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MINIX's creator would have liked to know Intel was using it

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OS

When Andrew S. Tanenbaum created the educational, open-source operating system MINIX, he did it to teach operating system principles to his students at Amsterdam's Vrije Universiteit and to readers of his classic textbook, Operating Systems Design and Implementation. MINIX would become Linux's forefather. Tanenbaum knew that. What Tanenbaum didn't know was Intel would take MINIX and embed it within its CPUs for almost a decade.

As Tanenbaum wrote in an open letter: "Thanks for putting a version of MINIX inside the ME-11 management engine chip used on almost all recent desktop and laptop computers in the world. I guess that makes MINIX the most widely used computer operating system in the world, even more than Windows, Linux, or MacOS. And I didn't even know until I read a press report about it."

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Ethical Hacking OS Parrot Security 3.9 Officially Out, Parrot 4.0 In the Works

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OS
Security

Just a minor improvement to the Parrot Security 3.x series of the Linux-based operating system used by security researchers for various pentesting and ethical hacking tasks, Parrot Security OS 3.9 is here with all the latest security patches and bug fixes released upstream in the Debian GNU/Linux repositories.

But it also looks like it ships with some important new features that promise to make the ethical hacking computer operating system more secure and reliable. One of these is a new sandbox system based on the Firejail SUID program and designed to add an extra layer of protection to many apps, protecting users from 0day attacks.

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MINIX: ​Intel's hidden in-chip operating system

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OS
Hardware
Security

Why? Let's start with what. Matthew Garrett, the well-known Linux and security developer who works for Google, explained recently that, "Intel chipsets for some years have included a Management Engine [ME], a small microprocessor that runs independently of the main CPU and operating system. Various pieces of software run on the ME, ranging from code to handle media DRM to an implementation of a TPM. AMT [Active Management Technology] is another piece of software running on the ME."

In May, we found out that AMT had a major security flaw, which had been in there for nine -- count 'em -- nine years.

"Fixing this requires a system firmware update in order to provide new ME firmware (including an updated copy of the AMT code)," Garrett wrote. "Many of the affected machines are no longer receiving firmware updates from their manufacturers, and so will probably never get a fix," he said. "Anyone who ever enables AMT on one of these devices will be vulnerable."

[...]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called for Intel to provide a way for users to disable ME. Russian researchers have found a way to disable ME after the hardware has initialized, and the main processor has started. That doesn't really help much. ME is already running by then.

But Minnich found that what's going on within the chip is even more troubling. At a presentation at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, he reported that systems using Intel chips that have AMT, are running MINIX.

If you learned about operating systems in the late '80s and early '90s, you knew MINIX as Andrew S Tanenbaum's educational Unix-like operating system. It was used to teach operating system principles. Today, it's best known as the OS that inspired Linus Torvalds to create Linux.

So, what's it doing in Intel chips? A lot. These processors are running a closed-source variation of the open-source MINIX 3. We don't know exactly what version or how it's been modified since we don't have the source code.

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ElectOS uses open source to restore trust in voting machines

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OS
OSS

When people doubt that an election will be conducted fairly, their trust in the outcome and their leaders naturally erodes. That’s the challenge posed by electronic voting machines. Technology holds the promise of letting people vote more easily and remotely. But, they’re also prone to hacking and manipulation. How can trust be restored in voting machines and election results?

Voting demands the ultimate IoT machine (to borrow a line from BMW). The integrity of these machines with their combination of sensors, security and data analysis produce the results that impact every aspect of all our lives.

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PinguyOS Tosses Everything at the Desktop

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OS

For the longest time, naysayers were fairly intent on shutting down anyone who believed the Linux desktop would eventually make serious headway in the market. Although Linux has yet to breach 5 percent of that market, it continues to claw its way up. And with the help of very modern, highly efficient, user-friendly environments, like PinguyOS, it could make even more headway.

If you’ve never heard of PinguyOS, you’re in for a treat — especially if you’re new to Linux. PinguyOS is a Linux distribution, created by Antoni Norman, that is based on Ubuntu. The intention of PinguyOS is to look good, work well, and — most importantly — be easy to use. For the most part, the developers have succeeded with aplomb. It’s not perfect, but the PinguyOS desktop is certainly one that could make migrating to Linux a fairly easy feat for new users.

