03.08.21

Links 8/3/2021: Java 16 is Coming and More Software Patents Thrown Out

Posted in News Roundup at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Distro Hopping Doesn’t Make Sense Too Me – YouTube

        I’ve been using Arch Linux since I first started with Linux and the idea of distro hopping jas just never appealed to me, not to say that I’ll never leave Arch it’s just that swapping for the sake of swapping seems kind of weird.

      • Quick Unboxing of my new Thelio Major

        I decided to show off the unboxing my my new desktop – I purchased a new Thelio Major desktop from System76. This particular unboxing was very awkward, the box was very tall and hard to position with my tripod. So please excuse the overall clumsiness of this entire video.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds pushes out emergency Linux update

        In a break from tradition, Linux kernel head honcho Linus Torvalds has published the newest release earlier than usual to address a filesystem corruption issue in the previous release.

        Torvalds noted that last week’s v5.12-rc1 broke the swapfile in an unusual way that could trash the entire filesystem on certain installations. Before he put out the update to correct that issue, Torvalds marked the previous release as v5.12-rc1-dontuse to ward off anyone from using that particular release in their Linux machines.

        “Ok, so this is a couple of days early, but rc1 had the nasty swapfile issue, so I’m just accelerating rc2 a bit,” noted Torvalds as he merged the fix that was released in the days following the rc1 release.

      • Linus Torvalds issues early Linux Kernel update to fix swapfile SNAFU

        Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has rushed out a new release candidate of Linux 5.12 after the first in the new series was found to include a ‘subtle and very nasty bug’ that was so serious he marked rc1 as unsuitable for use.

        “We had a very innocuous code cleanup and simplification that raised no red flags at all, but had a subtle and very nasty bug in it: swap files stopped working right. And they stopped working in a particularly bad way: the offset of the start of the swap file was lost,” Torvalds wrote in a March 3rd post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

        “Swapping still happened, but it happened to the wrong part of the filesystem, with the obvious catastrophic end results.”

        So catastrophic that, as Torvalds explained, “you can end up with a filesystem that is essentially overwritten by random swap data.”

      • Linus Torvalds warns: Watch out for this unusually nasty bug in Linux 5.12 rc1

        Linus Torvalds has issued a warning to open-source developers to avoid the first release candidate (RC) of the Linux kernel 5.12.

        Linux kernel 5.12 was released on time despite the snow storms that lashed Oregon and knocked out power to Torvalds’ home for the better part of a week. Torvalds and his thousands of contributors managed to get version 5.12 out on time, but he now says RC 5.12 is a “double ungood” that can have catastrophic consequences for a computer’s filesystem.

      • Applying mailing list patches with ‘git b4′

        b4 was created by Konstantin Ryabitsev and has become a very frequently used tool for me.

        It supports a lot of different ways for interacting with the Linux Kernel mailing lists. Of these the b4 am subcommand is what I primarily use. This subcommand downloads all of the patches belonging to a patch series and drops them into a .mbox file. But! It doesn’t apply them to the repository we’re currently in, and herein lies the itch that I would like to scratch.

      • Intel Lunar Lake ‘Next-Gen’ Core CPUs Get First Support In Linux Patches, Expected To Succeed Meteor Lake By 2023

        The support page was spotted by Coelacanth’s Dream (via Osuosi / Videocardz). The patch adds support for Intel Lunar Lake CPUs on the Ethernet e1000e network driver (Gigabyte NIC for Linux and Virtual Systems). The Lunar Lake is clearly listed as a next-gen Client Platform which confirms that it will be launching for both desktop and mobility segments. Other than that, there’s not much that we can decipher from the support page.

      • AMD Has A Very Exciting Announcement Next Week

        On the desktop side, Ryzen 5000 Zen 3 processors continue impressing on Linux that make us all the more excited for the EPYC 7003 series.

      • Linux Kernel 5.12 rc-1 Not Ready for Use

        In a recent message on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Linus Torvalds warned everyone not to use the 5.12-rc1 kernel, due to an “unusually nasty bug” that was not caught during normal testing.

        “The reason is fairly straightforward,” Torvalds explains, “this merge window, we had a very innocuous code cleanup and simplification that raised no red flags at all, but had a subtle and very nasty bug in it: swap files stopped working right … the offset of the start of the swap file was lost.” Swapping still happened, he says, “but it happened to the wrong part of the filesystem, with the obvious catastrophic end results.”

      • Intel Already Started Working On Linux Driver Code For Lunar Lake – Phoronix

        While Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake desktop processors are launching this month, Intel’s open-source Linux driver developers known for their punctual support are already preparing early code around their 14th Gen “Lunar Lake” platform.

        Intel’s punctual open-source/Linux support across desktop, mobile, and server platforms is one of the strong selling points for those preferring to use something on their PC besides Windows (Intel normally also does more for BSD/FreeBSD than other vendors as well). A year ago Intel began upstreaming their Rocket Lake Linux enablement code and that was quickly followed by Alder Lake, which we’ll hopefully see launch before the end of the calendar year. Towards the end of 2020 Intel open-source developers were already working on the initial support around Meteor Lake while now as we end Q1’2021, there are patches beginning to surface for Lunar Lake, the successor to Meteor Lake and what will be Intel’s 14th Gen client processors.

    • Applications

      • Plots – An Open Source Graph Plotting App for GNOME

        In our world of today, spreadsheets function mainly as a means to provide quick and easy plotting methods for numerical data in various kinds of graphical charts. Graphs provide us with an effective way to visualize data and demonstrate the relationships between large data sets no matter their size.

