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Mageia 8 Released with Linux 5.10 LTS, Better Support for NVIDIA Optimus Laptops

Mageia 8 is powered by the long-term supported Linux 5.10 LTS kernel series, promising outstanding hardware support, and in combination with an up-to-date graphics stack consisting of Mesa 20.3.4 and X.Org Server 1.20.10, the distribution offers improved support for AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. For newer AMD Radeon GPUs, Mageia 8 uses the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver, while the Radeon graphics driver is used for older cards. On the other hand, the free Nouveau graphics driver is used for NVIDIA GPUs, and Mageia 8 promises improved support for NVIDIA Optimus laptops. Read more

PostgreSQL, GNOME, Rubygems Update in Tumbleweed

Slonik fans are excited for this week’s openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots as PostgreSQL has a major release in the rolling release distribution. Snapshot 20210224 brought in the new postgresql 13 version. The new major version brings in highly requested features like parallelized vacuuming and incremental sorting. PostgreSQL brought some security enhancements with its extension system that allows developers to expand its functionality. There are also improvements to its indexing and lookup system, which benefit large databases. PostgreSQL wasn’t the only major version updated in the snapshot; the utility library ndctl jumped two versions to 70.1, which added firmware activation support. Other major version updates were made to liberation-fonts 2.1.1 and perl-Mail-DKIM 1.20200907. The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture package updated to version 1.2.4, which provided some plugin updates and Link Time Optimization fixes. Among other packages to update in the snapshot were bind 9.16.7, libsolv 0.7.16 and debugging tool xfsprogs 5.9.0. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Panel: A New Era of Open? COVID-19 and the Pursuit for Equitable Solutions

    In this panel, we’ll examine the fields of Open Data, Open Science, and Open Source Medical Hardware with leading experts and practitioners, asking questions like: “What does “open” mean in the COVID-19 context?” “What role can open access and the open community play in ensuring there is timely and equitable access to medical and scientific research outputs and data, vaccines and treatments?” “Can open science and open data help prevent the next pandemic?” “What legal tools should be used to expedite the manufacturing of vaccines?” “How can we balance individual privacy with the need to share information about genome variation and patterns of infection?”

  • WordPress Boots Pirated Themes and Plugins [Ed: "Pirated" is technically and legally the wrong term]

    WordPress issued a statement that pirated themes and plugins are prohibited from being distributed from the official repositories [...] WordPress.org announced that plugins and themes that are pirated versions of paid plugins and themes will be removed from the official WordPress repositories. The WordPress community debated if that approach violated the WordPress Open Source GPL license that allows derivative works to be distributed. The announcement itself affirmed that premium plugins are developed under the GPL that allows the creation of derivative works. But it also reserved the right to remove the plugins from the official plugin repository.

  • New Release: OnionShare 2.3

    This post was originally published on Micah Lee's blog.

    After a ridiculously long sixteen months (or roughly ten years in pandemic time) I'm excited to announce that OnionShare 2.3 is out! Download it from onionshare.org.

  • What is virtualisation? The basics

    Virtualisation plays a huge role in almost all of today’s fastest-growing software-based industries. It is the foundation for most cloud computing, the go-to methodology for cross-platform development, and has made its way all the way to ‘the edge’; the eponymous IoT. This article is the first in a series where we explain what virtualisation is and how it works. Here, we start with the broad strokes. Anything that goes beyond the scope of a 101 article will be covered in subsequent blog posts. Let’s get into it. [...] Snaps are containerised software packages that focus on being singular application containers. Where LXC could be seen as a machine container, Docker as a process container, snaps can be seen as application containers. Snaps package code and dependencies in a similar way to containers to keep the application content isolated and immutable. They have a writable area that is separated from the rest of the system, but are visible to the host via user application-defined interfaces and behave more like traditional Debian apt packages. Snaps are designed for when you want to deploy to a single machine. Applications are built and packaged as snaps using a tool called snapcraft that incorporates different container technologies to create a secure and easy-to-update way to package applications for workstations or for fleets of IoT devices. There are a few ways to develop snaps. Developers can configure snap to even run unconfined while they put it together and containerise everything later when pushing to production. Read more about the different way snaps can be configured in another article.

  • Full Circle Magazine #166

    This month: * Command & Conquer : LMMS * How-To : Python, Podcast Production, and Make a Budget * Graphics : Inkscape [...]

  • resolvd(8) - daemon to handle nameserver configuration

    From manual page description (at the time of writing):

    resolvd handles the contents of /etc/resolv.conf, which contains details of the system's DNS nameservers, and is read by the resolver routines in the C library.

    resolvd checks whether unwind(8) is running and monitors the routing socket for proposals sent by dhclient(8), slaacd(8), or network devices which learn DNS information such as umb(4).

  • February 2021 Web Server Survey

    Apache also holds a more significant lead in terms of Netcraft’s active sites metric, which favours sites with unique content. Apache serves 25.5% of active sites, whereas nginx serves 19.8%. Google accounts for a reasonably large 9.9% share of active sites, owing to its popular Blogger service. Microsoft’s server software market share remains in decline. Microsoft’s figures took a significant drop in 2020 in favour of OpenResty, and Microsoft now only has 6.5% (-1.0pp) of the site market and 6.0% (-0.3pp) of domains as of February 2021. OpenResty also looks set to overtake Microsoft as the third largest vendor in terms of sites and active sites.

  • #MonthOfMaking is back in The MagPi 103!
  • The Rise & Rise Of Linux Foundation

    Open Source Development Labs and Free Standards Group merged to form the Linux Foundation at the turn of the millennium.

