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03.07.14

Debian’s Importance is Growing

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Updates and news from the Debian camp, focusing on the silent or lesser-acknowledged role of this international project in computing

Linux Mint, which does not come with Amazon spyware (unlike Ubuntu, which fell behind Mint in DistroWatch), seems to be leaning more and more towards Debian with this new release [1] which was reviewed some hours ago (in the publication sense) [2] and surely has momentum [3]. Even the release candidate (RC) [4] received such coverage [5] (mind the UEFI ‘secure’ boot rant), proving that there is definitely some interest from users (Jim Lynch’s/IDG’s sensationalist headline merely links to screenshots like these [6]).

Debian recently added OpenRISC support [7,8] (Debian is perhaps best known for huge hardware diversity) and there is a new project for better security [9] (think of it like SELinux, except intervention of the criminal NSA, which wants back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4]). Red Hat's Systemd may not be the only option [10], but we don’t know for sure yet. Someone needs to continue to offer alternatives to Systemd. Debian is very important with its many new derivatives [11], role in hardware [12] and embedded domination [13] (bar Android and closed Linux-based systems), hence the importance of its decision on init systems.

A strong Debian (and derivatives like Ubuntu) acts as an essential regulating force in the face of Red Hat/CentOS domination; lack of diversity, history teaches, limits security and increases vulnerability.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Mint Debian 201403 released!

    The team is proud to announce the release of LMDE 201403.

  2. Debian, Mint (LMDE), SolydX and Tanglu, compared and contrasted

    The four distributions obviously have a lot in common; Debian is well known as one of the oldest, best established and most respected Linux distributions, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is derived from Debian, with a lot of the goodies which have been developed for the Linux Mint ‘main’ distribution added, and both SolydXK and Tanglu are derived from a combination of those two plus a good bit of work in packaging, repositories, updates, appearances and such.

  3. Are there enough users for Linux Mint Debian Edition to survive?

    The Linux Mint blog is reporting that Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 has been released. LMDE is a semi-rolling distro that is based on Debian Testing. It is a good alternative for those who want the features of Linux Mint without having to use Ubuntu as its base.

  4. Linux Mint Debian 201403 RC released!

    We look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you for using Linux Mint and have a lot of fun testing the release candidate!

  5. Hands-on with Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 release candidate

    The installation was absolutely routine with the exception of the well-known difficulty with UEFI firmware configuration on the HP Pavilion. There was even good news on that system, though, because the very difficult wi-fi adapter (Ralink 3290) seems to work just fine.

  6. Linux Mint 201403 Debian Cinnamon
  7. Debian for OpenRISC
  8. Debian Ported To OpenRISC Architecture
  9. Debian Mempo Still Aiming For Better Security

    Mempo is a project started in H2’2013 that’s been trying to provide a secure yet robust Debian platform that currently classifies itself in a “pre-alpha” state. Mempo is patching Debian packages with better security and privacy, providing newer versions of packages than what’s found in Debian, using a hardened “GrSecurity” Linux kernel, and is working to support other work in and outside of Debian.

  10. Debian TC Won’t Pass Resolution Over Init System Coupling

    Since the Debian technical committee decided they will use systemd over Upstart, the latest vote on their agenda was over init system coupling and how Debian developers maintaining packages should deal with different init systems or what guidance the technical committee should send to these package maintainers.

  11. A look at Tanglu 1.0 ‘Aequorea Victoria’ GNOME

    Tanglu is a fairly young project and perhaps has flown under the radar somewhat. The 1.0 release is a major milestone for the distribution, which is based on a mixture of Debian Testing, Debian Unstable and in some cases even Debian Experimental.

  12. Debian 7: PCI Serial, at last
  13. Tiny ARM/FPGA Zynq COM does Debian

    PLDA has launched an SODIMM-like computer-on-module claimed to be the smallest Xilinx Zynq COM yet, supported with a carrier board and Debian Linux BSP

02.17.14

Linux Deepin/Ubuntu in the Future of China, Showing the Great Power of Debian

Posted in Asia, Debian, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Debian 7
Debian 7 supports numerous Chinese languages

Summary: The Far East is gradually moving to Debian-derived distributions of GNU/Linux, creating its own localised versions

ACCORDING TO numerous reports, China is moving to GNU/Linux and its home-bred GNU/Linux distribution, Linux Deepin (recently reviewed in [1,2]), is sort of replacing an old one which was based on Red Hat. Linux Deepin is based on Ubuntu and it represents Canonical’s special partnership and new major source of income (as Canonical recently reported it). Linux Deepin may one day outpace the growth of Ubuntu because China has a vast population and it is the largest base of Internet surfers.

