03.02.21

Links 3/3/2021: IPFire 2.25 Core Update 154, Red Hat Satellite 6.8.4, Kiwi TCMS 10.0

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • KeyNav: Eliminate The Mouse From Your Life

        Window managers are fairly keybaord driven experiences but a lot of GUI applications still require you to use a mouse but what if we had a quick way to navigate with just our keyboard, well that’s what KeyNav let’s us do.

      • Linux for Normies?! – Ubuntu Deepin 20.10 Review

        Time to check in on one of the trendier desktop environments on top of the world’s most popular Linux distribution.

      • Linux on Mars, Mint users don’t update, block the whole web, and GNOME 40 on multi-monitor setups

        This time, we have Linux on Mars, Mint users not doing their updates, /e/ phones shipping to the US and Canada, and a browser extension that makes the web unusable, but is still interesting.

      • Episode 34 WIP screenshot

        First colors of the future episode start to appear this morning and I couldn’t resist to show you this screenshot (speechbubbles hidden) I still have a lot of work on the 10 pages and proofreaders work hard, but I’m confident for a release in March.

      • Five Tips For The Openbox Window Manager

        Openbox has always been my favorite floating window manager. It holds a special place in my heart due it being the first window manager that I used when I switched to Linux. And I still find it so darn comfy to use!

      • The Waybig Machine | LINUX Unplugged 395

        It’s our worst idea yet. We share the password to our brand-new server and see who can own the box first. Whoever wins gets a special prize.

        Plus how Archive.org uses Linux, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Xen 4.15 RC1 – Please test

        Xen 4.15 is in code freeze, and we cut RC1 yesterday. Please help us test it to make sure Xen 4.15 is a high quality release (and that it works well for your use cases!)

      • New NTFS Driver Misses Out On Linux 5.12 But Revved A 22nd Time

        While Linux 5.12 has many great new features, what you won’t find in the mainline kernel is the new “NTFS3″ kernel driver developed by Paragon Software for NTFS file-systems. That driver is still coming for a future kernel and has now been sent out a twenty-second time for review.

        Last summer was the big surprise of Paragon wanting to upstream their NTFS kernel driver to replace the Linux kernel’s existing NTFS driver that is mostly read-only and quite basic. Paragon’s “NTFS3″ driver fully supports reads and writes and many other features not found with the existing Linux driver. This new driver is much better off for those needing to deal with Microsoft NTFS file-systems from Linux. The NTFS3 driver is also more performant than the FUSE-based NTFS driver that is also available and currently preferred by some distributions.

      • That Linux 5.12 Severe Data Corruption Bug Hits Intel CI Systems – Issue Caused By Swap File

        Last week I issued a warning of possible data loss on the early Linux 5.12 kernel code that was reliably leaving my test systems severely corrupted. Intel’s internal graphics test systems it turns out have now been bitten by this issue in encountering this significant file-system corruption and as such they’ve been quick to jump on the issue – there’s now an idea what’s causing the nasty issue and a workaround by reverting select patches.

        As reported last week, on my test systems with the Linux 5.12 kernel I have been suffering from significant data corruption during benchmarking. Running e2fsck on the EXT4 file-systems would yield a plethora of errors and ultimately not recoverable. Besides the fact of having to either recover from a backup image or reinstall from scratch each time, making it more complex was seeing this behavior even before EXT4 file-system changes were merged for the 5.12 cycle and they tended to be on the mundane side anyhow — likely indicating a problem elsewhere in the kernel and not something specific to EXT4, just that many of my test systems are using EXT4.

      • Graphics Stack

    • Applications

      • RNR Is A Terminal File Manager That Combines Features From Midnight Commander and Ranger

        RNR File Manager (RNR’s Not Ranger) is a new terminal file manager for Linux that combines features of Midnight Commander and Ranger in order to provide the best of both worlds, while also offering a robust file copier.

        The text-based application is officially supported only on Linux, but it may work on macOS, FreeBSD or Cygwin. However, if you get errors on non-Linux systems, the developer mentions that they won’t consider them as bugs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Netdata on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Netdata on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Netdata is a free and open-source real-time monitoring and troubleshooting tool for cloud servers, containers, applications, and on-premise IT infrastructure. You can view the results in a highly interactive web-dashboard. Using Netdata, you can get a clear idea of what is happening now, and what happened before in your systems and applications. You don’t need to be an expert to deploy this tool in your Linux systems.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Netdata monitoring on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How To Install Postfix on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Postfix on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Postfix is a free and open-source MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) used for routing or delivering emails on a Linux system. By the default configuration it permits local mailing, however in itself it is very useful on a machine used by many customers, or even if there may be no such visitors, many services dump their reviews and messages into e-mails, which is introduced to the root consumer locally, so the sysadmin might be noticed on any activities when he/she logs in and switches to root user.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Postfix mail on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Setup FTP Server with VSFTPD on Ubuntu 20.04 | Linuxize

        This article describes how to install and configure an FTP server on Ubuntu 20.04 that you use to share files between your devices.

        FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files to and from a remote network. There are several open-source FTP servers available for Linux. The most known and widely used are PureFTPd , ProFTPD , and vsftpd . We’ll be installing vsftpd (Very Secure Ftp Daemon), a stable, secure, and fast FTP server. We will also show you how to configure the server to restrict users to their home directory and encrypt the entire transmission with SSL/TLS.

        Although FTP is a very popular protocol, for more secure and faster data transfers, you should use SCP or SFTP .

      • How to install FreeCAD on Linux Mint 20.1 – YouTube

        In this video, we are looking at how to install FreeCAD on Linux Mint 20.1.

      • How to install thinkorswim Desktop on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install thinkorswim Desktop on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.3 Built-in vs DXVK 1.8: A Comparison Of Two Very Different DirectX Implementations

        Wine is not an emulator, it is a re-implementation of the Windows APIs. Wine implements DirectX 9-11 by translating the DirectX APIs to OpenGL API calls. There is an alternative DirectX implementation called DXVK that can be used with Wine. It translates DirectX API calls to Vulkan. Most Linux users who play game think DXVK is faster than Wines built-in translation layer. Is it, and if so, how much faster is DXVK?

    • Games

      • Steam On Linux In February Still Residing Below 1% – Phoronix

        Valve has released their updated Steam Survey figures for February 2021.

        For January, the reported Steam Linux usage hit 0.91%, similar to where it was in November of last year. With the ongoing success of Steam Play (Proton + DXVK/VKD3D-Proton) for running many modern Windows games well under Linux, Steam on Linux has been enjoying the upper sub-1% space on a monthly basis — normally 0.8~0.9%.

      • Try the demo of Dashing Dodgems, a frantic and hilarious bumper cars party game

        In development by Yellowcake Games, it’s all about last driver remaining and it’s really fun. When a match starts to take too long, the world will start to crumble around you with tiles vanishing into the water. You cars can annihilate the environment too, which you need to do to get power-ups hidden inside buildings – which is quite satisfying when you bump your way through a town.

        [...]

        You can follow it on Steam and try the Linux demo on itch.io.

      • You can now beam Steam games from your PC to practically anyone, anywhere, for free

        Valve is significantly expanding your ability to share games at home and with your friends for free using Steam.

        One change is the introduction of a Linux version of its Steam Link app, which lets you stream games from a computer to a device with the Steam Link app installed on the same local network. This new Linux version means that you can now stream games from a computer to a Linux-based set top box hooked up to a TV, for example. The app is also available on Android, iOS, and Raspberry Pi.

      • Steam Link app now available for the Linux desktop

        Valve along with their partners at open source consulting firm Collabora have ported over the standalone Steam Link application to the traditional Linux desktop.

        Originally available as the Steam Link hardware that was discontinued in 2018, which Valve then replaced with the standalone application. The idea is that it allows you to stream content from Steam on one PC to another, or to a different device like an Android phone. Previously the app was only supported for Windows, iOS, Android, or a Raspberry Pi but that ends now with the official announcement today adding traditional Linux desktops to the mix.

      • Steam Link Is Now Available on Linux to Stream Your Steam Games on Any Device/a>

        Launched by Valve about 5 and a half years ago, the Steam Link app is available free of charge for Android, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Raspberry Pi devices to let you stream your Steam games to phones, tablets, and TVs.

        Thanks to the awesome developers from Collabora, the Steam Link app is now available for 64-bit Linux systems as a Flatpak app that you can install on any GNU/Linux distribution from Flathub.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • ABI checking

          There is no day so wasted that you can’t take notes about what didn’t work, so here’s some talk about ABI-compliance-checking. ABI-compliance, or ABI-compatibility, is roughly when a shared library can be changed (to a different version, usually an update and upgrade) and users of that shared library (applications, or other libraries) just work with the new version. This requires some discipline, and there are tools to help out.

          [...]

          One way to help maintain binary compatibility is to use tools that check the ABI: figure out the shape of the ABI in one version, the shape in another version, and compare those shapes. KDE Frameworks have checks in place, like this one (that link assumes openSUSE and Qt 5.15 are still in use and that there was a recent successful build).

          Generally, an ABI-shape getting bigger is not a problem (from a technical perspective, although you can have all kinds of semantic mix-ups). Things that go away – functions, variables, etc. – those are problematic.

