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12.09.19

Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Breathe Life Back Into Your Late 2013 Or Older Apple Mac With Linux

        I receive a ton of great questions about using Linux, but it’s challenging to answer them all personally. Going forward, I’ve decided to write answers to some of these questions so a wider audience can benefit from them. One recurring theme that’s constantly hitting my inbox centers around installing Linux on an older MacBook.

      • China orders officials to remove foreign tech from computers

        China began building its own operating system to replace Microsoft Windows or iOS in 2013, with the help of a British company Canonical.

        Canonical was founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu, a Linux-based operating system which is open-source and not owned by an individual or company.

        Canonical provided technical support to build Chinese users an Ubuntu open-source operating system named Kylin, at the request of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

        Earlier this year the US banned American companies from doing business with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. Google, Intel and Qualcomm stopped working with the technology company.

        Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted that the future of Chinese technology companies in the UK could be on the line after vowing not to involve Huawei in upcoming 5G networks if it would create a rift with security allies like the US.

    • Server

      • Embracing digital transformation with containerisation and Kubernetes

        While digital transformation is creating new business opportunities, it is also bringing a host of challenges and technological barriers with its wave of progress. With changes ongoing and always around the corner, organisations are having to re-evaluate how they can modernise their often-out-dated digital infrastructure in order to keep up. Is there any way to make the transition simpler?

        Enter Kubernetes. The word is taken from ancient Greek, where it translates as ‘helmsman’ or ‘pilot’. So, it makes sense that your IT business strategy can be guided, not through the Aegean, but through the waters of digital transformation towards stability and efficiency. What began life as Google’s original open source container-orchestration system, has now paved the way for a reliable precedent to automating, controlling and extending modern IT applications.

      • Datacenters Are Hungry For Servers Again

        Server consumption is a pretty good proxy for how enterprises of all shapes and sizes feel about their particular business. And judging by the number of machines and the aggregate revenue they drove in the third quarter – despite all of the uncertainty in the world – they must be feeling pretty good.

      • IBM

        • New Linux Kernel Update for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 & CentOS 7 Fixes Two Bugs

          The new Linux kernel update, which is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS Linux 7 systems, is only a bugfix release, not a security update, addressing a bug that made applications consume the entire allocated CPU quota, as well as to backport the “sched: Fix race between task_group and sched_task_group” fix.

          Users are advised to update their kernel packages in all the supported systems (see below for details) to kernel-3.10.0-1062.9.1.el7.x86_64.rpm and related packages, all of which are available to install for free from the stable software repositories of all supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating system variants and CentOS Linux 7.

        • CodeReady Workspaces devfile, demystified

          With the exciting advent of CodeReady Workspaces (CRW) 2.0 comes some important changes. Based on the upstream project Eclipse Che 7, CRW brings even more of the “Infrastructure as Code” idea to fruition. Workspaces mimic the environment of a PC, an operating system, programming language support, the tools needed, and an editor. The real power comes by defining a workspace using a YAML file—a text file that can be stored and versioned in a source control system such as Git. This file, called devfile.yaml, is powerful and complex. This article will attempt to demystify the devfile.

        • Building freely distributed containers with Podman and Red Hat UBI

          DevNation tech talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions and code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about building containers with Podman and Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) from Scott McCarty and Burr Sutter.

          We will cover how to build and run containers based on UBI using just your regular user account—no daemon, no root, no fuss. Finally, we will order the de-resolution of all of our containers with a really cool command. After this talk, you will have new tools at the ready to help you find, run, build, and share container images.

        • Backfitting SLES 12 for IBM z15 – It’s in Our DNA

          For 20 years, SUSE has partnered with IBM to advance Linux on Z. From the early days of the IBM Linux Tech Center to an elaborate open source ecosystem, you might say that supporting IBM Z is part of our DNA.
          Several months ago, SUSE included support for the newly announced IBM z15 and IBM LinuxONE III systems as part of SLES 15. Now, with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE 12 SP5, we are backfitting all the latest IBM Z support for pervasive encryption and more.
          The latest IBM z15 system is designed to support your mission-critical initiatives and allow you to be innovative as you design and scale your environment. Combined with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE, these state-of-the-art systems provide an ultra-secure data serving platform to support the global economic growth we are seeing today.

        • Red Hat’s Adam Young: Containers from first principals

          Computing is three things: calculation, movement, and storage. The rest is commentary.

          What are containers? I was once told they were “just” processes. It took me a long time to get beyond that “just” to really understand them. Processes sit in the middle of a set of abstractions in computer science. Containers are built on that abstraction. What I’d like to do here is line up the set of abstractions that support containers from the first principals of computer science.

          Computation is simple math: addition and the operations built from it like subtraction and multiplication, and simple binary tricks like left shift which are effectively forms of multiplication.

          A CPU takes a value out of memory, performs math on it, and stores it back in memory. Sometimes that math requires two values from memory. This process is repeated endlessly as long as your computer is on.

          Storage is the ability to set a value somewhere and come back later to see that it has the same value. If maintaining that value requires electricity, we call it volatile memory. If it can survive a power outage, we call it persistent storage.

          The movement of information from one location to another involves the change of voltage across a wires. Usually, one value is used to select the destination, and another value is transferred.

          That is it. That is the basics in a nutshell. All other abstractions in computer science are built from these three pieces.

          One little quibble: there is a huge bit I am skipping over: interactions with the outside world. Input, from sensors, and various parts of the output story as well. I’ll just acknowledge those now, but I’m not going to go in to them in too much depth.

        • What’s new in Red Hat Integration

          The latest release of Red Hat Integration is now available, and with it we’ve introduced some exciting new capabilities aimed at helping customers better manage APIs at scale, enhancements for Apache Kafka-based environments, and API policy extensibility.

