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Debian

Debian Package Analysis and More

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Debian

Init system support in Debian

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Debian

The "systemd question" has roiled Debian multiple times over the years, but things had mostly been quiet on that front of late. The Devuan distribution is a Debian derivative that has removed systemd; many of the vocal anti-systemd Debian developers have switched, which helps reduce the friction on the Debian mailing lists. But that seems to have led to support for init system alternatives (and System V init in particular) to bitrot in Debian. There are signs that a bit of reconciliation between Debian and Devuan will help fix that problem.

The Devuan split was acrimonious, much like the systemd "debate" that preceded it. Many bits were expended in describing the new distribution as a waste of time (or worse), while the loudest Devuan proponents declared that systemd would cause the end of Debian and Linux as a whole. Over time, that acrimony has mostly been reduced to random potshots (on both sides); there is clearly no love lost between the pro and anti sides (whether those apply to systemd, Devuan, or both). Some recent developments have shown that perhaps a bit of thawing in relations is underway—that can only be a good thing for both sides and the community as a whole.

Holger Levsen alerted the debian-devel mailing list that the Debian "Buster" (i.e. Debian 10) release was in danger of shipping with only partial support for running without systemd. The problem is that two packages needed for running with System V init (sysvinit-core and systemd-shim) are not really being maintained. The shim is completely unmaintained and sysvinit-core has been languishing even though it has two maintainers listed.

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Debian Developers

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Debian
  • Neil McGovern: GNOME ED update – October

    As per usual, our main focus has been on the hiring of new staff members for the Foundation. We’ve completed a few second interviews and a couple of first interviews. We’re aiming to start making offers around the end of November. If you have put in an application, and haven’t heard back in a while, please don’t worry! It’s simply due to a large number of people who’ve applied and the very manual way we’ve had to process these. Everyone should hear back.

    We’ve also had some interesting times with our banking. The short version is, we’ve moved banks to another provider. This has taken quite a bit of work, but hopefully, this should be settling down now.

  • New and improved Frikanalen Kodi addon version 0.0.3

    If you read my blog regularly, you probably know I am involved in running and developing the Norwegian TV channel Frikanalen. It is an open channel, allowing everyone in Norway to publish videos on a TV channel with national coverage. You can think of it as Youtube for national television. In addition to distribution on RiksTV and Uninett, Frikanalen is also available as a Kodi addon. The last few days I have updated the code to add more features. A new and improved version 0.0.3 Frikanalen addon was just made available via the Kodi repositories. This new version include a option to browse videos by category, as well as free text search in the video archive. It will now also show the video duration in the video lists, which were missing earlier. A new and experimental link to the HD video stream currently being worked on is provided, for those that want to see what the CasparCG output look like. The alternative is the SD video stream, generated using MLT. CasparCG is controlled by our mltplayout server which instead of talking to mlt is giving PLAY instructions to the CasparCG server when it is time to start a new program.

  • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (September and October 2018)

    The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

    Joseph Herlant (aerostitch)
    Aurélien Couderc (coucouf)
    Dylan Aïssi (daissi)
    Kunal Mehta (legoktm)
    Ming-ting Yao Wei (mwei)
    Nicolas Braud-Santoni (nicoo)
    Pierre-Elliott Bécue (peb)
    Stephen Gelman (ssgelm)
    Daniel Echeverry (epsilon)
    Dmitry Bogatov (kaction)

    The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

    Sagar Ippalpalli
    Kurt Kremitzki
    Michal Arbet
    Daniel Pocock
    Peter Wienemann
    Alexis Bienvenüe
    Gard Spreemann

    Congratulations!

Intel and Debian Work Politics

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Debian
  • Now Intel signs up to open-source code of conduct after Torvalds' Linux hiatus

    Intel's open-source projects have now committed to the widely-adopted Contributor Covenant, a code of conduct that was recently taken up by Linux, following Linus Torvalds' brief break to reflect on his insensitive treatment of other kernel developers.

  • Debian Project announces quarterly anti-harassment transparency reports

    Martin Ferrari from the Debian anti-harassment team has announced that they’re going to be releasing transparency reports to the project’s mailing list. The team, which currently consists of Laura Arjona Reina, Martin Ferrari, and Molly de Blanc, is responsible for ensuring that project members abide by the project’s diversity statement and two code of conduct documents (1, 2).

Debian Monthly Reports and Miscellany

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Debian
  • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities October 2018
  • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, October 2018
  • Time for an official MIME type for patches?

    As part of my involvement in the Nikita archive API project, I've been importing a fairly large lump of emails into a test instance of the archive to see how well this would go. I picked a subset of my notmuch email database, all public emails sent to me via @lists.debian.org, giving me a set of around 216 000 emails to import. In the process, I had a look at the various attachments included in these emails, to figure out what to do with attachments, and noticed that one of the most common attachment formats do not have an official MIME type registered with IANA/IETF. The output from diff, ie the input for patch, is on the top 10 list of formats included in these emails. At the moment people seem to use either text/x-patch or text/x-diff, but neither is officially registered. It would be better if one official MIME type were registered and used everywhere.