        You can use Plots to create graphs quickly and with minimum effort. Your graphs will not be the best polished, but they will be easy to customize, simple to read, and presentable in professional settings.

        Plots is a free and open-source plotting application built to enable users to visualize mathematical formulae. In addition to its arbitrary operation capabilities e.g. sums and products, it features a variety of mathematical operations such as arithmetic, hyperbolic, exponential, trigonometric, and logarithmic functions.

        Plots offer several features that enable you to make them presentable to your taste. For example, you can modify the borders of elements, change fonts, set colours, etc.

      • PhotoFiltre Like Image Editor ‘Photoflare’ 1.6.7 Released with Paint Tool Offsets

        Photoflare, simple but powerful image editor inspired by PhotoFiltre, released version 1.6.7 with translation updates and paint tool improvements.

        Photoflare is an open-source cross-platform image editor written in C++ with Qt5 framework. It has a PhotoFiltre style user interface, and features basic image editing capabilities, paint brushes, image filters, colour adjustments and more advanced features such as Batch image processing.

        The new 1.6.7 was released with new translations: Indonesian and Spanish. And it removed incorrect image extension check, instead it now shows the actual file type in the Image Properties dialog.

        And the new version added offsets to the Paint Bucket tool and the Color picker tool. Previously, they select from the center of the cursor location.

      • Use gImageReader to Extract Text From Images and PDFs on Linux

        gImageReader is a front-end for Tesseract Open Source OCR Engine. Tesseract was originally developed at HP and then was open-sourced in 2006.

        Basically, the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engine lets you scan texts from a picture or a file (PDF). It can detect several languages by default and also supports scanning through Unicode characters.

        However, the Tesseract by itself is a command-line tool without any GUI. So, here, gImageReader comes to the rescue to let any user utilize it to extract text from images and files.

        Let me highlight a few things about it while mentioning my experience with it for the time I tested it out.

      • 10 Best Compression Tools for Linux

        File compression is an integral part of system administration. Finding the best compression method requires significant determination. Luckily, there are many robust compression tools for Linux that make backing up system data easier. Here, we present ten of the best Linux compression tools that can be useful to enterprises and users in this regard.

        [...]

        A plethora of reliable Linux compression tools makes it easy to archive and back up essential data. You can choose from many lossless compressors with high compression ratios such as LZ4, lzop, and bzip2. On the other hand, tools like Zstandard and plzip allow for more advanced compression workflows.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Setup APT Proxy on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        A proxy server is an intermediate server that sits between the client computer and the internet. Generally, it is used in the internal networks for unexpected access and to prevent attacks. It is also used to control internet access, bandwidth control and content filtering and blocking.

        If your office or home network is behind a proxy server then you will need to set up a proxy in your web browser or network proxy setting to access the internet.

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to set up proxy settings and apt-proxy in Ubuntu 20.04 Server and Desktop system.

      • How To Install VLC Media Player on Manjaro 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install VLC Media Player on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, VLC is a free and open-source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It supports subtitles, closed captions and is translated into numerous languages.

        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 VLC Media Player on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • Create Your Own Linux Installation | Linux.org

        Some of you may want to have an installation media for installing Linux to multiple systems. Sometimes though, the pre-loaded apps may not be your favorite ones to use. In a business environment, you may need to remove a lot of apps that aren’t wanted in the workplace.

        Installing the Operating System (OS) on multiple systems, updating the system, removing specific apps and loading other apps could take quite a while to accomplish. You can streamline the process by creating your ISO file to use for installation. I have heard people look at the installation process of a Linux distro and say, ‘I wish we could….’. Well, now I hope you can.

      • How To Install osTicket on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install osTicket on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, osTicket is an open-source ticket system often used for support. It is written in PHP and it comes with a simple and intuitive web interface used to manage, organize, track and archive all support ticket requests in your company.

        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 osTicket ticketing system 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.

      • Install FreeRADIUS & daloRADIUS on Ubuntu 20.04 + MySQL/MariaDB – ByteXD

        FreeRADIUS is a free and open-source implementation of the RADIUS protocol. It’s the most popular and widely deployed open-source RADIUS server, being also used by many Fortune-500 companies, telecommunications companies, and Tier 1 ISPs.

    • Games

      • Assassin’s Greed

        I don’t think any sane person is going to disagree with the quote, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

        For those unaware, that quote came from British politician Baron Acton in 1887. That’s one of the few sayings man has uttered that stands against the test of time. Keep in mind, Acton coined this phrase from politicians who said something similar even earlier than his time; Acton’s phrase just seems to be the most popular, since it reads like modern English.

        Now, I’m not trying to get into politics; we’re a gaming web site, after all. But sadly, after a number of events have occurred — for the gaming industry in particular — within the past couple of years, I feel like even us Linux gamers get the short end of the stick. True, we always had the short end of the stick, up until Valve stepped in and basically saved our bacon around 2012-2013. But as far as native Linux games are concerned, and as advanced as Proton gets, competition that has arisen lately can either be a plus for us, or, as I bring out here, competition can be more so of a nuisance than it is anything else.

        [...]

        Yeah, some were probably expecting me to point the gun at Microsoft first. I’m not a total Microsoft hater, as I do appreciate some of their work, like some of the code they’ve contributed to the Linux kernel. But I seem to hear it all the time. Microsoft bought this company.

