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Microsoft

DirectX on Linux - what it is/isn't

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Microsoft

First up clarify for the people who jump to insane conclusions:

The DX on Linux is a WSL2 only thing. Microsoft are not any way bringing DX12 to Linux outside of the Windows environment. They are also in no way open sourcing any of the DX12 driver code. They are recompiling the DX12 userspace drivers (from GPU vendors) into Linux shared libraries, and running them on a kernel driver shim that transfers the kernel interface up to the closed source Windows kernel driver. This is in no way useful for having DX12 on Linux baremetal or anywhere other than in a WSL2 environment. It is not useful for Linux gaming.

From my point of view the kernel shim driver doesn't really bring anything to Linux, it's just a tunnel for some binary data between a host windows kernel binary and a guest linux userspace binary. It doesn't enhance the Linux graphics ecosystem in any useful direction, and as such I'm questioning why we'd want this upstream at all.

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Official Statement Regarding Xamarin.Forms rebranding as MAUI

Filed under
KDE
Microsoft

Today May 19, 2020, we were notified by a couple of users at the KDE Maui Project Telegram channel about a name change of a Microsoft product, the UI framework previously known as ‘Xamarin.Forms’ was rebranded as MAUI (Multi-platform App UI ). This name change is unfortunate as there is an existing project called Maui; evidently, we are referring to the Maui Project (https://mauikit.org/). The word “Maui” often capitalized as MAUI in the Maui Project is also an acronym, and it means Multi-Adaptable User Interfaces taking this as consideration; there’s a reasonable cause of confusion between these two frameworks.

As it is the case, both are UI frameworks to create cross-platform applications, which does not help the situation. We created the Maui Project in 2018, announcing it for the first time on June 10 of the same year, as per our calculations, that is two years before Microsoft introduced this change into their product. The Maui Project’s code was initially at GitHub, and it has code commits dating back to April 29, 2018. Currently, the code of MauiKit and the Maui applications lives on KDE Invent.

Even going back as far as checking the registration of the original domain https://maui-project.org which dates back to 2018-05-06 and the current domain (which is under KDE infrastructure) https://mauikit.org which dates back to 2018-09-21, it’s relatively easy to observe that the Maui Project predates this rebranding by Microsoft.

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Also: Microsoft And A KDE Project Spar Over "MAUI"

Proprietary Software With Back Doors

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Microsoft
Security
  • Microsoft Issues Windows 10 ‘Critical’ Update Warning

    Of these, in particular, Microsoft states that nine of the critical vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-1023, CVE-2020-1024, CVE-2020-1056, CVE-2020-1059, CVE-2020-1069, CVE-2020-1096, CVE-2020-1102, CVE-2020-1117, CVE-2020-1153) enabled hackers to remotely activate code on your computer to assume full control. This is the ultimate end game for any Windows 10 attack, so it’s vital you install these fixes as soon as possible.

    Needless to say, such a suggestion will send shivers down the spines of many Windows 10 users. The operating system has been notoriously unreliable for some time and deleting user data, breaking Chrome security and losing user profiles are just some of the recent highlights.

    On the flip side, Microsoft has promised important upgrade changes are coming to Windows 10, while the company is also reprioritizing plans to bring Windows 10X, an all-new platform, to laptop and desktop PCs. So yes, change is needed but it is coming.

  • Ransomware Forces Shutdown of Texas Judiciary Network [iophk: tweets in place of official communications Sad ]

    Texas revealed on Monday that a ransomware attack has forced the shutdown of its judicial branch network, including websites and servers

    [...]

    “The attack began during the overnight hours and was first discovered in the early morning hours on Friday. The attack is unrelated to the courts’ migration to remote hearings amid the coronavirus pandemic,” the notice reads.

  • The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet

    Vinny wanted him to do the work of integrating the other programmer's web injects into their malware, then test the rootkit and maintain it with updates once it launched. Hutchins says he knew instinctively that he should walk away and never communicate with Vinny again. But as Hutchins tells it, Vinny seemed to have been preparing for this conversation, and he laid out an argument: Hutchins had already put in nearly nine months of work. He had already essentially built a banking rootkit that would be sold to customers, whether Hutchins liked it or not.