          Red Hat Integration is a comprehensive set of agile and flexible integration and messaging products that provide API connectivity, data transformation, service composition and orchestration, real-time messaging, cross-datacenter message streaming, and API management to connect apps across hybrid architectures and enable API-centric business services.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 13×50

        Listener feedback.

      • Linux Action News 135

        Ubuntu Pro is a click away, and their kernel goes rolling on AWS. We process the range of announcements, while Mozilla cranks up the security and impresses us with DeepSpeech.

        Plus why Ubuntu is taking the Windows Subsystem for Linux so seriously.

      • The $2000 Dollar Linux Phone | Librem 5 USA

        Well isn’t this interesting… a $2000 dollar Linux phone. Yeah, that is three zeros and I must say this phone… is different

    • Kernel Space

      • Re: [GIT PULL] treewide conversion to sizeof_member() for v5.5-rc1
        On Sat, Dec 7, 2019 at 11:48 AM Kees Cook wrote:
        >
        > Please pull this mostly mechanical treewide conversion to the single and
        > more accurately named sizeof_member() macro for the end of v5.5-rc1.
        
        So this one I'm _still_ not convinced about. It makes yet another name
        for something we've had before, which just annoys me. And maybe it's
        the 13-year old in me, but "sizeof_member()" just makes me go "that's
        puerile".
        
        I _can_ see why we'd want to standardize on one of the tree versions
        we have, but I can't really see the problem with the existing #define
        that we have, and that is used (admittedly not all that much):
        sizeof_field().
        
      • Linus Rejects “Size Of Member” Change From Linux 5.5 Kernel

        This weekend was the last-minute pull request by Google’s Kees Cook to introduce the new sizeof_member() macro that had been previously rejected from Linux 5.4. Well, it was again rejected by Linus Torvalds prior to tagging the Linux 5.5-rc1 kernel.

        The sizeof_member() macro has been aimed to unify 2~3 other macros within the kernel tree currently and using the size-of-field moniker, but Cook argued that for measuring the size of a member of a C struct, the new macro is more appropriate and converted usage of the old macros to this new single macro.

      • WireGuard Sends Out Latest Patch Revision In Preparing For Linux 5.6

        While there are some pretty great features for Linux 5.5, one that didn’t make it quite in time was the long-awaited introduction of WireGuard as the in-kernel secure VPN tunnel. While it was a bummer it didn’t make 5.5, all indications are at this point is that it will be in Linux 5.6.

        With Linux 5.5 the crypto subsystem adopted some elements of WireGuard’s “Zinc” crypto code and that in turn opened the door for merging WireGuard now that the cryptography side was sorted out. But WireGuard was too late for introduction in net-next even with a last minute attempt trying to get it into 5.5, but instead it’s aiming early for merging to net-next to ensure it’s timely introduction with Linux 5.6.

      • WireGuard Lands In Net-Next While It Waits For Inclusion In Linux 5.6

        The WireGuard secure VPN tunnel kernel code has landed in net-next! This means that — barring any major issues coming to light that would lead to a revert — WireGuard will finally reach the mainline kernel with the Linux 5.6 cycle kicking off in late January or early February!

        Quick action overnight surprisingly saw WireGuard already land in net-next. It was just last night before sleeping that I wrote of the latest patch review for WireGuard and its prospects for Linux 5.6 after being just too late for Linux 5.5.

      • WireGuard VPN is a step closer to mainstream adoption

        As of this morning, Linux network stack maintainer David Miller has committed the WireGuard VPN project into the Linux “net-next” source tree. Miller maintains both net and net-next—the source trees governing the current implementation of the Linux kernel networking stack and the implementation of the next Linux kernel’s networking stack, respectively.

        This is a major step forward for the WireGuard VPN project. Net-next gets pulled into the new Linux kernel during its two-week merge window, where it becomes net. With WireGuard already a part of net-next, this means that—barring unexpected issues—there should be a Linux kernel 5.6 release candidate with built-in WireGuard in early 2020. Mainline kernel inclusion of WireGuard should lead to significantly higher uptake in projects and organizations requiring virtual private network capability.

        Normal, day-to-day Linux users probably won’t see in-kernel WireGuard until late 2020. Ubuntu is one of the faster-moving mainstream distributions, and its next Long Term Support (LTS) release is in April 2020. But the Linux 5.6 kernel and Ubuntu 20.04 will likely be in release candidate status at the same time, so its inclusion in 20.04 seems unlikely. The interim 20.10 Ubuntu release seems like a much safer bet for Canonical’s first use of a 5.6 or later kernel. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) inclusion will likely be a year or more beyond that; the current RHEL 8.1 shipped in May 2019 with the 4.18 kernel, which was already 9 months old.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.5-rc1

        Linus has released the 5.5-rc1 kernel prepatch and closed the merge window for this development cycle.

      • Facebook’s New Linux Slab Memory Controller Saving 30~40%+ Of Memory, Less Fragmentation

        Back in September we wrote about Facebook’s Roman Gushchin working on a new slab memory controller/allocator implementation that in turn could provide better memory utilization and less slab memory usage. This wasn’t ready in time for the 5.5 kernel but a revised patch series was sent out last week.

        Roman continues to talk up this new slab memory controller with it turning out much better than the existing slab memory code, which he says in Facebook production workloads is only seeing 45~65% slab utilization and at best case around 85%. This controller rework aims for better slab utilization and also sharing of slab pages between multiple memory cgroups. The memory accounting is done now per-object rather than per-page, among other changes.

      • KubeCon gets bigger, the kernel gets better, and more industry trends

        The impact: The kernel’s continued relevance is a direct result of the never-ending grind to keep being where people need it to be (i.e. basically everywhere).

