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LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.007 ALPHA

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Movies

The LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has continued and releases for Amlogic and Slice hardware have been added additionally to the test cycle. We official support now Khadas VIM (AML S905X) and the LePotato (AML S905X) too. Since the 8.90.006 release we support a wide range of Rockchip devices. There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC, we wrote an dedicated article about the future of LibreELEC.

Alpha releases are important to the team because we cannot test every scenario and sometimes sidestep issues without realising. The project needs a body of regular testers to go find the problems we miss. Testing will be particularly important for LibreELEC 9.0 as Kodi v18 includes substantial internal changes to VideoPlayer and introduces new retro-gaming capabilities.

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GNU/Linux Skills, Raspberry Pi and FUD

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security
  • Raspberry Pi's potential is wider than you think

    What do you get for the techie who has everything? How about giving them a Raspberry Pi and letting them make pretty much anything. Or better yet, do it for yourself with the Ultimate Raspberry Pi eBook Bundle.

  • Systems Engineer Salary Rises Even Higher with Linux Experience

    Some companies treat “systems engineer” and “systems administrator” almost interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the two positions. In broadest terms, systems engineers must design and implement a company’s system (comprising the network, servers, devices, etc.), whereas systems administrators are largely charged with keeping everything running.

    To frame it another way, system administration is a very reactive role, with sysadmins constantly monitoring networks for issues. Systems engineers, on the other hand, can build a system that anticipates users’ needs (and potential problems). In certain cases, they must integrate existing technology stacks (e.g., following the merger of two companies), and prototype different aspects of the network before it goes “live.”

  • New Linux-Targeting Crypto-Mining Malware Combines Hiding and Upgrading Capabilities [Ed: When your system gets cracked anything can happen afterwards; does not matter whether there's an upgrade or not? No.]

    Japanese multinational cybersecurity firm Trend Micro has detected a new strain of crypto-mining malware that targets PCs running Linux, according to a report published Nov. 8.
    The new strain is reportedly able to hide the malicious process of unauthorized cryptocurrency-mining through users’ CPU by implementing a rootkit component. The malware itself, detected by Trend Micro as Coinminer.Linux.KORKERDS.AB, is also reportedly capable of updating itself.

This under-$6 SBC runs Linux on RISC-V based C-SKY chip

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Linux

Hangzhou C-SKY has launched a “C-SKY Linux Development Board” for $5.60 and up, featuring a RISC-V derived, 574MHz C-SKY GX6605S CK610M SoC, 64MB DDR2, an HDMI port, and 2x USB 2.0 ports.

Last month, Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems Co. announced Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel support for its new RISC-V based C-SKY CK810 SoC design. Now, Hangzhou C-SKY has launched a development board that runs Linux on a similar CK610M SoC. The C-SKY Linux Development Board sells for 39-40 Yuan ($5.60 to $7.05) on Taobao and $19.50 to $21.50 on AliExpress.

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The Linux desktop: With great success comes great failure

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

And what do roughly 95.6% of all websites run on? With the exception of Microsoft sites, the answer is Linux. Facebook? Linux. Google? Linux. Yahoo? Linux. Netflix? Linux. I can go on and on. You may use Windows on your desktop, but it’s effectively just a front end to Linux-based services and data. You might as well be using a Chromebook (running on Linux-based Chrome OS, by the way).

But as a matter of fact, Windows is no longer the top end-user operating system. Oh yes, it does still dominate the desktop, but the desktop hasn’t been king of the end-user hill for some time. By StatCounter’s reckoning, the most popular end-user operating system as of September 2018, with 40.85% market share, was — drum roll, please — Android. Which — guess what — is based on Linux.

So, in several senses, Linux has been the top end-user operating system for some time.

But not on the desktop, where Windows still reigns.

Why? There are many reasons.

Back when desktop Linux got its start, Microsoft kept it a niche operating system by using strong-arm tactics with PC vendors. For instance, when Linux-powered netbooks gave Microsoft serious competition on low-end laptops in the late ’00s, Microsoft dug XP Home up from the graveyard to stop it in its tracks.

But Microsoft’s avid competitiveness is only part of the story. In fact, Microsoft has gotten quite chummy with Linux lately. It’s fair to say that it’s no longer trying to stop the Linux desktop from gaining ground.