    Besides, Hutchins was still being paid on commission. If he quit now, he'd get nothing. He'd have taken all the risks, enough to be implicated in the crime, but would receive none of the rewards.

    As angry as he was at having fallen into Vinny's trap, Hutchins admits that he was also persuaded. So he added one more link to the yearslong chain of bad decisions that had defined his teenage life: He agreed to keep ghostwriting Vinny's banking malware.

FOSS Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

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Microsoft

Proprietary Traps and Entrapment by Microsoft

Filed under
Microsoft
Software
Misc
  • SoftMaker Office 2021 Hits Beta, is Free to Download (For Now)

    A beta release of SoftMaker Office 2021 is available to download for free on Windows, macOS and Linux.

    For those unfamiliar with it SoftMaker Office is a paid, closed-source productivity suite created by SoftMaker, a Germany-based software company founded in 1987. The company also produce a free (as in beer) office suite called ‘FreeOffice by SoftMaker’.

    The SoftMaker Office suite boasts ‘seamless compatibility’ with, and indeed native use of, Microsoft Office file formats by default. The suite is comprised of a word processing program, TextMaker 2021, a spreadsheet program, PlanMaker 2021 and a presentation making tool, Presentations 2021.

  • Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

    While Wi-Fi remains standardized, and extremely and reliably compatible among equipment from different makers, no two mesh systems on the market work with each other. An early mesh protocol, 802.11h, wound up being not just insufficient to the task, but entirely ignored by companies as they pursued better results and competitive advantages—and higher prices than for regular Wi-Fi gear.

  • Updatable Ubuntu Server Live Installer [Ed: Nothing says "Ubuntu" like Microsoft GitHub in your INSTALLER! Even if Microsoft is upset to have lost billions on GitHub (and it's still operating at a massive loss), the NSA will be happy. So much control over so many programs and systems worldwide.]
  • VS Code in Ubuntu [Ed: It is not Open Source; see the associate licence and what it is designed to help sell.]

    VS Code, developed by Microsoft, is a cross platform open-source editor...

Windows by the numbers: Windows share shrinks, Linux surges ... wait, Linux?

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft

According to analytics company Net Applications, Windows accounted for 86.9% of global OS share in April, a decline of 2.3 percentage points. That was the largest loss by Windows since November 2017, when Net Applications made major adjustments to its numbers after purging its data of bogus traffic originating from criminals' "bots."

The decline of Windows overall had a ripple effect, causing individual editions, such as Windows 10, to have similarly large losses. When measured as a portion of all Windows, however, the editions' declines, if present at all, were much less significant.

And because operating system share is zero-sum - when one OS goes down, another has to go up - April saw major advances by two non-Microsoft operating systems. Apple's macOS climbed by eight-tenths of a percentage point, reaching 9.8%, its highest mark since March 2019. And Linux - all distributions - shot up by a remarkable 1.5 points to end April at 2.9%, its highest mark since October 2017 (and just before the Net Applications data revamp).

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Microsoft Entrapment, Entryism and More Bad News

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Microsoft
Security
  • And Helm makes 10: Package manager graduates Cloud Native Computing Foundation [Ed: Linux Foundation as Microsoft vehicle]

    According to the project’s announcement blog, Helm started in 2015 as a hackathon project at startup Deis, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2017. Its makers initially aimed at making the deployment of cloud native applications easy for those new to Kubernetes and providing package management at enterprise scale.

  • Python’s migration to GitHub - Request for Project Manager Resumes [Ed: Python 'bought' by Microsoft and Microsoft 'donates' towards the takeover]

    The Python Software Foundation is looking for a Project Manager to assist with CPython’s migration from bugs.python.org to GitHub for issue tracking. CPython's development partially moved to GitHub in February 2017. All other projects within the PSF's organization are hosted on GitHub and are using GitHub issues. CPython is still using Roundup as the issue tracker on https://bugs.python.org (also known as “bpo”). To read more about the rationale behind this migration, read PEP 581.

    Thank you to GitHub for donating financial support so this project can begin.

