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Snapdragon 820E mini-PC supports AI on the retail edge

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VIA unveiled a “VIA ALTA DS 3 Edge AI” mini-PC that runs Android 8.0 on a Snapdragon 820E. VIA previously announced it is bringing FogHorn’s Lightning IoT edge intelligence platform to its Edge AI systems.

VIA Technologies, which earlier this year released a VIA Smart Recognition Platform board powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 has now released an Android-based mini-PC built around the long-life Snapdragon 820E model. The $399 VIA ALTA DS 3 Edge AI follows other Alta DS systems including last year’s ALTA DS 4K mini-PC, which runs Android on a quad -A17 Zhaoxin ZX-2000 SoC and an earlier
Alta DS 2 that runs Android on VIA’s own dual -A9 VIA Elite E1000 SoC.

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Steam GNU/Linux Usage Doubles This Year, Google Still Snubs Linux Drivers

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  • Steam Linux Usage For September Revised Slightly Higher

    The initial Steam Linux market-share figures for September showed a rise in Linux gamers which isn't too surprising given the recent roll-out of Steam Play / Proton. It turns out those figures are even higher than originally reported.

    The original Steam survey figures for September 2019 put the Linux gaming market-share at 0.71%, or a 0.12% increase compared to the month prior. That has now been revised to 0.78%.

  • Google Has ‘No Plans’ to Enable Chrome Hardware Acceleration on Linux

    Google says it has no plans to enable Chrome hardware acceleration on Linux — not even as an experimental option.

    The news is certain to be greeted with groans by those who struggle to stream HD YouTube videos and other rich media content smoothly in Chrome on Linux.

Why TENS is the secure bootable Linux you need

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Before you get too excited, TENS isn't a pen-testing distro for admins to use to harden their network. TENS is a live desktop Linux distribution that gives the user a level of security they would not have with a standard desktop. That means it's great to use in places where network security is questionable, or when you need to submit sensitive data, and you don't trust a standard desktop operating system. In other words, anytime you need to use a network for the transmission of sensitive data, TENS Linux could easily be a top choice for users.

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LWN Kernel Coverage (Now Outside Paywall)

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  • Software-tag-based KASAN

    The kernel address sanitizer (KASAN) is a kernel debugging tool meant to catch incorrect use of kernel pointers. It is an effective tool, if the number of KASAN-based bug reports showing up on the mailing lists is any indication. The downside of KASAN is a significant increase in the amount of memory used by a running system. The software-tag-based mode proposed by Andrey Konovalov has the potential to address that problem, but it brings some limitations of its own.

    KASAN works by allocating a shadow memory map to describe the addressability of the kernel's virtual address space. Each byte in the shadow map corresponds to eight bytes of address space and indicates how many of those eight bytes (if any) are currently accessible to the kernel. When the kernel allocates or frees a range of memory, the shadow map is updated accordingly. Using some instrumentation inserted by the compiler, KASAN checks each kernel pointer dereference against the shadow map to ensure that the kernel is meant to be accessing the pointed-to memory. If the shadow map indicates a problem, an error is raised.

    It is an effective technique and, thanks to the support from the compiler, the run-time CPU overhead is tolerable in many settings. But the shadow map requires a great deal of memory, and that does affect the usability of KASAN in the real world, especially when it is used on memory-constrained systems. This overhead is particularly painful for users who would like to run KASAN on production systems as an additional security measure.

  • Time namespaces

    The kernel's namespace abstraction allows different groups of processes to have different views of the system. This feature is most often used with containers; it allows each container to have its own view of the set of running processes, the network environment, the filesystem hierarchy, and more. One aspect of the system that remains universal, though, is the concept of the system time. The recently posted time namespace patch set (from Dmitry Safonov with a lot of work by Andrei Vagin) seeks to change that.

    Creating a virtualized view of the system time is not a new concept; Jeff Dike posted an implementation back in 2006 to support his user-mode Linux project. Those patches were not merged at the time but, since then, the use of containers has taken off and the interest has increased. One might view time as a universal concept, but there are use cases for a per-container notion of time; they can be as simple as testing software at different points in time. The driving force behind this patch set, though, is likely to be problems associated with the checkpointing of processes and migrating them between physical hosts. When a process is restarted, it should have a consistent view of time, and that may require applying some adjustments at restart time.

    The implementation is straightforward enough. Each time namespace contains a set of offsets to be added to the system's notion of the current time. The kernel maintains a number of clocks with different characteristics (documented here), each of which can have a different offset. Some of these clocks, such as CLOCK_MONOTONIC, have an undefined start point that will vary from one running system to the next, so they will need their own offsets to maintain consistent behavior for a container that has been migrated. System calls that adjust the system time will, when called outside of the root time namespace, adjust the namespace-specific offsets instead.

