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03.05.14

Panic Over Transport Layer Security (TLS) Flaw Which is Already Patched

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad news sells better

Summary: What the media is not really telling us about the GnuTLS vulnerability

The corporate press has shown its ignorance by characterising GNU as “Linux” and describing an already-patched flaw as the worst thing since proprietary software. Some went as far as suggesting that the NSA was behind it [1] and Muktware rebutted [2] the seminal article [3] which started a lot of the panic (at the time of writing there are dozens of articles about this, but we don’t need to feed them with links). What we have here is another case of Dan Goodin creating panic in the Microsoft-friendly Ars, just as he had done when he worked for the Microsoft-friendly The Register. The only shocking thing is the amount of press coverage this received. PGP/GPG, OpenSSH, OpenSSL etc. were previously named here for flaws that had been found (in the context of Red Hat and the NSA [1, 2, 3]). These are not so uncommon. One just needs to keep up to date (patched) — one that which Apple’s customers cannot do. They can’t even write their own patches.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. NSA did it again? This time GnuTLS fails to check malicious certificates
  2. Yes there was a security hole in Linux, but Red Hat already fixed it

    Originally reported by Ars Technica, the fix was available by the time the general public was made aware of it. It’s actually fairly similar to a certain security hole that lived for a year and could have allowed for exploits to be used in the wild.

  3. Critical crypto bug leaves Linux, hundreds of apps open to eavesdropping

    The bug in the GnuTLS library makes it trivial for attackers to bypass secure sockets layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protections available on websites that depend on the open source package. Initial estimates included in Internet discussions such as this one indicate that more than 200 different operating systems or applications rely on GnuTLS to implement crucial SSL and TLS operations, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the actual number is much higher. Web applications, e-mail programs, and other code that use the library are vulnerable to exploits that allow attackers monitoring connections to silently decode encrypted traffic passing between end users and servers.

An Android World: Limitless Expansion in Tablets, Smaller Devices, and New Hardware

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android Domination in Tablets

Beating Proprietary

  • Android/Linux Overtakes XP on Weekends

    The title says it all. Folks are using their Android/Linux smartphones a lot everywhere, even at work. Same with tablets. The personal computer has been redefined by consumers, employees, everyone but the sycophants of Wintel. The small cheap computers flooding the markets are computers and people, real people, love them. They are personal. Since “7″ is on borrowed time and declining while Android/Linux usage shows higher growth than M$’s other offerings, it looks like in a year or two, Android/Linux will be the top dog in a sea of “others”.

  • Android 4.4 vs. iOS 7: Which is the Best Mobile OS?

    When it comes to mobile operating systems, iOS and Android are still the frontrunners. Despite the brilliant and not-so-brilliant efforts of Microsoft to topple the two giants, the mobile market space is dominated by Cupertino and Mountain View. iOS, which made its beginnings in an era where touch-screen smartphones was a relatively new concept. With the late Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple was instrumental in starting what we now call the smartphone revolution. iOS with its brilliant and shiny design wowed many users thus catapulting the company into the role of a technology giant. As iOS was soaring at a breathtaking pace, a little-known open-source operating system was making its presence felt ever so slightly. Neither Steve Jobs nor the open-source community could guess how the mobile market space would change in the next few years.

  • The Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came to Rule the World

    This is a story about ARM Holdings (ARMH), the mobile technology company.

Ballnux (Microsoft-taxed)

‘Embrace’ and ‘Extend’

  • Microsoft: Repeating IBM’s OS/2 Mistakes With Windows, Android?

    It sounds like Microsoft is working on a dual-boot smartphone strategy that would cover both Google Android and Windows Phone. Um… this strategy sounds a bit like the 1990s, when IBM launched a dual-boot initiative involving OS/2 and Windows. Anybody else remember how that story turned out?

  • Nokia X app store ported to Android and Sailfish

    For those who do not know, Nokia uses its own proprietary fork of Android, rather than stock Android, in its X-series devices. It also removes all Google services and replaces them with its own. Therefore, these devices ship with Nokia Store in lieu of Google Play. However, ports have been made in both directions, i.e., Google apps on Nokia X, and Nokia Store on other Android devices.

  • Will Microsoft replace Windows Phone with Android?

    The end of Windows Phone?

    ZDNet thinks that Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia may indicate an embrace of Android and the possible end of Windows Phone.

Deception and FUD

Embedded

  • Daimler hints at Android-powered telematics in future cars

    The aim is to integrate smartphone functions such as playing media content, phone calls, messaging and navigation with the vehicle’s control system, the ad continues. “You [will] develop one of the most significant technological innovation in the field of telematics, which should be used in all Mercedes-Benz vehicles and in all markets worldwide,” it adds.

  • SODIMM-style COM runs Linux or Android on 2W

    The module is available in an industrial temperature version. It ships with a Yocto Project-certified Linux Linux 3.12 or 3.2 BSP that offers a choice of several distributions, including Arago and Ubuntu. Board support packages are also available for Android 4.x and WEC7.