          Calamares is a Linux system installer – it can be customized by Linux distro’s to act as the installer for their ISO images. It’s a C++ program offering modules for all kinds of system-installation services. It also offers an ABI: the modules use the ABI of the Calamares libraries to talk to the main program. Calamares supports “third-party” modules, e.g. modules specific to one distro or otherwise customized, and for those third-party modules, ABI compatibility suddenly becomes an issue: it would be nice if they didn’t have to be recompiled when a new Calamares library comes out. That can only happen if the Calamares libraries commit to ABI compatibility.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • CoreELEC 19.0 “Matrix” Linux Distro Released for Amlogic Hardware Based on Kodi 19

          As its codename suggests, CoreELEC 19.0 “Matrix” is the first release of this LibreELEC fork to be based on the recently released Kodi 19.0 “Matrix” open-source home theater software, which introduces numerous new featiures and improvements for those who want to make their own media center PC or HTPC.

          Based on the CoreELEC 9.2.6 Amlogic-NG release, the CoreELEC 19.0 series becomes the active development branch, supporting only Amlogic-NG devices like LaFrite, LePotato, ODROID-C4, ODROID-HC4, and ODROID-N2.

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 154 released

          The first update of the year will be an enormous one. We have been working hard in the lab to update the underlying operating system to harden and improve IPFire and we have added WPA3 client support and made DNS faster and more resilient against broken Internet connections.

          This is probably the release with the largest number of package updates. This is necessary for us to keep the system modern and adopt any fixes from upstream projects. Thank you to everyone who has contributed by sending in patches.

          Before we talk about what is new, I would like to as you for your support for our project. IPFire is a small team of people from a range of backgrounds sharing one goal: make the Internet a safer place for everyone. Like many of our open source friends, we’ve taken a hit this year and would like to ask for your continued support.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • KDE Plasma desktop updated to 5.21.2

          The KDE Plasma desktop packages have been updated to 5.21.2. This is a minor bug fix update and available as an update provided that you are using KDE.

        • Viber updated to 13.3.1.22

          With Viber for Desktop you can make free international calls from your computer to any other Viber user, resting assured your calls and messages are protected by end-to-end encryption.

        • Songkong updated to 7.1

          Song Kong is an intelligent music tagger app designed to make the task of managing, organizing and cleaning up your digital music collection easy. Lite version is free. Professional version require purchase of a license.

        • Mailspring email updated to 1.8.0

          Mailspring is a new version of Nylas Mail maintained by one of the original authors. It’s faster, leaner, and shipping today! It replaces the JavaScript sync code in Nylas Mail with a new C++ sync engine based on Mailcore2. It uses roughly half the RAM and CPU of Nylas Mail and idles with almost zero “CPU Wakes”, which translates to great battery life. It also has an entirely revamped composer and other great new features.

        • Web Browser updates » PCLinuxOS

          The following web browsers have been updated to the most current versions.

          basilisk-2021.02.06-1pclos2021.x86_64.rpm
          chromium-browser-88.0.4324.182-1pclos2021.x86_64.rpm
          brave-1.21.71-1pclos2021.x86_64.rpm
          naver-whale-stable-2.9.114.33-1pclos2021.x86_64.rpm
          microsoft-edge-90.0.803.0-1pclos2021.x86_64.rpm
          waterfox-2021.02-1pclos2021.x86_64.rpm

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Review: A Linux Distro for the Practical User

          When looking for a Linux distro, it’s easy to lose sight of the important differences between distros and get overwhelmed. The subtle differences can make all the difference in choosing a distro, and that’s where distro reviews like this come in. Here we discuss a long-standing member of the community that’s less common on the desktop but is still an excellent choice for your desktop in our review of openSUSE, a Linux distro for the practical user.

          [...]

          One thing I don’t much like about openSUSE is the relatively old kernel it’s using. 5.3 is in the range where it’s borderline if it’ll work well with particularly new or obscure hardware, so I wouldn’t plan to install openSUSE on your brand new workstation or laptop. It may have some issues with newer hardware.

          Overall, openSUSE is an excellent distro for users wanting to set up a workstation or desktop that’s easy to manage and use but doesn’t have to do anything beyond standard workstation or desktop features. Gamers may not like openSUSE because of the older kernel.

          I hope you enjoyed our openSUSE review. Make sure you check out some of our other Distro reviews, like GhostBSD, Clear Linux, MX Linux, and ArcoLinux.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 118

          You may know that both the SUSE and openSUSE families of operating systems include container-oriented members, namely openSUSE MicroOS and SLE Micro. In order to make them even more awesome, we got the request to make possible to propose and configure the usage of Security-Enhanced Linux, more widely known as SELinux, during the (auto)installation. This is a complex change affecting several parts of YaST and various versions of (open)SUSE, but you can get a good overview in the description of this pull request which includes some screenshots that may be worth a thousand words. Right now, the feature may look different on each one of the distributions due to the different state of SELinux on them. While in SLE Micro the new setting is visible during installation and activated at its more restrictive level, in others it may look more permisive or even not be presented at all. We expect things to consolidate during the upcoming weeks.

