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Linux and Open Source Hardware for IoT

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Linux
OSS

Most of the new 21 open source software projects for IoT that we examined last week listed Linux hacker boards as their prime development platforms. This week, we’ll look at open source and developer-friendly Linux hardware for building Internet of Things devices, from simple microcontroller-based technology to Linux-based boards.

In recent years, it’s become hard to find an embedded board that isn’t marketing with the IoT label. Yet, the overused term is best suited for boards with low prices, small footprints, low power consumption, and support for wireless communications and industrial interfaces. Camera support is useful for some IoT applications, but high-end multimedia is usually counterproductive to attributes like low cost and power consumption.

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Unsafe at any clock speed: Linux kernel security needs a rethink

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Linux

The Linux kernel today faces an unprecedented safety crisis. Much like when Ralph Nader famously told the American public that their cars were "unsafe at any speed" back in 1965, numerous security developers told the 2016 Linux Security Summit in Toronto that the operating system needs a total rethink to keep it fit for purpose.

No longer the niche concern of years past, Linux today underpins the server farms that run the cloud, more than a billion Android phones, and not to mention the coming tsunami of grossly insecure devices that will be hitched to the Internet of Things. Today's world runs on Linux, and the security of its kernel is a single point of failure that will affect the safety and well-being of almost every human being on the planet in one way or another.

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Linux Foundation and Linux

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Linux
  • ONOS Hummingbird SDN release touts core control function improvements

    ON.Lab’s ONOS Project noted its eighth SDN platform release expands southbound and northbound protocol, legacy device support

    The telecommunications market’s choice of software-defined networking platforms continues to blossom, with the Open Networking Laboratory’s Open Network Operating System Project releasing its latest SDN platform variant under the “Hummingbird” tag.

  • OPNFV Heads Down Colorado Trail

    OPNFV today issued its third software release, ending the agonizing six-month period in which folks had to pronounce and spell Brahmaputra. (See OPNFV Issues Third Software Release.)

    This latest release continues the river theme but is sensibly named Colorado: It has other advantages as well, namely support for key features such as security, IPv6, service function chaining (SFC) testing, virtual private networks and more.

    In addition, Colorado is laying some key groundwork for what lies ahead as the industry comes to terms with the MANO (management and network orchestration) dilemma, says Heather Kirksey, Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. 's executive director.

  • OPNFV's Third Release Includes Security Enhancements
  • ONOS, OPNFV Introduce Latest Open SDN, NFV Releases
  • OPNFV Issues Third Software Release
  • The Linux State Of AMD's Zen x86 Memory Encryption

    With AMD's forthcoming Zen processors is support for some new memory encryption technologies that are of particular benefit for virtualized environments.

    I wrote about Linux patches for AMD memory encryption earlier this year while since then more information has come to light. At last month's Linux Security Summit, David Kaplan presented on these technologies coming with Zen; only today I had come across the slide deck for this presentation.

    The technologies come down to Secure Memory Encryption (SME) and Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV). SME provides memory encryption on a per-page-table basis using AMD's ARM-based security co-processor. AMD SME + SEV are designed against both user-access attacks and physical access attacks with a particular focus on VM / hypervisor security.

  • Improving Fuzzing Tools for More Efficient Kernel Testing

    Fuzz testing (or fuzzing) is a software testing technique that involves passing invalid or random data to a program and observing the results, such as crashes or other failures. Bamvor Jian Zhang of Huawei, who will be speaking at LinuxCon Europe, realized that existing fuzz testing tools -- such as trinity -- can generate random or boundary values for syscall parameters and inject them into the kernel, but they don’t validate whether the results of those syscalls are correct.

  • X.Org's GLAMOR 2D Performance Continues To Be Tuned

    While GLAMOR has already been around for a number of years as a means of providing generic X11 2D acceleration over OpenGL for the X.Org Server, it's a seemingly never-ending process to optimize its code-paths for best performance. More improvements are en route for making GLAMOR 2D faster, which should especially be helpful for Raspberry Pi users making use of the VC4 driver stack on this very slow-speed hardware.