One report says [3] that “China switches on to Ubuntu in hunt for Windows XP successor”, but a lot of media focuses on the demise of Red Flag Linux [4-7], which is basically a loss to Red Hat. It seems like the Debian camp is starting to gain more ground in China (same in North Korea and South Korea) — a promising trend which will probably be debated in the media for a long time to come. China also has COS in he making (Linux-based but focused on mobile).

Debian 7.4 was recently released [8] and despite some hostilities [9,10] (nothing new to Debian) related to the Systemd debate [11,12] there are signs of strength and leadership in the GNU/Linux world. As for Ubuntu, it is following Debian for the most part [13] (although Debian follows Red Hat in this case) and with reduced interest from developers [14] due to controversies [15] such as Canonical’s demand for licence-signing by derivatives (noted the other day and covered here months ago) it will have to work hard on restoring confidence [16], not just by letting the “community” use an SDK [17] or vote on wallpapers [18] but also by opening up the development process, as Debian does. When Ubuntu turned to mobile it notoriously shunned community participation, not just when it comes to development but also voting/steering.

Ubuntu is gaining elsewhere in east Asia [19], so let’s hope it will improve privacy policies. In some Asian countries surveillance by the government can lead to imprisonment and even death.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Deepin is a fringe Linux distribution that could steal your heart

    Jack Wallen digs into Linux Deepin and comes out impressed. See what this fringe Linux distribution has to offer, and discover if its your next platform.

  2. Linux Deepin, Ubuntu systemd and Licensing, and Red Flag Scuttled
  3. China switches on to Ubuntu in hunt for Windows XP successor
  4. Chinese software pioneer Red Flag bites the dust
  5. Chinese Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Disappears Overnight
  6. China shutters Windows ‘rival’ Red Flag Linux
  7. Linux distributor Red Flag Software disappears overnight
  8. Debian 7.4 Rounds Up Stable Updates
  9. Debian Tech Committee Falling Further Into Disarray

    While it was clear that systemd overtook Upstart in this weekend’s Debian init system voting by the Debian technical committee, some fits are still being had over the results. Some committee members are now calling for resignations.

  10. Fake Debian Developers Try To Get Free Linux Games
  11. Debian inches towards new init system decision amid fallout
  12. An Exploit In GNOME Shell With Systemd?

    It looks like there might be a big bug in systemd-using GNOME Shell Linux systems.

  13. Shuttleworth says Ubuntu will switch to systemd

    The head of Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution and the creator of the upstart init system, has announced that it will switch its init system to the Red Hat-developed systemd.

  14. Ubuntu Is Short On Developer Membership Board Nominations
  15. Ubuntu and Privacy and how it really works now.

    Firstly the Amazon lens is nothing special, and it is perhaps the internet connected lens I am least worried about. I trust Amazon to do what I expect them to do, I am a customer so they know what I bought, sending them random strings like “calcul” and “gedi” and “eclip” does not give them valuable data. It is junk. I am much more concerned about stuff like the Europeana, jstor, grooveshark lenses which do exactly the same thing but I have no idea who those organisations are or what they do. Even things like openweathermap, sounds good, but are they really a trusted organisation?

  16. Why do you need license from Canonical to create derivatives?
  17. Ubuntu Planning For HTML5, SDK Improvements

    Jono Bacon of Canonical has shared some new details after a developer sprint was held last week in Florida for the platform, SDK, and security teams along with desktop and design stakeholders. Those developers focusing upon Ubuntu’s next-generation platform can find all of the details in full via Jono’s blog post but some of the key takeaways include:

  18. Everybody Can Submit Wallpapers For The Trusty Tahr Wallpaper Submision Contest

    The wallpaper contest for Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr is taking part right now, everybody being able to submit their photos until the 5th of March 2014.

  19. After Vodafone, Smart Communications Has Also Joined The Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group (CAG)

    Recently, Smart Communications, a mobile carrier from Philippines, has joined Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group (CAG), in order to support Ubuntu Touch, the mobile version and Ubuntu, and sell phones with Ubuntu for phones pre-installed.

02.15.14

Historical Week for Debian and Ubuntu (a Look Back)

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of news about Debian, Ubuntu, and derivatives of Ubuntu

Debian

  • Updated Debian 7: 7.4 released

    The Debian project is pleased to announce the fourth update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename “wheezy”). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 7 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “wheezy” CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated.