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Also: Palliative care for Windows 10 Mobile like a Crimean field hospital, but with even less effort

Spanish GNU/Linux Distribution Void Linux: New images now available!

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Void also comes in musl C flavors, which use the musl C library, a lightweight alternative to the popular glibc library.

Did you know you can run Void in the cloud? We provide ready to upload images for Google Cloud Platform that are compatible with the always free tier! You can also easily build images for other cloud providers from our ready to run x64 tarballs.

Our rootfs tarballs can also be used anywhere you want a Void Linux chroot and are available for all architectures we currently compile for.

You can find all images and rootfs tarballs at https://alpha.de.repo.voidlinux.org/live/current, or in the /live/current directory on any mirror near you.

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Xfce Support For "Primary Display" Output Handling Finally Being Squared Away

Filed under
GNU
Linux

The latest feature on deck for the long overdue Xfce 4.14 desktop update is support for the RandR primary display/output functionality.

The X11 Resize and Rotate (RandR) protocol has long had baked into it the concept of a primary output/display, which is intended to be where the desktop panel(s), icons, notifications and other central functionality of the desktop would reside. Basically, of a multi-monitor configuration, the display head that is most important for your workflow.

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The mainframe returns – as a platform for large-scale Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server

There are several ways to build large scale Linux server environments, with x86 and public cloud being obvious ones. But there’s another option too, as I reminded myself when I caught up with Adam Jollans, program director for LinuxOne product marketing at IBM. LinuxOne is a solution built by IBM using the mainframe platform as its base, but it’s solely focused on running Linux workloads.

We discussed the way some organisations are using LinuxOne to keep mission-critical open source solutions running without service interruption and, just as importantly, to keep them secure. Typical workloads his customers run include core banking services – where resilience is essential, not just desirable – and similar solutions for Telcos and SPs. These are services that must scale to hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines, doing so both cost-effectively and without risk.

The characteristics of such mission-critical workloads clearly resonate with the traits of the venerable mainframe. After all, the mainframe is regarded by many, even those who have never seen one, as the gold standard for IT resilience and availability. Unfortunately for IBM, and arguably for the wider world, the mainframe is also widely thought of as being out-dated, expensive, and difficult to manage – even though this hasn’t been true for a long time, and is certainly not the case with LinuxOne.

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Kernel: Linux System Wrapper Library, Microsoft Mice, and EXOFS

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Linux
  • Kernel Developers Debate Having An Official Linux System Wrapper Library

    As new system calls get added to the Linux kernel, these syscalls generally get added to Glibc (and other libc libraries) for developers to make easy use of them from their applications. But as Glibc doesn't provide 1:1 coverage of system calls, sometimes is delayed in their support for new calls, and other factors, there is a discussion about providing an official Linux system wrapper library that could potentially live as part of the kernel source tree.

    This weekend was the initial proposal for having an official Linux system wrapper library. Though that initial proposal is a bit flawed in saying that "glibc is basically not adding new system call wrappers", as they are, just sometimes it takes a while among other factors. But it is accurate in reflecting a problem with the status quo.

  • Linux Getting Two-Line Patch To Finally Deal With The Quirky Microsoft OEM Mouse

    While Microsoft is self-proclaimed to love Linux, their common and very basic Microsoft OEM Mouse has not loved the Linux kernel or vice-versa... The Linux kernel HID code is finally getting a quirk fix to deal with the Microsoft OEM mouse as it would disconnect every minute when running at run-levels one or three.

    The basic Microsoft OEM Mouse that's been available for years (appearing as a PixArt vendor and USB ID 0x00cb) would disconnect every 60~62 seconds on Linux systems when connected out-of-the-box. This isn't some high-end gaming mouse but Microsoft's dead basic OEM optical mouse.

  • Linux Poised To Remove Decade-Old EXOFS File-System

    The Linux kernel will likely be doing away with EXOFS, a file-system that had been around since the Linux 2.6.30 days.

    EXOFS is a file-system originally derived from EXT2 file-system code for basing it on an external object store. This object-based file-system was originally developed by IBM.