  • Progress on Zinc (thus WireGuard)

    When last we looked at the WireGuard VPN code and its progress toward mainline inclusion, said progress was impeded by disagreements about the new "Zinc" cryptographic library that is added by the WireGuard patches. Since that August look, several more versions of WireGuard and Zinc have been posted; it would seem that Zinc is getting closer to being accepted. Once that happens, the networking developers are poised to review that portion of the code, which likely will lead to WireGuard in the kernel some time in the next development cycle or two.

    Jason Donenfeld posted Zinc v3 as part of an updated WireGuard posting on September 10. Of the versions he has posted since our article (up to v6 as of this writing), v3 has gotten most of the comments. One of the main complaints about Zinc is that it creates a new crypto API in the kernel without really addressing why the existing one would not work for WireGuard.

  • The kernel's code of conduct, one week later

    The dust has begun to settle after the abrupt decisions by Linus Torvalds to take a break from kernel maintainership and to adopt a code of conduct for the community as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the development community, most of which was not consulted prior to the adoption of this code, has a lot of questions about it and a number of concerns. While many of the answers to those questions will be a while in coming, a few things are beginning to come into focus.

    It is worth starting with one important point that last week's article failed to mention: the new code of conduct is not actually new to the community as a whole. In particular, the DRM (graphics) subsystem adopted the code of conduct in April 2017. This code, like the code for the kernel as a whole, is derived from the Contributor Covenant text. There have not been any problems of note arising from the use of this code in that subsystem to date. Your editor has been told that the DRM community's successful use of this code was a direct contributor to Torvalds's choice of this particular code as a starting point for the kernel.

AT&T Details Open White Box Specs for Linux-Based 5G Routers

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This week AT&T will release detailed specs to the Open Compute Project for building white box cell site gateway routers for 5G. Over the next few years, more than 60,000 white box routers built by a variety of manufacturers will be deployed as 5G routers in AT&T’s network.

In its Oct. 1 announcement, AT&T said it will load the routers with its Debian Linux based Vyatta Network Operating System (NOS) stack. Vyatta NOS forms the basis for AT&T’s open source dNOS platform, which in turn is the basis for a new Linux Foundation open source NOS project called DANOS, which similarly stands for Disaggregated Network Operating System (see below).

AT&T’s white box blueprint “decouples hardware from software” so any organization can build its own compliant systems running other software. This will provide the cellular gateway industry with flexibility as well as the security of building on an interoperable, long-lifecycle platform. The white box spec appears to OS agnostic. However, routers typically run Linux-based NOS stacks, and that does not appear to be changing with 5G.

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Antergos Softens Arch Learning Curve

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If you are already familiar with the Arch Linux family but want a quicker installation method, you will appreciate what Antergos brings to the Linux table. Those who are less familiar with the Arch Linux methodologies are sure to be much less enthusiastic about using the OS.

This distro gives you some of the most popular desktop environments all in one download. If you are clueless about a preferred desktop, though, you will be stuck staring at the default GNOME option. Antergos does not provide users with an easy switching tool to change the desktop option. The live session ISO does not let you try out any other option either.

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New xfce4-settings release

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After quite a bit of development time I’m happy to announce the next development point release of xfce4-settings in the 4.13 series.

There are many fixes in this release – most visibly also UI improvements. This includes consistent padding/margin etc across all dialogs as well as a restored hover-effect in the Settings Manager. Finally both the advanced (fake panel as indicator for primary displays, re-arranged settings and distinct advanced tab) and the minimal display dialog (new icons, improved strings) received a facelift.

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Also: Xfce Picks Up Support For Monitor Profiles

Linux Storage and Bugs Found by CoverityScan

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  • Kernel Developers Discuss Defaulting To BFQ For Some Storage Devices

    There's a new discussion taking place over the default I/O scheduler of the Linux kernel.

    Since going mainline in Linux 4.12, the BFQ I/O scheduler has continued improving. For those not familiar with the Budget Fair Queueing I/O scheduler, it's designed for low-latency in interactive applications and soft real-time workloads, higher speed and throughput than CFQ/Deadline for many workloads on SSDs, and strong fairness/bandwidth guarantees. BFQ has been used by the default within the Linux kernel "Zen" downstream flavor along in select distributions, but now there's talk again about trying to make it the default I/O scheduler.

  • Static Analysis Trends on Linux Next

    As one can see from above, CoverityScan has found a considerable amount of defects and these are being steadily fixed by the Linux developer community. The encouraging fact is that the outstanding issues are reducing over time. Some of the spikes in the data are because of changes in the analysis that I'm running (e.g. getting more coverage), but even so, one can see a definite trend downwards in the total defects in the Kernel.

Tips for listing files with ls at the Linux command line

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One of the first commands I learned in Linux was ls. Knowing what’s in a directory where a file on your system resides is important. Being able to see and modify not just some but all of the files is also important.