    Benefits to the GLAMOR code in the X.Org Server obviously have the potential to benefit all users of this acceleration mechanism for code going into the xorg-server code-base as opposed to an individual GL driver, but for Raspberry Pi users in particular there is some efforts ongoing by Broadcom's Eric Anholt as well as Keith Packard's never-ending tinkering with the X Server code. GLAMOR continues to be used by default for all AMD GCN GPUs, Nouveau for the latest generations of GPU too, VC4 2D is only supported with GLAMOR, and optionally by other DDX drivers too.

BeagleBone Black Wireless SBC taps Octavo SiP, has open design

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Linux
Hardware

BeagleBoard.org’s “BeagleBone Black Wireless” SBC uses Octavo’s OSD335x SiP module and replaces the standard BeagleBone Black’s Ethernet with 2.4GHz WiFi and BT 4.1 BLE.

BeagleBone Black Wireless is the first SBC to incorporate the Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP (system-in-package) module, “which integrates BeagleBone functionality into one easy-to-use BGA package,” according to BeagleBoard.org. Announced on Sep. 26, the OSD3358 SiP integrates a TI Sitara AM3358 SoC along with a TI TPS65217C PMIC, TI TL5209 LDO (low-drop-out) regulator, up to 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and over 140 passives devices including resistors, capacitors, and inductors, within a single BGA package. The Linux-driven hacker SBC also adds TI WiLink 8 WL1835MOD wireless module with 2.2 MIMO.

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Also: Epiq Solutions' Sidekiq M.2

NAS-targeted Skylake Mini-ITX loads up on SATA, GbE, PCIe

Lenovo Anti-Linux, Layoffs, and Openwashing

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Android
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Microsoft, Lenovo Accused Of Blocking Linux On Signature Edition PCs

    Laptops today are increasingly powerful. Right now, if you get a new laptop, the probability is that it comes with the new Windows 10 operating system but there are some people that prefer to have a choice when it comes to OS selection. While some people are fine with Windows 10, there are those who might want to have a dual OS system running. A few people who bought Lenovo laptops like the Yoga 900, 910S, and 710S, found that Lenovo was blocking Linux.

  • Motorola, Lenovo lay off over a thousand more people
  • New Lenovo layoffs at Moto, company has now lost over 95% of employees in four years

    Speaking to Droid-life, both sources inside the company and Motorola itself confirmed today that Lenovo has conducted a brutal round of layoffs at Moto. According to DL, over 50% of Motorola's existing US staff have lost their jobs. A 20-year veteran of the company allegedly posted on Facebook that he had been laid off, so it looks like Lenovo is cutting deep at the device-maker.

    One source told them that over 700 employees would be asked to leave of the over 1200 Motorola currently employs. No doubt Lenovo hopes to cut costs by integrating much of Motorola's software and hardware development into its own smartphone unit. Sensible or not, it's still rather sad to watch the once-proud brand slowly be swallowed by The Great Lenovo Monster. The lack of critical or consumer hype around the company's new Moto Z line hasn't helped matters, and while the refreshed Moto G franchise was generally well-received, it's the expensive phones that make the money, and I have a hard time believing the Z series is a runaway sales success.

  • Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release

    Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone on Github. The move follows the company's posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github this summer. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z family of devices. Releasing the kernel source code seems to be another step in Lenovo's attempt to get devs to build an iPhone-like ecosystem around the Moto Z family. The Z family is modular.

Linux Foundation and Linux

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Linux
  • security things in Linux v4.3

    When I gave my State of the Kernel Self-Protection Project presentation at the 2016 Linux Security Summit, I included some slides covering some quick bullet points on things I found of interest in recent Linux kernel releases. Since there wasn’t a lot of time to talk about them all, I figured I’d make some short blog posts here about the stuff I was paying attention to, along with links to more information. This certainly isn’t everything security-related or generally of interest, but they’re the things I thought needed to be pointed out. If there’s something security-related you think I should cover from v4.3, please mention it in the comments. I’m sure I haven’t caught everything. Smile

    A note on timing and context: the momentum for starting the Kernel Self Protection Project got rolling well before it was officially announced on November 5th last year. To that end, I included stuff from v4.3 (which was developed in the months leading up to November) under the umbrella of the project, since the goals of KSPP aren’t unique to the project nor must the goals be met by people that are explicitly participating in it. Additionally, not everything I think worth mentioning here technically falls under the “kernel self-protection” ideal anyway — some things are just really interesting userspace-facing features.

