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Audiocasts/Shows: Storage Stories, Daniel Foré, Linux Headlines, Open Source Security Podcast and LHS

  • Storage Stories | TechSNAP 426

    We take a look at Cloudflare’s impressive Linux disk encryption speed-ups, and explore how zoned storage tools like dm-zoned and zonefs might help mitigate the downsides of Shingled Magnetic Recording. Plus we celebrate WireGuard’s inclusion in the Linux 5.6 kernel, and fight some exFAT FUD.

  • Brunch with Brent: Daniel Foré | Jupiter Extras 68

    Brent sits down with Daniel Foré, founder of elementary OS and co-host of User Error. We explore his early years in design and software, formative aspects of Ubuntu and Gentoo, the philosophies and history of elementary OS, and more.

  • 2020-04-03 | Linux Headlines

    Outreachy receives the second Open Source Community Grant from IBM, the LLVM project adds mitigations for Load Value Injection attacks, more bad news for the Linux-based Atari VCS console, and the Python Software Foundation seeks recurring sponsorships to support its software repository.

  • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 189 - Video game hackers - speedrunning

    Josh and Kurt talk about video games and hacking. Specifically how speed runners are really just video game hackers.

  • LHS Episode #336: The Weekender XLV

    It's time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you.

Programming: POCL 1.5, Remote Technical Work, LLVM and Ada++

  • pocl v1.5 released

    A more detailed changelog here. Please note that there's an official pocl maintenance policy in place. This text describes the policy and how you can get your favourite project that uses OpenCL to remain regression free in the future pocl releases.

  • POCL 1.5 Released With Performance Improvements, Fixes For OpenCL On CPUs

    POCL 1.5 has been released as the "Portable CL" implementation for running OpenCL on CPUs and other devices with LLVM back-ends. The POCL project lets OpenCL 1.2~2.0 run over CPU back-ends as well as for running OpenCL on NVIDIA GPUs over CUDA, on AMD GPUs via HSA, and other accelerator targets that have LLVM back-end coverage.

  • How to work from home like a pro

    Across the globe, businesses are transitioning to remote work. While remote work or "working from home" has been an overall growing trend, the recent push to transition has been driven by the COVID-19 response; organizations are asking staff to work from home to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus. If you are like many of your peers, you may quite suddenly find yourself working from home. How can you remain productive at home when you're used to going into an office? A year ago, I launched my own business as a consultant. When I'm not working with a client, I'm working from my home, and during that time, I've learned a thing or two about how to be most effective. I'd like to share a few of those tips here.

  • LLVM Lands Performance-Hitting Mitigation For Intel LVI Vulnerability

    Made public in March was the Load Value Injection (LVI) attack affecting Intel CPUs with SGX capabilities. LVI combines Spectre-style code gadgets with Meltdown-type illegal data flows to bypass existing defenses and allow injecting data into a victim's transient execution. While mitigations on the GNU side quickly landed, the LLVM compiler mitigations were just merged today. Intel quickly provided LVI mitigations for the GNU Assembler as new opt-in flags. These assembler mitigations end up introducing many more load fences (LFENCE) to mitigate and cause quite some performance hits but is not enabled by default. Intel and other developers in the LLVM community have been working on their respective mitigations for LVI. In fact, a Google engineer proposed a new "SESES" technique for helping address LVI and speculative execution in general. But with Google's own benchmark that only left 7% the original performance (as in down 93%) for the company's BoringSSL workload as their internal fork of OpenSSL.

  • Ada++ Wants To Make The Ada Programming Language More Accessible

    Ada is a beautiful programming language when it comes to code safety with it continuing to be used by aircraft and other safety critical systems. There is now Ada++ as an unofficial fork of the language focused on making the language more accessible and friendlier in an era of the likes of Rust and Golang attracting much interest. Ada++ allows for curly braces in place of begin/end keywords, new types like Int_32 / Int_64 / Char_8 / Bool, allow pragmas to be set with a leading # or :, supporting the ++ operator, a raise when construct, and other changes in discussion. Ada++ is currently implemented as a forked version of GCC with its Ada front-end being modified but there is talk of a possible LLVM front-end in the future.