          And talking about things that take their time, for a long time we had wanted to improve the usability of the configuration of wireless network adapters. Finally we found the time to reorganize the corresponding tab in the YaST Network module, improving the mechanism to select a wireless network and automatically pre-filling as much information as possible. You can see the result in the following animation and in the detailed pull request with the usual before-and-after screenshots.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky System

          There is a new, small application available for Sparkers: Sparky System

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint may start pushing high-priority patches to users

          Community Linux distributions are easygoing with updates and patches. Yes, they’d like you to update, but they don’t insist on it. Now, though, the popular Linux Mint distribution has had enough of people running out-of-date distributions and programs. In the future, Mint’s Update Manager may “insist” you make important security updates.

          [...]

          Yes, Linux tends to be more secure than other operating systems, but that doesn’t mean there have been no serious security bugs. For example, a decade-old sudo bug has recently been patched, and the ancient — but always troublesome — memory addressing tool set_fs() was finally removed. As lead Mint maintainer Clement “Clem” Lefebvre wrote, you must update not just because an outdated system is vulnerable, “it is known to be vulnerable.”

          Besides, Update Manager doesn’t just patch Linux bugs, it also updates and patches all software on your Linux system. So, for example, when you update Linux Mint, you’re also updating the default Firefox web browser.

        • Updating Snap Bases

          This is a bit of a dayjob post, but as I maintain a bunch of snaps in my own time, I figured it’s not out of place here.

          Typically when I (or indeed any developer) uses snapcraft to build a snap, a snapcraft.yaml drives the process. I’ll integrate some kind of CI or build system, and start publishing to the Snap Store. Usually, once created, the yaml doesn’t need much in the way of changes. Back when we first started building snaps, we were using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS systems. At runtime the snap would leverage the base of core. The core snap is a super minimal Ubuntu 16.04 LTS runtime environment.

          Since then we’ve had releases of core18 based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and more recently, core20 based off Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The observant will note the original base core isn’t called core16 which is a shame, but hey-ho. In the early days it wasn’t necessary to specify a base in the snapcraft.yaml because it was assumed to always be core. Indeed I don’t think early releases of snapcraft even had a base option.

          [...]

          Other snaps will certainly require more invasive changes, but I thought this would be a good example of a simple snap which only needed a few updates to bring it up to spec.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Jetson TX2 NX module offers TX2 power in a Nano footprint

        Nvidia has launched a 260-pin “Jetson TX2 NX” variant of the TX2 with 4GB LPDDR4, 16GB eMMC, and slightly reduced camera, display, and PCIe Gen2 support.

        Nvidia has introduced a spin-down of the Jetson TX2 compute module that falls between the TX2 and the lower-end Jetson Nano. The Jetson TX2 NX runs Linux on the same hexa-core CPU and 256-core Pascal GPU with 1.33-TOPS AI performance as the TX2, and it supplies the same 4GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC as the lower-end 4GB TX2 module. However, it moves from a 400-pin board-to-board edge connector to the 260-pin connector found on the Nano and higher-end Jetson Xavier NX, and has fewer PCIe Gen2, MIPI-CSI, MIPI-DSI, and other interfaces.

      • Net appliance boasts four 10GbE ports and up to three wireless links

        Aaeon’s “FWS-2365” net appliance runs on an up to 16-core Atom C3000 with up to 6x GbE and 4x 10GbE SFP+ ports plus 2x SATA, 2x USB, 2x mini-PCIe, M.2, and eMMC.

        Aaeon announced a desktop network appliance for white box uCPE and SD-WAN applications with VPN support and NFV functions such as firewall and router deployment. The FWS-2365 follows earlier FWS branded appliances such as the FWS-2360 and FWS-7360, which similarly feature Intel’s 4x to 16x core Atom C3000 (“Denverton”) networking SoC. No OS support was listed, but the FWS-2360 supports Linux.

      • Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards are coming with… HDMI?

        We’ve already seen Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU can support VGA output using the microcontroller’s programmable I/O blocks. But yesterday, I saw two upcoming RP2040 boards with an HDMI connector. How is that supposed to work?

        The first one is Olimex RP2040-PICO-PC that’s indeed like a pico PC board with an HDMI connector for video, a micro SD card for storage, a standard 3.5mm audio jack for speaker or headphone, and a USB host for a keyboard.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Big Gains for Open Aerospace: Interview with Open Research Institute

        The Open Research Institute (ORI) is an OSI Affiliate project that works to facilitate worldwide collaboration in the development of technology. The past year has been a particularly exciting one — achieving some groundbreaking wins for open source in aerospace. ORI’s co-founder and CEO, Michelle Thompson took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about their recent regulatory initiatives.