        [...]

        Microsoft joined the Linux foundation late 2016. Supposedly, they’re a high-paying “Platinum Member.” I don’t know if their claim, “We love Linux,” is actually true. If anything, they consider Linux as a threat, as long as they’re not making revenue via this platform. They haven’t made any official drivers for Linux as far as their Xbox controllers are concerned. Microsoft is invested in Linux at least when it comes to their whole Azure cloud services, a competitor to AWS and Google Cloud, and they have made it easier to develop for Linux within Windows with the WSL module developed in partnership with Ubuntu.

        Microsoft tried to make their own locked garden during the Windows 8 era with the Windows Store and trying to force everyone to put their applications through there. Fortunately, they failed miserably, thanks in no small part to Valve creating SteamOS. But it doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t stop trying.

      • FOSS racer Yorg has a new release with improved gamepad support | GamingOnLinux

        Top-down open-source racing? Yorg is a little bit like some of the classic Micro Machines games and while rough around the edges as it’s in development it’s showing promise as another FOSS game.

        With fast arcade racing along with some amusing physics, Yorg is already a lot of fun with multiple tracks, vehicles and different drivers to pick from. You can play against AI, local multiplayer and experimental online multiplayer. There’s weapons too, so you can blow everyone up.

      • Wanted Raccoon is an upcoming comedy game in the spirit of Goat Simulator

        Remember the craziness of Goat Simulator? Wanted Raccoon has a familiar theme of animals going wild and it’s entering Early Access on March 19 with Linux support.

        A game that seems like a big gimmick but apparently there’s a little more to it. The developer mentions an actual storyline and some sort of research system. You can ride skateboards, fight people, upgrade skills, and of course – steal food. Everything a good Raccoon does right? There’s also something about a kidnapped family. Hero Raccoon to the rescue?

      • Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer – Part 2: Selecting a Graphics Card

        Linux graphics support is still remarkably similar to how it was 20 years ago, even with all the progress that has been made in the years since. The Mesa 3D graphics library had its origins all the way back in 1995, and through the Utah GLX project attracted the attention of industry luminaries such as id Software’s John Carmack and vendors such as ATI, Intel, Matrox, S3, and 3dfx. By the turn of the millennium all of them had at least some support in Mesa.

        Nvidia went a different route, one which continues to set them apart to this day. Rather than choosing to cooperate with Mesa they instead ported their Windows drivers over to Linux directly, maintaining their own proprietary binary blob separate from the main Linux kernel. This driver model was also later adopted by ATI when they switched focus to their own proprietary “fglrx” driver, although this was largely reversed again after AMD acquired the company in 2006.

        By the time of Red Hat Linux 9 the Direct Rendering Infrastructure or DRI was firmly in place in Mesa and offered 3D support for a wide number of cards. This included the ATI 3D Rage Pro Turbo, which was the AGP card I had selected to test the machine. While a solid 2D performer it offered lacklustre 3D graphics even for the time of its release, and was intended more as an OEM graphics solution than for gaming. That makes them easy to find, but also not worth a lot.

      • Sofa gaming Linux distro GamerOS version 23 is out continuing to fill the gap of SteamOS | GamingOnLinux

        Filling in the gap left by Valve leaving SteamOS alone, the sofa / couch gaming distribution GamerOS has a brand new release available with the usual great improvements.

        Booting directly into Steam Big Picture mode, the idea is to have this is the only install on a machine hooked up to a TV. Perhaps in a living room or a dedicated gaming room. It takes things a step or two further though, including plenty of extra enhancements for emulators and non-Steam games with their special tools like Steam Buddy.

      • Mario Maker-like platformer MakerKing has a huge update, lets you make mobs | GamingOnLinux

        MakerKing (previously called Jumpaï), is a free to play 2D indie platformer in the spirit of Mario Maker where all players can design their own levels. The whole idea is to design and share, then play the creations from other people. Not only that, you can also play directly online with others to compete on your favourite levels.

        Along with a name change to MakerKing, a huge 0.8 version upgrade recently went out which gives the game quite a nice overhaul. The big headline feature is that you can now add in your own mobs, created by sticking parts together – it’s actually quite amusing.

      • Island Artist is a short and sweet game about relaxing and being creative | GamingOnLinux

        Love your small experimental games? I sure do and one I came across recently called Island Artist is absolutely wonderful.

        It features a hand-crafted world where you walk around and create wonderful paintings. It reminds me quite a lot of Shutter Stroll and gives off that same kind of vibe. There’s no depth to the game other than walk around, chill out and perhaps create your next masterpiece, although the tools are simple so don’t expect too much from it. Something to help you find that inner peace on a rainy day perhaps?

      • First-person gun simulator action game Receiver 2 gets a proper practice area

        Love a good shooter? What about one where there’s a lot of simulation going on with the weapons directly? Receiver 2 gives you quite a bit to learn and now you can actually get some practice in.

        The key point about Receiver 2 is that it simulates every internal part of each firearm based on manufacturer schematics and gunsmithing resources. This means you can actually learn exactly how each sidearm works, including how to load and unload them, clear malfunctions, and operate their safety features. Educational? Perhaps but it’s also an action game about taking down drones and collecting tapes.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma 5.21 review – Very slick, just one or five oily patches

          Can you hear the drums, Fernando? There’s a new Plasma release out there, marked 5.21. Which means test I must and see what the future of this typically phenomenal desktop environment brings us. Now, if you’ve not followed my KDE adventures lately, then I was kind of pleased with the LTS edition, similarly enthused when it comes to Plasma 5.19, and really happy with 5.20, which I felt should have been the LTS. It was everything I could have hoped, and then some. Well, almost.