  • Linux group could hasten 64-bit Android for ARM mobile devices

    The release of 64-bit Android will depend on Google, whose current Android 4.4 version code-named KitKat is 32-bit. But 64-bit Android adoption will be swift if software, drivers and tools are ready ahead of the OS release, said George Grey, speaking Sunday at the Linaro Connect Asia 2014 developer conference in Macau.

New Hardware

  • YunTab S5 Android phone uses 3D infrared for secure face unlock

    Found on the company’s $135 S5 Android-powered smartphone (not to be confused with Samsung’s Galaxy S5), the 5.5-inch handset uses two infrared emitters, a secondary infrared camera to map a 3D image of your facial features.

  • Google brings KitKat launcher to all Nexus devices

    Google has published the app which turned the Android home screen into a ‘Google Search’ screen by tightly integrating search features with the search box. The feature is however not part of the base-OS, thanks to crazy patent claims by Apple.

  • Sony launches Xperia Z2 tablet at MWC14

    Under the hood Xperia Z2 tablet has a Qualcomm’s latest top of the line Snapdragon 801 2.3Ghz quad core processor with Adreno 330 GPU, making it one of the most powerful Android tablet at the moment. Along with that it contains 3GB RAM enough for multitasking and internal memory options of 16GB or 32GB. The tablet also has support for expandable storage using microSD card upto 64GB.

  • Motorola MWC announcements: Smartwatch, Moto X in India, Motomaker in Europe

    Motorola believes that it will be a compromise if they try to include other OS ecosystems in their products. “We’d have to compromise if we spread across ecosystems.” When asked if they have any plans for a Windows Phone, now that they are free from Google, the reply was simple : “We are committed to Android.” Also Motorola is looking to keep the UI clean and add as less customisations as possible. “This approach allows us to create, simple, meaningful experiences – like provide software updates quicker than competitors.”

  • HTC announces Desire 816 and 610 at MWC14

    The phablet carries a massive 5.5 inch screen, but no fancy 1080p stuff, but rather sports a respectful 720×1280 pixel resolution display. It is powered by a quad core Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.6GHz. There is 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB internal memory which is expandable upto 128GB. There’s no ultra pixel camera but HTC has managed to put in a 13 megapixel snapper, along with a decent 5 MP front camera for better selfies. The battery is non-removable and has a capacity of 2600 mAh.

Blackphone and Boeing

Ara

  • Google moves Moto’s modular phone mojo forward

    Google is in the process of selling Motorola to Lenovo, but it’s keeping Motorola’s Advanced Research and Projects (ATAP) R&D group. ATAP announced Project Ara in October, and a week ago tipped its Project Tango 3D sensing phone prototype. Now, Google has confirmed it’s moving ahead with Project Ara, and announced an Ava Developers’ Conference, along with a more details on the project and images of a phone prototype.

  • Chief of Google’s Project Ara talks modular smartphones
  • Google’s first Ara developers kits and conference are coming soon

    Developers interested in creating their own features for Google’s Ara customizable phone project will soon get their chance: the company revealed today that developers kits and conferences are on their way.

  • Google may start selling Ara phones for $50

    In the long run it may change the market dynamics and break the unibody Apple shell where even battery is locked out from user’s reach and popularize device which are user-upgradable. If I have to choose, I will definitely choose a device which can be upgraded over time unlike devices which become obsolete in 2 years just because you can’t even upgrade the RAM. Google’s approach with Ara is a complete U-turn from what Apple is trying to do with their devices.

  • Google Issues Clarion Call for Project Ara Devs

    Google’s Project Ara promises not only to give consumers control over the features and functionality they want in a smartphone, but also to reduce the volume of e-waste dumped into landfills. A smartphone with interchangeable parts theoretically could live forever. “Like other Google moon shot projects, [its success] depends on enticing and exciting developers,” said tech analyst Charles King.

Apps

  • 35 Android Apps to Help You Stay Up to Date

    Having a good selection of Android apps is pretty well essential: there’s so much happening in the world that it’s tough to keep up with everything without a little help.

  • App Converter Bridges Tizen-Android Divide

    Infraware appears to be counting its chickens before they’re hatched. Its Polaris App Generator can turn a lot of Android eggs — um, apps — into Tizen apps, but there’s not yet a Tizen phone to use them on. At a rumored cost of $5K, the generator might be a good deal for developers once a Tizen phone actually sees the light of day, but it’s a big chunk of change to gamble on an as yet unfulfilled promise.

This Week’s News: Civil Rights, Politics and War

Posted in News Roundup at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Civil Rights

  • Suspicionless Searches at the US Border: A Growing Problem for Press Freedom

    On The Media’s coverage of the subject started when US Customs and Border Protection detained their own producer Sarah Abdurrahman, her family, and her friends for hours on their way home from Canada last year. But this week’s program expanded on her experience to document, as they put it, some of the “countless stories of inhumanizing intrusions and detentions at the border that would seem to be unconstitutional anywhere else.”