Debian: Idea for a Debian QA, Salsa Ribbons, and Raphaël Hertzog's LTS Work

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Debian
  • Idea for a Debian QA service: monitoring install size with dependencies

    This is an idea. I don't have the time to work on it myself, but I thought I'd throw it out in case someone else finds it interesting.

    When you install a Debian package, it pulls in its dependencies and recommended packages, and those pull in theirs. For simple cases, this is all fine, but sometimes there's surprises. Installing mutt to a base system pulls in libgpgme, which pulls in gnupg, which pulls in a pinentry package, which can pull in all of GNOME. Or at least people claim that.

  • Chris Lamb: Salsa ribbons

    Salsa is the name of the collaborative development server for Debian GNU/Linux and is the replacement for the now-deprecated Alioth service.

    To make it easier to show the world that you use Salsa, I've created a number of Github-esque ribbons that you can overlay on your projects' sites by copying & pasting the appropriate snippet into your HTML.

  • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, September 2018

Raspberry Pi lookalike offers HDMI 2.0 and optional M.2

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Android
Debian
Ubuntu

Geniatech’s “XPI-S905X” is a new Raspberry Pi pseudo clone with a quad -A53 Amlogic S905X plus 2GB RAM, up to 16GB eMMC, 4K-ready HDMI 2.0, LAN, 4x USB, touch-enabled LVDS, and optional M.2.

Geniatech, which is known for Qualcomm based SBCs such as the Snapdragon 410 based, 96Boards-like Development Board IV and Snapdragon 820E based Development Board 8, has posted specs for a Raspberry Pi form factor board with a quad -A53, Amlogic S905X with 1/6GHz to 2GHz performance. No pricing is available for the XPI-S905X, which appears to be aimed at the OEM market.

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Debian dev forks Redis modules that are under Commons Clause licence

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Debian

Debian GNU/Linux developer Chris Lamb is taking the fight to those pushing the Commons Clause, a non-free licence, by setting up a two-man team to fork modules that add functionality to the in-memory database Redis, after the company that makes Redis put the modules under this licence and started to charge for them. Lamb is the current leader of the project but said he was doing this in a private capacity.

The Commons Clause licence prevents anyone from selling software, something which all licences that qualifiy as open source do not prohibit. It is specifically aimed at companies like Amazon which make use of free and open source software but pay nothing for it.

Lamb told iTWire: "...the short version is that with the recent licensing changes to several Redis Labs modules making them no longer free and open source, GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian and Fedora are no longer able to ship Redis Labs' versions of the affected modules to their users."

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Also: Shutter removed from Debian & Ubuntu

Compact, mainline Linux ready “La Frite” SBC starts at $10

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Android
Linux
Debian
Ubuntu

Now on Kickstarter: Libre Computer’s smaller “La Frite” version of its Le Potato SBC offers a quad -A53, HD-only Amlogic S805X, a Raspberry Pi A+ footprint and GPIO connector, and mainline Linux support.

Libre Computer has gone to Kickstarter to successfully launch a smaller, less powerful follow-up to its Le Potato SBC. The 64 x 55mm La Frite is said to be loosely based on the 65 x 56mm Raspberry Pi Model A+. Unlike the very RPi 3 like Le Potato, which is now available publicly under the name Libre Computer Board (AML-S905X-CC), La Frite (AKA AML-S805X-AC) has a different layout and more real-world ports than the A+, although it offers a similar 40-pin expansion header.

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Debian-Based Raspbian OS Gets Raspberry Pi PoE HAT Support, Latest Updates

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Linux
Debian

Running the long-term supported Linux 4.14.71 kernel, the Raspbian 2018-10-09 release comes with support for Raspberry Pi Foundation's Raspberry Pi PoE (Power over Ethernet) HAT, a small accessory for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ SBC that allows users to power the board via an Ethernet cable.

Raspbian 2018-10-09 also updates the startup wizard by implementing support for assigning keyboard layouts by country, a new option to use the US keyboard layout in preference to country-specific option, the ability to display the computer's IP address on first page, and support for checking for Wi-Fi networks.

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Also: Raspberry Pi's Raspbian OS Updated With New Kernel, Startup Wizard Improvements

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Security: Updates, Best VPNs for GNU/Linux, and Google+ Chaos Again

  • Security updates for Monday
  • Best VPNs for Linux
  • After a Second Data Leak, Google+ Will Shut Down in April Instead of August
    Back in October, a security hole in Google+’s APIs lead Google to announce it was shutting down the service. Now, a second data leak has surfaced, causing the company to move the shutdown up by four months. This new data leak is quite similar to the first one: profile information such as name, email address, age, and occupation was exposed to developers, even for private profiles. It’s estimated that upwards of 52 million users were affected by this leak. The good news is that while the first hole was open for three years, this one was only an issue for six days, from November 7th to the 13th, 2018.