Systemd in Debian

  • Systemd Is The Future Of Debian

    Since this weekend we have known that systemd was winning the Debian init system battle, but now it’s official: systemd has prevailed over Upstart in Debian.

    After a very heated fight between the Debian technical committee and also Debian stakeholders, Bdale Garbee as the chairman of the tech committee has announced systemd will be used in Debian 8.0 Jessie.

  • Finally, Debian chose* systemd as default init systemd, bye bye upstart

    systemd already has a wide adoption withing the GNU/Linux distribution with all major distros including openSUSE, Fedora, Arch Linux, etc using it as their default init system. Upstart was either way not getting much support from the free software community due to the restrictive CLAs Canonical requires which is often criticized by the community. With Debian going* for systemd, it will get even more developer power whereas Canonical will be left alone to deal with Upstart along with many more project that it’s trying to do on its own – including the recently discussed File Manager which may replace Nautilus (Files).

Systemd in Ubuntu

Systemd

  • Broken by design: systemd

    My view is that this idea is wrong: systemd is broken by design, and despite offering highly enticing improvements over legacy init systems, it also brings major regressions in terms of many of the areas Linux is expected to excel: security, stability, and not having to reboot to upgrade your system.

  • systemd analysis: a personal perspective

    As usual in these cases, not just Lennart, but many of those who supported him, also those who sponsored these efforts, has suffered all kind of attacks. Sadly not just for technical, I mean ATTACKS. Even journalists have been involved. Yes, Free Software is also mature enough to have “yellow (technical) press” associated, political and business interests and people in different communities willing to use them against anybody who threaten the current status quo.

Mobile

Licence Agreement

Valve

LTS

Development

  • Forward Momentum in the Ubuntu App Developer Platform

    Last week I was in Orlando sprinting with my team as well as the platform, SDK, and security teams and some desktop and design folks. As usual after a sprint, I have been slammed catching up with email, but I wanted to provide a summary of some work going that you can expect to see soon in the Ubuntu app developer platform.

  • The Next Ubuntu Developer Summit: 11-13 March 2014

    The Ubuntu Developer Summit is the primary place where we discuss, debate, and plan the future of Ubuntu. The entire event takes place online, is open and accessible to all, and every session is recorded so everyone can see how decisions are made. It is a useful, fun, and rewarding event to join.

Ubuntu Variants

Bodhi Linux

  • Interview: Jeff Hoogland Talks About Bodhi Linux

    We are huge fans of Jeff Hoogland’s work as a Software Developer and his efforts with Bodhi Linux. So we invited Jeff for a quick chat with Unixmen Australia. We were privileged when Jeff accepted our invitation. Here is what he had to say.

Linux Mint

  • Why Did Linux Mint Ax mintConstructor?

    It’s no great secret that our organization Reglue uses Linux Mint on many of our outgoing computers. I run Mint on one of my work computers and at home as well. Linux Mint has given us the opportunity to create a respin for educational purposes within our non profit, largely due to an app named mintConstructor. It provides a fairly simple method of making custom systems using Linux Mint as the base.

  • Revisited: Linux Mint 16 “Petra” KDE + Xfce

02.11.14

What Debian Does is a Very Big Deal

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A little roundup of Debian news and why whatever Debian is doing (e.g. regarding init systems) is important

Debian, which SteamOS is based on, may already be the world’s most widely used GNU/Linux distribution (Red Hat leads only in revenue, not necessarily code or deployments), so now that Red Hat’s Systemd 197 is released (full announcement here) there is an important crossroad where init systems fight for domination. Systemd is not for everyone and dependence on Red Hat might not be ideal because of security risks in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4] among other factors. It’s up to Debian developers now; they can judge it from a technical point of view.

Debian was the distribution promoted in the “Goodbye Microsoft” Web site (which would also be a PRISM break) several years ago and it continues to be somewhat of a major choice there [1-6]. Based on [7-12], the init system for the next Debian continues to be a subject of great controversy. This is going to have an impact on Debian derivatives such as SolidXK [13] and maybe even Ubuntu [14] (although it has its own init system), not to mention the freedom-oriented gNewSense (gNewSense 3.1 has just been released [15-17]), Live CD pioneer Knoppix [18,19], and Kali [20], to name just a few that made the headlines very recently.

Whatever Debian chooses to do is a very big deal because no Linux-related project is as big as Debian (in terms of number of developers and general impact).

Now that Valve extends its offer from Debian developers [21,22] to Ubuntu developers [23,24] it should be noted that whatever Debian does is going to affect Ubuntu as well.