    Veteran kernel developer Christoph Hellwig is now seeking to remove the EXOFS object-based file-system on the basis of it being "just a simple example without real life users."

Linux Journal Reviews the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptop, Red Hat Wants to Hear About Desktop/Laptop Setups

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GNU
Linux
  • Review: the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptop

    Canonical recently made an official announcement on its company blog stating that the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop (that is, Project Sputnik) now ships with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) pre-installed. Upon reading this, I quickly reached out to Dell asking to review the laptop. I'm a Linux developer, and when a developer edition laptop is marketed with Linux pre-installed, I need to experience it for myself. The laptop eventually arrived, and like a child on Christmas morning, I excitedly pulled the device out of the box and powered it up for the first time.

    This is a pretty rock-solid notebook. The device is very light and easy to carry—meaning, it's mobile (which is very important in my book), thin and sleek. Not only does the device look good, but it also performs very well.

    [...]

    Overall, I had a very positive experience with the 7th generation Dell XPS 13. It's a powerful machine and fully capable of handling all sorts of developer workloads. And if used in a professional environment, it's very mobile as well. You can carry it from conference room to conference room and resume your work with little to no disruption. Ubuntu is well integrated with the machine, and it shows. You can't ask for more in a developer's laptop. I definitely consider this device to be well worth the investment.

  • What does your Linux setup look like?

    Jim Hall: I run Fedora Workstation on a Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop, with an ASUS 24" external display. That gives me a dual-display configuration that lets me work in one window on the larger display while having a separate space to run my music player or other apps. I love my Perixx ergonomic keyboard and my Microsoft Classic Intellimouse. When I'm feeling nostalgic, I swap out the ergo keyboard with my replica IBM Model M keyboard by Unicomp; the buckling spring keys are really easy to type with. My printer is an HP color LaserJet, which works seamlessly with Linux.

New Part Day: A $6 Linux Computer You Might Be Able To Write Code For

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

The latest news from the world of cheap electronics is a single board computer running Linux. It costs six dollars, and you can buy it right now. You might even be able to compile code for it, too.

The C-Sky Linux development board is listed on Taobao as an ‘OrangePi NanoPi Raspberry Pi Linux Development Board” and despite some flagrant misappropriation of trademarks, this is indeed a computer running Linux, available for seven American dollars.

This board is based on a NationalChip GX6605S SoC, a unique chip with an ISA that isn’t ARM, x86, RISC-V, MIPS, or anything else that would be considered normal. The chip itself was designed for set-top boxes, but there are a surprising number of build tools that include buildroot, GCC and support for qemu. The company behind this chip is maintaining a kernel, and support for this chip has been added to the mainline kernel. Yes, unlike many other single board computers out there, you might actually be able to compile something for this chip.

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Also: Modular automation controller builds on UP Squared SBC

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More in Tux Machines

Qt/KDE: Qt for Python, Inkscape Dark Theme on KDE Plasma, Atelier at Maker Faire and QtCon 2018!

  • Python and Qt: 3,000 hours of developer insight
    With Qt for Python released, it’s time to look at the powerful capabilities of these two technologies. This article details one solopreneur’s experiences. [...] The big problem with Electron is performance. In particular, the startup time was too high for a file manager: On an admittedly old machine from 2010, simply launching Electron took five seconds. I admit that my personal distaste for JavaScript also made it easier to discount Electron. Before I go off on a rant, let me give you just one detail that I find symptomatic: Do you know how JavaScript sorts numbers? Alphabetically. ’nuff said. After considering a few technologies, I settled on Qt. It’s cross-platform, has great performance and supports custom styles. What’s more, you can use it from Python. This makes at least me orders of magnitude more productive than the default C++.
  • Inkscape Dark Theme on KDE Plasma
    On KDE Plasma, it's very easy to setup Inkscape Dark Theme. To do so, go to System Settings > Application Style > GNOME/GTK+ Style > under GTK+ Style: switch all themes to Dark ones and give check mark to Prefer Dark Theme > Apply. Now your Inkscape should turned into dark mode. To revert back, just revert the theme selections. This trick works on Kubuntu or any other GNU/Linux system as long as it uses Plasma as its desktop environment.
  • Atelier at Maker Faire and QtCon 2018!
    On the weekend of November 3 and 4, it happened on Rio de Janeiro the first Maker Faire of Latin America. And I was able to do a talk about Atelier and the current status of our project. The event hold more than 1.500 people on the first day, that saw a lot of talks and the exposition of makers of all over the country that came to Rio to participate in this edition of the Maker Faire.

