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Linux

5 things you need to know about the Raspberry Pi’s Epiphany web browser

Filed under
Linux
Web

Epiphany is a new web browser for the Raspberry Pi. It’s been modified to be faster, smoother and more powerful than the previous web browser, Midori, meaning it possible to watch 720p YouTube videos and browse more Javascript-heavy websites like RaspberryPi.org and RasPi.Today.

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Google Chrome 38 Beta Update Improved KDE Wallet Compatibility

Filed under
KDE
Linux
Google

The Beta branch of the Google Chrome browser, the Internet browser developed by Google, has been updated yet again and the developers have made a series of changes and improvements.

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Linux Desktop Fragmentation Is a Feature, Not a Bug

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Linux

One of the most common expressions that you will hear in the Linux community is platform fragmentation, and it's also one of the contra arguments that people spout when citing reasons not to get a Linux OS. I'm here to tell you why platform fragmentation is actually a good thing.

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Samsung's Tizen-Based Gear S Throws a Curve at Smartwatch Market

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Linux

Prior to this week's IFA show in Berlin, Samsung showed off its third Tizen Linux-based smartwatch. The Gear S offers several innovations compared to the Tizen-based Gear 2 and Gear Neo smartwatches, including autonomous operation and a curved screen. The Gear S will ship in Korea in October, followed by a global launch. According to this mostly favorable CNET Gear S hands-on, there are no current plans for a U.S. launch.

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Can this free software company secure the future of Linux for the city of Munich?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

There are many solved problems in open source. Groupware is not one of them.

How else would you explain the number of migrations that fail on average in groupware? The Swiss canton of Solothurn is just one example among many as a result of groupware vendors who have given up and transitioned to Outlook or the web to meet their needs. Kolab does things differently. For one, Outlook will never be the client for the Linux desktop. And, the web is a good answer for a lot of things, but not all.

The city of Munich is another good case to look at; they successfully completed a Linux migration that has saved them millions of Euros. But now, the newly elected mayor and his deputy have made the news by publicly considering a migration back to Windows. To explore this further, let's first ignore for a moment that the City Council would need to approve any change in strategy and has renewed its dedication to LiMux. Let's also ignore the fact that the City employees do not consider it a good idea to go back to Windows.

So, what was it that prompted LiMux to be put into question in the news?

If you guessed that Office interoperatbility may have something to do with it, you would be right. As long as there are competing standards there will be incompatibility between the dominant vendor and the rest of the market. Document exchange remains a constant issue that is ultimately only solved at the political level. This particular problem is not technical and the UK has recently demonstrated that they will choose open documents as the standard format to deal with it.

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Valve Finally Enables In-Home Streaming from Linux Hosts on Steam

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GNU
Linux
Gaming

Valve released a new Beta version of the Steam distribution platform and the developers have implemented quite a few changes, including a very interesting one related to the In-Home streaming feature.

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Switch to Linux part 2 – install Linux

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Linux

Once you’ve got your Linux Mint image downloaded (or other distro if you fancy using a different one), you’ll need to burn it to a spare DVD or temporarily create a bootable USB stick with it. We recommend doing the latter by using the UNetbootin software and a spare USB stick that’s at least 2GB in size. Be sure to back up any files on the USB stick before using the software though, as it will delete them otherwise.

Once that’s all been dealt with, simply reboot your computer with the disc in the tray or USB stick still attached and look out for the ‘boot menu’ key when your computer first turns back on – this will probably be something like F12 or another function key.

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Backtrack 5 R3 Hits One Million Downloads on Softpedia

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GNU
Linux

Backtrack was a Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing and it's no longer maintained. In fact, this OS was so successful that it's still being downloaded and used even today, despite the fact that it's no longer maintained.

Backtrack was not the only security-oriented distribution, but the wealth of applicationS provided by the developers ensured its supremacy. It remained one of the most downloaded Linux distributions for a long time, even after it wasn't maintained anymore.

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Toshiba introduces a Chromebook you would crave to buy

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, said a few day ago that Chromebook may realise the ‘year of Linux desktop’ dream. There is no doubt that Chromebooks are fast becoming preferred choice of users; the are the best selling devices on Amazon.com.