My first LInux cheat sheet was the One Page Linux Manual, which was released in1999 and became my go-to reference. I taped it over my desk and referred to it often as I began to explore Linux. Listing files with ls -l is introduced on the first page, at the bottom of the first column.

Later, I would learn other iterations of this most basic command. Through the ls command, I began to learn about the complexity of the Linux file permissions and what was mine and what required root or sudo permission to change. I became very comfortable on the command line over time, and while I still use ls -l to find files in the directory, I frequently use ls -al so I can see hidden files that might need to be changed, like configuration files.

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2018 Linux Plumbers Conference Full and Linux Australia/LCA Debunks New Smears

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  • 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference is almost completely full

    Due to overwhelming demand for tickets to the Linux Plumbers Conference, there are no additional registrations available at this time. As we finalize the makeup of microconferences, refereed talks, and so on, there will be some spots available. We will be making them available to those who have expressed interest as fairly as we can and as soon as we can. We plan to contact the recipients of the first batch of released slots by October 8. There may be another, likely smaller, batch notified thereafter. Those interested in attending the conference, should send a request to to get on the waiting list. In the unlikely event that the waiting list has been exhausted, we will release any remaining registrations on a first-come-first-served basis by mid-late October.

  • Linux Australia says no ban on Ts'o attending annual conference [Ed: Sharp carries on harassing Linux developers]

    Claims that Linux Australia has a ban in place on well-known kernel developer Ted Ts'o attending the organisation's annual national conference — which is known as LCA — have been denied by LA president Kathy Reid.

    The claims were made by ex-kernel developer Sage (formerly Sarah) Sharp in a blog post a few days after Linux creator Linus Torvalds announced he was taking a break from leading the kernel development project in order to obtain professional advice about his behaviour issues.

    In the wake of Torvalds' decision — claimed to have been prompted by an article in The New Yorker — the project announced that its existing code of conflict would be replaced by a code of conduct.

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More in Tux Machines

Themes With Emphasis on GTK/GNOME

  • Stylish Gtk Themes Makes Your Linux Desktop Look Stylish
    There are plenty of nice themes available for Gnome desktop and many of them are in active development. Stylish theme pack is one of the great looking pack around since 2014 and constantly evolving. It offers stylish clean and flat design themes for Gtk-3 and Gtk-2, including Gnome shell themes. Stylish theme pack is based Materia theme and support almost every desktop environment such as Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce, Mate, Budgie, Panteon, etc. We are offering Stylish themes via our PPA for Ubuntu/Linux Mint. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint then download this pack directly from its page and install it in this location "~/.themes" or "/usr/share/themes". Since Stylish theme pack is in active development that means if you encounter any kind of bug or issue with it then report it to get fixed in the next update.
  • Delft: Another Great Icon Pack In Town Forked From Faenza Icons
    In past, you may have used Faenza icon theme or you still have it set on your desktop. Delft icons are revived version of Faenza and forked from Faenza icon theme, maybe it is not right to say 'revived' because it looks little different from Faenza theme and at the same time it stays close to the original Faenza icons, it is released under license GNU General Public License V3. The theme was named after a dutch city, which is known for its history, its beauty, and Faenza in Italy. The author who is maintaining Delft icons saw that Faenza icons haven't been updated from some years and thought to carry this project. There are some icons adopted from the Obsidian icon theme. Delft icon pack offer many variants (Delft, Delft-Amber, Delft-Aqua, Delft-Blue, Delft-Dark, Delft-Gray, Delft-Green, Delft-Mint, Delft-Purple, Delft-Red, Delft-Teal) including light and dark versions for light/dark themes, you can choose appropriate one according to your desktop theme. These icons are compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Mate, Lxde, Xfce and others. Many application icons available in this icons pack and if you find any missing icon or want to include something in this icon pack or face any kind of bug then report it to creator.
  • Give Your Desktop A Sweet Outlook With Sweet Themes Give Your Desktop A Sweet Outlook With Sweet Themes
    It is feels bit difficult to describe this theme we are going to introduce here today. Sweet theme pack looks and feel very different on the desktop but at the same time make the Linux desktop elegant and eye catching. Maybe these are not perfect looking themes available but it lineup in the perfect theme queue. You may say, I don't like it in screenshots, let me tell you that you should install it on your system and if you don't like then you already have option to remove it. So there is no harm to try a new thing, maybe this is next best theme pack for your Linux desktop.

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Open-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking

Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose? It might seem unexpected, but as an engineering professor, I’d pick the second option. The first one might be safe – but I simply don’t know. I’d have to take the company’s word for it. Maybe it’s a reputable company with a longstanding pedigree of quality, but I’d be betting my information’s security on the company upholding its traditions. By contrast, I can judge the security of the second safe for myself – or ask an expert to evaluate it. I’ll be better informed about how secure my safe is, and therefore more confident that my document is safe inside it. That’s the value of open-source technology. Read more