      • Graphics Stack

        • ADriConf GUI Control Panel Support For Mesa Vulkan Drivers Is Brought Up

          One of the most frequent complaints we hear from Linux gamers running open-source GPU drivers is over the lack of the hardware vendors supporting any feature-rich control panels like they do on Windows. There are many Linux driver tunables exposed by these open-source graphics drivers, but often they can only be manipulated via command-line options, environment variables, boot parameters, and other less than straight-forward means especially for recent converts from Windows and other novice Linux users. ADriConf has been doing a fairly decent job as a third-party means of helping to improve the situation and now there is talk of it supporting Vulkan driver settings.

        • Vulkan 1.1.130 Released With New Tooling Extension

          The new extension with Vulkan 1.1.130 is VK_EXT_tooling_info. The VK_EXT_tooling_info extension is for letting the Vulkan application/game/engine query what development tools are running right now. In particular, this is for tools like RenderDoc and other Vulkan profilers/debuggers. This extension will offer some uniformity and assistance to developers in debugging potential compatibility issues between Vulkan tools and other problems.

        • New graphing tool for PipeWire debugging

          PipeWire, the new and emerging open source framework that aims to greatly improve the exchange and management of audio and video streams inside a Linux system, has seen a number of improvements and bug fixes over the past year. With many developers now actively contributing to it, PipeWire is maturing quickly and is well on its way to becoming the new standard.

          At Collabora, we have been busy helping clients work with PipeWire, notably Automotive Grade Linux who have chosen to adopt PipeWire for its implementation of the low-level platform audio service, replacing previous solutions like 4A, PulseAudio and AudioManager. Assisting early adopters such as AGL has brought us to design and implement new elements within PipeWire, such as the session & policy management component WirePlumber, which George Kiagiadakis presented in October at the GStreamer Conference in Lyon.

    • Benchmarks

      • Clear Linux On The OnLogic Karbon 700 Boosted Performance By 13% Over Ubuntu With 141 Benchmarks

        Last month we reviewed the OnLogic Karbon 700 as a passively-cooled, industrial-grade PC powered by an eight-core / sixteen-thread Intel Xeon, 16GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe storage, and a plethora of connectivity options in suiting to industrial use-cases. The performance was great and even the thermal performance was very good for being a fan-less PC. In seeing how well other Linux distributions were panning out on the Karbon 700, I tested five popular Linux distributions on the Xeon Coffee Lake system and once again Intel’s performance-optimized Clear Linux squeezed out much more performance potential.

    • Applications

      • Odio is a Classy Looking Radio Player for Linux Desktops

        If so, check out Odio (styled ‘odio’). This is a free Electron-based radio streaming app for Windows, macOS and Linux desktops.

        Odio has super clean UI that is, to my eyes at least, somewhat inspired by Spotify’s desktop client (no bad thing). Plus, the app touts broad internal radio station support (over 20,000, apparently) and offers a couple of handy customisation options.

      • Google is bringing a Tab Strip to Chrome for Windows and Linux

        If you have used the Microsoft Edge web browser, classic or new, you may have stumbled upon the browser’s Tab Strip feature. Just click on the arrow icon on the tab bar to display thumbnail images of the sites and resources open in the browser.

        It appears that Google is attempting to bring a similar feature to the company’s Chrome web browser. Already in Chrome OS, Google engineers are working on introducing Tab Strip functionality in the Chrome browser.

        The feature introduces an option in the Chrome browser to display a strip of tabs. While it is unclear yet how it would be activated by the user, it is likely that Google is adding an icon to the browser’s tab bar to activate and deactivate the Tab Strip view in the browser.

      • Matroska (MKV) Creation Software Suite MKVToolNix Sees New 41.0.0 Release

        MKVToolNix, a free and open source set of tools for creating, editing and inspecting Matroska (MKV, MK3D, MKA, and MKS) files, has seen a new release which brings support for reading Opus audio and VP9 video from MP4 files for mkvmerge, improvements for predefined track names, and more.

        MKVToolNix is made of 4 command line tools: mkvmerge (create Matroska files from other media files), mkvinfo (show Matroska file information), mkvextract (extracts tracks / data from Matroska files), and mkvpropedit (change the properties of existing Matroska files without a complete remux), as well as MKVToolNix GUI (a Qt GUI for mkvmerge, mkvinfo and mkvpropedit). The tools are available on Linux, *BSD, Windows and macOS.

        With the latest MKVToolNix 41.0.0, Vorbis, Opus and VP8 stream comments (Vorbis comments) are converted to Matroska attachments for cover art, and Matroska track tags for other comments. This has been implemented for both the Matroska and Ogg readers.

      • Deb-pacman : A Pacman-style Frontend For APT Package Manager

        Apt, Advanced Packaging Tool, is a powerful command line tool used to install, update, upgrade and remove packages in Debian and its derivatives like Ubuntu. There are several frontends available for Apt, such as Aptitude, Synaptic and Ubuntu software center to name a few. Today I am going to introduce yet another frontend for APT package manager called Deb-pacman.

        Deb-pacman is a Bash script that emulates the functionality of Pacman (the package manager for Arch Linux and its variants). Using Deb-pacman, you can use the pacman commands, as the way you use them under Arch Linux to install, update, upgrade and remove packages, in a Debian-based system. You can simply invoke “pacman” instead of “apt” command in your Ubuntu system. Deb-pacman simply emulates the Archlinux’s Pacman package manager feel for Debian users who may prefer the style of Pacman over Apt. This can be helpful for those who get used to pacman.

        As you know already Apt itself was originally designed as a front-end for dpkg, which was developed by Ian Murdock (founder of Debian project) for Debian OS to install, remove and provide information about .deb packages. So technically speaking Deb-pacman is a front end for APT which is a frontend for Dpkg. In other words, it is just a wrapper.

      • Kiwi TCMS 7.2

        We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 7.2! This is an improvement & bug fix release which includes new database migrations and API methods, internal refactoring and updated translations. You can explore everything at https://public.tenant.kiwitcms.org!