Linux and Linux Foundation Leftovers

  • Initial i.MX8 SoC Support & Development Board Possibly Ready For Linux 4.21
    While the i.MX8 series was announced almost two years ago and the open-source developers working on the enablement for these new NXP SoCs hoped for initial support in Linux 4.17, the Linux 4.21 kernel that will be released in the early months of 2019 is slated to possibly have the first i.MX8 support in the form of the i.MX8MQ and also supporting its development/evaluation board.
  • AeonWave: An Open-Source Audio Engine Akin To Microsoft's XAudio2 / Apple CoreAudio
    An open-source audio initiative that's been in development for years but flying under our radar until its lead developer chimed in is AeonWave, which supports Windows and Linux systems while being inspired by Microsoft XAudio and Apple's CoreAudio.
  • Take Linux Foundation Certification Exams from Anywhere
    2018 has seen a new wave of popularity for the open source community and it has sparked more interest in potential engineers, system administrators, and Linux experts. 2019 is around the corner and now is a good time to look up Linux certification examinations that will enable you to progress in your career. The good news we have for you is that the Linux Foundation has made certification examinations available online so that IT enthusiasts can get certificates in a wide range of open source domains.

Games Leftovers

  • The Linux version of Civilization VI has been updated with cross-platform multiplayer support
    Just in time for the holidays, Linux gamers finally have version parity with other platforms. Expect to be able to spend just one more turn playing with friends on other operating systems.
  • John Romero has announced a free unofficial spiritual successor to The Ultimate DOOM's 4th episode
    John Romero, one of the co-founders of id Software has revealed he's been working on SIGIL, a free megawad for the original 1993 DOOM. [...] These boxes, will contain music from Buckethead, along with a custom song written expressly for SIGIL. A tempting purchase for any big DOOM fan, I especially love the sound of a 16GB 3-1/2-inch floppy disk-themed USB. You have until December 24, 2018 to order one and I imagine stock will go quite quickly.
  • Unvanquished Open-Source Game Sees Its First Alpha Release In Nearly Three Years
    Unvanquished had been easily one of the most promising open-source games several years back with decent in-game visuals/art, a continually improving "Daemon" engine that was a distant mod of ioquake3 while leveraging ETXReaL components and more, and all-around a well-organized, advancing open-source game project. Their monthly alpha releases stopped almost three years ago while today that's changed just ahead of Christmas. The Unvanquished developers announced Unvanquished Alpha 51 today as their first release in two years and eight months after having made fifty monthly alpha releases. While this is the fifty-first alpha, the developers say they should soon be ready for the beta drop.
  • Unvanquished, the free and open source shooter has a huge new release now out
    After being quiet for some time, the Unvanquished team is back and they have quite a lot to show off in the new release of their free and open source shooter. This is their first new release since April 2016, so the amount that's changed is quite striking! Hopefully, this will be the start of regular release once again, since they used to do monthly releases a few years ago and it was fun to watch it grow.
  • Valve adds even more gamepad support to their latest client beta
    Valve are continuing to support as many devices as possible with a new Steam client beta now available. Since there's no gamepad to rule them all, it makes sense for Valve to support as many as they can. Even though I love the Steam Controller, I do understand that it's not going to be a good fit for everyone. Now, Steam will support the PowerA wired/wireless GameCube Style controllers, PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller and the PDP Faceoff Wired Pro Controller to boost their already rather large list of supported devices.
  • The turn-based tactical RPG Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is coming along nicely
    After a few months in Early Access, the tactical RPG Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark has come along nicely and it's quite impressive. It became available on Steam back in August, this was with same-day Linux support as promised from developer 6 Eyes Studio after their successful Kickstarter.
  • Citra, the Nintendo 3DS emulator now has 'Accurate Audio Emulation'
    Citra, the impressive and quickly moving Nintendo 3DS emulator has a new progress report out and it sounds great. They've made some great progress on accurate audio emulation, with their new "LLE (Accurate)" option. They say this has enabled games like Pokémon X / Y, Fire Emblem Fates and Echoes and more to work. There's a downside though, that currently the performance does take quite a hit with it so they're still recommending the "HLE (Fast)" setting for now. They go into quite a lot of detail about how they got here, with plenty of bumps along the way. Most of the work towards this, was done by a single developer who suffered a bit of a burn-out over it.
  • Mindustry, an open source sandbox Tower Defense game that's a little like Factorio
    Available under the GPL, the developer originally made it for the GDL Metal Monstrosity Jam which happened back in 2017 and it ended up winning! Seems the developer didn't stop development after this, as they're currently going through a new major release with regular alpha builds.
  • Have graphical distortions in Unity games with NVIDIA? Here's a workaround
    It seems a lot of Unity games upgrading to later versions of Unity are suffering from graphical distortions on Linux with an NVIDIA GPU. There is a workaround available.

Wine-Staging 4.0-RC1 Released With Just Over 800 Patches On Top Of Wine

Released on Friday was Wine 4.0-RC1 while coming out over the weekend was the Wine-Staging re-base that is carrying still over 800 patches on top of the upstream Wine code-base. Wine-Staging 4.0-RC1 is available with 805 patches over what's found in the "vanilla" Wine code-base. But prior to the Wine 4.0 RC1 milestone there were a fair number of patches that were promoted upstream including ntoskrnl, WindowsCodecs, user32, and DXGI changes. Read more