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RaspArch OS That Lets You Run Arch Linux on Your Raspberry Pi 3 Gets an Update

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OS
Linux

It's been almost a year since RaspArch OS received an update, and the latest build (171102) brings support for installing the Arch Linux-based GNU/Linux distribution on your Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer from a Windows machine, using the win32 disk imager utility.

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Happy birthday ROS: A decade of open-source robotics

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OS
OSS

It all started ten years ago. ROS grew out of several early open-source robotic software frameworks, including switchyard by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The same year, legendary research lab and technology incubator Willow Garage hired its first employees: Jonathan Stark, Melonee Wise, Curt Meyers, and John Hsu. You can point to a lot of seminal moments in robotics history, but this is a top contender for the year modern robotics was born.

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OS: OpenIndiana and ROS

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OS
  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released With MATE 1.18 Desktop

    OpenIndiana "Hipster" 2017.10 is now available as the OpenSolaris-derived operating system using the Illumos kernel build.

    OpenIndiana 2017.10 pulls in the MATE 1.18 desktop environment, upgrades to the X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, their text-based installer can now support installing to an existing ZFS pool, the cluster suite was updated, there is ABI compatibility with Solaris 10 Update 10 binaries, and they have begun removing GNOME 2 packages in favor of MATE.

  • The Origin Story of ROS, the Linux of Robotics

    Ten years ago, while struggling to bring the vision of the “Linux of Robotics” to reality, I was inspired by the origin stories of other transformative endeavors. In this post I want to share some untold parts of the early story of the Robot Operating System, or ROS, to hopefully inspire those of you currently pursuing your “crazy” ideas.

OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released with Latest X.Org Server, MATE 1.18 Desktop

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OS

The latest release, OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 arrived today with numerous changes and up-to-date components, including the latest X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server and corresponding libraries and drivers, ABI compatibility for using Solaris 10u10 binaries, as well as updated cluster suite and text installer.

"Text installer now can perform basic OpenIndiana installation to existing ZFS pool," reads today's announcement. "The option is considered advanced and should be used with care, but allows you to install minimal OI system to existing pool. To use it, press F5 on 'Welcome' screen."

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Solus 4 Linux OS to Bring Back Wayland Support, MATE Edition Will Get Some Love

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OS

First off, it looks like the Solus devs plan to re-implement support for the next-generation Wayland display server in their GNU/Linux distribution, though the ISO images will come with the 2D X.Org graphics driver enabled by default and use open source drivers for Nvidia GPUs as they want to further improve Nvidia Optimus.

"We're working to improve the NVIDIA situation and investigating a switch to libglvnd, enabling of wayland-egl/eglstreams, etc.," reads today's announcement. "We've moved back to open drivers to allow Ikey to further research NVIDIA Optimus. [...] We have no timeline on this but we're actively looking into it!"

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today's howtos

GNOME Development and Events

  • Dependencies with code generators got a lot smoother with Meson 0.46.0
    Most dependencies are libraries. Almost all build systems can find dependency libraries from the system using e.g. pkg-config. Some can build dependencies from source. Some, like Meson, can do both and toggle between them transparently. Library dependencies might not be a fully solved problem but we as a community have a fairly good grasp on how to make them work. However there are some dependencies where this is not enough. A fairly common case is to have a dependency that has some sort of a source code generator. Examples of this include Protocol Buffers, Qt's moc and glib-mkenums and other tools that come with Glib. The common solution is to look up these binaries from PATH. This works for dependencies that are already installed on the system but fails quite badly when the dependencies are built as subprojects. Bootstrapping is also a bit trickier because you may need to write custom code in the project that provides the executables.
  • Expanding Amtk to support GUIs with headerbar
    I initially created the Amtk library to still be able to conveniently create a traditional UI without using deprecated GTK+ APIs, for GNOME LaTeX. But when working on Devhelp (which has a modern UI with a GtkHeaderBar) I noticed that some pieces of information were duplicated in order to create the menus and the GtkShortcutsWindow.
  • GLib/GIO async operations and Rust futures + async/await
    Unfortunately I was not able to attend the Rust+GNOME hackfest in Madrid last week, but I could at least spend some of my work time at Centricular on implementing one of the things I wanted to work on during the hackfest. The other one, more closely related to the gnome-class work, will be the topic of a future blog post once I actually have something to show.
  • Introducing Chafa
  • Infra Hackfest
  • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 3 (conclusion)
    I'm back home now, jetlagged but very happy that gnome-class is in a much more advanced a state than it was before the hackfest. I'm very thankful that practically everyone worked on it!
  • GNOME loves Rust Hackfest in Madrid
    The last week was the GNOME loves Rust hackfest in Madrid. I was there, only for the first two days, but was a great experience to meet the people working with Rust in GNOME a great community with a lot of talented people.
  • GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 Now Works With Elogind, Allows For Wayland On Non-Systemd Distros
    GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 has been released as the first development snapshot of this window manager / compositor in the trek towards GNOME 3.30. Mutter 3.29.1 overshot the GNOME 3.29.1 release by one week, but for being a first development release of a new cycle has some pretty interesting changes. Among the work found in Mutter 3.29.1 includes: - Mutter can now be built with elogind. That is the systemd-logind as its own standalone package. This in turn allows using Mutter with its native Wayland back-end on Linux distributions using init systems besides systemd.