  • Open-source Android mobile platform Lineage OS hacked

    In another incident of online breach, hackers gained illegal access to the open-source operating system for smartphones Lineage OS. The online intrusion was confirmed by the company. As per the company, the OS was hacked on Saturday last week around 8 pm US Pacific coast. It said that the hack was detected on time and that the attack did no harm to the source code of the operating system. Builds and signing keys too remain intact, it added.

  • Software flaws often first reported on social media networks, researchers find

    At the same time, those vulnerabilities present a cybersecurity opportunity for governments to more closely monitor social media discussions about software gaps, the researchers assert. Their findings were published recently in the journal PLOS One.

    "Some of these software vulnerabilities have been targeted and exploited by adversaries of the United States. We wanted to see how discussions around these vulnerabilities evolved," said lead author Svitlana Volkova, senior research scientist in the Data Sciences and Analytics Group at PNNL. "Social cybersecurity is a huge threat. Being able to measure how different types of vulnerabilities spread across platforms is really needed."

  • 5G Infrastructure Requirements: Supporting Ultra-Low, Deterministic latency [Ed: Proprietary]

    One area that 5G will directly affect is the design and architecture of the Radio Access Network (RAN). Simply put, the RAN is a collection of edge located functions that connect a mobile device to the CSP’s core network. But there is nothing simple about it. The latency requirements and network load of 5G will put a great deal of strain on the RAN, and the traditional ways of deploying RAN equipment are not well suited for the new needs. A new, cloud- based Virtual RAN (vRAN) approach will be required, as enabled by the Wind River Cloud Platform. This solution provides the necessary functionality for 5G; performance, flexibility, and cost-efficiency that isn’t available in existing fixed-function RAN equipment.

I don’t want to be patronized and much less by a software vendor

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

So it happened again: I feel being patronized by a large SW vendor who forces me to automatically run his software on my system after each login. As an open source developer and advocate I hate if I don’t have control over these kind of things and no option to turn them off. Unix know-how to the rescue, though. Read on.

The members of a project I am currently working on to make a living are now widespread over the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. Project management has decided that the communication should happen over a product called skype. It’s not free and open, but hey, come on, I have to make some money somehow so that I can manage it with KMyMoney. Fortunately, I found out that there is a version for Linux and it even works quite well.

Nevertheless, I wondered why it starts after login without me doing anything. OK, this could be the default setting and I started the KDE system settings to turn it off. Not thinking about it further, I started and stopped skype for a few days until there was a kernel update and I had to reboot my system.

After login, I was surprised that skype started automatically. I thought, I had turned it off. Well, unmark that checkbox again in system settings and guess what: it returned without me doing anything except starting and using the application. That ~/.config/autostart/skypeforlinux.desktop file, which is responsible for the autostart, just re-appeared every time one starts skype manually.

Using the search engine of choice, I learned that this is a known problem and cannot be turned off with an option. This is the time, when patronization starts and I get angry.

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Also: 10 Best Video Conferencing Software for Linux in 2020 [Ed: Martins D. Okoi promotes proprietary software malware in a site called "FOSS"]

Micron Outsources SSD Code to Microsoft's Proprietary Trap

Filed under
Hardware
Microsoft
OSS

Replacing Windows 7

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Windows 7 has reached the end of its life. It will no longer receive security updates and Microsoft's technical support will stop. Running an out-of-date OS can have serious potential risks, and if you're using Windows 7 connected to the Internet, you will have a problem. Fortunately, there are two simple solutions.

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More in Tux Machines

Tor and Mozilla/Firefox

  • United Nations Whisteblower Says The Tor Anonymity Network Is Great For Human Rights Work

    US military subsidiaries such as the NSA, who use Tor for open source intelligence gathering, are not the only ones who need a secure traffic analysis resistant anonymity network like Tor. UN human rights lawyer Emma Reilly says it is "great" when working with human rights defenders. [...] We feel for her, she is not the only one who was forced to learn Pascal in her youth. We also feel for all the victims of the UN Human Rights Council who has been handing over names of human rights activists from the day it formed in March 2006. China is not only having a very negative impact on human rights activists who contact the UN for help, China is also committing grave crimes against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong (香港). [...] The free software tool OnionShare is a very user-friendly program that lets you share files and setup chat-rooms over the Tor network in case you need to communicate with human rights activists or other endangered people in a secure fashion. You can follow human rights lawyer Emma Reilly on Twitter if you want to learn more about her important human rights work. She does not appear to have a fediverse social media account in case Twitter de-platforms her on behest of the Chinese regime.