  • Open Source NFV releases third platform, offers additional testing capabilities

    The OPNFV Project, an open source project set on driving the evolution of network functions virtualization (NFV) components, has made its OPNFV Colorado release available.

    As the third platform release, OPNFV Colorado includes feature enhancements across security, IPv6, Service Function Chaining (SFC), testing, VPN capabilities, and support for multiple hardware architectures.

    Specifically, OPNFV Colorado address three main areas: core feature upgrades, enhanced testing capabilities, and infrastructure and testing environment advancements.

  • Serro CEO to Participate on Prominent Keynote Industry Panel at the Linux Foundation's Upcoming OpenDaylight Summit in Seattle
  • The Linux Foundation and edX Roll Out a Free OpenStack Cours

    The market for OpenStack training continues to surge, and training is now offered by vendors such as Mirantis and independent organizations such as The Linux Foundation. Overall training for OpenStack surged last year. According to the OpenStack Foundation, since the launch of the OpenStack marketplace in September 2013, training offerings grew from 17 unique courses in eight cities to 119 courses in 99 cities.

Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 "Nev" Is in the Works, to Ship with the GNOME 3.22 Desktop

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GNU
Linux
GNOME

We told you the other day that the Parsix GNU/Linux development team informed the community that new security updates are available for the current stable Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 "Erik" and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 "Atticus" releases.

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IPFire 2.19 Linux Firewall OS Patched Against the Latest OpenSSL Vulnerabilities

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Linux
Security

Only three days after announcing the release of IPFire 2.19 Core Update 104, Michael Tremer informs the community about the availability of a new update, Core Update 105, which brings important OpenSSL patches.

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Top Web Browsers for Linux

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Linux

No matter which Linux distro you prefer, I believe the web browser remains the most commonly used software application. In this article, I'll share the best browsers available to Linux users.

Chrome – No matter how you feel about the Chrome browser, one only need to realize the following: Local news still streams in Flash and Chrome supports this. Netflix is supported using Chrome. And of course, Chrome is faster than any other browser out there. Did I mention the oodles of Chrome extensions available including various remote desktop solutions? No matter how you slice it, Chrome is king of the jungle.

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Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS Brings ARM and EXT4 Improvements, Updated Drivers

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Linux

Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.7.5, renowned kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the availability of Linux kernel 4.4.22 LTS

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More in Tux Machines

GitHub open-sources internal load-balancing software

GitHub will release as open source the GitHub Load Balancer (GLB), its internally developed load balancer. GLB was originally built to accommodate GitHub’s need to serve billions of HTTP, Git, and SSH connections daily. Now the company will release components of GLB via open source, and it will share design details. Read more