          This makes today’s experiment all the more interesting. There’s an almost Ancient Greece drama level of tragic heroism in Linux, so any good or decent release must often follow with a disappointment. But hopefully, it ain’t going to be the case today. Begin to explore, we shall.

          [...]

          Plasma 5.21 is pretty nice. Very refined. But it also has problems, including some there weren’t there in the previous release. And this kind of thing always alarms and dismays me. Yes, there will be bugs, but I’ve yet to find a single Linux-associated project that has ultra-robust, detailed, fully defined, mapped and formalized QA procedure that involves 90% of the total software effort. Alas, no one wants to do the boring stuff. Take the System Monitor as an example – no need for it, KSysGuard could do with minor fixes and maybe a rename, the rev counter dashboard and broken functionality add no value. The font issues are also new. The crashes, well.

          That said, this is still one dope desktop environment. It is really way ahead of anything else GUI Linux, and it has hallmarks of a pro product. But not quite. There’s always a little bit of that open-source hobbyist chaos lurking around, like an old enemy. Still, I am largely pleased and hope to see more awesomeness from the KDE team. Plasma 5.21 is pretty, elegant, cohesive, consistent, fast, and builds on a solid foundation. Shame about the bugs, but let’s hope there will be a fundamental, methodological shift in the approach so that every future Plasma release shines, and there never be random regressions. One can hope. As for 5.21, definitely worth testing and enjoying.

        • Quick-publishing of poudriere packages

          An essential tool in the FreeBSD porter’s arsenal (“porters” are the people who package third-party software, software like KDE Plasma, Haskell, ..) is poudriere, which is an evolution of the old tinderbox. It leverages ZFS and FreeBSD jails to do clean, consistent builds even on an otherwise occupied workstation, and can build for OS versions and architectures you’re not even running. Using the packages you’ve built can be slightly harder, so here’s some notes.

          Poudriere has a chapter in the porter’s handbook. There are straightfoward guides to setting it up, also on DigitalOcean.

          Most of those guides describe setting up nginx to serve the lovely and detailed build progress and results. I tend to follow the build progress in konsole, so I’m not interested in that part. What I do need to do is serve the resulting packages to other machines on my local network (e.g. my laptop) so that everything can enjoy the latest packages. That is doubly useful when trying out things like KDE Plasma on Wayland on FreeBSD, which needs plenty of testing and doesn’t work on all my hardware.

          tl;dr Install lighttpd, write 2-line configuration file, run lighttpd; on client, configure pkg to use what lighttpd serves.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 40 Mutter Lands Wayland Presentation-Time Support

          The patch series implementing support for Wayland’s Presentation-Time protocol within the Mutter compositor has been merged ahead of this month’s GNOME 40 release.

          This Wayland Presentation-Time support has been in the works for GNOME the past four months and today was finally deemed ready for merging.

        • Molly de Blanc: Office Hours for GUADEC Call for Proposals

          If you’re interested in presenting at GUADEC and want to talk with organizers and experienced speakers about your ideas, have someone look over your session proposal, or just want to ask some questions about speaking at a conference, come by Office Hours to discuss all of these and more!

    • Distributions

      • BSD

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Might See Micro-Architecture Packages For Better Performance

          One of the many great programs at SUSE is the roughly annual program where their developers can focus for one week on any new open-source development they desire. SUSE Hack Week has led to many great innovations and improvements since it began in the mid-2000s and for the Hack Week later this month there is one project attempt we are eager to see tackled.

          Proposed ahead of this year’s SUSE Hack Week 20 event, which runs the last week of March, is supporting glibc-hwcaps and providing micro-architecture package generation support for openSUSE Tumbleweed and down the line for SLE/Leap.

          [...]

          SUSE’s Antonio Larrosa is planning to experiment with the new capabilities and initially investigate a handful of libraries that would stand to benefit from the HWCAPS functionality. This would be catering to the openSUSE/SUSE buid process and establishing RPM macros and documentation in helping guide packagers around creating micro-architecture packages.

          The current plan would be to spin the different micro-architecture packages into separate packages that can be installed by the user to supplement the generic package if they are wanting to pursue the optimized packages in the name of greater performance.

        • How Open Source Makes SAP More Manageable [Ed: SUSE now doing shameless openwashing of proprietary software of SAP]

          SAP continues to help drive the digital transformation of tens of thousands of companies of all sizes and sectors. In fact, SAP software touches nearly every aspect of how modern businesses are run. And with continued improvements to the platform, SAP is helping businesses to constantly move forward, to make them more capable, powerful, and agile.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • What’s new in Red Hat OpenShift’s Web Terminal Operator 1.2

          Red Hat OpenShift‘s Web Terminal Operator is a way for users to access a web terminal with common cluster tooling pre-installed. This gives you the power and flexibility to work with your product directly through the OpenShift web console, eliminating the need to have all your tooling installed locally.

          This article is an overview of the new features introduced in Web Terminal Operator 1.2. These improvements include allowing cluster administrators to securely access the terminal, more information for users when a terminal has shut down due to inactivity, and a tooling update to align with OpenShift 4.7.

