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Linux

Safety you can bank on: Chromebook, Linux, phone

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

If you're not deterred by learning strange software, you can save hundreds of dollars by downloading a copy of the open-source Linux operating system and burning it to a CD or copying it to a flash drive. As security journalist Brian Krebs explained in the summer of 2012, you can pop that into your Windows PC, boot the machine off it, and go online insulated from whatever might lurk in your copy of Windows.

(In that post, Krebs endorsed a version of Linux with the charming name Puppy Linux; I usually recommend a different variety called Ubuntu, but the differences don't amount to much in this context.)

Using Linux just for online banking also insulates you from most of its potential complexity: You're only running a browser.

But if installing new apps in Windows already fills you with dread, or the thought of picking one version of Linux out of dozens makes your head hurt, spend money instead of time. A Chromebook just might work — and might be all the computer you needed in the first place.

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Linux 3.15 Lands Some DRM Graphics Driver Fixes

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Likely most notable from this latest DRM fixes series entering the Linux kernel is the microcode fixes for some newer graphics cards, mainly fixing up the dynamic power management support for the AMD Radeon R7 260X graphics card. Besides the microcode fixes to stabilize newer GCN-era hardware, there's also some run-time power management fixes, and PLL regression fixes for the Radeon driver. Hopefully this pull will fix a Radeon DRM problem previously mentioned on Phoronix during the early Linux 3.15 benchmarking. Many more Linux 3.15 kernel benchmarks are forthcoming on Phoronix.

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XP shutdown: Switch to free software, say FSMI activists

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Activists of the Free Software Movement of India say you had better switch to free software that can easily substitute the proprietary, costly licences of Microsoft. “When you migrate, it involves a lot of cost on hardware upgrades and migration. Besides buying the OS copy of a higher version, users need to upgrade their hardware so that their systems can support the new OS,” Y Kiran Chandra, General Secretary of the Free Software Movement of India, told Business Line.

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Two new features coming to Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

One of these new features added today is a way to control the volume of the Chrome OS media player with the Arrow keys. Chromebooks come with master volume keys built into the keyboard, but now this new basic feature allows you to push the up and down arrow keys to change the volume of the Chrome Media Player itself.

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Maynard: Raspberry Pi gets a Wayland desktop shell, get involved!

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

A lot of work is ongoing in Collabora to make Wayland usable on Raspberry Pi. The main bottleneck to the task is the lack of a functional Wayland shell for the Pi. Or at least it was till now. Marco Barisione announced Maynard, Raspberry Pi’s own Wayland shell, in his blog.

The foundation of the new shell is Tiago Vignatti‘s gtk-shell which is extended to implement Maynard. It’s still a work in progress but the initial looks are stunning. The current course is a tiled approach as you can see from the image below.

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How to Install and Try Linux the Absolutely Easiest and Safest Way

Filed under
GNU
Linux

I chose Xubuntu because it is part of the excellent and popular Ubuntu family of Linux distributions. The 12.04 LTS (long-term support) release, codename Precise Pangolin, receives updates and security fixes until April 2017. The interim releases are supported only for 9-18 months. It's nice and lightweight for older computers, and it has a good straightforward user interface. The Ubuntu installer is the easiest and most streamlined of any distro, and Ubuntu updates and upgrades are reliable. Ubuntu is popular and has the backing of its parent company Canonical, so it's not likely to disappear anytime soon. Xubuntu doesn't look much like Windows XP, but it has the same basic layout: an applications menu, and a panel that shows notifications and open apps. You can find everything with just a little bit of poking around and clicking stuff.

I know, my fellow Linux fans, I know, what about Linux Mint? Mint is a wonderful distro. And so is Mageia, and Fedora, and PCLinuxOS, and openSUSE, and Bohdi, and so many more. Linux is a feast of riches. OSDisc.com offers many Linux distros on USB sticks, so feel free to go nuts and use whatever one you want.

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OpenSSL and Linux: A Tale of Two Open-Source Projects

Filed under
Linux
Security

Linux, arguably the world’s most emblematic open-source project, provides a counterpoint to OpenSSL’s problems. Volunteers all over the world submit seven changes to Linux every hour, and millions of lines of code improvements and fixes are voluntarily added to the software every year. Over 180 major companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, IBM and Samsung, every year contribute around half a million dollars to the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the Linux system.

So what explains the discrepancy between the inattention to OpenSSL and the great fortune of Linux? Good old lack of awareness, experts say.

Open-source advocates and participants say Linux has simply had the benefit of strong brand ambassadors and better name recognition than OpenSSL.

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Borderlands Is Being Considered For Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming

Randy mentioned in a Tweet on Friday night, "It seems reddit wants a Linux port of Borderlands 2. I'll probably chat with some folks on twitter about that this weekend."

While that seems rather positive for Linux gamers, in a follow-up Tweet, Pitchford mentioned, "who said there will be a Linux port - I just want to learn more about customer interests there."

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Valve Has Turned On The Greenlight For 34 More Linux Games This April

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming

That's right folks Valve are bringing the easter cheer lighting the way for another 34 Linux games to come out on Steam!

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eRacks Keeps Pushing Linux, Open-Source Systems After 15 Years

Filed under
Linux

eRacks primarily focuses upon pushing high-end, rackmount servers that run various Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, et al) along with popular BSD operating systems like NetBSD and FreeBSD. However, eRacks also offers a limited range of branded laptops/notebooks, firewall servers, and other products. Their newest laptops from eRacks are Linux-loaded versions of the ASUS Zenbook laptops and ultrabooks.