      • Daniel Stenberg: This is your wake up curl

        One of the core functionalities in libcurl is the ability to do multiple parallel transfers in the same thread. You then create and add a number of transfers to a multi handle. Anyway, I won’t explain the entire API here but the gist of where I’m going with this is that you’ll most likely sooner or later end up calling the curl_multi_poll() function which asks libcurl to wait for activity on any of the involved transfers – or sleep and don’t return for the next N milliseconds.

        Calling this waiting function (or using the older curl_multi_wait() or even doing a select() or poll() call “manually”) is crucial for a well-behaving program. It is important to let the code go to sleep like this when there’s nothing to do and have the system wake up it up again when it needs to do work. Failing to do this correctly, risk having libcurl instead busy-loop somewhere and that can make your application use 100% CPU during periods. That’s terribly unnecessary and bad for multiple reasons.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Uncover the truth in Interrogation: You will be deceived, out now

        With a seriously cool Noir style, the detective conversational puzzle-sim Interrogation: You will be deceived is out now.

      • Indie FPS Ravenfield’s work in progress Conquest Mode gets a tech tree

        Ravenfield, the highly amusing and incredibly moddable indie FPS that’s in Early Access continues expanding the new Conquest Mode.

        While Ravenfield has been fun for a while, only recently has it gained a game mode that has you do more than just run around, shoot and laugh at the ragdolls. The new (and heavily work-in-progress) Conquest Mode has you fight against the AI across map-nodes, acting as a sort-of lengthier campaign option. While it’s early, it’s very promising and certainly quite different for an FPS to have a game mode like this.

      • Abstractanks, the indie fast-paced RTS continues evolving into a fun niche strategy game

        Ever tried Abstractanks? It’s an indie real-time strategy game we took a look at a long time ago and it’s gained some huge features.

        The core idea of the game is that it’s simple and streamlined, fast and easy to get into while also giving you a healthy challenge that will keep you wanting to come back for more. Battles can end up huge too, with each side controlling swarms of units.

      • Trick the world in the Fake News update to Plague Inc: Evolved

        Plague Inc: Evolved just got another big free update with a fun new Fake News scenario giving you a chance to deceive the whole world.

        A great game you could already have a lot of fun with, as I did before naming a Bacteria after someone close. Now though, you’re not dealing with coughs and colds but the spread of misinformation. Starting off with only one person being Deceived, you begin writing your Fake News Manifesto to evolve the information and it shall begin to spread.

        I decided to spread some fake news in the USA, that was started by Aliens because they just wanted to watch the world burn. You certainly can make some amusing things with it.

      • In AI Dungeon 2 the game is created as you play and it can be both impressive and ridiculous

        I can’t even begin to understand the fancy AI learning stuff behind the scenes, but AI Dungeon 2 is certainly a very fun idea and a possible look into the future of games.

        AI Dungeon 2 is a text adventure, like the classics but with a huge twist as it’s built with OpenAI opening up a huge amount of ever-expanding actions that are possible. It can be impressive, there’s some really surprising and amusing interactions you can have with it.

      • OBS Studio 24.0.4 is out with numerous bug fixes, better Linux Window Capture

        A few days ago, a “Hotfix” update was released for the video capture and livestreaming FOSS application OBS Studio.

        OBS Studio 24.0.4 is quite a small release, but for those of you creating video content on Linux you might find this version working a lot better. For Linux especially, the Window Capture function got multiple fixes like certain windows just not appearing and sometimes multiple 0×0 windows would appear. Display Capture on Linux was also fixed up where the crop value would shift the cursor’s captured position incorrectly.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Use the Fluxbox Linux desktop as your window manager

        The concept of a desktop may differ from one computer user to another. Many people see the desktop as a home base, or a comfy living room, or even a literal desktop where they place frequently used notepads, their best pens and pencils, and their favorite coffee mug. KDE, GNOME, Pantheon (and so on) provide that kind of comfort on Linux.

        But for some users, the desktop is just empty monitor space, a side effect of not yet having any free-floating application windows projected directly onto their retina. For these users, the desktop is a void over which they can run applications—whether big office and graphic suites, or a simple terminal window, or docked applets—to manage services. This model of operating a POSIX computer has a long history, and one branch of that family tree is the *box window managers: Blackbox, Fluxbox, and Openbox.

        Fluxbox is a window manager for X11 systems that’s based on an older project called Blackbox. Blackbox development was waning when I discovered Linux, so I fell into Fluxbox, and I’ve used it ever since on at least one of my active systems. It is written in C++ and is licensed under the MIT open source license.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Slimbook & Kubuntu – Combat Report 11

          The Slimbook remains a smart, useful choice. I am amazing that a whole year’s gone by. The laptop is holding amazing well. I’m using it outside quite some, and yet, there are no scratches or dents or anything, and neither the heat nor the cold phase it, and the battery change remains full and fresh, as good as new. People are also drawn to its sleek, understated look, and often comment and ask me about the name.

          Kubuntu 18.04 is also top-notch. I do have some small struggles, and I’d like to see several outstanding issues polished. But then, all in all, you get a slick, aesthetic product, it looks like something you could pay money for and feel it’s the right thing to do, and overall, it’s highly consistent and robust. That would be all for this episode. No great drama or fuss, which is exactly how I like my productivity. Take care.

        • Akademy 2019

          At this year’s Akademy I had great moments with new and already known people. Akedemy gives me much power for hopefully the rest of the year. I really enjoyed the daytrip to the lake. It was calm and beautiful environment. The daytrip helped me to calm down again. Together with Leiner, Florian and Valorie we sat down to discuss issues for newcomers attending Akademy the first time while having an amazing lunch. Is it often hard to remember how hard it can be to attend the Akademy the first time without knowing lots of people. The outcome of this discussion will feed back to community after some more cleanup of our notes. Hopefully we can make the next Akademy even better for newcomers next year!