        • Introduction to the Node.js reference architecture, Part 1: Overview – Red Hat Developer

          Welcome to this new series introducing the Node.js reference architecture from Red Hat and IBM. This article is an overview of our reasons for developing the Node.js reference architecture—both what we hope the architecture will offer our developer community and what we do not intend it to do. Future articles will offer a detailed look at different sections of the reference architecture.

          Before we dive into this first article, it’s important to acknowledge that the Node.js reference architecture is a work in progress. The development team is working through different areas, discussing what we’ve learned, and distilling that information into concise recommendations and guidance. Given the fast pace of development in the JavaScript ecosystem, the reference architecture might never be “finished.” Instead, we’ll continue updating it to reflect what we learn through new Node.js production deployments and ongoing experience with our deployments at scale. The reference architecture is meant to reflect our current experience and thinking, which will evolve.

        • New developer quick starts and more in the Red Hat OpenShift 4.7 web console

          We are continuing to evolve the developer experience in Red Hat OpenShift 4.7. This article highlights what’s new for developers in the OpenShift 4.7 web console. Keep reading to learn about exciting changes to the topology view, an improved developer catalog experience, new developer quick starts, user interface support for Red Hat OpenShift Pipelines and Red Hat OpenShift Serverless, and more.

        • Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience 2021: Register today

          Automation, application deployment, and how to speed up your journey to the cloud. These and other developer hot topics will take center stage at Red Hat Summit 2021. Join thousands of your peers by registering for our all-new, free, two-part virtual Summit experience. Keynote speaker Burr Sutter will be delving deep into developer technologies as we come together to learn, share stories of success and failure, and turn knowledge into action.

          We’ve reimagined this year’s Red Hat Summit as a multi-part experience that includes two no-cost virtual components in April and June, followed by a series of small-scale in-person events later in the year.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Contribute at the Fedora 34 IoT Edition Test Day

          Fedora test days are events where anyone can help make sure changes in Fedora work well in an upcoming release. Fedora community members often participate, and the public is welcome at these events. If you’ve never contributed to Fedora before, this is a perfect way to get started. On Wednesday, March 10, we’ll test Fedora IoT.

        • Traditional doesn’t mean staid: how banks should be innovating today

          When looking into a fiduciary for your assets, a bank with a long-standing history may seem like a stable, trustworthy choice. However, that very legacy may be one of the reasons large banks lose out to the competition in an age where customers are expecting open, quick, and real-time banking.

          Not unique to banks, big companies have a challenge of navigating legacies. These legacies do not just pertain to mainframes with monoliths on them, but also how they work. Along with their associates, senior managers should also show a desire to change. It’s harder to move fast if you are huge, but embracing an open culture from the top down can be a good starting point. I’ve seen huge amounts of talent, smart people, and big budgets hindered by a staid way of working. The strategy still needs to come from the top, but everyone should be enabled—and perhaps more importantly, empowered—to contribute.

          Regulations have forced banks to be more siloed, and now they continue to operate like that because it is easier, and traceable. IT in a bank was merely a cost center, a service provider until about 10 years ago. Technology was never an enabler, but seen as a cost-sink. We’re still struggling with this mindset today, even though we have continuously seen how technology can be a competitive differentiator.

          Large banks often don’t know where to start with some of their legacy, often the product of mergers and acquisitions. Then, you throw in a pandemic, during which the world of banking had to transform at a rapid pace to expand digital banking and chatbot services, and it ends up being a lot to take on all at once for large institutions. It can feel easier to keep legacy systems in place to stay afloat.

          Traditional banks still need help with faster transaction times, integrating artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience, and implementing agile ways of working for their IT teams. The hurdle lies in figuring out a way to get started. As a customer, I saw this innovation from Red Hat.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Why is Ubuntu Linux the leading choice to replace CentOS for Finserv infrastructure?

          Operating systems are the foundation blocks of technology stacks in organisations. When considering an open source operating system for Finserv infrastructure, there are four factors that are key to any enterprise using it – maintainability, continuity, stability and security. The Financial Services industry have started exploring options for a stable and supported open source Linux OS following IBM Red Hat announcement to accelerate the end-of-life for CentOS 8 with no further operating system updates after December 31, 2021.

          Finservs that have been using CentOS as a stable point distribution for their servers, virtual machines, and appliances had migrated to CentOS 8 expecting support until 2029—only to find out that their “until-2029” distro became “until-2021” distro just a few months after upgrading.

          Finservs need a secure, open source Linux distro that can provide long term continuity and maintainability. This blog provides an overview of why Ubuntu is the leading choice for a secure, stable platform for finserv infrastructure and cloud native banking.

        • Canonical Talks Up Why Ubuntu Is A Great Replacement To CentOS

          Following the surprise announcement last year that CentOS 8 will be EOL’ed at the end of 2021 to focus instead on CentOS Stream and all the uncertainty that brought with Red Hat now being owned by IBM, new distributions like Rocky Linux were conceived while existing Linux distributions have been looking to capitalize on that move. Oracle Linux has been advertising how it’s a great RHEL downstream while Canonical is now promoting how Ubuntu is a great replacement to CentOS.

          Published on the Ubuntu Blog today was an outline on why Ubuntu is a great replacement to CentOS in the financial services infrastructure space. Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS has long enjoyed a stronghold in the financial services sector while with the fundamental changes to CentOS, financial companies may be reconsidering their operating system decisions.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Haiku activity report – February 2021

        Andrew Lindesay continues his work on cleaning HaikuDepot sources and removing a custom-made List class to use standard (BeAPI and C++ stl) containers. There were some regressions in the process, that were found and identified.