An “unCivil War” [25] is not needed right now. It would be best to merely follow the rivalry of init systems, not create hostilities as some journalists are currently doing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Debian 7: X.arrrrrgh
  2. Debian 7: Menu Cleanup
  3. Debian 7: Applications

    Having got Debian 7.3.0 installed, I had to install all the application programs that I used on my previous computer. Over the years, I had installed a lot of applications; many of them turned out to be not so useful, or were obsoleted by other applications, or (in the case of anti-virus software) I want to start over with. So I began by making a list of those applications that I really used. Then I started to install them, from scratch, on Debian 7.

  4. Debian 7: rsync

    I have a new computer with a clean Debian 7 installed. I have an old computer with many years’ worth of files in several partitions. How do I copy them over? I could restore my backup media to the new PC, but that’s a lot of fiddly manual work, and not all my files are backed up that way (anything I can download again from the Internet gets rarely backed up). Besides, the latest version of everything is the version actually on my desktop.

  5. Debian 7: MATE

    In our last episode, I had decided that I was going to do a clean install of Debian 7 on the new computer. What I really want is to install the MATE desktop (pronounced Ma-Tay). I’ve liked MATE a lot since using it with Linux Mint — but Debian doesn’t (yet) make a MATE install disk. For Debian 7, the choices are Gnome 3, KDE 4, LXDE, or XFCE. I did not want to install all the baggage of Gnome or KDE. And I’m already using LXDE, which is clean and fast. So that’s what I installed as my starting point.

  6. Debian 7: In Search of the Lost Driver

    Partway through the install process, I was informed that I needed to install a “non-free” driver, “rtl_nic/rtl8168d-1.fw”. “Non-free” software is software that can’t be distributed under the GPL; for various reasons, Debian does not include such software on the install disk. Often these are manufacturer-specific hardware drivers. The installer helpfully offered to accept that file from either a CD or a USB memory stick.

    So off to Google, where a search for “rtl_nic/rtl8168d-1.fw” pointed me to…a Debian package, “firmware-realtek”. Actually I got links to two packages: one for Debian 6 “Squeeze”, and the other for Debian 7 “Wheezy”. I chose the latter and downloaded the package (.deb) file.

  7. Voting Proposed For Debian Jessie’s Init System
  8. Debian init system vote has become a farce

    The Debian GNU/Linux Project’s bid to reach agreement on which init system it would have as default for its next release appears to have gone completely off the rails.

  9. Bid to bring Debian init debate to a head fails

    A move by Debian technical committee head Bdale Garbee to bring the debate on the default init system to a head by calling for a vote appears to have failed.

  10. Debian technical committee votes for systemd over Upstart

    Debian technical committee was discussing the default init system for Debian and it bioled down to basically systemd, which is developed by the larger free software community (lead by Lennart Poettering), and Upstart which was developed by Canonical employees.

  11. Debian Init System Discussion Is Still Unsettled

    The Debian init system debate by Debian technical committee members that is largely a fight between systemd and Upstart remains unresolved.

    A few days ago there was a call for voting on the init system by the Debian technical committee members but that vote has now ended and it basically comes down to more discussion and clarifying the voting process is also needed.

  12. Call for votes on default Linux init system for jessie

    I propose we take the simplest possible “next step”. Let’s vote just on the question of what the default init system for Linux architectures should be in jessie. Once we have an answer to this question, it seems to me that we would be “over the hump” and more likely to be able to re-focus our attention on all the secondary questions, like what our transition plan should be, whether we should try to dictate a default for non-Linux architectures, how and to what extent alternate init systems should be supported, and so forth. Most importantly, we could start *collaborating* again… which is something I fervently wish for!

  13. Upstart SolidXK Distro Seeks First Business Customers

    SolydXK started last March as the unofficial Linux Mint Debian Edition with KDE. Though there had been speculation that an official KDE version of the popular desktop distribution would surface, ZDNet wrote recently, SolydXK co-founders Arjen Balfoort and Amadeu Ferreira took it upon themselves, with the support of other Mint community members, to actually build it.

  14. Ubuntu 14.04 vs. Debian 7.3 vs. Debian Jessie Preview

    For those curious about performance differences between the current Debian 7.3 “Wheezy” stable release and the upcoming but currently unstable Debian 8.0 “Jessie”, here are some performance benchmarks comparing Debian’s stable and testing releases on the same hardware. Making things more interesting, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in its current development form was also tossed into the mix.