    Ms. Abdurrahman is far from the only journalist this has happened to in recent years. Huffington Post journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin wrote a powerful piece last month about his experiences repeatedly being detained while going over the border for the crime of having a Muslim name.

Drones

  • Drone War in Yemen: Three Killed in Latest Strike, UN Report Demands Facts on Civilian Deaths

    While United States leaders lecture Russian President Vladimir Putin on respecting sovereignty and international law by not waging a war of aggression on Ukraine, the sovereignty of Yemen continues to be undermined by US drone strikes.

    Reportedly, at least one drone strike, the first in over a month, occurred in Yemen early in the morning on March 3 or in the night on March 2. It killed three people, including an alleged al Qaeda fighter.

  • Three US Drone Strikes Kill Four ‘Suspects’ in Yemen

    A US drone strike was confirmed against the Shabwa Province of Yemen today, destroying a car and killing three people, wounding two others. All were labeled “terrorist suspects,” though none were identified.

  • Yemen: At Least 3 Killed by U.S. Drone Strike
  • How Droning American Citizens Damages Our Laws

    So far as we know, Al-Shami isn’t on the verge of a suicide bombing or self-immolation. If he dies in the coming weeks, it will likely be at the hand of another. Well, hand might be putting it strongly, since the hand that presses the button that looses the missile from the drone that kills him may be halfway across the globe. But if the bomb lands true, al-Shami will be the fifth American citizen assassinated by his government in the War on Terror.

  • Death Without Due Process

    This extrajudicial killing program should make every American queasy. Based on largely secret legal standards and entirely secret evidence, our government has killed thousands of people. At least several hundred were killed far from any battlefield. Four of the dead are Americans. Astonishingly, President Obama’s Justice Department has said the courts have no role in deciding whether the killing of U.S. citizens far from any battlefield is lawful.

  • Sacramento Veterans for Peace Anti-Drone Demonstration

    Members of the Sacramento group Veterans for Peace demonstrated quietly outside the federal courthouse in downtown Sacramento this morning ahead of an arraignment hearing for Shirley Osgood of Nevada County. She is being charged with trespassing onto Beale AFB property during an anti-drone protest.

CIA and Torture

NSA

Privacy in the UK

Russia and Ukraine

  • Lawmakers probe CIA failure in Ukraine

    There are many on both the left and right who see the CIA as a monolithic, all knowing, all powerful entity. Many overseas see the agency in more apocalyptic terms – an evil force capable of mind control and other flights of fancy.

  • CIA reportedly says Russia sees treaty as justifying Ukraine moves
  • Ukraine was coup d’état by the CIA – David Shayler

    What has occurred in Ukraine was not a popular revolution, it was a carefully orchestrated coup d’état. The “demonstrators” with the metal barricades, bullet proof vest, army helmets, weapons, shield and masks were very well organized and trained. The whole affair was orchestrated by the West in an attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO and split Russia. Mr. David Shayler a former MI5 officer spoke to the Voice of Russia on the activities of the intelligence services and on what the forces behind the scenes are doing. He says President Putin is merely protecting his country and his people and is in a strong position.

  • US ‘plotted, abetted’ ouster of Ukraine’s president: Retired CIA officer

    The Obama administration “plotted” and “abetted” the ouster of Ukraine’s Russian-backed president to install a “puppet regime,” a retired CIA officer and political activist says.

    “Never before in my 50 years in Washington has it been so clear that the United States has plotted, has aided and abetted and tried to put in the new premier or the new prime minister of the Ukraine,” said Ray McGovern.

  • Double-Think over Ukraine

    Secretary of State Kerry, who voted for George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion in 2003 and wanted to bomb Syria last year, and President Obama, who’s crossed borders regularly to kill enemies, are outraged that Russia has intervened in Ukraine, a case of double-talk and double-think, says Norman Solomon.

  • Security and State Power

    A leading principle of international relations theory is that the state’s highest priority is to ensure security. As Cold War strategist George F. Kennan formulated the standard view, government is created “to assure order and justice internally and to provide for the common defense.”

    The proposition seems plausible, almost self-evident, until we look more closely and ask: Security for whom? For the general population? For state power itself? For dominant domestic constituencies?

  • Heard the One About Obama Denouncing a Breach of International Law?
  • Obama issues Ukraine statement from an alternative universe
  • Putin and International Law
  • The Fashion for Hypocrisy

    Hypocrisy seems to be massively in fashion. This from William Hague renders me speechless: “Be in no doubt, there will be consequences. The world cannot say it is OK to violate the sovereignty of other nations.”

    Then today we have the British Establishment at a closed event in Westminster Abbey in memory of Nelson Mandela. Prince Harry, David Cameron, all the toffs. I was never more than a footsoldier in the anti-apartheid movement, but I trudged through the rain and handed out leaflets in Dundee and Edinburgh. I suspect very few indeed of the guests at this posh memorial service did that. David Cameron was actively involved in Conservative groups which promoted precisely the opposite cause.