        He also fixed various other bugs.

      • Haiku Seeing Much Faster HTTP Code, Support For Downloading Files Larger Than 4GB

        Over the past month developers on Haiku as the open-source operating system inspired by BeOS have continued advancing the project.

        Haiku’s latest monthly progress report was issued outlining some of the advancements made. Over the course of February 2021 some of the work included:

        - The HTTP code within the Haiku Network Kit has been seeing improvements. There should be “a big performance boost” to Haiku’s HTTP code as well as being simpler and having various fixes — including the ability to download files larger than 4GB.

      • Web Browsers

        • The Brave Browser Will Launch Its Own Search Engine

          Google is so synonymous with searching the Internet that it’s become a verb. There are other companies and some browsers that have developed their own search engines, but none of them have really been able to compete. The company behind the Brave browser intends to change that. It’s launching the Brave search engine.

          [...]

          Eich says Brave Search already has a waitlist for its launch in the first half of 2021 and vows not to track or profile users. “Brave already has a default anonymous user model with no data collection at all,” boasts the Brave founder. The search engine will do the same – IP addresses will not be collected. His company is exploring how to have both a paid no-ads search engine and a free one supported by ads.

        • Trying Brave Browser. Will it win me over?

          So many people have suggested that I try Brave instead of Firefox. So here’s my trying it out. Will it earn my undying affection as it has so many others?

        • Mozilla

          • How one woman fired up her online business during the pandemic

            Sophia Keys started her ceramics business, Apricity Ceramics, five years ago. But it wasn’t until a global pandemic forced everyone to sign on at home and Screen Time Report Scaries became a thing that her business really took off. She had never been active on social media, but decided to create relaxing videos of pottery throwing as a type of craft-ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response videos that provide relaxation with a sedative, tingling sensation for some) early in the pandemic. These videos gained traction and Keys started building a community. A couple months into the pandemic, when she had more finished pieces than she knew what to do with, she posted about the sale on her Instagram page. She sold out. She now has over 21K followers and her ceramics sell out in hours. Amidst the chaos of 2020, here’s how Sophia expanded her woman-owned online business, found her own confidence on social media, and built a community around her handmade products.

          • Mozilla Performance Blog: Performance Sheriff Newsletter (February 2021)

            In February there were 201 alerts generated, resulting in 29 regression bugs being filed on average 4 days after the regressing change landed.

            Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the performance sheriffing newsletter. Here you’ll find the usual summary of our sheriffing efficiency metrics, followed by some analysis on the data footprint of our performance metrics. If you’re interested (and if you have access) you can view the full dashboard.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF

      • Public Services/Government

        • NGI POINTER offers funding for internet/web architects

          The NGI POINTER organization, which is funded by the European Commission, has put out its second open call for providing development/research funding; the first open call was in April 2020. This time around, the organization is looking for individuals or projects that are working on “changing the Internet and Web with European Values at its core”. The goal is to “support promising bottom-up projects that are able to build, on top of state-of-the-art research, scalable protocols and tools to assist in the practical transition or migration to new or updated technologies, whilst keeping European Values at the core”. Those interested may want to look at some of the previously funded projects; more information can also be found in the Work Programme [PDF].

      • Programming/Development

        • Git Reset to Remote Head – How to Reset a Remote Branch to Origin

          Branching is a core concept in Git. It can help you set up a distributed workflow for team collaboration and makes your development process more efficient.

          When you’re using version control and you’re distributing features across branches, there’s a lot of communication between your local computer and your online repository on GitHub. During this process, you might need to reset back to the project’s original copy.

          If resetting a branch scares you, then don’t worry – this article will introduce you to remote branches, remote head, and how you can easily reset a remote branch to remote head.

        • Sparse Arrays vs Dense Arrays in JavaScript — Explained with Examples

          I had a really interesting bug recently that, at first glance, completely stumped me.

        • Ravgeet Dhillon: Turn a Google Sheet into a REST API

          What if we can use our Google Sheets as a CMS? What if we want the data in our Google Sheet to be publicly available. This can be done easily using Google Sheets and Google Apps Script. In this blog, we will take a look at how we can convert a Google Sheet into a REST API and access it publicly from any app we want.

          [...]

          Let us send a GET request to our published Web App using Postman. The path for the GET request would be our Web App’s URL and query parameter path set to our Google Sheet’s name.

        • Use Scheme functional programming language with LambdaChip Alonzo STM32 board

          Most MCU-based embedded systems come with firmware programmed with assembler, C, and/or C++. But as referenced in a paper published in 2000 entitled ” Point of view: Lisp as an alternative to Java“, functional programming languages like Lisp or Scheme may lead to shorter development times compared to C/C++ or Java.

          That’s with this idea in mind that LambdaChip was created. It is a lightweight, open-source virtual machine designed to run on embedded systems with limited resources, for instance, an 80MHz microcontroller with 50KB RAM, and programmable with Scheme multi-paradigm programming language, a dialect of Lisp widely used for functional programming research and teaching.