Security: Updates, Systematic Evaluation of Transient Execution Attacks and Defenses, New IoT Security Regulations and GPU Side-Channel Attacks

  • Security updates for Thursday
  • A Systematic Evaluation of Transient Execution Attacks and Defenses

    [...] we present a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks. Our systematization uncovers 7 (new) transient execution attacks that have been overlooked and not been investigated so far. This includes 2 new Meltdown variants: Meltdown-PK on Intel, and Meltdown-BR on Intel and AMD. It also includes 5 new Spectre mistraining strategies. We evaluate all 7 attacks in proof-of-concept implementations on 3 major processor vendors (Intel, AMD, ARM). Our systematization does not only yield a complete picture of the attack surface, but also allows a systematic evaluation of defenses. Through this systematic evaluation, we discover that we can still mount transient execution attacks that are supposed to be mitigated by rolled out patches.

  • New IoT Security Regulations
    Due to ever-evolving technological advances, manufacturers are connecting consumer goods­ -- from toys to light bulbs to major appliances­ -- to the Internet at breakneck speeds. This is the Internet of Things, and it's a security nightmare. The Internet of Things fuses products with communications technology to make daily life more effortless. Think Amazon's Alexa, which not only answers questions and plays music but allows you to control your home's lights and thermostat. Or the current generation of implanted pacemakers, which can both receive commands and send information to doctors over the Internet. But like nearly all innovation, there are risks involved. And for products born out of the Internet of Things, this means the risk of having personal information stolen or devices being overtaken and controlled remotely. For devices that affect the world in a direct physical manner -- ­cars, pacemakers, thermostats­ -- the risks include loss of life and property.
  • University Researchers Publish Paper On GPU Side-Channel Attacks
    University researchers out of University of California Riverside have published a paper this week detailing vulnerabilities in current GPU architectures making them vulnerable to side-channel attacks akin to Spectre and Meltdown. With their focus on NVIDIA GPUs, UCLA Riverside researchers demonstrated attacks both for graphics and compute by exploiting the GPU's performance counters. Demonstrated attacks included a browser-based attack, extracting passwords / keystroke logging, and even the possibility of exposing a CUDA neural network algorithm.

VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2

  • Announcement: VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2 released
    Please do NOT use this VirtualBox Beta release on production machines! A VirtualBox Beta release should be considered a bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes. You can download the binaries here: http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/6.0.0_BETA2 Please do NOT open bug reports at our public bugtracker but use our VirtualBox Beta Feedback forum at https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewforum.php?f=15 to report any problems with the Beta. Please concentrate on reporting regressions since VirtualBox 5.2! Version 6.0 will be a new major release. Please see the forum at https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=90315 for an incomplete list of changes. Thanks for your help! Michael
  • VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2 Adds File Manager For Host/Guest File Copies, OS/2 Shared Folder
    Last month Oracle rolled out the public beta of VirtualBox 6.0 though didn't include many user-facing changes. They have now rolled out a second beta that does add in a few more features. VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2 was released today and to its user-interface is a new file manager that allows the user to control the guest file-system with copying file objects between the host and guest. Also improved with VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2 is better shared folder auto-mounting with the VBox Guest Additions. This beta even brings initial shared folder support to the guest additions for OS/2.

Thunderbird version 60.3.1 now Available, Includes Fixes for Cookie Removal and Encoding Issues

Thunderbird happens to be one of the most famous Email client. It is free and an open source one which was developed by the Mozilla Foundation back in 2003, fifteen years ago. From a very basic interface, it has come a long way to be what it is today in 2018. With these updates, a recent one into the 60.x series from the 52.x series was a significant one. While the 60.x (60.3.0) update started rolling out, Mozilla was keen to push out 60.3.1. This new version of Thunderbird had a few bugs and kinks here and there which needed to be addressed which Mozilla did, most of them at least. Read more