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The CUPS Printing System Lead Developer Has Left Apple, Begins Developing "LPrint"

Filed under
Mac
OSS

More than a decade after Apple acquired the CUPS source-code and its lead developer, that developer, Michael Sweet, recently parted ways with Apple.

Just before Christmas was an announcement by CUPS lead developer Michael Sweet that he left Apple and will be taking a break and then plans to begin forming a new business with his wife.

During his tenure at Apple, there were many CUPS improvements: much better network printing support, basic 3D printer support, IPP Everywhere, and more.

Back in 2017 though is when Apple decided CUPS would no longer be GPL licensed but they migrated to the Apache 2.0 license. Just last August came CUPS 2.3 with that licensing change and the print server's first release in three years.

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Manjaro with KDE on a MacBook Pro

Filed under
GNU
KDE
Linux
Mac

With that away, I just installed purely Manjaro Linux on my MacBook last evening, who cares, I anyways don’t use macOS at all beside as VirtualBox startup environment.

I searched for some pointers in the internet, in the past I already had some parallel install. If you search a bit, you will find various hints how to do it.

[...]

For me this did the job and the stuff is running well enough. The webcam won’t work without additional effort, not that I use it. No idea if Bluetooth or other stuff like the Thunderbolt ports work, but I never used that even on macOS.

Fortunately the HiDPI support on Linux & Qt & KDE has gone a long way since my initial try 2015 and now, with some scaling of 1.5 or 2, it is all nicely usable ;=)

Given I still have some macOS machines available at work, I might still try out some Kate bundles there from time to time, but my personal life is now macOS free.

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Apple Tightens the Proprietary Screws

Filed under
Mac
  • Apple will enforce app notarization for macOS Catalina in February

    The new policies require developers to submit their apps to Apple to go through a notarizing security process, or they won't run in macOS Catalina. An extension to the existing Gatekeeper process that previously allowed notarization as an option, the requirement is designed to ensure downloaded software is from the source users believe it is from.

  • Apple to Enforce macOS App Verification Requirements Starting February

    "If you have not yet done so, upload your software to the notary service and review the developer log for warnings. These warnings will become errors starting February 3 and must be fixed in order to have your software notarized. Software notarized before February 3 will continue to run by default on macOS Catalina," the company said in a statement.

  • Apple will enforce macOS app notarization requirements starting in February

    Developers received word of the impending changes this summer. Apple temporarily adjusted the notarization prerequisites in order to make the transition to macOS Catalina easier for developers and users. The new changes go into effect on February 3, 2020.

  • Apple’s App Notarization Requirements For macOS Catalina To Be Enforced In February

    Cupertino tech giant Apple announced earlier in June that all apps distributed outside the Mac App Store must be notarized so they can continue functioning on Macs and MacBooks running on the latest macOS version, macOS Catalina.

Thunderbolt 3 Software Connection Manager Support Coming In Linux 5.5 For Apple Hardware

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Mac

The Thunderbolt changes have been merged to char-misc ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.5 merge window.

The principal Thunderbolt changes for this next version of the Linux kernel is introducing software connection manager support for Thunderbolt 3 hardware -- initially just Apple systems. Up to now the Thunderbolt 3 controllers on Apple systems have just relied upon the firmware connection manager but now Linux's in-kernel connection manager can be used in place of the firmware implementation. The Thunderbolt connection manager is responsible for creating PCIe tunnels and other operations when Thunderbolt devices are connected.

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Going from macOS to Ubuntu

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Mac

So, can Linux be my workhorse?

Yes. But this is not a sales pitch. If you walk away thinking/knowing Linux is still too much trouble, that's a fair takeway. There are sacrifices and struggles and whether those are worth it to you depends on, well, you. I don't intend to win anybody over to either side.

Ok let's dive in, I'll try to describe the things I ran into, the things I can't fix, and straight up howto's for the things I could.

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Apple of 2019 is the Linux of 2000

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Mac

Last week the laptop I use for macOS development said that there is an XCode update available. I tried to install it but it said that there is not enough free space available to run the installer. So I deleted a bunch of files and tried again. Still the same complaint. Then I deleted some unused VM images. Those would free a few dozen gigabytes, so it should make things work. I even emptied the trash can to make sure nothing lingered around. But even this did not help, I still got the same complaint.