          The company behind the project, also called LambdaChip, has just created its own hardware with LambdaChip Alonzo, an STM32 Cortex-M4 development board with 512KB flash, 128KB RAM, and that also comes with Bluetooth LE connectivity.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Rakudo Weekly News: 2021.10 Automated Star

            Patrick Spek has announced the release of the Rakudo Star 2021.02.1 package (based on the 2021.02.1 Rakudo Compiler release). This is the first time this has happened using a Github Action workflow. Binary releases are not yet available: like everything in the Raku Programming Language, it is the work of volunteers. To create MacOS and Windows installable packages, a volunteer is needed to create the Github Actions workflow for MacOS and/or Windows! The advantage being that this way, you would only need to do this once instead of for each release! So please, stand up if you have the know-how and time to do it!

        • Python

          • Fedora Magazine: How to use Poetry to manage your Python projects on Fedora

            Python developers often create a new virtual environment to separate project dependencies and then manage them with tools such as pip, pipenv, etc. Poetry is a tool for simplifying dependency management and packaging in Python. This post will show you how to use Poetry to manage your Python projects on Fedora.

            Unlike other tools, Poetry uses only a single configuration file for dependency management, packaging, and publishing. This eliminates the need for different files such as Pipfile, MANIFEST.in, setup.py, etc. It is also faster than using multiple tools.

            Detailed below is a brief overview of commands used when getting started with Poetry.

        • Java

          • What’s coming in Java 16

            Java 16 is scheduled to be released on March 16. Here is a look at what changes you can expect in the release.

            JEP 338: Vector API (Incubator)
            This Java Enhancement Proposal (JEP) will provide an initial iteration of an incubator module that can express vector calculations that are compiled at runtime. This module will be clear and concise, platform agnostic, have reliable runtime compilation and performance on x64 and AArch64 architectures, and offer graceful degradation when a vector computation cannot be fully expressed, the OpenJDK team explained.

          • 10 questions for modernizing your old Java applications

            I recently open sourced an application modernization sample, which demonstrates how to modernize an old (2010) Java EE application to become a modern (2021) cloud-native application.

  • Leftovers

    • Andy Wingo: 99% spam

      Hey all, happy new year apparently! A quick service update on the old wingolog. For some time the site has been drowning in spam comments, despite my best efforts to point a bayesian classifier at the problem.

      I don’t keep logs of the number of attempts at posting comments that don’t pass the classifier. But what I can say is that since I put in the classifier around 4 years ago, about 2500 comments a year made it through — enough to turn the comment section into a bit of a dump. Icky, right??

      At the same time of course, that’s too many comments to triage manually, so I never got around to fixing the problem. So in fact I had two problems: lots ‘o spam, and lots ‘o incoming spam.

      With regards to the existing spam, I took a heavyhanded approach. I took a look at all good emails and URLs that people had submitted for comments prior to 2017, assuming they were triaged. Then I made a goodlist of comments since 2017 that had those comments or emails. There were very few of those — maybe 50 or 70 or so.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Signal Appears To Have Abandoned Their AGPL-licensed Server Sourcecode

              The source code for the server-side part of the Signal messaging application application has been available at GitHub under the GNU AGPL license since 2013. Signal Messenger LLC updated the Signal-Server repository regularly until they did one last commit bumping the version to 3.21 on April 22nd, 2020. There has been no new activity there since then. They appear to have abandoned it and they are not commenting on why that is.

        • Security

          • Researchers Discover Intel CPU Ring Interconnects Vulnerable To Side Channel Attack

            University of Illinois researchers have discovered that Intel’s CPU ring interconnects are vulnerable to exploit by side-channel attacks. This opens a whole new can of worms with the cross-core interconnect now being vulnerable to exploit but so far Intel doesn’t appear to be overly concerned and there are some open questions on whether this interconnect exploit would still work with the latest Intel Xeon processors.

            The university researchers believe their new side-channel attack vector could lead to encryption keys being leaked among other sensitive information. Existing side channel mitigations don’t effectively protect against this “Lord of the Ring(s)” vulnerability.

          • Wladimir Palant: How Amazon Assistant lets Amazon track your every move on the web

            I recently noticed that Amazon is promoting their Amazon Assistant extension quite aggressively. With success: while not all browsers vendors provide usable extension statistics, it would appear that this extension has beyond 10 million users across Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Edge. Reason enough to look into what this extension is doing and how.

            Here I must say that the privacy expectations for shopping assistants aren’t very high to start with. Still, I was astonished to discover that Amazon built the perfect machinery to let them track any Amazon Assistant user or all of them: what they view and for how long, what they search on the web, what accounts they are logged into and more. Amazon could also mess with the web experience at will and for example hijack competitors’ web shops.

          • ROS Kinetic and Ubuntu 16.04 EOL: how to mitigate the impact

            For more than ten years, the Robot Operating System (ROS) has been enabling innovators around the world to develop their robot platforms and applications. Through its collection of tools, libraries, and conventions, ROS simplifies the task of creating complex and robust robot behaviour.

            Ubuntu has been the primary platform for ROS from the very beginning. That is the reason why every ROS release is supported on exactly one Ubuntu LTS. A ROS distribution is a versioned set of ROS packages. Today, the ROS Kinetic release, and its corresponding Ubuntu distribution, Xenial, reach end-of-life (EOL) in April 2021. This means the end of security updates and Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) fixes for both ROS and Ubuntu, as well as dependencies such as Python 2.