        DN: Can you tell us a little bit about the Open Research Institute’s history and mission?

        MT: Open Research Institute’s mission is to provide a friendly, safe, and accessible place to do open source research and development for amateur radio and beyond. We have been fully operational since March 2019 and have contributed technical and regulatory work central to the mission of the international amateur radio service. This work is useful outside of the amateur community because it allows a wide variety of organizations to use open source communications technology where they would otherwise have to reinvent a wheel, or restrict the work to US persons only.

        DN: It was a big year for ORI, with the determination that “Open Source Satellite Work” is free of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR.) What prompted ORI to draft a commodity jurisdiction request?

        MT: We were able to do this work due to the generous support of YASME Foundation, ARRL Foundation, and ARDC Foundation. Without their generous financial support and guidance, the technical and regulatory victories over the past 18 months would simply not have happened.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • New in Chrome 89

            Chrome 89 is starting to roll out to stable now.

          • Chrome 89 Released With Various New Web APIs Deemed Stable

            Chrome 89 is out today as the latest stable version of Google’s web browser. With Chrome 89 various new APis are deemed stable including WebHID, WebNFC, and Web Serial.

            Chrome 89 promoted its WebHID, WebNFC, and Web Serial support with those APIs for HID devices, near field communication, and serial devices being deemed ready for production use. Chrome 89 is also significant for AV1 encoding support for WebRTC in early form.

        • Mozilla

          • DevOps at Mozilla

            I first joined Mozilla as an intern in 2010 for the “Tools and Automation Team” (colloquially called the “A-Team”). I always had a bit of difficulty describing our role. We work on tests. But not the tests themselves, the the thing that runs the tests. Also we make sure the tests run when code lands. Also we have this dashboard to view results, oh and also we do a bunch of miscellaneous developer productivity kind of things. Oh and sometimes we have to do other operational type things as well, but it varies.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Update on tender for a built-in UNO object inspection tool in LibreOffice

          In July last year, we launched a tender to implement a dedicated, built-in UNO object inspection tool in LibreOffice. UNO refers to Unified Network Objects, the component model used by the software.

          Tomaž Vajngerl was assigned to work on the tender, and has blogged about his progress. He discusses the point-and-click functionality to inspect selected objects in the document, and his next steps.

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS 10.0

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 10.0!

        • WordPress 5.7 Release Candidate 2

          The second release candidate for WordPress 5.7 is now available!

          [...]

          Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the Beta/RC releases and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and a great way to contribute to WordPress.

      • FSF

        • PRESS: Hardware hacker and academic Nadya Peek to keynote LibrePlanet 2021

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced digital fabrication expert and University of Washington assistant professor Nadya Peek as a keynote speaker for LibrePlanet 2021. The annual technology and social justice conference will be held online on March 20 and 21, 2021, with the theme “Empowering Users.”

          [...]

          At this year’s LibrePlanet conference, Peek will discuss the increasingly ambiguous dividing line between hardware and software, and how everyone can ensure that the physical tools created by digital fabrication methods are as hackable and reconfigurable as free software tools. On Peek’s announcement as LibrePlanet 2021′s third keynote speaker announcement, FSF program manager Zoë Kooyman stated, “Her work in human-centered design is exactly that: human-centered. Nadya Peek’s research and work is guided by the powerful belief that machines, as well as the concept of automation itself, can be approached in a different way. By giving users access to all the pieces they could need to build a machine, she gives individuals the creative freedom to make or automate almost anything. It’s empowering to the core and we’re excited to learn more about her work.”

          Asked to comment on being selected to keynote at the LibrePlanet conference, Peek stated, “LibrePlanet has an amazing community. I like it when I’m the person in the room who knows the fewest FFmpeg [a popular free software multimedia encoder] flags by heart. I’m very excited to spend time together, albeit virtually during an extremely strange time.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Intel Looking To Upstream A Proper SPIR-V Compute Back-End For LLVM

          It’s been talked about many times from various parties but so far has remained elusive from the mainline LLVM code-base: a SPIR-V back-end for LLVM that would go from LLVM into this Khronos intermediate representation most notably used by OpenCL and Vulkan drivers. Intel engineers are stepping up and hope to help get a proper SPIR-V back-end upstreamed into LLVM.

          There have been various out-of-tree efforts and plans talked about by different companies/developers for having a SPIR-V back-end in LLVM as this key IR supported by the modern Khronos APIs. With Intel’s latest push and “request for comments”, they are looking to have a proper back-end in LLVM for targeting SPIR-V — initially with a compute focus but the possibility of extending to 3D shader support for Vulkan later on.

        • Python

          • Python For Loop Examples – nixCraft

            ow and when do I use for loops under Python programming language? How can I use the break and continue statements to alter the flow of a Python loop?