          My highlights from the first two days of great talks are Kirogi and “Developers Italia”. I really enjoyed seeing that Open Source reaches more and more domains and now you can even control your drone with Open Source named Kirogi. The software itself looks already quite usable and I’m looking forward what features we will see there in future…

          “Developers Italia” was an eye opener, in how governments can change the laws so administrations must invest in Open Source. In Italy, administrations are forced to search for an existing solution in Open Source and then use this solution. If the software does not work for them they can pay developers to implement their needed features, but still the code will be owned by the administration and they need to publish the code afterwards under an Open Source license. I’m very interested to see how this will develop in future, because at the moment I still have the bad feeling that some big companies may have the ability and also the desire to destroy this revolutionary idea, with the result that only some big companies will get all the big grants, and the result will be bloated unusable Open Source software. But none the less, let’s give the Italy administrations a warm welcome and give them a hand to become good Open Source citizens.

          I also enjoyed the talk by Albert about the status of fuzzing KDE software. Albert explained, that the first Frameworks are covered by fuzzing, and the results that were found by the fuzzer. The first days and weeks spit out a lot of interesting issues, but nowadays, the fuzzer takes a lot of time to find new issues. So it is time now to add the next set ready to be fuzzed. I talked with Albert about what would be the most valuable parts of KDEPIM that should be covered by fuzzing. The first set is KMime, KContacts and KCalenderCore as they handle input without any user interaction.

        • Gamechuck sponsors Krita

          Gamechuck, a new studio based in Zagreb, has just released the first trailer for their upcoming role-playing adventure game Trip the Ark Fantastic. Trip the Ark Fantastic is planned for release in 2022 on PC/Mac/Linux and consoles, and Gamechuck has created the game entirely with free software.

          What’s more, they have also decided to sponsor Krita’s development!

          Trip the Ark Fantastic is a story-driven roleplaying adventure set in the Animal Kingdom on the verge of both industrial and social revolution. The story follows Charles, a hedgehog scholar on a mission by the lion king to save the monarchy, but his decisions could end up helping reformists or even to bring about anarchy.

        • Interview with teteotolis

          I have a webcomic (95% worked in Krita) called “emery”, take a look!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Developing Leaderboard for GNOME Hackers

          After completing my Google Summer of Code assignment, I had an idea in my mind for a project where the hard-working people on GNOME, known as GNOME Hackers, could be appreciated based on the amount of work they do for the FLOSS community. In the quest for the same, I wrote a leaderboard web app, GNOME Hackers. It was an awesome experience and I utilized my weekends very well by learning many new things. I will give a brief of them below.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • elementary OS 5.1 Hera releases with Flatpak native support, several accessibility improvements, and more

          In elementary OS 5.1 Hera, the greeter and onboarding have seen major changes in order to give users an improved first-run experience. In addition to looking better, the redesigned greeter addresses some of the key reported issues including keyboard focus issues, HiDPI issues, and better localization. Hera also ships with a new Onboarding app that gives you a quick introduction to key features and also takes care of common first-run tasks like managing privacy settings.

        • Elementary OS 5.1 Has Arrived

          One of the most highly regarded Linux desktop distributions has released its next iteration.

          If you’ve not heard of Elementary OS, chances are you don’t know what Linux is. If, on the other hand, you have heard of Elementary OS, and you’ve yet to give it a try, now’s a great time. Why? The latest release, 5.1 (aka “Hera”) is available and it promises to be the best release yet.

          Elementary 5.1 brings a number of new and exciting changes to what is often considered the most elegant desktop operating systems on the market.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 5 is Generally Available

          As you know, SUSE Linux Enterprise service packs are released on a yearly cadence. Service Pack 5 is the next service pack since the release of Service Pack 4 in Dec 2018. In addition, Service Pack 5 is also the last service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 release. With the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 5 on December 9th, general support for SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 4 will end on June 30th, 2020. Customers wishing to maintain support of their SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 4 installations after June 30, 2020 can continue support through the purchase of Long Term Service Pack Support.

          [...]

          If you are currently running SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP4, you can migrate to Service Pack 5 as part of your active subscription until June 30, 2020.

      • Fedora Family

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for Kernel 5.4

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.4. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, December 09, 2019 through Monday, December 16, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

        • Fedora Prepares To Roll-Out Linux 5.4 Kernel Update But Needs Help Testing

          Fedora users eager to see the Linux 5.4 stable kernel can engage by helping to test their newly-spun 5.4-based kernel image prior to it officially landing as a stable release update.

          Fedora remains one of the few non-rolling-release distributions that is willing to send down major kernel updates as part of their stable release updates for existing distributions. They are in the process of sending down Linux 5.4 but are hoping for more widespread testing first.

        • F31-20191206 update Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-20191206 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.3.8-300 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have 800+MB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, ledeni, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical’s Multipass 0.9 Released For Easily Spinning Up Ubuntu VMs

          Multipass, the Canonical-led open-source project that aims to make it easy to spin up Ubuntu VM instances on Linux and Windows and macOS, is up to version 0.9 ahead of a possible 1.0 release for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          Multipass is the Canonical-led lightweight VM manager focused on quickly and easily creating new Ubuntu instances. Multipass builds atop KVM on Linux while on Windows has Hyper-V or VirtualBox and macOS has HyperKit and VirtualBox at its disposal. Multipass is a lot like Vagrant and makes it easy to fetch the latest distribution images, quickly and easily launching new instances with a single command, and other features. In catering to Ubuntu, it’s also friendly with Snaps for deployment.

        • First Look: Ubuntu Cinnamon, Beautiful Remix Worthy of Becoming Official Flavor

          As we reported over the weekend, Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix has seen its first ever release as an unofficial Ubuntu Cinnamon flavor featuring the beautiful and modern Cinnamon desktop environment, which is developed and maintained by the developers of the Linux Mint distribution.