  • How one woman fired up her online business during the pandemic

    Sophia Keys started her ceramics business, Apricity Ceramics, five years ago. But it wasn’t until a global pandemic forced everyone to sign on at home and Screen Time Report Scaries became a thing that her business really took off. She had never been active on social media, but decided to create relaxing videos of pottery throwing as a type of craft-ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response videos that provide relaxation with a sedative, tingling sensation for some) early in the pandemic. These videos gained traction and Keys started building a community. A couple months into the pandemic, when she had more finished pieces than she knew what to do with, she posted about the sale on her Instagram page. She sold out. She now has over 21K followers and her ceramics sell out in hours. Amidst the chaos of 2020, here’s how Sophia expanded her woman-owned online business, found her own confidence on social media, and built a community around her handmade products.

  • Mozilla Performance Blog: Performance Sheriff Newsletter (February 2021)

    In February there were 201 alerts generated, resulting in 29 regression bugs being filed on average 4 days after the regressing change landed. Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the performance sheriffing newsletter. Here you’ll find the usual summary of our sheriffing efficiency metrics, followed by some analysis on the data footprint of our performance metrics. If you’re interested (and if you have access) you can view the full dashboard.

Games: Assassin’s Greed, Yorg, Wanted Raccoon and More

  • Assassin’s Greed

    I don’t think any sane person is going to disagree with the quote, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For those unaware, that quote came from British politician Baron Acton in 1887. That’s one of the few sayings man has uttered that stands against the test of time. Keep in mind, Acton coined this phrase from politicians who said something similar even earlier than his time; Acton’s phrase just seems to be the most popular, since it reads like modern English. Now, I’m not trying to get into politics; we’re a gaming web site, after all. But sadly, after a number of events have occurred — for the gaming industry in particular — within the past couple of years, I feel like even us Linux gamers get the short end of the stick. True, we always had the short end of the stick, up until Valve stepped in and basically saved our bacon around 2012-2013. But as far as native Linux games are concerned, and as advanced as Proton gets, competition that has arisen lately can either be a plus for us, or, as I bring out here, competition can be more so of a nuisance than it is anything else. [...] Yeah, some were probably expecting me to point the gun at Microsoft first. I’m not a total Microsoft hater, as I do appreciate some of their work, like some of the code they’ve contributed to the Linux kernel. But I seem to hear it all the time. Microsoft bought this company. [...] Microsoft joined the Linux foundation late 2016. Supposedly, they’re a high-paying “Platinum Member.” I don’t know if their claim, “We love Linux,” is actually true. If anything, they consider Linux as a threat, as long as they’re not making revenue via this platform. They haven’t made any official drivers for Linux as far as their Xbox controllers are concerned. Microsoft is invested in Linux at least when it comes to their whole Azure cloud services, a competitor to AWS and Google Cloud, and they have made it easier to develop for Linux within Windows with the WSL module developed in partnership with Ubuntu. Microsoft tried to make their own locked garden during the Windows 8 era with the Windows Store and trying to force everyone to put their applications through there. Fortunately, they failed miserably, thanks in no small part to Valve creating SteamOS. But it doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t stop trying.

  • FOSS racer Yorg has a new release with improved gamepad support | GamingOnLinux

    Top-down open-source racing? Yorg is a little bit like some of the classic Micro Machines games and while rough around the edges as it's in development it's showing promise as another FOSS game. With fast arcade racing along with some amusing physics, Yorg is already a lot of fun with multiple tracks, vehicles and different drivers to pick from. You can play against AI, local multiplayer and experimental online multiplayer. There's weapons too, so you can blow everyone up.