            A for loop is a Python statement which repeats a group of statements a specified number of times. You can use any object (such as strings, arrays, lists, tuples, dict and so on) in a for loop in Python. This page explains the basics of the Python for loop in including break and continue statements.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Military Can’t Get Troops to Take the Covid Vaccine. Come Again?

        About one-third of military service members are refusing to take the coronavirus vaccine. In some units, refusal rates exceed half of members. At a time when the virus remains as dangerous as ever, this is bananas. Yet the military says troops who decline the vaccine will face no repercussions or changes to their assigned duties, meaning even uninoculated troops will remain deployable around the country and the world. What the hell is going on?

      • Kremlin rejects analysis warning that Russia’s rising food prices could provoke unrest

        During a press conference on Monday, March 1, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refuted recent analysis from Bloomberg that listed Russia as one of the “five hotspots” where rising food prices could provoke political unrest.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • AJA Desktop Software v16 Brings HDR over SDI, Expands IP Video Functions, and More

          Desktop Software v16 includes compatibility updates for the latest macOS, Windows and Linux operating systems, including support for macOS 11.x Big Sur, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Redhat/CentOS 8 and continuing support for Windows 10 updates.

        • ONLYOFFICE Docs 6.2: Main updates and a quick installation guide for Ubuntu [Ed: This is misleading. ONLYOFFICE is proprietary software with an openwashing edition]

          ONLYOFFICE Docs is an open-source office suite distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3 (AGPLv3) which is composed of online editors for text documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

          ONLYOFFICE Docs is fully compatible with the OOXML formats (DOCX, XLSX and PPTX) and can be integrated with multiple cloud storage platforms and services such as Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, Alfresco, Confluence, Nuxeo, SharePoint, etc. Apart from this, you can embed it into your own application using API.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Learn About the RISC-V ISA with Two Free Training Courses from The Linux Foundation and RISC-V International

                The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, and RISC-V International, a non-profit corporation controlled by its members to drive the adoption and implementation of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), have announced the release of two new free online training courses to help individuals get started with the RISC-V ISA. The courses are available on edX.org, the online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

                “RISC-V International is committed to providing opportunities for people to gain a deeper understanding of the RISC-V ISA and expand their skills,” shared Calista Redmond, CEO, RISC-V International. “These courses will allow everyone to build deeper technical insight, learn more about the benefits of open collaboration, and engage with RISC-V for design freedom.”

                With the recent market momentum of RISC-V cores, systems-on-chips (SoCs), developer boards, and software and tools across computing from embedded to enterprise, there is a strong community need to empower individuals who understand how to implement and utilize RISC-V. In order to help meet that demand, The Linux Foundation and RISC-V International designed these free online courses to significantly reduce the barrier to entry for those interested in gaining RISC-V skills.

              • Linux Foundation and RISC-V International launch free RISC-V training classes | ZDNet

                RISC-V, the emerging open-source instruction set processor architecture, is growing up. Sure, most of the attention has come from hardware hackers playing on RISC-V processors on development boards from companies such as SiFive. SparkFun, and BeagleBoard. There’s even a BBC Doctor Who-branded RISC-V mini-computer for kids. But, according to RISC-V CTO Mark Himelstein, RISC-V processors have already found a home in data centers and Alibaba cloud servers. So, it’s high time for classes on how to use this new open-source hardware architecture.

              • New Mobile Native Foundation to Foster Development Collaboration
              • New Mobile Native Foundation to Foster Development Collaboration

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the Mobile Native Foundation (MNF). The MNF will bring developers together to improve processes and technologies that support large-scale Android and iOS applications. Organizations contributing to this effort include Airbnb, Capital One, Corellium, Elotl, Flare.build, GitHub, GogoApps, Haystack, Line, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Peloton, Robinhood, Sauce Labs, Screenplay.dev, Slack, Solid Software, Spotify, Square and Uber.

        • Security

          • Ubuntu Blog: GRUB2 Secure Boot Bypass 2021

            In August 2020, a set of security vulnerabilities in GRUB2 (the GRand Unified Bootloader version 2) collectively known as BootHole were disclosed. Today, another set of vulnerabilities in GRUB2 were disclosed, with similar implications. Because GRUB2 is a key component of the boot process, vulnerabilities in it can permit attackers to violate the integrity promises of UEFI Secure Boot. In this blog post we will discuss these vulnerabilities as well as the changes that have been made to Ubuntu to both mitigate them, and to make the update process easier for any future similar scenarios.

            As discussed back in August 2020, the UEFI Secure Boot process in Ubuntu is supported by a number of different components, all working together to ensure that only trusted bootloaders and operating systems are able to run. These consist of the UEFI platform firmware (aka UEFI BIOS), shim, the GRUB2 bootloader and the Linux kernel. The latter 3 of these are Ubuntu components, while the former is provided by the device OEM. In this case, both shim and GRUB2 have (or will soon receive updates) to mitigate these vulnerabilities and to help ensure older vulnerable versions of GRUB2 are not trusted by the secure boot process and cannot be used to load malicious code.