  • Bundling for the Web

    One set of touted advantages for bundling relate to performance and efficiency. Today, we have a better understanding of the ways in which performance is affected by resource composition, so this has been narrowed down to two primary features: compression efficiency and reduced overheads. Compression efficiency can be dramatically improved if similar resources are bundled together. This is because the larger shared context results in more repetition and gives a compressor more opportunities to find and exploit similarities. Bundling is not the only way to achieve this. Alternative methods of attaining compression gains have been explored, such as SDCH and cross-stream compression contexts for HTTP/2. Prototypes of the latter showed immense improvements in compression efficiency and corresponding performance gains. However, general solutions like these have not been successful in find ways to manage operational security concerns. Bundling could also reduce overheads. While HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 reduce the cost of making requests, those costs still compound when multiple resources are involved. The claim here is that internal handling of individual requests in browsers has inefficiencies that are hard to eliminate without some form of bundling. I find it curious that protocol-level inefficiencies are not blamed here, but rather inter-process communication between internal browser processes. Not having examined this closely, I can’t really speak to these claims, but they are quite credible. What I do know is that performance in this space is subtle. When we were building HTTP/2, we found that performance was highly sensitive to the number of requests that could be made by clients in the first few round trips of a connection. The way that networking protocols work means that there is very limited space for sending anything early in a connection[2]. The main motivation for HTTP header compression was that it allowed significantly more requests to be made early in a connection. By reducing request counts, bundling might do the same.

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM) Screws People Yet Again: Book DRM Data Breach Exposes Reporters' Emails And Passwords

    I have a few different services that report to me if my email is found in various data breaches, and recently I was notified that multiple email addresses of mine showed up in a leak of the service NetGalley. NetGalley, if you don't know, is a DRM service for books, that is regularly used by authors and publishers to send out "advance reader" copies (known around the publishing industry as "galleys.") The service has always been ridiculously pointless and silly. It's a complete overreaction to the "risk" of digital copies of a book getting loose -- especially from the people who are being sent advance reader copies (generally journalists or industry professionals). I can't recall ever actually creating an account on the service (and can't find any emails indicating that I had -- but apparently I must have). However, in searching through old emails, I do see that various publishers would send me advance copies via NetGalley -- though I don't think I ever read any through the service (the one time I can see that I wanted to read such a book, after getting sent a NetGalley link, I told the author that it was too much trouble and they sent me a PDF instead, telling me not to tell the publisher who insisted on using NetGalley).

Security and Proprietary Failures

  • Security updates for Friday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-pysaml2 and redis), Fedora (buildah, containernetworking-plugins, containers-common, libmysofa, libpq, podman, postgresql, skopeo, xen, and xterm), openSUSE (nghttp2), Oracle (firefox and thunderbird), SUSE (glibc, ImageMagick, python-Jinja2, and salt), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python2.7, python3.4, python3.5, python3.6, python3.8, and tiff).

  • DHS Secretary Mayorkas announces new initiative to fight 'epidemic' of cyberattacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

    Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday announced new funding and initiatives to prioritize the nation’s cybersecurity, particularly in order to confront what he described as an “epidemic” of ransomware attacks.

    Mayorkas announced during a virtual speech that current cybersecurity grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be increased by $25 million across the nation and that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was evaluating further cyber grants to help the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) assist state and local governments.

  • Google Discloses Details of Remote Code Execution Vulnerability in Windows

    The flaw, tracked as CVE-2021-24093, was patched by Microsoft on February 9 with its Patch Tuesday updates. Dominik Röttsches of Google and Mateusz Jurczyk of Google Project Zero have been credited for reporting the issue to Microsoft.

    A CVSS score of 8.8 has been assigned to the vulnerability, but Microsoft has rated it critical for all affected operating systems. The list includes Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 and 2019, and Windows Server.

  • VMWare Patches Critical RCE Flaw in vCenter Server

    The vulnerability, one of three patched by the company this week, could allow threat actors to breach the external perimeter of a data center or leverage backdoors already installed to take over a system.

  • How $100M in Jobless Claims Went to Inmates

    The U.S. Labor Department’s inspector general said this week that roughly $100 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims were paid in 2020 to criminals who are already in jail. That’s a tiny share of the estimated tens of billions of dollars in jobless benefits states have given to identity thieves in the past year. To help reverse that trend, many states are now turning to a little-known private company called ID.me. This post examines some of what that company is seeing in its efforts to stymie unemployment fraud.

  • Microsoft Failed to Shore Up Defences That Could Have Limited SolarWinds Hack, US Senator Says

    Microsoft's failure to fix known problems with its cloud software facilitated the massive SolarWinds hack that compromised at least nine federal government agencies, according to security experts and the office of US Senator Ron Wyden. A vulnerability first publicly revealed by researchers in 2017 allows hackers to fake the identity of authorized employees to gain access to customers' cloud services. The technique was one of many used in the SolarWinds hack. Wyden, who has faulted tech companies on security and privacy issues as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, blasted Microsoft for not doing more to prevent forged identities or warn customers about it.

  • Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

    Many of the complaints were from M1 Mac users who had a MacBook Pro or a ‌MacBook Air‌, but Apple's release notes suggest other models were affected as well.

  • Apple releases macOS update to prevent damage from third-party docks and dongles

    Most of the issues seemed to come from using a third-party dock, and while some of them seem to be from pretty obscure brands, there are a few recognizable ones that are reported to have killed laptops. For its part, Apple calls them “non-compliant powered USB-C hubs and docks” in the new update’s notes.