Venezuela

Ubuntu Rising: Desktops, Servers, Phones, and Beyond

Posted in News Roundup at 9:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Success Story

  • Greek kindergarten switched to Ubuntu Linux

    One kindergarten in Heliopolis, a suburb of the Greek capital Athens, has successfully made the switch to free and open source. Following a break-in and the theft of four PCs last summer, a parent of one of the children attending the kindergarten donated two refurbished PCs, running Ubuntu Linux. The two PCs are now used by the staff, mostly for emailing with the Ministry of Education. They are also used in the classrooms for playing music, showing photos and playing videos as part of every day activities.

Ed: Some clients of ours at work, large businesses in fact, are moving to Ubuntu as well, ditching Windows XP before April. Stories like the above are no longer rare. One thing they explicitly request, however, is removal of Amazon spyware.

Desktop/Mainline

  • Canonical Unveils Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS Beta 1
  • Linux Top 3: Linux from Scratch, Ubuntu 14.01 Beta and Arch Updates
  • Beta 1 downloads released for Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME 14.04

    OMG! Ubuntu! reports that beta 1 of Kubuntu 14.04, Lubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 and Xubuntu 14.04 are available for download. Each Ubuntu spin has tweaks and new features in this release.

  • Ubuntu Developers overhaul ‘Scopes’ feature

    The Ubuntu developers are overhauling the ‘Scopes’ feature in Ubuntu. Scopes are used in Ubuntu by the Dash to get information for the user based on what the user searches. The most common of which are scopes to get lists of programs, music, videos etc. Canonical famously attracted some controversy when they introduced an Amazon scope that sent users search queries from the Dash to the Amazon site to get related products. Many users weren’t happy with their searches going to a third party site.

  • The first Ubuntu 14.04 ‘Trusty Tahr’ beta
  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’, Beta 1 preview: Convergence deferred

    Both Mir and Unity 8, (formerly known as Unity Next), are required components for convergence and for Touch apps to run on the desktop. When Canonical’s plans for convergence were first announced, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS was to use the Mir display server and the Unity 8 shell. With plans for a fully converged Ubuntu now put back to 15.04 or later, the 14.04 release will be sticking with X window server and Unity 7 for the time being.

  • Qemu 2.0 Might Arrive in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Testers Wanted
  • 14.04 LTS Now in Feature Freeze

    The archive is now in Feature Freeze as we preprare the release of 14.04 LTS in April.

  • 8 Things We Expect from Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr)

    Ubuntu 13.10 was not a spectacular release as far as Ubuntu’s history of major eye-popping changes is concerned. There were many things that could have been added to Saucy. Mir, for example, was one change many Ubuntu fanatics were waiting for. But, in favor of stability, the only thing new that the release brought to the table was Smart Scopes. Also, there were a few changes here and there, but for those who were looking for a complete ‘upgrade,’ Saucy was disappointing at its best. That’s not to say that the release was bad. In fact, it set a solid foundation for the next big release, and that is Ubuntu 14.04.

  • How to Avoid Breaking Ubuntu

    One of the things that always surprises me is how careless some folks can be when it comes to installing Ubuntu, or any distro for that matter. Usually this happens more to newer users, however this also challenges more experienced users as well.

Desktop Graphics

  • Ubuntu Will Not Enable Open-Source VDPAU Support

    This morning I wrote about Mesa 10.1 likely going into Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, but if you were hoping this means Ubuntu will enable VDPAU driver support for open-source hardware-accelerated video decoding, that improvement to video playback isn’t going to happen with the official Ubuntu Mesa/Gallium3D driver packages.

  • Ubuntu Wallpapers, Fedora 20 Tour, and Linux Rules!

    What started out as quite the slow news day turned out to be deceptively interesting. OMG!Ubuntu! has picked out five of the best community submissions for Ubuntu 14.04 wallpapers and Chema Martin posted a “visual tour” of Fedora 20. Bruce Byfield looks at why proprietary software isn’t ported to Linux. Jack Wallen says Linux rules because it behaves “exactly how the user wants.” Tonight’s news also includes an announcement from the Free Software Foundation, Red Hat world’s records, and the games to look forward to in 2014!

Local Menus

Server

  • Ubuntu 12.04 vs. 14.04 LTS Benchmarks On Amazon’s EC2 Cloud
  • ‘Sons of Solaris’ Joyent welcome Ubuntu into their cloud

    The deal was announced on Thursday and means that developers who want to run Ubuntu on Joyent’s advanced SmartOS-based infrastructure can now do with greater confidence in getting regular updates from Canonical, and performance guarantees.