  15. gNewSense 3.1 released

    Current users of gNewSense 3.0 don’t have to reinstall. They get all updates automatically.

  16. gNewSense GNU/Linux – News: gNewSense 3.1 released
  17. gNewSense 3.1 Available For Free Software Purists
  18. Knoppix Review, Shotwell’s Future, and 5 Insults

    A perusal through today’s newsfeeds netted several interesting topics. Jamie Watson published a Knoppix 7.2.0 review. Bryan Lunduke reported that the Elementary OS team has taken over maintenance of Shotwell. And a ZDNet blogger has listed his five reasons for using Windows 8 instead of Linux, but they are all really just jabs at Linux. All this and more in tonight’s How the Linux Turns.

  19. Hands-on with Knoppix Linux 7.2.0: A well-established and very stable Linux distribution

    If my memory is correct, the first generally available release of Knoppix (on a Live CD) was made sometime in late 2000. I don’t think it is exaggerating to say that Knoppix set the standard for Live Linux distributions when it was released, or that the Linux world as a whole learned a lot about how Live distributions should be done, and how powerful, versatile and useful they could be.

  20. Kali Linux 1.0.6, hands-on

    Exploring this Debian GNU/Linux derivative that is tightly focused on security analysis and penetration testing – and it comes with a mind-boggling array of utilities for that purpose.

  21. Valve showers Debian Linux devs with FREE Steam games
  22. Linux Top 3: Valve Gives Back, FreeBSD Updates and openSUSE 12.2 EOL

    For a variety of reasons, Valve Software decided to base its SteamOS gaming console operating system on Debian GNU/Linux. While it’s likely that Valve’s SteamOS will result in code contributions and enhancement that can benefit the upstream Debian project, Valve also want to give back in other ways.

  23. Expansion of Valve free games offer to Ubuntu developers

    As I’m sure most will be aware, for the last couple of weeks, Valve have
    offered access to all Valve produced games free of charge to Debian
    Developers [0].

    As of today, they have kindly extended this to all registered Ubuntu
    Developers [1].

  24. Valve offers free games to Ubuntu developers

    Valve Software recently announced that they would offer free Valve games to all Debian developers, which was considered a way of saying thank you to the base that is used to create Steam OS.

  25. Systemd Init System In Debian Jessie – Democratic Decision or unCivil War?

01.24.14

Debian Receives Prize from Valve But Becomes More Dependent on Red Hat

Posted in Debian, Red Hat, Security at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Debian is leaning towards systemd, which is developed by Red Hat (an NSA partner)

DEBIAN has got somewhat of a trophy now that Valve uses Debian GNU/Linux by default. It receives gratis proprietary games in return [1,2,3].

Debian recently made a lot of headlines because of the init debate [4-12]; Debian, being a dominant distribution (competing only with RHEL/CentOS for the #1 spot), is seemingly leaning in Red Hat’s direction and it is winning support from those whom Fedora let down [13]. As Sam Varghese put it, this “means that the future direction of Linux development will be determined by Red Hat, the company that is behind systemd, and the biggest commercial entity in the Linux game.”

It might actually be more beneficial to have Debian as the flag bearer, not Red Hat, which is working with the NSA. Debian has reported its share of flaws recently [14,18], but the problem is that by inheriting more code from Red Hat it is becoming more dependent on a company which admits (to me personally) that it sends to Linux patches that the NSA writes (not just SELinux) because the NSA is a major customer. We already know that the NSA wanted back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4], e.g. through weak random number generators. Given what happened in RSA, NIST, etc. we found it rather hard to blindly trust RHEL, especially the binary build (Red Hat staff has admitted to me that they don’t do a thorough audit of the build process). If Debian gets compromised, the same problem gets inherited by Ubuntu and its derivatives.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Valve Wants To Give You All Of Its Games On Steam (If You’re A Debian Linux Developer)
  2. Valve games for Debian Developers

    At $dayjob for Collabora, we’ve been working with Valve on SteamOS, which is based on Debian. Valve are keen to contribute back to the community, and I’m discussing a couple of ways that they may be able to do that [0].

  3. Valve Is Making All Their Games Free To Debian Developers

    Valve will be making all of their games — past, present, and future — available for free to Debian Linux developers.

  4. The Six Stages of systemd [linux.conf.au 2014]
  5. To Systemd Or Not To Systemd. That Is The Question
  6. Init wars: Shuttleworth’s copyright licensing hangs over debate

    As the debate on the default init system for the next Debian release winds down, one fact emerges: the copyright licensing model adopted by Canonical has been a decisive factor in the choice made by the technical committee.