          To make things clear, Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is called a “remix” because it’s not yet an official flavor recognized by Canonical, but we believe it has all the odds to become an official Ubuntu flavor. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t get all the benefits of Ubuntu.

        • The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Pre-release Survey

          In what is becoming an incredibly insightful tradition, we have built a 5 to 10-minute survey to collect direct feedback from as many operating system users as we can. Not just those on Ubuntu desktop but also those using Ubuntu server and Ubuntu in the cloud. Before our last LTS release, we sent out a call to action for developers to tell us how can we make Ubuntu better. Today, we would like to ask our broader community for similar feedback. With our next LTS release on the horizon, there is still time to influence the final picture and Ubuntu’s future roadmap. And not just for 20.04, but beyond. The results here will be used to inform decisions for several releases to come. But like all new things, its success ultimately depends on the user. You.

          Throughout the development process, our teams are in the various forums and threads, listening to your feedback to help inform our decision making. Our engineers themselves are incredibly passionate about Linux, and the Ubuntu community in general, and our decision-making process will always revolve around this fact.

          But in the run-up to something big like an LTS release, is it possible we find ourselves lost in an Ubuntu bubble? Are there developments in open source or trends on a level that we’re just not seeing? And if so, what are they?

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Survey Launched — You Can Help Shape Ubuntu’s Future

          The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS survey is set to run until January 10, 2020 and hopes to gather feedback from a diverse pool of Linux users.

          The responses garnered by the survey will be used to “inform” the future direction of Ubuntu, its roadmap, feature set, and so on.

          Heck, it’s even possible that the results could affect the eventual makeup of the upcoming LTS release, due next April.

        • Canonical Needs Your Help to Improve Ubuntu, Take the Ubuntu 20.04 Survey Now

          Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, have published today a survey to encourage the community to contribute suggestions and ideas to make future Ubuntu releases even better than before.

          Dubbed Focal Fossa, Ubuntu 20.04 will be the next LTS (Long Term Support) series of Ubuntu Linux, due for release in April 2020. Development kicked off officially back in October, and daily build ISOs are already available for public testing, but Canonical now asks the entire community for feedback to make Ubuntu 20.04 LTS the release of their dreams and also shape future Ubuntu releases.

        • Canonical Releases Updated Ubuntu Images for All Supported Raspberry Pi Boards

          Canonical released today updated Ubuntu images for all supported Raspberry Pi single board computers with out-of-the-box USB ports functionality and various bug fixes.

          Last month, Canonical pledged to fully support its popular Ubuntu Linux operating system on all Raspberry Pi boards, including Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3, and the latest Raspberry Pi 4 model. Ubuntu 19.10 shipped with a Linux kernel bug blocking the use of USB ports out of the box in the official arm64 image on the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC with 4GB RAM.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Updated images of Ubuntu for the Raspberry Pi 2, 3 and 4

          Updated 32-bit and 64-bit images of Ubuntu for the Raspberry Pi family of devices have just been released. Innovators around the world can now download 32-bit images for the Raspberry Pi 2, 3 and 4, as well as 64-bit images for the Raspberry Pi 3 and 4.

          With the new images, USB ports are now fully functional out of the box on the 4GB RAM version of the Raspberry Pi 4. A kernel bug was limiting our official support to the 1GB and 2GB versions of the board. A temporary workaround was proposed to enable USB on the 4GB RAM version. This bug is now fixed, and the limitation lifted.

          We are on a journey to offering outstanding official support for Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi boards. As next steps, we will deliver Ubuntu Server LTS and Ubuntu Core on the Raspberry Pi boards. We aim to collaborate with the Raspberry Pi foundation to have an officially supported image of Ubuntu available at every new release of a Raspberry Pi board. We ambition to make developers’ favorite operating system always available on makers’ favorite single-board computer.

          Next year will be exciting for makers and developers who chose to innovate on Ubuntu. Besides additional official image

        • New, fully working Ubuntu Linux images now available for Raspberry Pi

          While most Raspberry Pi owners opt for Raspbian as their operating system, the tiny barebones board can run a number of other Linux distros, including Ubuntu.

          There was a major problem with the previous Ubuntu images though — a kernel bug prevented USB ports from working on the 4GB RAM model of the Raspberry Pi 4. A temporary workaround was proposed, but Canonical has finally fixed the flaw, and made updated 32 and 64-bit images of Ubuntu available for the Raspberry Pi 2, 3 and 4, which you can download now.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • What Free Software, FOSS, and Open Source Share in Common

        In any field, activists can be each other’s worst enemies — and FOSS is no exception. Simply for suggesting that free software and open source have more similarities than differences, I have been denounced as a capitalist-shill, and worse. Yet, even a casual glance around proves FOSS is an alliance of overlapping yet separate interests. True, many of us have little in common with certain members of the alliance — I, for example, couldn’t care less about why corporations support FOSS, despite the denouncements — but that’s the nature of an alliance. Moreover, without those sometimes competing interests, I doubt FOSS would be such an overwhelming success.

        I count at least four major interests within FOSS today: the academic, the corporate, the hobbyists, and the political. Almost certainly, there are more.

      • NVDA 2019.3beta1 now available for testing

        Beta1 of NVDA 2019.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.3 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

        NVDA 2019.3 is a very significant release as there are a great deal of under-the-hood changes which improve security and allow for some pretty cool innovations in the future. The most significant changes are the upgrade of Python 2 to Python 3, and a major re-write of NVDA’s speech subsystem.

        As these changes require add-ons and custom synthesizer drivers to be re-written, we plan to make the 2019.3 beta cycle much longer than normal, so that we can ensure that add-on developers have plenty of time to upgrade and test their add-ons with NVDA 2019.3 betas before 2019.3 stable is officially released. the current plan is to release several more betas over this month, and hopefully make the official release very early in the new year.