Mozilla: WebAssembly, 74.0.1 Firefox Release, VR and DMs

  • Andy Wingo: multi-value webassembly in firefox: from 1 to n

    Greetings, hackers! Today I'd like to write about something I worked on recently: implementation of the multi-value future feature of WebAssembly in Firefox, as sponsored by Bloomberg. In the "minimum viable product" version of WebAssembly published in 2018, there were a few artificial restrictions placed on the language. Functions could only return a single value; if a function would naturally return two values, it would have to return at least one of them by writing to memory. Loops couldn't take parameters; any loop state variables had to be stored to and loaded from indexed local variables at each iteration. Similarly, any block that would naturally return more than one result would also have to do so via locals. This restruction is lifted with the multi-value proposal. Function types now map from result type to result type, where a result type is a sequence of value types. That is to say, just as functions can take multiple arguments, they can return multiple results. Similarly, with the multi-value proposal, block types are now the same as function types: loops and blocks can take arguments and return any number of results. This change improves the expressiveness of WebAssembly as a compilation target; a C++ program compiled to multi-value WebAssembly can be encoded in fewer bytes than before. Multi-value also establishes a base for other language extensions. For example, the exception handling proposal builds on multi-value to pass multiple values to catch blocks.

  • 74.0.1 Firefox Release

    Version 74.0.1, first offered to Release channel users on April 3, 2020

  • Firefox 74.0.1

    Firefox 74.0.1 has been released with two security fixes. CVE-2020-6819 is a use-after-free when running the nsDocShell destructor and CVE-2020-6820 is a use-after-free when handling a ReadableStream. In both cases there have been targeted attacks in the wild abusing these flaws. These issues have also been fixed in Firefox ESR 68.6.1.

  • Creating VR Worlds and Teaching Class with Mozilla Hubs

    With so many people stuck at home, self-isolating, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people in every walk of life, including educators, are looking for novel ways to reach out to their audience. For teachers, that means students in classes that are now empty. How best to create and present content to students scattered in their various homes? Virtual reality (VR) presents an interesting way to scratch every itch, from the social, to the visual, to the need for 'being there'. It's also a great way to explore new and interesting ways to share information with students. #teachers #virtualreality #covid19

  • Twitter Direct Message Caching and Firefox

    Twitter is telling its users that their personal direct messages might be stored in Firefox’s web cache. This problem affects anyone who uses Twitter on Firefox from a shared computer account. Those users should clear their cache. This post explains how this problem occurred, what the implications are for those people who might be affected, and how problems of this nature might be avoided in future. To get there, we need to dig a little into how web caching works.

  • Twitter Data Cache on Mozilla Firefox

    We recently learned that the way Mozilla Firefox stores cached data may have resulted in non-public information being inadvertently stored in the browser's cache. This means that if you accessed Twitter from a shared or public computer via Mozilla Firefox and took actions like downloading your Twitter data archive or sending or receiving media via Direct Message, this information may have been stored in the browser’s cache even after you logged out of Twitter. The Mozilla Firefox browser’s cache retention period is set to 7 days and after that time the information should have automatically been removed from the cache. This issue did not impact people using other browsers like Safari or Chrome.

  • What you need to know about Twitter on Firefox

    Yesterday Twitter announced that for Firefox users data such as direct messages (DMs) might be left sitting on their computers even if they logged out. In this post I’ll try to help sort out what’s going on here. First, it’s important to understand the risk: what we’re talking about is “cached” data. All web browsers store local copies of data they get from servers so that they can avoid downloading the same data over the internet repeatedly. This makes a huge performance difference because websites are full of large files that change infrequently. Ordinarily this is what you want, but if you share a computer with other people, then they might be able to see that cached data, even if you have logged out of Twitter. It’s important to know that this data is just stored locally, so if you don’t share a computer this isn’t a problem for you. If you do share a computer, you can make sure all of your Twitter data is deleted by following the instructions here. If you do nothing, the data will be automatically deleted after 7 days the next time you run Firefox.

Linus Torvalds Questions The Not So Glorious Driver For That Funky Looking RGB Mouse

Last month I noted a new Linux driver for a buggy and funky looking mouse. A special driver was created by a community developer due to not all the mice button working otherwise due to not abiding by HID specifications. Now that the driver was merged for Linux 5.7, Linus Torvalds had words to share on this open-source driver. The hid-glorious driver is a basic HID Linux driver needed for PC Gaming Race's Glorious mice of at least some different models. Their HID behavior is not following spec resulting in some mouse buttons not working. This isn't some knock-off super cheap mouse either but the Glorious Model O for instance retails for $50 USD. Read more