  7. Which init system for Debian?

    The Debian project is no stranger to long, vehemently argued email threads, though, like the rest of us, Debian developers appear to be getting older and calmer as time goes by. If there were to be an intense thread now, one might think that the recent shift to XFCE as the default window system might be the cause. Indeed, there was some discussion of that topic, but that thread was easily buried by the hot-button issue that almost all distributions appear to need to debate at length: which init system to use. This is not the first time Debian has argued over init systems (see this 2011 article, for example), but, just maybe, it might be the last.

  8. Debian May Be Leaning Towards Systemd Over Upstart

    For months now the Debian Technical Committee has been tasked with deciding between systemd and Upstart for the future init system of the Linux distribution that also has a FreeBSD kernel port, etc. The debate has been long and ongoing. Among other opinions, Ian Jackson of the committee came out last month in favor of using Upstart while Russ Allberry came out in favor of systemd.

  9. A Major Music Company Now Backs Systemd In Debian
  10. Init wars: Debian tech panel may end up deadlocked

    The Debian technical committee may end up in a stalemate when it votes on which init system should be the default for the next release of its community GNU/Linux distribution.

  11. Red Hat must be rejoicing as Debian tilts towards systemd

    The Debian GNU/Linux Project’s technical committee appears to be split down the middle on the question of the default init system for the next release.

  12. Spotify uses Debian, endorses systemd instead of Upstart as default

    Debian is considering between Upstart and systemd – two competing daemons. While Upstart was developed solely by Canonical, systemd was developed by contributors from different distributions (edited, thanks to Jos Poortvliet).

  13. When life hands you lemons, go back to Debian

    To keep a short story short, the mantainer of the proprietary AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) driver for the Fedora-focused RPM Fusion repository doesn’t want to do it anymore.

    And he made this decision not before the release of Fedora 20 with lots of notice — and not after with lots of notice BUT PRETTY MUCH DURING THE RELEASE with no notice.

  14. Debian: 2840-1: srtp: buffer overflow
  15. Debian: 2835-1: asterisk: buffer overflow
  16. Debian: 2832-1: memcached: Multiple vulnerabilities
  17. Debian: 2830-1: ruby-i18n: cross-site scripting
  18. Debian: 2828-1: drupal6: Multiple vulnerabilities

01.14.14

For Systems Administrators, GNU/Linux (and UNIX) Becomes Key Skill

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: GNU/Linux distributions, even zero-cost distributions such as CentOS, are becoming the de facto standard for servers

THE NUMBERS don’t lie. A lot of companies move to distributions like Debian and CentOS, not necessarily paying for their migration to GNU/Linux (Gartner and IDC only count revenue, not installed base). Hosts statistics [1] show just how massive GNU/Linux has become, physically and virtually (a lot if GNU/Linux servers are hosted jointly under hypervisors [2]), and many systems maintainers or administrators increasingly adapt to a UNIX- or Linux-dominated world, where desired skills relate to operation of GNU/Linux [3] for the most part (command line for performance and debugging). It’s not just about Red Hat. Recently, Zimbabwe had Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS mirrors set up [4] and Red Hat saw itself having to embrace CentOS, which is a free clone of RHEL [5-11]. Both sides were happy, based on their announcements [12-13], and the biggest loser was probably Microsoft, which at one point wanted to coopt CentOS and use it against Red Hat (without success and without much publicity, either).

By some estimates, CentOS is the most widely used distribution of GNU/Linux (other estimates say that Debian is the most widely used, but it’s hard to verify).

Generally speaking, Red Hat’s embrace of CentOS, only weeks after announcing surging revenue, is an indicator of the fact that GNU/Linux is attaining world domination on servers and there’s no monopoly by Red Hat or by paid (subscription) distributions.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNU/Linux is Kicking Ass At Netcraft

    This is how hosting providers monitored by Netcraft see the operating system universe. The majority use GNU/Linux when it counts, not just because someone offers them that other OS. GNU/Linux offers great price/performance/reliability. You can get that kind of performance on your desktop too from Debian.

  2. Exclusive Research: Server Virtualization Usage Varies by Enterprise Size
  3. New Year’s Resolutions for SysAdmins

    Ah, a new year, with old systems. If you recently took time off to relax with friends and family and ring in 2014, perhaps you’re feeling rejuvenated and ready to break bad old habits and develop good new ones

  4. ZOL relaunches local mirror for largest Linux distros: Debian, Ubuntu & CentOS

    As we step into a new year, I can’t help but look back on the current year and wonder that there has been a lot of talk in the broadband/internet side of things locally but not a great amount actually done about it.