Now Toshiba has introduced two Chromebooks which not only look great, but also pack some good hardware. The company has announced two Chromebooks, where one is an entry-level $249 Chromebook with standard HD display the other one is kind of high end with Full HD (1920 x 1080) 13.3 incg display with IPS technology.

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Chromebooks will make the year of Linux possible: Linus Torvalds

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Chromebooks are becoming quite popular among the techie as well as non-techie crowd. Even Microsoft has started to get worried about Chromebooks and is pushing hardware partners to do a Netbook 2.0 to combat Chromebooks.

Linus likes Chromebooks quite a lot – this is one device which may realise the dream of ‘Linux on desktop’. When asked about what can be done to move closer toward the ‘year of desktop Linux’ at DebConf, he said, “Technical people don’t tend to use Chromebooks but I think Chromebooks are kind of things that will make the year of the desktop more possible.”

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Security: OpenSSL, IoT, and LWN Coverage of 'Intelpocalypse'

  • Another Face to Face: Email Changes and Crypto Policy
    The OpenSSL OMC met last month for a two-day face-to-face meeting in London, and like previous F2F meetings, most of the team was present and we addressed a great many issues. This blog posts talks about some of them, and most of the others will get their own blog posts, or notices, later. Red Hat graciously hosted us for the two days, and both Red Hat and Cryptsoft covered the costs of their employees who attended. One of the overall threads of the meeting was about increasing the transparency of the project. By default, everything should be done in public. We decided to try some major changes to email and such.
  • Some Basic Rules for Securing Your IoT Stuff

    Throughout 2016 and 2017, attacks from massive botnets made up entirely of hacked [sic] IoT devices had many experts warning of a dire outlook for Internet security. But the future of IoT doesn’t have to be so bleak. Here’s a primer on minimizing the chances that your IoT things become a security liability for you or for the Internet at large.

  • A look at the handling of Meltdown and Spectre
    The Meltdown/Spectre debacle has, deservedly, reached the mainstream press and, likely, most of the public that has even a remote interest in computers and security. It only took a day or so from the accelerated disclosure date of January 3—it was originally scheduled for January 9—before the bugs were making big headlines. But Spectre has been known for at least six months and Meltdown for nearly as long—at least to some in the industry. Others that were affected were completely blindsided by the announcements and have joined the scramble to mitigate these hardware bugs before they bite users. Whatever else can be said about Meltdown and Spectre, the handling (or, in truth, mishandling) of this whole incident has been a horrific failure. For those just tuning in, Meltdown and Spectre are two types of hardware bugs that affect most modern CPUs. They allow attackers to cause the CPU to do speculative execution of code, while timing memory accesses to deduce what has or has not been cached, to disclose the contents of memory. These disclosures can span various security boundaries such as between user space and the kernel or between guest operating systems running in virtual machines. For more information, see the LWN article on the flaws and the blog post by Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton that well describes modern CPU architectures and speculative execution to explain why the Raspberry Pi is not affected.
  • Addressing Meltdown and Spectre in the kernel
    When the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were disclosed on January 3, attention quickly turned to mitigations. There was already a clear defense against Meltdown in the form of kernel page-table isolation (KPTI), but the defenses against the two Spectre variants had not been developed in public and still do not exist in the mainline kernel. Initial versions of proposed defenses have now been disclosed. The resulting picture shows what has been done to fend off Spectre-based attacks in the near future, but the situation remains chaotic, to put it lightly. First, a couple of notes with regard to Meltdown. KPTI has been merged for the 4.15 release, followed by a steady trickle of fixes that is undoubtedly not yet finished. The X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE processor bit is being renamed to X86_BUG_CPU_MELTDOWN now that the details are public; there will be bug flags for the other two variants added in the near future. 4.9.75 and 4.4.110 have been released with their own KPTI variants. The older kernels do not have mainline KPTI, though; instead, they have a backport of the older KAISER patches that more closely matches what distributors shipped. Those backports have not fully stabilized yet either. KPTI patches for ARM are circulating, but have not yet been merged.
  • Is it time for open processors?
    The disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities has brought a new level of attention to the security bugs that can lurk at the hardware level. Massive amounts of work have gone into improving the (still poor) security of our software, but all of that is in vain if the hardware gives away the game. The CPUs that we run in our systems are highly proprietary and have been shown to contain unpleasant surprises (the Intel management engine, for example). It is thus natural to wonder whether it is time to make a move to open-source hardware, much like we have done with our software. Such a move may well be possible, and it would certainly offer some benefits, but it would be no panacea. Given the complexity of modern CPUs and the fierceness of the market in which they are sold, it might be surprising to think that they could be developed in an open manner. But there are serious initiatives working in this area; the idea of an open CPU design is not pure fantasy. A quick look around turns up several efforts; the following list is necessarily incomplete.
  • Notes from the Intelpocalypse
    Rumors of an undisclosed CPU security issue have been circulating since before LWN first covered the kernel page-table isolation patch set in November 2017. Now, finally, the information is out — and the problem is even worse than had been expected. Read on for a summary of these issues and what has to be done to respond to them in the kernel. All three disclosed vulnerabilities take advantage of the CPU's speculative execution mechanism. In a simple view, a CPU is a deterministic machine executing a set of instructions in sequence in a predictable manner. Real-world CPUs are more complex, and that complexity has opened the door to some unpleasant attacks. A CPU is typically working on the execution of multiple instructions at once, for performance reasons. Executing instructions in parallel allows the processor to keep more of its subunits busy at once, which speeds things up. But parallel execution is also driven by the slowness of access to main memory. A cache miss requiring a fetch from RAM can stall the execution of an instruction for hundreds of processor cycles, with a clear impact on performance. To minimize the amount of time it spends waiting for data, the CPU will, to the extent it can, execute instructions after the stalled one, essentially reordering the code in the program. That reordering is often invisible, but it occasionally leads to the sort of fun that caused Documentation/memory-barriers.txt to be written.

