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Good Advocacy by the Linux Foundation Stresses the Jobs Effect, But Should Mention GNU Also

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Skills involving BSD, GNU, and other toolsets deserve coverage (at least by name) in the context of Free/Open Source software

THERE was recently a lot of coverage about jobs in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and days or weeks later the Linux Foundation weighed in with its press release [1] about a study it had funded to frame this as a “Linux” boom. The Linux Foundation is run and managed by branding experts like Zemlin (they don't always do branding right) and marketing people, so this should not be shocking. The only problem is, they rewrite history to make it look as though only Linux counts (the big lie which gives the Linux Foundation power at the expense of camps like GNU/FSF). I am not an opponent of the Linux Foundation; I am a big fan of Linux, but I also care about accuracy and truth in reporting — something which the marketing community is unable, by definition, to care about.

Looking at the sort of headlines generated by the Linux Foundation’s latest marketing drive (e.g. 2-8]), it’s all about “Linux” but not about the rest of the stack (FOSS). The Linux Foundation is not the only entity which does this by the way. But what they call “Linux skills” often means command-line skills and basically familiarity with GNU utilities, not Linux (the kernel does not have many utilities of interest). Some tools, like OpenSSH, are from BSD. If we mislead the public by collectively referring to all those small programs as “Linux”, then we not only do a disservice to other projects but we also reinforce the philosophy of Linux, which does not stress or insist so much on freedom.

To give example of better actions from the Linux Foundation (as of late), it shared a story about a Pennsylvania high school adopting GNU/Linux and it generated some good headlines [9]. Its marketing staff issued a somewhat provocative, stereotypes-reinforcing (connoting Linux with scarce social/love life) Valentine’s post [10], not to mention today’s Facebook promotion [11] (people have openly complained about the Linux Foundation’s support for surveillance like Facebook for years). On the other hand, the Linux Foundation sets up new conferences that are named only after the kernel [12] (even when the conferences cover things beyond it [13]), which is another matter worth mentioning.

Ultimately, it would be fair to stress, not only the Linux Foundation calls/labels “Linux” a much broader system, exploiting a common misunderstanding/misconception. The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) too is doing that [14]. It often teaches GNU, but students are led to believe that it’s all “Linux”. We can do better than that.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 2014 Linux Jobs Report: Demand for Linux Expertise Drives Hiring Priorities
  2. Hiring managers desperately hunt for Linux talent: Report

    With hiring managers beefing up their plans to bring aboard talent with Linux skills over the next six months, a bright future awaits those professionals who know Linux.

    Tech recruitment firm Dice and The Linux Foundation have released the 2014 edition of the Linux Jobs Report. The two found that the growing demand for Linux talent is “driving salaries for Linux above industry norms.”

  3. gNewSense Reviewed, Thanking Packagers, and Linux Jobs
  4. Linux skills helping professional move forward – 2014 Linux Jobs Report
  5. Keep Learning Linux—It’s The Future
  6. Linux professionals are in high demand in technology job market

    Today in Open Source: Download the free 2014 Linux Jobs Report.

  7. Demand for Linux Professionals is Growing
  8. Demand for Linux skills rises
  9. Pennsylvania high school adopts Linux, rolls out laptops to students

    Penn Manor High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania will embrace the open source Linux platform, installing it on more than 1,700 laptops. Every student at Penn Manor HS received an Acer TravelMate laptop powered by the Ubuntu 13.10 OS – and the student body was encouraged to explore the OS and push its limits.

  10. What Does Your Linux Candy Heart Say?

    How does the penguin community celebrate February 14 every year? Is it with a box of chocolates? Maybe if it’s sitting next to our keyboards alongside multiple coffee mugs. What about little Necco Sweethearts? Those “luv you” messages seem a little too general to fully express the amorous thoughts of those with Linux already seeded deep in their hearts.

  11. Leaked: Linux’s Look Back Facebook Video

    After trying to conceal its Facebook posts from the world for nearly a decade, Linux’s Look Back Facebook video leaked today.