KDE: Plasma Widgets, PIM Update and More

  • 3 Students Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018
    Since 2006, we have had the opportunity for Google to sponsor students to help out with Krita. For 2018 we have 3 talented students working over the summer. Over the next few months they will be getting more familiar with the Krita code base and working on their projects. They will be blogging about their experience and what they are learning along the way. We will be sure to share any progress or information along the way. Here is a summary of their projects and what they hope to achieve.
  • Plasma widgets – Beltway Bandit Unlimited
    The concept of addons is an interesting one. At some point over the past decade or two, companies developing (successful) software realized that bundling an ever-growing code base into their products in order to meet the spiraling tower of requests from their users would result in unsustainable bloat and complexity that would not warrant the new functionality. And so, the idea of addons was born. Addons come in many flavors – extensions, plugins, applets, scripts, and of course, widgets. A large number of popular programs have incorporated them, and when done with style, the extra functionality becomes as important as the core application itself. Examples that come to mind: Firefox, Notepad++, VLC, Blender. And then, there’s the Plasma desktop environment. Since inception, KDE has prided itself on offering complete solutions, and the last incarnation of its UI framework is no different. Which begs the question, what, how and why would anyone need Plasma widgets? We explore. [...] Conclusion A good mean needs no seasoning, indeed. And Plasma is a proof of that, with the widgets the best example. Remarkably, this desktop environment manages to juggle the million different usage needs and create a balanced compromise that offers pretty much everything without over-simplifying the usage in any particular category. It’s a really amazing achievement, because normally, the sum of all requests is a boring, useless muddle. Plasma’s default showing is rich, layered, complex yet accessible, and consistent. And that means it does not really need any widgets. This shows. The extras are largely redundant, with some brilliant occasional usage models here and there, but nothing drastic or critical that you don’t get out of the box. This makes Plasma different from most other addons-blessed frameworks, as they do significantly benefit from the extras, and in some cases, the extensions and plugins are critical in supplementing the missing basics. And so, if you wonder, whether you’ll embark on a wonderful journey of discovery and fun with Plasma widgets, the answer is no. Plasma offers 99% of everything you may need right there, and the extras are more to keep people busy rather than give you anything cardinal. After all, if it’s missing, it should be an integral part of the desktop environment, and the KDE folks know this. So if you’re disappointed with this article, don’t be. It means the baseline is solid, and that’s where you journey of wonders and adventure should and will be focused. 
  • My KDE PIM Update
    This blog post is long overdue, but now that I’m back home from the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse, which took place last weekend, there’s some more news to report.
  • KDAB at QtDay 2018
    QtDay is the yearly Italian conference about Qt and Qt-related technologies. Its 2018 edition (the seventh so far!) will be once more in the beautiful city of Florence, on May 23 and 24. And, once more, KDAB will be there.
  • Google Summer of Code 2018 with KDE
    It’s been 2 days since the GSoC accepted student list was announced and I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about the moment I saw my name on the website. I started contributing to open source after attending a GSoC session in our college by one of our senior and a previous GSoC student with KDE: Aroonav Mishra. I was very inspired by the program and that defined the turning point of my life. [...] Then I came across GCompris and it caught my eye. I started contributing to it and the mentors are really very helpful and supportive. They always guided me whenever I needed any help  or was stuck at anything. Under their guidance, I learnt many things during the period of my contributions. I had never thought I would get this far.

GNU/Linux Distributions