            Issues with unsupported software tend to manifest themselves in different and often unexpected ways. Continue reading to understand what the implications are for developers, explore some key considerations to prepare for the impending Xenial and Kinetic EOL, and read to the end for information about how you might stay with ROS Kinetic.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (activemq, libcaca, libupnp, mqtt-client, and xcftools), Fedora (ceph, mupdf, nagios, python-PyMuPDF, and zathura-pdf-mupdf), Mageia (cups, kernel, pngcheck, and python-pygments), openSUSE (bind, chromium, gnome-autoar, kernel, mbedtls, nodejs8, and thunderbird), and Red Hat (nodejs:10, nodejs:12, nodejs:14, screen, and virt:8.2 and virt-devel:8.2).

          • Server Security Tips – Secure Your Server with These Best Practices

            Servers play a vital role in organizations. Their primary function is to provide both data and computational services.

            Because of the critical role they play, servers hold confidential organizational data and information. Information is like gold nowadays, and hackers are gold miners.

            An insecure server is vulnerable to all sorts of security threats and data breaches.

          • Multiple Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Could Allow Privilege Escalation

            Fortunately, before any active exploitation, Popov fixed these bugs for the users. Popov has confirmed merging of these patches with the mainline kernel version 5.11-rc7.

            Also, the fixes have been “backported into the stable affected trees”.

            As Positive Technologies elaborated, this isn’t the first time Popov found and patched a vulnerability. Earlier, he has also caught and fixed two Linux, bugs CVE-2017-2636 and CVE-2019-18683, as well in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

          • Understanding Samsung Knox Vault: Protecting the data that matters most

            Eight years ago, Samsung set out on a mission to build the most trusted and secure mobile devices in the world. With the introduction of our Samsung Knox platform at MWC in 2013, we put in place the key elements of hardware-based security that would help defend Samsung mobile devices and our customers’ data against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.

            Samsung Knox has since evolved into more than a built-in security platform, now encompassing a full suite of mobile management tools for enterprise IT administrators. But our mobile product planners, developers and security engineers have remained laser-focused on answering the primary question: how do we remain a step ahead of hackers and keep our users safe at all times?

            [...]

            In the first days of Android, the main focus was building a more open and flexible mobile operating system. Security was state-of-the-art for the time, inherited from the world of Unix and mainframe computers. But from the start, it became clear that smartphones were different; they were the most personal computers anyone had ever built.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • United Nations Whisteblower Says The Tor Anonymity Network Is Great For Human Rights Work

        US military subsidiaries such as the NSA, who use Tor for open source intelligence gathering, are not the only ones who need a secure traffic analysis resistant anonymity network like Tor. UN human rights lawyer Emma Reilly says it is “great” when working with human rights defenders.

        [...]

        We feel for her, she is not the only one who was forced to learn Pascal in her youth.

        We also feel for all the victims of the UN Human Rights Council who has been handing over names of human rights activists from the day it formed in March 2006.

        China is not only having a very negative impact on human rights activists who contact the UN for help, China is also committing grave crimes against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong (香港).

        [...]

        The free software tool OnionShare is a very user-friendly program that lets you share files and setup chat-rooms over the Tor network in case you need to communicate with human rights activists or other endangered people in a secure fashion.

        You can follow human rights lawyer Emma Reilly on Twitter if you want to learn more about her important human rights work. She does not appear to have a fediverse social media account in case Twitter de-platforms her on behest of the Chinese regime.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Make Sure your Patent Application is “DIRECTED TO” a Specific Technological Solution

            On motion to dismiss, the district court found the claims directed to the abstract idea of “automated stenography implemented on a computer.” The court looked particularly to the claim limitations and found them written at a “high-level of generality” and using “broad form functional terminology.” With regard to Alice step two, the court found the claim limitations lacked any particular or concrete configuration that could serve to ground the abstract idea.

            To know whether a patent claim is improperly “directed to” an abstract idea, the court have been looking to the claims and specification in a search for objective suggestions of what the inventor thinks is the advance provided by the invention. What does the patent document assert as the “focus of the claimed advance over the prior art.” Slip Op, quoting Affinity Labs of Tex., LLC v. DIRECTV, LLC, 838 F.3d 1253 (Fed. Cir. 2016). Here, the court looked to the claims and the specification and concluded that the focus “is simply the abstract idea of automating the AV-captioning process.” In this process, the court is typically looking for a “technical solution to a technical problem,” although that is not always required. Here, the court noted that, although the invention involves computers it is not directed toward “any specific improved computer techniques for performing those functions—functions intrinsic
            to the concept of AV captioning.” Rather, the benefit from the invention is simply automation of work previously done by humans.

      • Copyrights

        • 2021 US Copyright Compendium Series #2: Court Decisions

          In 2019, the Supreme Court addressed the registration requirement that applies to US works prior to bringing litigation for copyright infringement, in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-street.com. US works must be registered prior to filing a suit for copyright infringement under Section 411 of the Copyright Act.

          At issue in Fourth Estate was whether registration was affected when an application for a registration was filed, or when a registration was granted by the Copyright Office. The Supreme Court unanimously decided that registration was affected upon registration, rather than upon application.

          In addition to incorporating this decision in defining the effective date of registration, the Compendium frequently quotes the decision in regard to the preregistration process.

          [...]

          Not only do these revisions provide for a review of recent decisions in US copyright law, but the revisions reflect the complexities posed by the imposition of formalities as a prerequisite to copyright protection, and the nuance of preserving the public domain through copyright exemptions.

          The next instalment in this series will cover Compendium revisions relating to recent statutory developments, including the Music Modernization Act and the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty, so be sure to keep a Kat-eye out for the next post!

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