US Sanctions Against Chinese Android Phones, LWN Report on Eelo

  • A new bill would ban the US government from using Huawei and ZTE phones
    US lawmakers have long worried about the security risks posed the alleged ties between Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE and the country’s government. To that end, Texas Representative Mike Conaway introduced a bill last week called Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which aims to ban US government agencies from using phones and equipment from the companies. Conaway’s bill would prohibit the US government from purchasing and using “telecommunications equipment and/or services,” from Huawei and ZTE. In a statement on his site, he says that technology coming from the country poses a threat to national security, and that use of this equipment “would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives,” and cites US Intelligence and counterintelligence officials who say that Huawei has shared information with state leaders, and that the its business in the US is growing, representing a further security risk.
  • U.S. lawmakers urge AT&T to cut commercial ties with Huawei - sources
    U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, two congressional aides said. The warning comes after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump took a harder line on policies initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries. Earlier this month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers Huawei [HWT.UL] handsets after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.
  • Eelo seeks to make a privacy-focused phone
    A focus on privacy is a key feature being touted by a number of different projects these days—from KDE to Tails to Nextcloud. One of the biggest privacy leaks for most people is their phone, so it is no surprise that there are projects looking to address that as well. A new entrant in that category is eelo, which is a non-profit project aimed at producing not only a phone, but also a suite of web services. All of that could potentially replace the Google or Apple mothership, which tend to collect as much personal data as possible.

today's howtos

Mozilla: Resource Hogs, Privacy Month, Firefox Census, These Weeks in Firefox

  • Firefox Quantum Eats RAM Like Chrome
    For a long time, Mozilla’s Firefox has been my web browser of choice. I have always preferred it to using Google’s Chrome, because of its simplicity and reasonable system resource (especially RAM) usage. On many Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and many others, Firefox even comes installed by default. Recently, Mozilla released a new, powerful and faster version of Firefox called Quantum. And according to the developers, it’s new with a “powerful engine that’s built for rapid-fire performance, better, faster page loading that uses less computer memory.”
  • Mozilla Communities Speaker Series #PrivacyMonth
    As a part of the Privacy Month initiative, Mozilla volunteers are hosting a couple of speaker series webinars on Privacy, Security and related topics. The webinars will see renowned speakers talking to us about their work around privacy, how to take control of your digital self, some privacy-security tips and much more.
  • “Ewoks or Porgs?” and Other Important Questions
    You ever go to a party where you decide to ask people REAL questions about themselves, rather than just boring chit chat? Us, too! That’s why we’ve included questions that really hone in on the important stuff in our 2nd Annual Firefox Census.
  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 30