            [...]

            To ensure a unified approach, the version of GRUB2 for UEFI systems used in older Ubuntu releases is updated so that a single GRUB2 version can be used for all – this ensures that both the latest security fixes and mitigation features can be more easily adopted in these older releases. As this has the potential to cause issues in what is a fundamental component of the boot process (due to the large number of changes in both GRUB2 itself as well as the way this is distributed in Ubuntu), this update will be carefully rolled out via the Updates pocket of the Ubuntu package archive.

            Because Secure Boot does not apply to BIOS based boot environments, we will not be publishing updates for GRUB2 on those systems.

          • Multiple New Security Issues Hit GRUB Bootloader Around Secure Boot

            A new set of GRUB2 security vulnerabilities were made public today affecting its UEFI Secure Boot support. A set of eight CVEs were issued in 2020 and this year for the new issues. The issues include the possibility of specially crafted ACPI tables being loaded even if Secure Boot is active, memory corruption in GRUB’s menu rendering, use-after-free in rmmod functionality, the cutmem command allowing privileged users to disable certain memory regions and in turn Secure Boot protections, arbitrary code execution even if Secure Boot is enabled, GRUB 2.05 accidentally re-introducing one of last year’s vulnerabilities, and memory corruption from crafted USB device descriptors that could lead to arbitrary code execution.

          • SUSE addresses another grub2 UEFI secure boot security exposure

            Various security researchers and the grub2 team have published more security issues in grub2 today, which can be used to bypass the UEFI secure boot chain.

            These security issues have the same scope as the BootHole issues from 2020. This attack requires root access to the bootloader used in Linux operating systems, GRUB2. It bypasses normal Secure Boot protections to persistently install malicious code which cannot be detected by the operating system.

          • Thycotic Announces Endpoint Privilege Management Solution for Unix/Linux

            Thycotic, provider of privileged access management (PAM) solutions for more than 12,500 organizations worldwide, including 25 of the Fortune 100, announced new privilege management capabilities for workstations running Unix and Linux. The latest release of Thycotic’s Privilege Manager solution includes a Sudo plugin that saves Unix/Linux administrators time, while still providing granular control over privileged activities.

            According to the Verizon 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, eighty percent of breaches involve compromised credentials, making them one of the most common entry points for threats. Unix and Linux endpoints are typically the most valuable targets because they rely on “root” accounts, which provide unrestricted access to all commands, files, directories, and resources.

          • Spectre returns as exploits for Windows and Linux devices found

            Remember Spectre, the infamous vulnerability that had all major chip manufacturers scrambling for a fix? Three years after its initial emergence, two new working exploits have been identified.

            According to a report from Bleeping Computer, security researcher Julien Voisin has discovered a pair of exploits targeting unpatched Linux and Windows systems, on the VirusTotal platform. VirusTotal gathers all antivirus scans in one place and checks for potential malware missed by different solutions, and these exploits were uploaded a month ago.

          • Malicious ‘Dependency Confusion’ packages are stealing password files [Ed: icrosoft is serving malware again but Microsoft partners don't name Microsoft]

            Hackers created packages using names similar to ones found in a legitimate organization’s internal repositories. In public repositories, such internal names can be found referenced in public code repositories, such as GitHub, in source code files.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Plenty of mirth as Recorded Future, NYT and ex-NSA man have a punt each way

              CIA-backed threat intelligence firm Recorded Future has issued a document in which it claims that a China-linked group named RedEcho is targeting the Indian power industry. That’s the meaning from the headline which is very definitive.

              But within the body of that document, Recorded Future takes more than one step backward, citing characteristics of other China-related groups (related? linked?) before saying: “Despite some overlaps with previous groups, Insikt Group [the fancy name for its research wing] does not currently believe there is enough evidence to firmly attribute the activity in this particular campaign to an existing public group and therefore continues to track it as a closely related but distinct activity group, RedEcho.”

            • India says power outage due to human error, not China as NYT alleged

              The Indian Government has said a power outage in Mumbai last year was caused by human error, adding that no evidence exists to connect the incident to a “hacking attempt”.

              Both the New York Times and CIA-backed threat intelligence firm Recorded Future had hinted that the October 2020 outage was caused by malware infiltrated by Chinese-linked attackers.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Utah’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Terrible, Censorial ‘Free Speech’ Bill Is A Disaster In The Making

        A month ago, we noted that a bunch of state legislatures were pushing blatantly unconstitutional bills to try to argue that social media websites can’t moderate “conservative” views any more. All of these bills are unconstitutional, and most are just silly. The latest one comes from Utah — and stunningly seems to have legs as it’s been moving through the Utah legislative process with some amount of speed over the last week or so.