At this point it was time to get serious and launch the terminal. And, true enough, according to df the disk had only 8 gigabytes of free space even though I had just deleted over 40 gigabytes of files from it (using rm, not the GUI, so things really should have been gone). A lot of googling and poking later I discovered that all the deleted files had gone to "reserved space" on the file system. There was no way to access those files or delete them. According to documentation the operating system would delete those files "on demand as more space is needed". This was not very comforting because the system most definitely was not doing that and you'd think that Apple's own software would get this right.

After a ton more googling I managed to find a chat buried somewhere deep in Reddit which listed the magical indentation that purges reserved space. It consisted of running tmutil from the command line and giving it a bunch of command line arguments that did not seem to make sense or have any correlation to the thing that I wanted to do. But it did work and eventually I got XCode updated.

After my blood pressure dropped to healthier levels I got the strangest feeling of déjà vu. This felt exactly like using Linux in the early 2000s. Things break at random for reasons you can't understand and the only way to fix it is to find terminal commands from discussion forums, type them in and hope for the best. Then it hit me.

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Critical Security Issue identified in iTerm2 as part of Mozilla Open Source Audit

Filed under
Mac
Moz/FF
Security

A security audit funded by the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) has discovered a critical security vulnerability in the widely used macOS terminal emulator iTerm2. After finding the vulnerability, Mozilla, Radically Open Security (ROS, the firm that conducted the audit), and iTerm2’s developer George Nachman worked closely together to develop and release a patch to ensure users were no longer subject to this security threat. All users of iTerm2 should update immediately to the latest version (3.3.6) which has been published concurrent with this blog post.

Founded in 2015, MOSS broadens access, increases security, and empowers users by providing catalytic support to open source technologists. Track III of MOSS — created in the wake of the 2014 Heartbleed vulnerability — supports security audits for widely used open source technologies like iTerm2. Mozilla is an open source company, and the funding MOSS provides is one of the key ways that we continue to ensure the open source ecosystem is healthy and secure.

iTerm2 is one of the most popular terminal emulators in the world, and frequently used by developers. MOSS selected iTerm2 for a security audit because it processes untrusted data and it is widely used, including by high-risk targets (like developers and system administrators).

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You can now use Apple Music on Linux without any hacks

Filed under
Linux
Mac

Apple Music is now available through a web browser, which means I’m pleased/obligated to report that you can now use the service on Linux!

Users on Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other distros just need to load beta.music.apple.com in a modern web browser (sorry Lynx) and, et voila: the ability to stream Apple Music on Linux.

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Also: Here's How To Easily Use Apple Music From Any Linux Distribution

Proprietary Software Leftovers

Filed under
Microsoft
Software
Mac
Security
  • BuyDRM launches Linux support for DRM

    BuyDRM has announced Linux support for its MultiKey Server, a multi-DRM software platform specifically designed for deployments in remote or limited connectivity environments.

  • Some airlines are banning Apple’s MacBook Pros even if they weren’t recalled

    In June, Apple recalled the 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, sold between September 2015 and February 2017, because the battery “may pose a fire safety risk,” and the FAA soon reminded airlines not to carry those laptops with defective batteries on board. But some airlines are now banning Apple laptops whether they’ve got a bad battery or not, as reported by Bloomberg.

  • More Airlines Ban MacBook Pros in Checked Luggage

    All 15-inch versions of Apple Inc.’s MacBook Pro must be carried in the cabin and switched off, Qantas said in a statement Wednesday. The rule went into effect Tuesday morning. Rival Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. went further on Aug. 26, banning all Apple laptops from checked-in luggage.

  • Popular PDF app was quietly plonking malware onto Android phones

    The security smart folks note that the app itself doesn't appear to be a malicious one, but rather it contains a trojan that gathers spyware and other malware from a malicious server and then runs in on a victim's phone. This trojan, dubbed Necro.n appears to have been sneaked into the app through the use of a legit-looking advertising library package.

    As such, the developers of the app, which has received some 100 million downloads, might not even realise their software is causing their users a malware headache.

  • [Cracker] Claims He Can ‘Turn Off 25,000 Cars’ At The Push Of A Button

    Your car’s immobilizer is supposed to be used for good. If a crook steals your car, it's possible for you to connect to the immobilizer, which tracks the vehicle and allows you to stop anyone from turning on the engine. But with one particular immobilizer - the U.K.-made SmarTrack tool from Global Telemetrics - an easy-to-hack vulnerability meant it was simple for researchers at Pen Test Partners to turn on the immobilizer permanently, without the customer knowing a thing.