  • When it comes to cloud and scale out, Ubuntu has the winning model

    So, the basic values of of Ubuntu Server: freely available, provide developers access to the latest technology through a regular cadence of releases and optimise for cloud and scale out have been in place for years. Both adoption and revenue confirm it is the right strategy long term. Enterprises are evolving and starting to adopt Ubuntu and the model of restricting access to bits unless money is paid is now drawing to a close. Others are begrudgingly starting to accept this and trying to evolve their business models to compete with the momentum of Ubuntu.

  • Shuttleworth and MySQL

    Oracle has done plenty to hurt the FLOSS community.

  • Shuttleworth says Ubuntu is sticking with MySQL

    One major reason why Ubuntu is sticking with Oracle’s MySQL is that Oracle made the effort to get MySQL 5.6 to work properly with Debian and Ubuntu. Yngve Svendsen, Oracle’s Director of MySQL Engineering Services, apologized in a blog posting for Oracle’s neglect of some Linux distributions in the past. Svendsen wrote, “We closed a gaping hole in our distribution on Linux.”

  • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Receives Yet Another Kernel Update

    Canonical has released an important kernel update for its still supported Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) Server operating system, fixing five vulnerabilities discovered in the upstream Linux kernel 2.6.32 packages by various developers and kernel hackers.

Mobile Hardware

Maps

  • Ubuntu mobile maps: open maps on an open platform

    Today at Mobile World Congress we showed off Mapbox support for Ubuntu Mobile with direct Mapbox.js integration into any HTML5 Ubuntu Mobile app. Developers can design totally custom maps and integrate them into their apps in minutes and even get access to native features like the camera and the accelerometer using Cordova (previously known as PhoneGap). Across all web, mobile and desktop experiences on Ubuntu an app will look exactly the same. If you have ever added a Mapbox map to a website, you’re ready to start developing for Ubuntu Mobile using HTML5.

  • AND brings its mapping and location services to Ubuntu

    AND brings its mapping and location services to Ubuntu with an easy to use mobile application providing detailed local information and high granular map data. For the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona AND developed a map viewer with the proprietary AND navigation maps of Europe to start to showing the capabilities of AND for Ubuntu on phones.

Not Just Phones

News About Lesser Known Desktop Environments

Posted in News Roundup at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Debate

  • What’s the best Linux desktop environment for me?

    When you install a Linux distribution, a set of programs comes along with it. It’s easy to add and delete elements of the programs that don’t fit with your needs, but what about altering the look and feel of the distribution to suit you? The key is to add a second desktop environment or window manager.

MATE

  • MATE 1.8 is finally released

    It took the developers nearly a year but their work on the familiar, yet ambitious, MATE desktop is finally stable and available for everyone to use. MATE is a complete desktop environment that was forked from the Gnome Project (Gnome 2 to be exact) nearly 2 years ago. The decision to fork came at a time when a significant amount of Gnome 2 users were displeased with Gnome 3, the next major iteration and core of the Gnome Project.

Enlightenment

  • Enlightenment’s Elementary, EFL 1.9 Beta 2

    After a fast development cycle and the 1.9 alphas just starting recently and seeing the first betas just days ago, 1.9.0 beta 2 is now available for the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) core and also a second beta of Elementary.

  • 1.9.0-beta1 pre-release

    We are ready for our first beta release for the upcoming 1.9 release cycle. Please give it a good testing. Since alpha1 we received to many fixes to list them all. Full NEWS will be ready for the final 1.9 release.

  • Enlightenment 1.9 Beta 1 Is Now Out In The Wild

    Just one week after the Enlightenment 1.9 alpha series surfaced, the 1.9.0-beta1 pre-release is now available for users of the lightweight Enlightenment window manager / desktop.

LXDE

  • LXDE’s LXPanel Gets Enhanced, Now Uses Libfm

    Xfce4′s panel was improved this weekend and released in its 4.11 development form but that’s not the only lightweight Linux desktop receiving some attention; LXDE’s LXPanel has also been flagged as a new development version.

Xfce

  • Xfce4′s Panel Gets A New Development Release

    Xfce4-panel 4.11.0 is a development release leading to Xfce 4.12 and it has an improved task-list for multi-monitor handling, fixes transparency issues with GTK3+ plug-ins, a configure flag for enabling the GTK3 mode of the Xfce4 panel library, the middle-click action is now configurable, support for time-zone selection within the Xfce4 panel clock, a calendar pop-up for the clock, and other changes.

GNU/Linux Everywhere: New Stories, More Evidence

Posted in GNU/Linux at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Success Stories

Ivory Coast, Romania, Latvia, India

  • The Ivorian Adventure of Jerry and Emma

    Before Emma, the JerryClan-Ivory Coast had flirted with Ubuntu, but that was before encountering the beautiful EmmaBuntus distribution.

  • The Laptops Have Landed!

    The laptops are running Linux, specifically Ubuntu 13.10, along with several dozen free and open source programs. Our program is believed to be the largest open source 1:1 implementation in Pennsylvania. By using open source software exclusively, we estimate an initial cost savings of at least $360,000 on licensing fees.