      • NVDA 2019.3 Beta 1 is available
      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Secure your addons.mozilla.org account with two-factor authentication

            Accounts on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) are integrated with Firefox Accounts, which lets you manage multiple Mozilla services from one login. To prevent unauthorized people from accessing your account, even if they obtain your password, we strongly recommend that you enable two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA adds an extra layer of security to your account by adding an additional step to the login process to prove you are who you say you are.

            When logging in with 2FA enabled, you will be asked to provide a verification code from an authentication application, in addition to your user name and password. This article on support.mozilla.org includes a list of supported authenticator applications.

            Starting in early 2020, extension developers will be required to have 2FA enabled on AMO. This is intended to help prevent malicious actors from taking control of legitimate add-ons and their users. 2FA will not be required for submissions that use AMO’s upload API.

            Before this requirement goes into effect, we’ll be working closely with the Firefox Accounts team to make sure the 2FA setup and login experience on AMO is as smooth as possible. Once this requirement goes into effect, developers will be prompted to enable 2FA when making changes to their add-ons.

      • FSF

        • At SeaGL 2019, free software was in fine feather

          While the satisfactions of software freedom are quite enjoyable on your own, some of the greatest joys of free software come from our opportunities to flock together with other members of our community: to collaborate on our work, teach new skills, or simply show off new achievements. A grassroots gathering like the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL) is fun because it’s so thoroughly participatory: everyone comes into the room with something they’re excited to tell you about, and they’re equally excited to hear what you’re working on. The people at the front of the room giving a keynote talk are just as likely to be sitting next to you in the next session, so you can tell them what you thought of their talk, and even find out how to participate in their projects!

          As someone who is fairly new to the free software world and comparatively short on tech knowledge, I mostly attended talks on free software culture and more easily understood technological talks, although these were hardly the only topics on offer. Having unfortunately missed the opening keynotes by Lisha Sterling and Abigail Cabunoc Mayes due to some bad allergies, I began the day with a talk on DIY decentralization, by Aeva Black. Black set an irreverent tone for their talk with a reference to the notoriously goofy nineties movie Hackers, but quickly veered into much more serious territory: major digital communication platforms have exercised bias and even overt censorship against marginalized groups. How do we navigate around the power of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and the rest? Decentralization, federation, and self-hosting provide some good solutions, and a quick demonstration showed that if you have some basic know-how and tools, anyone can do it.

        • Free Software program Basis Provides Advantages and Merchandise In Its Annual Fundraiser

          An nameless reader writes:
          The Free Software program Basis is holding its annual fundraiser, with a aim of attracting 600 new members by the tip of December. (New members to date: 112.) “We’re nonetheless combating the oppressive nature of proprietary software program,” explains the marketing campaign’s net web page. “Now we have made strong inroads, and the neighborhood is as passionate as ever.”

          As a 501(c)(3) charity the group’s membership dues are all tax deductible, and affiliate memberships are simply $10 a month ($5 for college kids). They arrive with particular advantages together with as much as 5 electronic mail aliases within the member.fsf.org area, eligibility to hitch the nonprofit Digital Credit score Union, free admission to the annual LibrePlanet convention in Boston, and 20% reductions on FSF merchandise and GNU gear (together with this pleasant stuffed child gnu).

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Mark J. Wielaard: Software Freedom Conservancy Donor Match

            Please support the Software Freedom Conservancy by donating so they will be able to provide a home to many more communities. A donation of 10 US dollars a month will make you an official sponsor. Donations will be matched and so count double. And new Supporters will even have their donations tripled!

      • Programming/Development

        • How to Boost Your Programming Skills

          Anyone with an old computer that they don’t use anymore should install Ubuntu on it in order to improve their programming skills. It’s a free Linux-based operating system that can run on a wide range of hardware. Successfully using Ubuntu will require you to learn more about Python, which is considered one of the most simplified and beginner-friendly programming languages in use today. – Bryce Welker, The Big 4 Accounting Firms

        • Python

          • It’s Time to Upgrade to Python 3 – Time Is Running Out!

            As of January 1, 2020, Anaconda will no longer be adding new packages built for Python 2.7 to repo.anaconda.com default channels. The Python 2.7 packages available prior to that date will remain available.

            This means, for instance, that if there is a newly released version of TensorFlow after the first of the new year – it will not be available in defaults for Python 2.7.

            The one exception is that Python 2.7.18 is slated to be released in mid-April 2020 according to PEP-0373. Packages for Python 2.7.18 will be built and made available on the repo.anaconda.com defaults channel.

          • MicroPython: An Intro to Programming Hardware in Python

            Are you interested in the Internet of Things, home automation, and connected devices? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to build a blaster, a laser sword, or even your own robot? If so, then you’re in luck! MicroPython can help you do all of those things and more.

            [...]

            Python’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. These days, it’s used everywhere from DevOps to statistical analysis, and even in desktop software. But for a long time, there was one field where Python use was conspicuously missing. Developers working with microcontrollers had not yet adopted the language.

            All of that changed in 2013 when Damien George launched a Kickstarter campaign. Damien, an undergraduate at Cambridge University, was an avid robot programmer. He wanted to move the Python world from machines that worked with capacities in the gigabytes down to the kilobytes. His Kickstarter campaign was an attempt to back his development while he turned his proof of concept into a finished implementation.

            Many developers jumped at the chance, not only to use Python on microcontrollers but also to get an early version of Damien’s own reference hardware, which was built especially for the task! In fact, by the end of the campaign, Damien had blown past his £15,000 goal. Thanks to over 1,900 backers, he reached just shy of £100,000.

          • Creating Command Line Utilities with Python’s argparse

            Most of the user-facing software comes with a visually pleasing interface or via a decorated webpage. At other times, a program can be so small that it does not warrant an entire graphical user interface or web application to expose its functionality to the end-user.

            In these cases, we can build programs that are accessible via a Command Line Interface, or CLI.

            In this post, we will explore Python’s argparse module and use it to build a simple command-line tool to help us shorten URLs swiftly.