    To prove it was possible, the researchers from British cybersecurity company Pen Test Partners hacked the vehicle of one of their own employees, disabling his car whilst they were in the U.K. and he was in Greece, not long before he was due to head to a wedding.

  • French cyberpolice, Avast and FBI neutralise global 'botnet' [iophk: Windows TCO]

    French police have neutralised a [cracking] operation that had taken control of more than 850,000 computers, mainly in Latin America, while also managing to remove the malware from the infected devices.

    The agents went into action last spring after the Czech antivirus firm Avast alerted them to the software worm, called Retadup, that was being controlled by a server in the Paris region.

  • Putting an end to Retadup: A malicious worm that infected hundreds of thousands [iophk: Windows TCO]

    Retadup is a malicious worm affecting Windows machines throughout Latin America. Its objective is to achieve persistence on its victims’ computers, to spread itself far and wide and to install additional malware payloads on infected machines. In the vast majority of cases, the installed payload is a piece of malware mining cryptocurrency on the malware authors’ behalf. However, in some cases, we have also observed Retadup distributing the Stop ransomware and the Arkei password stealer.

  • Authorities free 850,000 machines from grasp of Retadup worm [iophk: Windows TCO]

    After gaining persistence, Retadup goes on to distribute secondary malware on infected machines. It most commonly delivers a Monero cryptomining program, but also has been observed spreading over malware programs including Stop ransomware and the Arkei password stealer, Avast reports.

    The vast majority of Retadup victims whose infections were neutralized in last month’s crackdown are based in Latin American countries. However, the law enforcement operation itself specifically targeted C2 infrastructure based in France and the U.S.

  • Report finds majority of 2019 ransomware attacks have targeted state and local governments [iophk: Windows TCO]

    The majority of ransomware attacks in the U.S. in 2019 have targeted state and local governments, a report published Wednesday by cybersecurity group Barracuda Networks found.

    The report counted a total of 55 ransomware attacks on U.S. state and local government entities between January and July of 2019. These attacks involve a malicious actor or group encrypting a network and asking for money, often in the form of bitcoin, to allow the user access.

  • Threat Spotlight: Government Ransomware Attacks [iophk: this is disinformation which fails to steer potential victims away from Windows and towards GNU/Linux or one of the BSDs]

    Barracuda researchers have identified more than 50 cities and towns attacked so far this year. The team’s recent analysis of hundreds of attacks across a broad set of targets revealed that government organizations are the intended victims of nearly two-thirds of all ransomware attacks. Local, county, and state governments have all been targets, including schools, libraries, courts, and other entities.

    Here’s a closer look at state and local government ransomware attacks and solutions to help detect, block, and recover from them.

Darling: macOS compatibility for Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Mac

There is an increasingly active development effort, known as Darling, that is aiming to provide a translation layer for macOS software on Linux; it is inspired in part by Wine. While Darling isn't nearly as mature as Wine, contributors are continuing to build out capabilities that could make the project more useful to a wider group of users in the future.

[...]

Darling is licensed under GPLv3 and, according to the project home page, it does not violate Apple's End User License Agreement (EULA) since it only uses the parts of Darwin that have been released as free software. Darwin, however, is licensed under the Apple Public Source License (APSL), which is a free-software license, but is not compatible with the GPL according to the FSF.

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Planet Changes and Cilium

  • Planet Arch Linux migration

    The software behind planet.archlinux.org was implemented in Python 2 and is no longer maintained upstream. This functionality has now been implemented in archlinux.org's archweb backend which is actively maintained but offers a slightly different experience.

  • Cilium drops 1.7 release, upping insight and manageability

    Network and API connectivity project Cilium has been released in version 1.7, providing users with a UI for observability platform Hubble and the option to apply cluster-wide network policies. Cilium is an open source project developed by US startup Isovalent to provide and secure network connectivity and load balancing for workloads such as application containers or processes. It is based on a virtual machine-like construct called Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) which can be found in the Linux kernel.

OSS and Development

  • Someone is selling the free, open source Playnite launcher on Steam for $100

    Playnite is a free open source PC application designed to be an all-in-one answer to the growing number of game launchers we've all got on our desktops. In other words, it combines libraries from the likes of Steam, Epic Games Store, Uplay and GOG Galaxy, and then lets you organise them however you see fit. Jody tried it last year and came away impressed. I should emphasise the "free" above: it is available straight from the source here and, according to the site, "no features are locked behind a paywall and the complete source code is available under the MIT license". The MIT license basically surrenders the software to any kind of use with no restrictions, including resales.