  • Education ministry Romania endorses Ubuntu

    Romania’s Ministry of Education urges the country’s schools to consider switching to open source solutions such as the Ubuntu distribution. This will help the schools to avoid legal problems with using unlicensed copies of proprietary software, the ministry confirmed today.

  • Romanian Edu Ministry recommends Ubuntu for schools
  • Ex-state secretary: Romania must move to Linux

    A former Romanian secretary of state, Constantin Teodorescu, is calling on the country’s public administrations to switch to Linux and other open source solutions. “The Romanian government should contact the budgetary heads at all public administrations and explain that they can switch everything to free software”, he writes on his blog on Friday. “Let’s get this straight, and end this tragedy”.

  • More and more Linux in Riga children hospital

    The Children’s Hospital in Riga, Latvia, is using the Ubuntu Linux distribution for an increasing number of tasks. About half of the hospital’s 600 workstations are now running Ubuntu, says Juris Alins, working in the hospital’s IT department.

  • Latvian hospital uses GNU/Linux
  • India’s NCERT recommends GNU/Linux for schools across the country

    National Council Of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) has released a notification on their website which promotes the use of Free and Open Source software in Indian schools. This notice is released well in time, as other schools, colleges and government institutions in India are already moving to open source software to save costs and prevent vendor locking. NCERT is responsible for maintaining standards in most government and private schools and educational institutions in India.

Chromebook

  • Can You Survive on a Chromebook Alone?

    When Google announced Chrome OS, many people scoffed at the viability of a browser-based OS. Currently, however, Chromebooks are among the most popular inexpensive computing devices today. The search giant has done a great job of making an OS that is light enough to function on entry-level Atom-based SOCs and even low-powered ARM silicon. With the launch of many new Chromebooks (click hear to find out which one we think is the best chromebook) we wanted to see if a person could survive with a Chromebook playing games, videos, word processing and more for an entire week. Read on to see how the OS fared against Windows in our seven-day challenge.

  • Google may cancel Chromebook subsidies, say Taiwan makers

    There has been breakthroughs in sales of Chromebooks, with devices selling well in the inexpensive notebook segment in the US, and widely adopted for educational use through government procurement projects, the sources said. Chromebook shipments in 2014 are expected to increase to 4-5 million units, the sources indicated.

  • Tiny Tango PC can also be configured with Chromium OS, Ubuntu Linux pre-installed

    Tango PC, the small form factor desktop rig that can fit in the palm of your hand, was already an impressive concept based on the fact that, despite its size, it’ll be powered by desktop hardware while also booting to traditional desktop operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8. On top of that though, Tango also announced that Tango PC owners will also be able to configure their miniature desktop computer to ship with alternative operating systems like Chromium OS and Ubuntu Linux pre-installed.

  • Four Chrome extensions to make Chromebook web reading easier

    Here are four Chrome extensions that make it easier to read web pages on your Chromebook. These extensions will let you skip making the font sizes of web pages larger to improve readability.

  • Buying Chromebooks for their Hardware, not their OS

    I think computers like Chromebooks are the way of the future, but not because of their operating system – because of their hardware. Relatively low cost laptops with SSDs for storage and an insane battery life are everything I want in a computer.

Skills

Recommending GNU/Linux to a Friend

  • Recommending Linux to a Friend
  • What Makes a Classic Linux Desktop ‘Classic’?

    Based on the figures in LinuxQuestions’ Members Choice Awards, 84% of Linux desktop users prefer a classic desktop. By contrast, innovations like GNOME 3 or Ubuntu’s Unity lag far behind. Which raises the question: what accounts for the popularity of the classic desktop, and what are the implications for the design of graphical interfaces?

  • When Friends Tell Friends to Use Linux

    Last but not least, Starks’ article is “wrong a bunch of ways,” blogger Robert Pogson told Linux Girl.

    In fact, “the Linux kernel is very similar on every distro,” he explained. “If there is no driver for some hardware in a particular distro, build a kernel from kernel.org or change hardware.

    “You have to get your priorities straight,” he added. “Because some manufacturer may not have provided a driver for Linux is no reason not to use Linux. On the other hand, there are dozens of benefits of using GNU/Linux.”

    In all of Pogson’s years of using Linux, “I have only seen a very few pieces of hardware I could not use: two printers, a wireless thingy and that’s it,” he recounted. “I used to use the Vesa driver if I could not get a driver for some video card. Along the way I have had more than a decade of excellent use of GNU/Linux.”

    In short, “I would recommend it to a friend,” he concluded. “I would recommend Debian GNU/Linux even for a newbie. I would never recommend that other OS for any purpose. It’s just too burdensome.”

  • Linux for Seniors 101

    She was on her computer at home doing something or the other when suddenly things went bad for her. The menu bar and the task bar disappeared, including the “Start” button and she couldn’t close or change anything on her screen. In a panic, she called friends to try to see if she could get guidance to fix it. One friend told her that the same thing had happened to her and it turned out to be a virus. Olivia was told to turn her computer off immediately and reinstall Windows. That was the only way to proceed.