          • Learn all About Installing & Updating Packages in Python

            In this tutorial, we will learn the basics of installing, working and updating packages in Python. First, we will learn how to install Python packages, then how to use them, and finally, how to update Python packages when needed. More specifically, we are going to learn how to install and upgrade packages using pip, conda, and Anaconda Navigator.

            Now, before we are going to learn how to install Python packages we are going to answer the question “what is a package in Python?”

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Canonical sponsors WSLConf at Microsoft HQ [Ed: Mark Shuttleworth donates money to Microsoft’s attacks on GNU/Linux]

            Canonical is announcing today it will be a featured sponsor of WSLConf, the first conference dedicated to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) platform. WSLConf is scheduled for March 10th-11th, 2020 and is being held on the campus of Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The conference brings together developers, start-up founders, academics, enterprise, community members, and teams from Microsoft and Canonical around Windows Subsystem for Linux. The conference will include two densely-packed days of presentations and workshops on the latest developments on the rapidly evolving platform.

          • Openwashing

            • LibreCorps mentors humanitarian startups on how to run the open source way

              Free and open source software are no longer workplace taboos, at least not in the same way they were fifteen years ago. Today, distributed collaboration platforms and tools empower people around the world to contribute code, documentation, design, leadership, and other skills to open source projects. But do newcomers actually have a deep understanding of free and open source software?

              If you hang around in open source communities for long enough, you realize there is more to open source than slapping a free software license on a project and throwing it over an imaginary fence to wait for contributors who never come. To address this problem in the humanitarian sector, the LibreCorps program, led by Rochester Institute of Technology’s FOSS initiative at the Center for Media, Arts, Interaction & Creativity (MAGIC,) partnered with UNICEF to develop a set of resources to help new open source maintainers chart an “open source roadmap” to build a community.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • IOTA Works With Dell And Linux On Project Alvarium To Establish Measurable Trust In Data

                According to a recent blog post released by the Linux Foundation, this new project will be working in order to facilitate intrinsic trust in data and appk¡lications spanning heterogeneous systems of systems.

                Dell Technologies is the firm that will place the seed investment and other industry leaders such as IBM, Arm, IOTA Foundation OSIsoft, Unisys and MobiledgeX, among others, will also be supporting the development of this project.

                The Trust Fabric is a framework that has been developed through a wide range of technologies that help increase trust in the whole data path. This makes it easy for AI models to analyze the data and scale digital transformation initiatives.

                Furthermore, the new project aims at building a collaborative community that will focus on unifying and creating trust insertion technologies.

        • Security

          • Networking attack gives hijackers VPN access

            Researchers have discovered a security flaw in macOS, Linux, and several other operating systems that could let attackers hijack a wide range of virtual private network (VPN) connections.

          • Serious Vulnerability Allows Hijacking of VPN Connections Across Many Linux Based Systems (Including Android and MacOS)

            A serious vulnerability has surfaced affecting VPN connections on many systems. Upon exploitation, this vulnerability allows a potential attacker to sniff on other users’ VPN data. The attacker can also hijack VPN-tunneled connections.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (SDL), Debian (htmldoc, librabbitmq, nss, openjdk-7, openslp-dfsg, and phpmyadmin), Fedora (chromium, community-mysql, kernel, libidn2, oniguruma, proftpd, and rabbitmq-server), Mageia (ansible, clamav, evince, firefox, graphicsmagick, icu, libcryptopp, libtasn1, libtiff, libvncserver, libvpx, lz4, nss, openexr, openjpeg2, openssl, phpmyadmin, python-psutil, python-twisted, QT, sdl2_image, SDL_image, sysstat, thunderbird, and tnef), Oracle (firefox), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-ibm and nss), Scientific Linux (firefox and kernel), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (nss).

          • Exploiting a Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

            Buffer overflow flaws can be present in both the web server and application server products that serve the static and dynamic portions of a site, or in the web application itself. Buffer overflows found in commonly-used server products are likely to become widely known and can pose a significant risk to users of these products.

          • Securing your Kubernetes cluster with Webhook and Keystone

            As we move into complex K8s cluster deployments, we need to consider a robust user and role management for our clusters. The native K8s user management is primitive and vulnerable to access and DOS attacks.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Linux users can now enjoy Disney+

        When Disney+ launched, Linux users were shut out. Attempting to stream content resulted in an error message reading: “Something went wrong. Please try again. If the problem persists, visit the Disney+ Help Center (Error Code 83).”

        The problem stemmed from the way in which Disney chose to implement digital rights management but now the company has tweaked the way DRM is used, lowering the security settings it had in place, meaning that it is now possible to enjoy Disney+ on Linux.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Patent case: Judgment of Zaragoza Court of Appeals No. 450/2019, Spain

          Following the 2017 revamp of the Spanish patent system, only certain courts in Barcelona, Madrid and some other industrial hubs now have jurisdiction in patent matters. However, decisions from other courts in cases brought under the old rules are still trickling in. In this case, the Zaragoza Court of Appeal delivers a judgment which contains some interesting findings, particularly in the context of novelty assessment, which call for some important observations and qualifications.

        • Nokia v. Daimler Mannheim trial postponed from tomorrow to March 2020: rare case in which postponement is bad for defendant

          Tomorrow’s Mannheim patent trial between Nokia and Daimler, with many suppliers intervening, has been postponed to March 17, 2020, as Judge Dr. Joachim Bock, the court’s spokesman, confirmed to me today.

          In most cases, pushing back a trial date is in the defendant’s interest. What’s obviously a different situation is when the “defendant” is actually a declaratory-judgment plaintiff and seeks to get a ruling in one jurisdiction in time to influence a decision in another (such as UK complaints designed to get German cases stayed). But this is the very first time in my observation for a postponement of a German patent infringement case to benefit the plaintiff, not the defendant.

      • Trademarks

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