  • Wanted Raccoon is an upcoming comedy game in the spirit of Goat Simulator

    Remember the craziness of Goat Simulator? Wanted Raccoon has a familiar theme of animals going wild and it's entering Early Access on March 19 with Linux support. A game that seems like a big gimmick but apparently there's a little more to it. The developer mentions an actual storyline and some sort of research system. You can ride skateboards, fight people, upgrade skills, and of course - steal food. Everything a good Raccoon does right? There's also something about a kidnapped family. Hero Raccoon to the rescue?

  • Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 2: Selecting a Graphics Card

    Linux graphics support is still remarkably similar to how it was 20 years ago, even with all the progress that has been made in the years since. The Mesa 3D graphics library had its origins all the way back in 1995, and through the Utah GLX project attracted the attention of industry luminaries such as id Software’s John Carmack and vendors such as ATI, Intel, Matrox, S3, and 3dfx. By the turn of the millennium all of them had at least some support in Mesa. Nvidia went a different route, one which continues to set them apart to this day. Rather than choosing to cooperate with Mesa they instead ported their Windows drivers over to Linux directly, maintaining their own proprietary binary blob separate from the main Linux kernel. This driver model was also later adopted by ATI when they switched focus to their own proprietary “fglrx” driver, although this was largely reversed again after AMD acquired the company in 2006. By the time of Red Hat Linux 9 the Direct Rendering Infrastructure or DRI was firmly in place in Mesa and offered 3D support for a wide number of cards. This included the ATI 3D Rage Pro Turbo, which was the AGP card I had selected to test the machine. While a solid 2D performer it offered lacklustre 3D graphics even for the time of its release, and was intended more as an OEM graphics solution than for gaming. That makes them easy to find, but also not worth a lot.

10 Best Compression Tools for Linux

File compression is an integral part of system administration. Finding the best compression method requires significant determination. Luckily, there are many robust compression tools for Linux that make backing up system data easier. Here, we present ten of the best Linux compression tools that can be useful to enterprises and users in this regard. [...] A plethora of reliable Linux compression tools makes it easy to archive and back up essential data. You can choose from many lossless compressors with high compression ratios such as LZ4, lzop, and bzip2. On the other hand, tools like Zstandard and plzip allow for more advanced compression workflows. Read more

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (activemq, libcaca, libupnp, mqtt-client, and xcftools), Fedora (ceph, mupdf, nagios, python-PyMuPDF, and zathura-pdf-mupdf), Mageia (cups, kernel, pngcheck, and python-pygments), openSUSE (bind, chromium, gnome-autoar, kernel, mbedtls, nodejs8, and thunderbird), and Red Hat (nodejs:10, nodejs:12, nodejs:14, screen, and virt:8.2 and virt-devel:8.2). 

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  • Server Security Tips – Secure Your Server with These Best Practices

    Servers play a vital role in organizations. Their primary function is to provide both data and computational services. Because of the critical role they play, servers hold confidential organizational data and information. Information is like gold nowadays, and hackers are gold miners. An insecure server is vulnerable to all sorts of security threats and data breaches.

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  • Multiple Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Could Allow Privilege Escalation

    Fortunately, before any active exploitation, Popov fixed these bugs for the users. Popov has confirmed merging of these patches with the mainline kernel version 5.11-rc7. Also, the fixes have been “backported into the stable affected trees”. As Positive Technologies elaborated, this isn’t the first time Popov found and patched a vulnerability. Earlier, he has also caught and fixed two Linux, bugs CVE-2017-2636 and CVE-2019-18683, as well in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

  • Understanding Samsung Knox Vault: Protecting the data that matters most

    Eight years ago, Samsung set out on a mission to build the most trusted and secure mobile devices in the world. With the introduction of our Samsung Knox platform at MWC in 2013, we put in place the key elements of hardware-based security that would help defend Samsung mobile devices and our customers’ data against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Samsung Knox has since evolved into more than a built-in security platform, now encompassing a full suite of mobile management tools for enterprise IT administrators. But our mobile product planners, developers and security engineers have remained laser-focused on answering the primary question: how do we remain a step ahead of hackers and keep our users safe at all times? [...] In the first days of Android, the main focus was building a more open and flexible mobile operating system. Security was state-of-the-art for the time, inherited from the world of Unix and mainframe computers. But from the start, it became clear that smartphones were different; they were the most personal computers anyone had ever built.