    All of her family pictures and all of her files…gone. She and her friend reinstalled Windows and spent the next two days getting her computer back into shape.

    When I was giving the keyboard shortcut portion of the class, I noticed Olivia holding her hands over her mouth as her eyes grew wide. I thought she was going to cry. It turns out that Olivia had accidentally hit the F11 key while she was typing. She had no controls, no cues or hints as to how to get her computer screen back to normal. She had no idea she had accidentally hit the F11 key or that hitting it again would return things to normal. When she discovered how easy this was to fix she was both relieved and angry. She even left her seat to come forward and give me a hug as she recounted the story.

  • Life without a Windows Desktop

    During this period in time, the most common issue I ran into was Windows malware disrupting my client’s ability to use their computer(s). After a while of fixing the same old problem, I decided I was ready for a change. During this transitional period, I became more familiar with the various popular Linux distros that were available: Red Hat, Mandrake (Mandriva), and the live Linux CDs that followed a short time later.

    Flash forward to now, I use Linux on the desktop almost exclusively. For my day-to-day duties, Linux on the desktop allows me to create written content in addition to occasional video how-to tutorials. I can email, print, scan and store files on my computer in much the same way as those of you who use Windows do. The key difference is that I choose to use an operating system where the key support comes from the community, and not from some large corporation.

  • DistroWatch, Without Windows, and Others

Advocacy

  • Linux Advocacy – My Take

    To conclude, my point isn’t whether or not its wise to highlight the failings of one distro compared to another. My point is simply this: Linux Advocacy in its simplest and clearest definition is not MyLinux versus YourLinux. It is simply Advocating the use of Linux.

  • Wow! Tux Machines IS BAACCCKKKK

    I noticed a huge pop in my web stats for today and wondered why. The cause was a link on Tux Machines. There was a recent change of ownership. Now Dr. Roy Schestowitz and Rianne Schestowitz seem to be the main authours. In a couple of days they produced a huge number of informative articles mostly links to diverse sites advocating FLOSS and GNU/Linux. I love it.

Pessimism

  • Linux Distros Gone Today, Here Tomorrow

    It’s always “somewhat interesting and entertaining to see the ebb and flow of the top Linux distributions,” said 451 Research’s Jay Lyman. “One of the highlights is typically the Linux operating systems with staying power. After years of jockeying, we’ve seen Ubuntu in the top few distributions consistently for some time, which speaks to its desktop and developer popularity.”

  • The magic of the disappearing Linux distros

    It’s long been the case that the world of Linux distributions offers at least one compelling choice for virtually every taste and purpose, but — much like those dissatisfied with the weather in New England — users who don’t see a distro they like need only wait a few minutes.

    We’ve lost a few distros since 2013 began, but we’ve also gained some interesting fresh blood. “You win a few, you lose a few,” as the old saying goes; fortunately, the overall pool of choices remains as rich and diverse as ever.

  • China’s home-grown Linux OS shutters [COS]
  • Linux distributor Red Flag Software disappears overnight

Linux News: 3.14 RC5, LTSI v3.10, kGraft…

Posted in News Roundup at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kernel Releases

  • Linux 3.14-rc5
  • The Hectic Pace Of Linux Kernel Development

    That’s pretty good support. I’ve had very little breakage despite the hectic pace of updates. I was taking ~30 minutes almost weekely to build a kernel with a configuration similar to that in the Debian kernel. That was a bit onerous so I did a “make localmodconfig” Create a config based on current config and loaded modules (lsmod). Disables any module option that is not needed for the loaded modules.”

  • LTSI v3.10 is Now Released

    Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI) Kernel Maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman this week released LTSI-3.10.

    This latest version, released on Feb. 24, has brought more than 2,500 additional patches on top of the 3.10 Stable Kernel maintained by the kernel community.

kGraft

  • SUSE Labs Director Talks Live Kernel Patching with kGraft

    The code, set to be released in March, doesn’t patch kernel code in-place but rather uses an ftrace-like approach to replace whole functions in the Linux kernel with fixed variants, said Pavlik. SUSE then plans to submit it to the Linux kernel community for upstream integration.

AMD

  • AMD updates driver and programming tools roadmap for supporting HSA features in Kaveri

    Today AMD is expected to release a beta driver for Windows that exposes some shared memory extensions to OpenCL. Currently, AMD ships an OpenCL 1.2 implementation for Kaveri. OpenCL 1.2 standard by itself does not really expose shared memory features properly but OpenCL 2.0 will have more robust support. AMD does not have a full OpenCL 2.0 driver yet, but today they will be providing some of the 2.0 functionality as extensions in their current OpenCL 1.2 driver. I don’t have the details on the exact extensions supported, and I will update the article when I do.