  • uGet is an open source download manager for Windows and Linux that also supports Torrents and Video downloads

    The GUI has four panes, a menu bar and a toolbar. The Status pane in the top left corner displays all downloads and the ones which are Active, Queuing, Finished, and Recycled (deleted). The total number of downloads for each category is displayed next to its name, and you can click on any of these to see the list of items contained. Switch to the Category pane to jump between the default and the ones you have created. You can use the Category menu to add new sorting options, set the default download folder for each category, maximum active downloads, and also the maximum upload and download speeds. The pane below the toolbar is the download list pane; anything that you select in the status pane is displayed here. It shows the name, the file size of the download that has been completed, the total size, the progression percentage, time left to complete the download, and the upload/download speeds of each file. The View menu can be used to customize the columns that are displayed in the list pane, and the other visual elements of the program. Highlighting an item in the download list brings up its summary on the bottom pane.

  • Open Source Music Tagger Picard 2.3 Released With Custom MP4 Tags Support

    Free and Open source MusicBrainz announced the point release of Picard 2.3 with major changes to the user interface, tag, and desktop integration support. MusicBrainz stores all the metadata of the music and Picard is the official tag editor that helps in identifying and organizing the digital audio recording.

  • For Square Crypto, the Way to Bitcoin Mass Adoption Is Open Source

    When Jack Dorsey founded Square in February 2009, Bitcoin was all of one month old. In fact, Satoshi Nakamoto and Dorsey were likely laying the groundwork for their respective creations concurrently in the year prior. Ten years later, the two would converge in what now seems like an inevitable collision. Square launched its Venmo-like payment service, Cash App, in 2013. The application features common stock investing, and i

  • Gold-nuggeting: Machine learning tool simplifies target discovery for pen testers

    Recognizing this analogy with the precious metals industry, researchers at Delve Labs have developed Batea, an open source tool that leverages machine learning to find valuable information in network device data.

  • ’Second Revolution’ In Electronic Bond Trading

    Sri Ambati, chief executive and founder at H2O.ai, told Markets Media that the firm’s open source platform can perform one billion regressions in less than five seconds.

  • Google ‘AutoFlip’ can resize video using AI

    The way we consume video has changed a lot over the course of the last decade. We now watch videos on our mobile devices from anywhere and because of this, video content comes in a wide variety of formats. Google recognizes this shift and so last week their AI team announced ‘AutoFlip’ an open-source framework for “intelligent video reframing.”

  • This open-source framework, ‘AutoFlip’, can do automated video cropping using AI

    Many times when we see a video on mobile devices is badly cropped, it is not much you can do about it. Understanding this problem, Google’s AI’s team has built an open-source solution on top of MediaPipe, Autoflip, which can reframe a video that fits any device or dimension (landscape, portrait, etc.). AutoFlip works in three phases. The first phase includes scene detection; the second is the video content analysis, and the third is reframing. For this tool, if a video and a target dimension are given, it analyzes the video content. Later it develops optimal tracking and cropping strategies, which finally enables it to create an output video at the same time limit in the desired aspect ratio.

  • Tech Events in Africa: Nerds Unite, Open Source Festival and #CodeZone

    It’s a new week and another opportunity to meet up with like-minded people, become better in your chosen field and seal those deals for your startup. And we at TechNext want to help with a list of tech events happening around you this week.

  • An unofficial version of Brave browser brings native ARM64 support

    Privacy-focused Brave browser launched late last year after almost four years of being in the works. The browser is based on the Chromium open-source project and joins the likes of Microsoft Edge that is built on that platform. However, while Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft’s offering currently support ARM64 PCs natively in the stable channels, Brave does not. That might change, as Windows Insider MVP Jeremy Sinclair was able to compile an unofficial build of the open-source Brave browser that natively supports ARM64 PCs. The recompiled build (version 1.6.33) uses Microsoft’s ARM64 Chromium libraries and can run natively on those PCs like the Surface Pro X. Samsung Galaxy Book S. Native support results in improved performance and efficiency since the browser will not have to run in emulation.

  • The Brave web browser is taking on Google Chrome: Is it safe?