    Now I know that sounds very negative, ISP’s have innovated quite a bit this past year, from uMax starting things by changing the game somewhat with fixed (non 3g) internet with their 20gigs for $75 plan and free modem, then ZOL blew that out of the park by saying that all their packages would no longer have a bandwidth caps forcing other providers like YoAfrica to follow suit. I’m still waiting for TelOne to also do similar across there packages as the last “big” ISP in Zimbabwe that’s yet to update/improve their packages (unlikely I know).

  5. As focus shifts to OpenStack, Red Hat embraces (coopts) Linux clone; The week in cloud

    Put this one in the strange bedfellows department: Red Hat, the company known for its supported enterprise Linux, is now working with its chief clone, CentOS. Since CentOS is seen as a free option to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in many businesses and Red Hat threatened legal action against CentOS in the past, last week’s news raised some eyebrows.

  6. Hell Freezes Over in Linux Land as Red Hat Makes Nice With Its Clone
  7. CentOS to boost its Linux distribution with Red Hat
  8. Red Hat Officially Joins Forces with the CentOS Project
  9. Red Hat and CentOS team up to push Linux and Openstack
  10. Red Hat Embraces Rival CentOS

    Red Hat’s CTO explains why the Linux giant is now working with the community group that has been cloning its flagship enterprise Linux platform.

  11. Red Hat incorporates ‘free’ Red Hat clone CentOS

    For almost a decade, expert Linux users who didn’t need the Red Hat Enterprise Linux support used its clone CentOS instead. Now, Red Hat has adopted this community Linux. Don’t panic!

  12. CentOS Project joins forces with Red Hat

    With great excitement I’d like to announce that we are joining the Red Hat family. The CentOS Project ( http://www.centos.org ) is joining forces with Red Hat. Working as part of the Open Source and Standards team ( http://community.redhat.com/ ) to foster rapid innovation beyond the platform into the next generation of emerging technologies. Working alongside the Fedora and RHEL ecosystems, we hope to further expand on the community offerings by providing a platform that is easily consumed, by other projects to promote their code while we maintain the established base.

  13. Red Hat and the CentOS Project Join Forces to Speed Open Source Innovation

12.26.13

Valve Did Well by Going Ahead With Debian Wheezy

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Defending the choice of Debian Wheezy as the GNU/Linux distribution of choice when it comes to cutting-edge, high-performance gaming

COINCIDING with the release of Debian 7.3 [1] it was discovered that SteamOS runs games on a Debian-based system, not Ubuntu. This has been a major bragging right for Debian. SteamOS is still not ready for the public at large [2] as tweaks continue to be made [3] to improve performance [4]. One of the advantages of using Debian is that one can choose what to install, not what to un-install. One starts with a rather bare-bones base and then adds well-tested and properly-tailored packages (or meta-packages), such as KDE. antiX, a lightweight distribution that got some attention a few days ago, uses Debian as its base system [5]. Debian is good when one wants to avoid bloat and optimise for performance (Gentoo or Arch are more advanced in that regard).

There are those who criticise SteamOS for technical [6] and philosophical [7] reasons. Putting aside the latter, which can only alienate Valve and thus be counter-productive, it is argued that Debian Wheezy is “outdated which is not ideal for gaming”. Actually, stability is more important than cutting-edge. Does one want Steambox (or “Steam Machine”) to crash while people play games, perhaps due to faulty drivers? Probably not.

Valve’s choice of Debian Wheezy was probably wise. It’s a safe bet. Sitting next to me (I am using my secondary workstation) is my Debian box with an uptime of 80+ days. This machine has just half a gigabyte of RAM, yet it runs the latest KDE with many applications and remote sessions running. Stability- and performance-wise Debian is fantastic.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Debian 7.3 Officially Released
  2. SteamOS ‘Alchemist’ Enters Public Beta
  3. New SteamOS Build Updates the Intel Graphics Stack

    Valve has released a couple of days ago, December 19, a new build of its SteamOS gaming Linux operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux, bringing updated Intel drivers, as well as many other interesting features that were missing from the initial build of the distro.

  4. SteamOS vs. Ubuntu 13.10 Linux Benchmarks

    Complementing the SteamOS vs. Windows 8.1 performance benchmarks published earlier in the week, here are more NVIDIA OpenGL Linux benchmarks when comparing Valve’s Debian-based SteamOS performance to Ubuntu 13.10.