      • AT&T Appears Committed To Being Comically Hypocritical On Section 230

        Telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T have spent the last three or four years pushing (quite successfully) for massive deregulation of their own monopolies, while pushing for significant new regulation of the Silicon Valley giants, whose ad revenues they’ve coveted for decades. As such, it wasn’t surprising to see AT&T come out with an incredibly dumb blog post last August throwing its full support behind Trump’s legally dubious and hugely problematic executive order targeting social media giants and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law integral to protecting speech online.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Federal Court Says There’s Nothing Wrong With Arresting Someone For Parodying A Police Department Facebook Page

        You know what’s always ripe for parody? Government agencies. You know who’s often outlandishly upset about being parodied? Government officials.

      • Why The Problems With Police And Social Media Both Are Symptoms Of The Same Disease: A Failure Of Society To Actually Help Those In Need

        I’ve written in the past, many times, about how so many people keep wanting to blame social media companies, or intermediary liability laws, for what are only a manifestation of larger societal issues. Social media is only serving to make evident what was previously hidden. A few weeks ago, we quoted UK tech policy expert Heather Burns noting that intermediary liability laws were being expected to pick up the slack for a wide variety of other failures regarding mental health care, social safety nets, criminal and civil justice issues and more. Basically, a whole bunch of government failures were leading to problems in society, which were then being seen online. And rather than trying to fix the underlying causes of those, people were… blaming the internet. Burns later came on our podcast and we had a great detailed discussion about this issue.

      • To ‘Ensure Justice and Accountability for Police Brutality,’ Pressley Leads New Bill to End Qualified Immunity

        “There can be no justice without healing and accountability, and there can be no true accountability with qualified immunity.”

      • Black Lives Still Don’t Matter in America

        Indeed “candy-coated” reform is all that most politicians have offered Black communities in America for decades. Evidence of it abounds in the form of damning statistical measures showing racial discrimination against Black Americans in health (including from the novel coronavirus), law enforcement, criminal justice, voting rights, education, employment(including during the pandemic), housing, and life expectancy before and especially during the past year.

        The starkest symbol of how little the lives of Black people mean to the state are the ongoing reckless killings by police that almost always go unpunished. In one of the more recent and widely covered instances, the brutal police killing of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, that took place nearly a year ago as he lay naked, hooded, and handcuffed in the middle of the street, has gone unpunished after a grand jury declined to press charges. Although a medical examiner ruled that he had died from “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint,” and the police initially refused to release the incriminating and deeply disturbing video of his last conscious minutes of life, it seems that there will be no justice for Prude.

      • St. Petersburg police officer under investigation for allegedly selling flight data on Navalny’s FSB poisoners

        The St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case for abuse of office against a local police officer who allegedly sold passenger data from the August 2020 flight where opposition politician Alexey Navalny fell ill from chemical nerve agent poisoning, says Kommersant.

      • Hollywood’s New Blackface

        Same old shuck and jive from finance capital.

        AND . . . why are so many foreign Blacks impersonating African-Americans?

      • Mumia Abu-Jamal, Now in His 40th Year as an Incarcerated Prisoner, Has Covid-19

        This latest outrage was sadly predictable. Prisons across the US have for years been allowing serious illness to serve as a form of “silent execution” of prisoners, many of them certainly innocent of the crimes they were convicted of.  Many prisoners in the system, guilty or not, are serving unfairly punitive terms that keep them confined into an old age meaning they are particularly vulnerable to potentially fatal illnesses, whether that is flu, cancer, hepatitis, pneumonia or now Covid-19.

        Noted journalist and political activist Abu-Jamal, now 66 years old and entering his 40th year in prison, is serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole following his 1982 conviction of murder of a white police officer.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • $2 billion verdict in Judge Albright’s Courtroom [Ed: One billion dollars per patent from just one company is clearly disproportional, but welcome to Texas]

          The jury just returned in Judge Albright’s first patent trial of 2021. The result: $2.18 Billion Dollars to VLSI for Intel’s infringement. The patents were previously owned NXP Semiconductors, who obtained them by buying up Freescale Semiconductor and SigmaTel. NXP will apparently still receive a cut of the revenue – if the decision withstands both the JMOL motions and appeals.

        • Software Patents

          • $2,500 for prior art on IP Edge sub, Decatur Licensing

            On February 23, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,500 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 9,706,467. The patent is owned by Decatur Licensing LLC, a subsidiary of the prolific NPE, IP Edge. The ’467 patent generally relates to obtaining radio access network information and transmitting location information between at least two base stations, e.g., in a 5G network. It is currently being asserted against ASUS, Samsung, LG, and Motorola.

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