    The creator of Brave, Brendan Eich, also created JavaScript and co-founded the Mozilla Project that led to the development of the Firefox browser. Brave is based on the open-source Chromium browser that’s also the basis for Google’s Chrome, Opera and most recently Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser. Open-source means that anyone can take the source code and build whatever they’d like out of it, but it doesn’t mean that all the browsers are the same. In the case of Brave, they chose to focus on user privacy by blocking trackers, scripts and ads by default. The natural by-product of blocking all this activity that usually goes unnoticed by the average user is faster load times. Brave can also make use of the wide variety of extensions for Chromium-based browsers via the Chrome Web Store at chrome.google.com.

  • This new tool could improve economic analysis of sub-national climate policies in the US

    Empowered by the Paris Agreement and a lack of national leadership on climate policy in the United States, state and local governments are leading on their own climate initiatives. California, New York and Colorado have set ambitious greenhouse gas emission and renewable energy targets for 2030. Just last week, Massachusetts introduced sweeping climate legislation targeting net zero emissions by 2050. As these environmental and energy policies move ahead, experts need to invest in economic data and tools that allow them to conduct robust economic analysis, to better inform policymakers, stakeholders and the public on how to design robust alternative climate and energy policies.

  • 2020 Open Access Award Finalists Named

    The Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences is a humanitarian/bioethics award presented annually by Bioinformatics.org to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences.

  • Are we having fund yet, npm? CTO calls for patience after devs complain promised donations platform has stalled

    At the end of August, JavaScript package registry NPM Inc said it intended "to finalize and launch an Open Source funding platform by the end of 2019." But instead of a platform, what's available at the moment might be better referred to as a feature of the npm command-line interface (CLI). The announcement was received with some skepticism at the time and the project hasn't managed to defy that expectation: There was a minor milestone last November with the addition of the "fund" command to npm v6.13.0. But not much has changed since then.

  • RcppSimdJson 0.0.2: First Update!

    RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic simdjson library by Daniel Lemire which truly impressive. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in persing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. I highly recommend the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk). The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed. This release syncs the simdjson headers with upstream, and polishes the build a little by conditioning on actually having a C++17 compiler rather than just suggesting it. The NEWS entry follows.

  • Nvidia Blames ‘Misunderstanding’ for Activision Faux Pas

    When Nvidia Corp. abruptly dropped Activision Blizzard Inc. games from its new GeForce Now service earlier this week, it left customers wondering what happened. Nvidia said on Tuesday that Activision had asked to have its titles removed from GeForce, but didn’t explain why. It turns out that the video-game giant wanted a commercial agreement with Nvidia before they proceeded -- and the situation stemmed from a simple misunderstanding, Nvidia said on Thursday.

Web Standards

  • Inrupt, Tim Berners-Lee's Solid, and Me

    All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I have joined a company called Inrupt that is working to bring Tim Berners-Lee's distributed data ownership model that is Solid into the mainstream. (I think of Inrupt basically as the Red Hat of Solid.) I joined the Inrupt team last summer as its Chief of Security Architecture, and have been in stealth mode until now.

    The idea behind Solid is both simple and extraordinarily powerful. Your data lives in a pod that is controlled by you. Data generated by your things -- your computer, your phone, your IoT whatever -- is written to your pod. You authorize granular access to that pod to whoever you want for whatever reason you want. Your data is no longer in a bazillion places on the Internet, controlled by you-have-no-idea-who. It's yours. If you want your insurance company to have access to your fitness data, you grant it through your pod. If you want your friends to have access to your vacation photos, you grant it through your pod. If you want your thermostat to share data with your air conditioner, you give both of them access through your pod.

  • World wide web founder scales up efforts to reshape internet
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Inrupt is Redesigning the way the web is to Work and Apple is working with them on their Data Transfer Project

    Inrupt, the start-up company founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to redesign the way the web works, is expanding its operational team and launching pilot projects in its quest to develop a "massively scalable, production-quality technology platform."

  • Inconsistent user-experiences with native lazy-loading images

    The specification for web browser native support for lazy-loading images landed in the HTML Living Standard a week ago. This new feature lets web developers tell the browser to defer loading an image until it is scrolled into view, or it’s about to be scrolled into view. Images account for 49 % of the median webpage’s byte size, according to the HTTP Archive. Lazy image loading can help reduce these images’ impact on page load performance. It can also help lower data costs by clients that never scroll down to images far down on a page. Historically, lazy-loading was implemented by responding to changes in the scroll position and tracking the image element’s offset from the top of the page. This could degrade page-scrolling performance. Comparatively, the new native lazy loading for images is easier to implement and doesn’t degrade scrolling performance.