  12. Linux Foundation Announces Schedule for Annual Collaboration Summit
  13. Dive into the world of Linux and free software at SCALE 12x this weekend in Los Angeles
  14. Linux certifications closer to Kosovo

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organisation, announced that Master Affiliate for the Western Balkans Region LPI-Greece recently appointed CACTTUS as LPI Sub-Affiliate for Kosovo, a company which has a strong experience in the market of Kosovo in technology and trainings.


Linux News Roundup (Kernel)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some of the latest bits of news about Linux, the Linux Foundation, and core parts of the kernel


  • Patching a running kernel: legal issues unknown

    Following the news that SUSE engineers are working on a kernel module called kGraft that can patch a running kernel, iTWire contacted the company to find out if Oracle’s ownership of Ksplice – a mechanism for doing the same job – would pose any legal issues.

    Ksplice was developed by Ksplice Inc under an open source licence until July 2011 when it was bought by Oracle and taken proprietary.

  • Another Init System: Sinit – The Suckless Init System

    While in-fighting continues within the Debian camp over what should be the default init system in Debian, a developer has shown off his own tiny “sinit” init system project.

    The “Suckless Init System” is a real init system and is derived from M. Farkas-Dyck’s Strake init code. This “suckless” init system is designed to be a simple system and was made to scratch the itch of a developer wanting to remove BusyBox from his toy Linux distribution, Morpheus.

Linux Foundation

  • Linux Foundation Branches Out: 10 Efforts Beyond Linux

    By definition, the Linux Foundation has Linux as its core mission, helping to bring the community of Linux developers and vendors together and fostering the right environment for collaboration. When the Linux Foundation started—it was created in 2007 as a result of the merger between the Free Standards Group (FSG) and Open Source Development Labs (OSDL)—Linux was the only thing that the group did. But in 2014, that’s no longer the case.


  • Linux 3.14-rc2

    With the rest being filesystems (vfs, nfs, ocfs, btrfs and some kernfs fixes), some mm noise, and tooling (perf). Shortlog appended, which doesn’t always happen for rc2.

  • Linux Kernel 3.13.2 Is Now Available for Download

    Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced a few minutes ago, February 6, that the second maintenance release of the stable Linux kernel 3.13 is now available for download.


  • Intel Atom Bay Trail NUC Kit On Linux

    With the early Atom “Bay Trail” hardware being disastrous for Linux, when Intel recently announced their Bay Trail based NUC Kit we were anxious and decided to give this unit a go. The Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYK packs an Intel Celeron N2820 Bay Trail CPU and motherboard supporting up to 8GB of DDR3L system memory and 2.5-inch HDD/SSD in a 116 x 112 x 51 mm form-factor. In this article is a rundown of the Phoronix experience so far for this Atom NUC Kit and how well it’s running with Ubuntu Linux.




Linux (Kernel) News From the Past Week

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about Linux, accumulated and sorted over the past days for easier digestion

Linux 3.14

  • An Overview Of The Linux 3.14 Kernel Features

    With yesterday’s release of the Linux 3.14-rc1, here’s a look at the top features that were merged for introduction in the Linux 3.14 kernel.

    The mentioned features are what I’ve found most interesting about this next major kernel release to date based upon the dozens of articles I’ve already authored on Phoronix about Linux 3.14, my testing already of 3.14 development code on multiple systems, analytics via Anzwix, etc.

  • Linux 3.14 To Make AMD R600/700 OpenGL GS Possible

    In a fixes pull request sent in by Red Hat’s David Airlie last night, a handful of DRM driver bugs were corrected. Additionally, there’s an update to the command submission (CS) parser for the R600 and R700 generation GPUs (the Radeon HD 2000 through HD 4000 series hardware) to support setting up the OpenGL Geometry Shader rings. The Evergreen GPUs and newer already has this GS support within their CS parser.

  • Linux Top 3: Linux 3.14 is Not a Piece of Pi

    “I realize that as a number, 3.14 looks familiar to people, and I had naming requests related to that. But that’s simply not how the nonsense kernel names work,” Torvalds wrote. “You can console yourself with the fact that the name doesn’t actually show up anywhere, and nobody really cares. So any pi-related name you make up will be *quite* as relevant as the one in the main Makefile, so don’t get depressed.”