  • [Systemd] Formalizing Backports

    Zbigniew and Colin have now set up a new git repo with a “stable” branch where these are backported to selected versions, to share some work between the distributions which happen to stabilize on these versions.

  • AMD Launches Catalyst 14.2 Beta Drivers; Talks Linux

    AMD’s Catalyst 14.2 beta drivers are now available. AMD is also making changes to the X.ORG ‘radeon’ repository.

  • Likely Radeon Gallium3D Regression On Linux 3.14 + Mesa 10.2
  • Radeon Gallium3D Performance Gets Close To Catalyst On Ubuntu 14.04

    With the open-source graphics driver stack found in the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Mesa 10.1 + Linux 3.13), the performance of the community-developed Radeon Gallium3D driver is now close to that of the official AMD Catalyst driver for recent generations of Radeon graphics cards. In several OpenGL tests the “RadeonSI” driver can even run 80% the speed of AMD’s official Catalyst Linux driver.

Intel

  • Intel Works On RandR Implementation For Wayland’s Weston

    The latest work by Intel employees on Wayland is adding an RandR protocol, similar to the X RandR protocol, to the Weston compositor.

  • Intel Broadwell Gets A Temporary DRM Branch

    For distribution vendors or those fortunate to have early access to Intel’s forthcoming Broadwell processors, there’s a temporary DRM kernel driver branch that provides new features and changes over what’s currently found in the upstream Linux kernel or the drm-intel development branch.

Mesa

Graphics Stack

Benchmarks

Misc.

GNOME News: GNOME 3.12, Wayland, Numix, GTK+…

Posted in News Roundup at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Core

Wayland

  • A wayland status update
  • Wayland Still To Be A “Tech Preview” In GNOME 3.12

    While a lot of headway has been made during the GNOME 3.10 and 3.12 development cycles for allowing the GNOME Shell and rest of the desktop run natively on Wayland without a hard dependency on X11, it was decided that enabling the Wayland support by default will not happen now until at least GNOME 3.14. GNOME 3.12 will still work as a very reasonable Wayland tech preview, but there’s some unfinished tasks to be addressed.

  • Gnome 3.12 won’t offer full support for Wayland

    Gnome developers have been debating the full support for Wayland in 3.12 for a while. They at one point even considered delaying the Gnome release to keep the development in sync with Wayland. Finally, developers have decided to keep Wayland in ‘preview’ mode as there is still a lot of work to be done.

Numix

  • Gnome Revisited? Numix Project Announces OS and Shell

    The Numix Project recently unveiled plans to release their own Operating System and Desktop Shell for the Linux kernel. Previously the project enjoyed success with their set of extensions for the Gnome 3 desktop. The custom desktop shell Numix has built and arranged is full of colorful and rich icons, something lacking from a default Gnome 3 instance. Collaboration with Nitrux S.A. is also in effect, propelling this interesting project forward in full force. There are some though who previously criticized the project as “yet another Gnome clone,” but it is yet to be seen the full extent of what this announcement will bring. Numix promises the unrevealed portions to be quite good, describing them as ”rad.” I must be getting old, but I digress. The desktop shell the project team is aiming for a professionally designed and clean look. Notable areas include an intellihide dock at the bottom, allowing dragging to other workspaces a breeze. Not much else is known at the moment, but updates should soon be revealed. I have doubts as to what else Numix will do to truly different itself from the pack, aside from clean looking text and icons. Regardless, I give them the benefit of the doubt until I see their final product. If the good looking mockups are any indication, we may very well see a fine looking end result.

Applications

GTK

  • GTK+ 3.11.7 Uses New Wayland Methods

    GTK+ 3.11.7 has been released for this week’s GNOME 3.12 Beta.

    GTK+ 3.11.7 isn’t too exciting with it already being late into the 3.12 release cycle, but on the Wayland front it makes use of the new xdg-shell ping and xfg-shell focus methods.

    The listing of the GTK+ tool-kit changes for this new development release can be found via this Git tag.

  • Meld 3.11.0 Has Been Ported to GTK+ 3

    Kai Willadsen had the pleasure of announcing today, February 23, that the Meld visual diff and merge tool reached version 3.11.0, a release that includes many new features and improvements.

  • GNOME’s GTK+ Gains Google CloudPrint Support

    CloudPrint is the Google web service for users to share their printers and having a “Print to File” menu item that is basically the same as “Save to Google Drive.” This GTK+ CloudPrint support works with GNOME-Online-Accounts for gaining access to your Google account and is able to discover printers, obtain printer details, and submit print jobs.

Opinions

  • GNOME Sanity, FAQ, and Gaming Options

    Today’s newsfeeds were bountiful indeed. Muktware is running a comparison of gaming option for us Linux users. The Register tested GNOME 3.12 and says it’s looking sensible and sane. And Gary Newell has tried to answer the eternal question: “Is Linux right for me?” Today’s post also includes several extras to keep you busy through the weekend too.

  • Silly Names, GNOME Wayland, & SUSE Growth

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