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More in Tux Machines

Development Functional Programming in JavaScript and Learning to Code

  • An introduction to functional programming in JavaScript
    When Brendan Eich created JavaScript in 1995, he intended to do Scheme in the browser. Scheme, being a dialect of Lisp, is a functional programming language. Things changed when Eich was told that the new language should be the scripting language companion to Java. Eich eventually settled on a language that has a C-style syntax (as does Java), yet has first-class functions. Java technically did not have first-class functions until version 8, however you could simulate first-class functions using anonymous classes. Those first-class functions are what makes functional programming possible in JavaScript. JavaScript is a multi-paradigm language that allows you to freely mix and match object-oriented, procedural, and functional paradigms. Recently there has been a growing trend toward functional programming. In frameworks such as Angular and React, you'll actually get a performance boost by using immutable data structures. Immutability is a core tenet of functional programming. It, along with pure functions, makes it easier to reason about and debug your programs. Replacing procedural loops with functions can increase the readability of your program and make it more elegant. Overall, there are many advantages to functional programming.
  • Learning to Code in One’s Own Language
    I recently published a paper with Sayamindu Dasgupta that provides evidence in support of the idea that kids can learn to code more quickly when they are programming in their own language. Millions of young people from around the world are learning to code. Often, during their learning experiences, these youth are using visual block-based programming languages like Scratch, App Inventor, and Code.org Studio. In block-based programming languages, coders manipulate visual, snap-together blocks that represent code constructs instead of textual symbols and commands that are found in more traditional programming languages.
  • [Older] RcppArmadillo 0.7.900.2.0

Intel Core i7 7740X Preliminary Benchmarks On Linux

For those not yet well briefed on the Core-X series since the embargo expiry last week, the i7-7740X has four cores plus Hyper Threading. It has a 4.3GHz base frequency with 4.5GHz turbo frequency and an 8MB cache. The i7-7740X has a 112 Watt TDP, natively supports DDR4-2666 of dual-channel memory, and foregoes any integrated graphics. Read more

Security: Another Massive, Worldwide Ransom Attack on Microsoft Windows, Security News About GNU/Linux

  • NSA-linked tools help power second global ransomware outbreak [Ed: And neglecting to mention it targets Microsoft Windows. Why?]
  • Hacker Behind Massive Ransomware Outbreak Can't Get Emails from Victims Who Paid
    On Tuesday, a new, worldwide ransomware outbreak took off, infecting targets in Ukraine, France, Spain, and elsewhere. The hackers hit everything from international law firms to media companies. The ransom note demands victims send bitcoin to a predefined address and contact the hacker via email to allegedly have their files decrypted.
  • Digital signatures in package management
    Serious distributions try to protect their repositories cryptographically against tampering and transmission errors. Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu all take different, complex, but conceptually similar approaches. Many distributions develop, test, build, and distribute their software via a heterogeneous zoo of servers, mirrors, and workstations that make central management and protection of the end product almost impossible. In terms of personnel, distributions also depend on the collaboration of a severely limited number of international helpers. This technical and human diversity creates a massive door for external and internal attackers who seek to infect popular distribution packages with malware. During updates, then, hundreds of thousands of Linux machines download and install poisoned software with root privileges. The damage could hardly be greater. The danger is less abstract than some might think. Repeatedly in the past, projects have had to take down one or more servers after hacker attacks. The motivation of (at least) all the major distributions to protect themselves from planted packages is correspondingly large and boils down to two actions: one simple and one cryptographic.
  • This Windows Defender bug was so gaping its PoC exploit had to be encrypted
    Microsoft recently patched a critical vulnerability in its ubiquitous built-in antivirus engine. The vulnerability could have allowed attackers to execute malicious code by luring users to a booby-trapped website or attaching a booby-trapped file to an e-mail or instant message.
  • [Older] Reproducible Builds: week 110 in Stretch cycle
  • [Older] Free Market Security
    I think there are many of us in security who keep waiting for demand to appear for more security. We keep watching and waiting, any day now everyone will see why this matters! It's not going to happen though. We do need security more and more each day. The way everything is heading, things aren't looking great. I'd like to think we won't have to wait for the security equivalent of a river catching on fire, but I'm pretty sure that's what it will take.
  • Linux Systems in the Hackers' Cross Hairs [Ed: This is a rewrite of a press release below. Phil Muncaster could certainly have done better than this.]
  • New Research Shows Cybersecurity Battleground Shifting to Linux and Web Servers
    "This new Firebox Feed data allows us to feel the pulse of the latest network attacks and malware trends in order to identify patterns that influence the constantly evolving threat landscape," said Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at WatchGuard Technologies. "The Q1 report findings continue to reinforce the importance and effectiveness of basic security policies, layered defenses and advanced malware prevention. We urge readers to examine the report's key takeways and best practices, and bring them to the forefront of information security efforts within their organizations."

Ubuntu Kylin, a Linux Distribution with a Microsoft Windows Experience

Ubuntu Kylin is an open-source Linux distribution based on Ubuntu since 2013, mainly developed by a Chinese team alongside dozens of Linux developers all over the world. It contains the basic features you would expect from Ubuntu, plus features a desktop environment and applications. As far as we know, Ubuntu Kylin is one of the most suitable Linux distributions for users who are farmiliar with Microsoft Windows, including its desktop environment, office suite and various applications. Read more