More Android Leftovers

Red Hat and Fedora

today's leftovers

  • My Experiences Converting Users To GNU/Linux
    My wife, TLW, runs GNU/Linux with few problems. She uses a tablet, an Odroid-C2 ARMed thick client, and a big notebook all running Debian GNU/Linux or Ubuntu and her Android/Linux smartphone and her scanner and printer all deal with Beast, my GNU/Linux server. I have her file-system plugged in via NFS so she can do IT in bed, in front of the TV, on TV, or in her office and all her thousands of pictures, documents, scans etc. are all in the same place. She doesn’t even have much problem using Ubuntu or XFCE4 on Debian because she mostly uses the same applications all day long. It just works for her and memories of That Other Operating System are fading. She was locked to a single thick client with limited capabilities in those Dark Days. She had repeated crashes and malware. Today, her issues with IT are things like changing the name of a file on the FTP server or how to scan a light image or…, real problems, not problems M$ causes billions of people every day.
  • Shame on Microsoft for Leaving Surface Pro Customers in the Dark
    When Microsoft came out with its first batch of Surface tablets a few years ago, the company took a bath on them. It didn't help that they were conceived around the unpopular Windows 8 and the now-defunct Windows RT and that the prospects for the OS were in question. After Microsoft wrote off $900 million on its money-losing Surface business, the deathwatch was on. But the Intel-based Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 showed a glimmer of hope, and Microsoft finally delivered a solid hit with the Surface Pro 3. After that water­shed release, the Surface division is now an important business that brings in more than $1 billion revenue per quarter. Yet Microsoft isn't showing much appreciation toward the customers who helped put its Surface business on solid footing.
  • A quick introduction to Audacity for teachers
  • SX 2.2 RELEASE
    Skylable is proud to announce immediate availability of SX 2.2. The new release provides a significant performance boost by improving calculation, index usage and maintaining cache of frequently computed values, as well as performing background propagation of all replicas above 1 by default. Additionally, sxfs now enables caching of smaller objects for improved latency. The source code and binary packages are available for download now. SX 2.2 is backward compatible with previous 2.x releases, and all you need to do is to run sxsetup –upgrade on every node after updating it!
  • 3 Awesome Themes For Plank, The Linux Dock App
    Plenty of people use the desktop dock Plank on their Linux desktop — and for good reason. Plank is a nimble, customisable desktop dock for Linux desktops.
  • hackmud, a cyberpunk themed text-based hacking simulator is now out with Linux support
    The game is listed as Single-player and Multi-player, so it's not entirely clear what type of game it is. As it also claims it's an MMO. I think the developer needs to make it much clearer exactly what is online and what is offline.
  • Yooka-Laylee has another trailer, featuring Shovel Knight
  • ContractPatch, Step 2: Understanding the power balance
    At the point you are presented with a job offer, your prospective employer really wants to hire you. Chances are, they’ve screened and interviewed a number of candidates and put a lot of work into the process. Your manager has thought deeply about who they want in the position and has probably imagined how it will all work out with you in the role. Both you and the hiring decision-maker(s) are probably very optimistic about what you’ll accomplish in the role and how well you’ll get along working together. At this point, no one wants to go back to the drawing board and start the process over again. You will be excited to start the new job but it’s worth taking a step back to appreciate the unusual position you are in with your new employer.
  • Epiphany Icon Refresh
  • Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 3 Is Out with Full EFI Support, Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
    Softpedia was informed today, September 26, 2016, by Black Lab Software's CEO Robert J. Dohnert about the availability of the third Beta development snapshot of the upcoming Black Lab Linux 8 GNU/Linux operating system. Black Lab Linux 8 "Onyx" Beta 3 is here approximately three weeks after the second Beta pre-release and it comes with a major change. It is no longer based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), as the development team decided to switch base and move to the next Ubuntu LTS version, namely Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).
  • DevOps: All Development, No Database
    Since the last time I touched working code in a production environment, it’s no exaggeration to say that no part of the development process remains untouched. Over the last decade plus, effectively every aspect of the application development process has been scrutinized, rethought and in many cases reinvented. From version control to build systems to configuration and deployment to monitoring, modern development’s toolchain is multi-part and sophisticated. As it must be. Processes that work for code released in cycles measured in months cannot be expected to handle workflows measured in days or minutes. For all that the process of developing software has evolved, however, the database remains curiously overlooked. Consider the example of Cloud Native. Describing a modern, typically legacy-free approach to building applications appropriate for cloud environments, the term Cloud Native has gone from informal descriptor to accepted industry shorthand in short order – to the extent that it has its own technical foundation. If we look at the membership of that foundation, the CNCF, it would appear that the roster includes no database vendors at the Platinum or Gold membership levels, at least if you assume Google’s involvement is around Kubernetes and not tools such as BigQuery. Of the 41 silver members, meanwhile, two can be considered database vendors: Crunchy and Treasure Data.