of various GCC features that exist only in certain versions. Up until this year, the kernel build system has had to check all those compiler features by hand, using many hacky methods. The art of probing a tool to find out if it supports a given feature dates back decades and is filled with insanity. Imagine giving a command that you know will fail, but giving it anyway because the specific manner of failure will tell you what you need to know for a future command to work. Now imagine hundreds of hacks like that in the Linux kernel build system. Read more

Fedora be pretty - The ultimate customization guide

I am quite pleased with the final result of this transformation. But it also requires a lot of non-standard changes, which is a shame, because none of what I did, subjective taste elements aside, is super complicated. Imagine a Fedora, or for that any which distro, that has everything really nicely tailored for max. efficiency, ergonomics, productivity, and fun. My journey encompasses the use of third-party repos, extra software, Gnome Tweak Tool, about a dozen extensions, new themes, icons, and fonts, the use of a dock, plus some extra visual polish. In the end, though, Fedora 28 looks and behaves the part. This is something I could happily show to other people, and I am convinced they would be inclined to try it. Well, there you go. The guide. Hopefully, you'll find it useful, and perhaps it may even hype up your enthusiasm for Linux. In these dreary times, an injection of fanboyese is quite needed. Take care. Read more