  5. Give that old computer a boost with antiX Linux

    The antiX homepage says that it is designed to be fast, lightweight and easy to install.

    Based on Debian’s testing branch, antiX is truly one of those distributions designed to run on older machines.

    The homepage states that it will comfortably work on a Pentium PII computer with 64 megabytes of RAM.

    There are 3 versions of antiX available varying in size from 690 megabytes down to a core version weighing in at just 135 megabytes. Last but not least antiX is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

  6. What is wrong with Steam OS ?

    Valve has warned non-hackers to stay away from the beta version but if Steam OS is based on Debian Wheezy, how can the OS be unstable ? Debian has no definite release cycle and most of the stuff under the hood is pretty outdated which is not ideal for gaming as Linux is going through an evolution, Nvidia and AMD are working hard to optimize their drivers for Linux and each Kernel update brings a lot of performance improvements. So it is very important to use up to date kernel & graphic drivers and that is what Valve is doing. They have picked the good old debian core and pumped it with new Kernel, DE and graphic drivers but then why does the title of the post says ‘What is wrong with Steam OS ?’

  7. Opinion: Steam and DRM

    DRM (Digital Rights Management) is often thought of as, well, a naughty concept. Especially amongst GNU/Linux users, as many often think about their freedoms and openness.

12.19.13

Most Famous Derivative of Debian Could Become SteamOS, Not Ubuntu

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 2:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Emphasis on the fact that SteamOS is basically a derivative of Debian GNU/Linux

DEBIAN has inspired more derivatives than any other distribution. Among them there are Skolelinux, Knoppix (new interview [1]), and of course Ubuntu, which brings many new users to GNU/Linux [2] (even nations [3]) and has many derivatives of its own. Debian 7 has a new release whose version number is 7.3 [4]. However, what much of the corporate press fails to realise or emphasise (especially reviews [5] and performance tests [6]) is that SteamOS is Debian with a new gown. Screenshots [7] reveal a polished operating system and it is important to remember what it’s derived from. If Valve gets its way, then Debian will soon have millions of new users.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Debian Edu interview: Klaus Knopper

    It has been a while since I managed to publish the last interview, but the Debian Edu / Skolelinux community is still going strong, and yesterday we even had a new school administrator show up on #debian-edu to share his success story with installing Debian Edu at their school. This time I have been able to get some helpful comments from the creator of Knoppix, Klaus Knopper, who was involved in a Skolelinux project in Germany a few years ago.

  2. How And Why I Switched to Ubuntu

    You may not agree with everything that they do, but Canonical is the most interesting company in the tech industry today. They have a vision, a wild vision, of a single user interface backed by open source software running on all computing devices, both personal and professional. Cloud infrastructure, basic servers, workstations, laptops, tablets, phones, and televisions could, if Canonical plays its cards right, be powered by Ubuntu and the Unity interface. I find this fascinating, and bold. Ubuntu is not just another distribution, it is a vision of what computing could be.

  3. Ubuntu Might Replace Windows XP in South Korea

    South Korea is considering the replacement of the old and dying Windows XP with a free Linux alternative, namely Ubuntu.

  4. Updated Debian 7: 7.3 released

    The Debian project is pleased to announce the third update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename wheezy). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.

    Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 7 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old wheezy CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated.

  5. Hands-on preview: SteamOS

    Valve’s revolutionary take on living-room gaming has entered its public beta phase, but is SteamOS ready for primetime or should Linux-nerds only apply?

  6. SteamOS vs. Windows 8.1 NVIDIA Performance

    Overall, the SteamOS vs. Windows 8.1 results aren’t too far removed from other Linux vs. Windows NVIDIA GeForce graphics card benchmarking results delivered in the past on Phoronix. Generally the NVIDIA Linux graphics driver can deliver comparable performance to that of the Windows GeForce driver due to the largely shared code-base between platforms, which again is the case here with SteamOS just being a derivative of Debian Linux.

  7. SteamOS GNOME Screenshot Tour

    At our users’ request, we’ve decided to create a quick screenshot tour of the brand new SteamOS Linux operating system from Valve, showcasing the GNOME 3 desktop environment used in the regular desktop mode.

    SteamOS is a gaming Linux distribution based on the powerful and popular Debian GNU/Linux operating system, using Linux kernel 3.10 and version 3.4 of the controversial GNOME desktop environment, with the GNOME Shell interface.

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