  • Kernel prepatch 3.14-rc1
  • Download Linux Kernel 3.14 Release Candidate 1

    Linux kernel 3.14 RC1 includes updated drivers, architecture updates (ARM mostly, x86, PowerPC, s390, mips, and ia64), core kernel improvements, networking, mm, tooling, etc.

  • Linux 3.14-rc1 announced; Torvalds says codename has nothing to do with ‘Pi
  • Btrfs Gets Big Changes, Features In Linux 3.14 Kernel

    While the EXT4 changes and XFS alterations for the Linux 3.14 kernel weren’t too exciting, the Btrfs file-system update was submitted today for Linux 3.14 and it’s definitely exciting.

  • Linux 3.14 Supports MIPS’ Latest CPU Core

    These latest MIPS designs, which were announced back in 2012, are described as “the interAptiv is a power-efficient multi-core microprocessor for use in system-on-chip (SoC) applications. The interAptiv combines a multi-threading pipeline with a coherence manager to deliver improved computational throughput and power efficiency. The interAptiv can contain one to four MIPS32R3 interAptiv cores, system level coherence manager with L2 cache, optional coherent I/O port, and optional floating point unit.”

Linux 3.13

  • Intel Haswell Memory Scaling With Ubuntu 14.04 + Linux 3.13

    After the recent tests of AMD’s Kaveri APU with DDR3-800MHz to DDR3-2133MHz Linux memory testing and following up with AMD Kaveri DDR3-2400MHz testing on Ubuntu Linux, many Phoronix readers followed up with a request of new memory testing done on the Intel side. In this article are benchmarks of a Core i5 Haswell CPU looking at the CPU and graphics performance impact with memory frequency scaling on Ubuntu 14.04 with the Linux 3.13 kernel.

  • Linux Kernel 3.13 Gets Its First Update

    The first update for the stable Linux kernel 3.13 has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman just a few minutes ago, starting the maintenance cycle for this new branch.


Graphics Stack


  • Manjaro vs. Ubuntu vs. Fedora vs. OpenSUSE Benchmarks

    The latest Linux distribution benchmarks to share at Phoronix are a comparison of Manjaro Linux 0.8.8, Ubuntu 13.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in its current development state, openSUSE 13.1, and Fedora 20. All tests were done from an Intel Core i5 4670 Haswell system to look at the current state of various Linux distributions when it comes to various areas of open-source performance.

  • Intel Linux 3.3 To Linux 3.13 Kernel Benchmarks

    The latest kernel benchmarking that happened at Phoronix was testing every major Linux kernel release from Linux 3.3 through the latest stable Linux 3.13 release from an Intel Sandy Bridge system to see how the kernel performance has evolved during the hardware’s lifetime for key subsystems.


  • Who writes Linux? Corporations, more than ever
  • Tux3 Still Has Some Bugs Before Being Mainlined

    Daniel Phillips, a lead Tux3 developer, wrote to the kernel mailing list on Monday and acknowledged that it’s been a long time coming for Tux3… We covered Tux3 back in 2008 as the Tux2 successor that was never merged due to licensing issues and then it had been quite some time without any news on Tux3, until it was resurrected in early 2013.

  • Linus Torvalds and other developers are leaving Bitcoins on the table

    I reached out to Tip4Commit to find out just how many people were not collecting tips. One of its creators, Arsen Gasparyan, got back to me with some data. He shared with me that, as of last week, Tip4Commit supported 337 GitHub projects, for which 9,076 tips have been earned (a tip is earned when a pull request for a commit on a supported project is accepted), totaling about 3.34 Ƀ (worth about $2,650 at today’s Bitcoin exchange rate of $793.20). However, only 1.956 Ƀ has been received by 67 users, meaning 1.384 Ƀ, a little under $1,100 or about 40% of the value of all tips, has gone unclaimed.


Note to the Press: Nvidia News is About Linux, Not Linus

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photo by Alex Dawson, 2002


Summary: Cult of Personalities takes over the news again — news which, if anything, proves Stallman’s points to be valid

EARLIER this week Nvidia made an important announcement [1] that was picked up by the press [2-8]. Nvidia shows some signs of changing, conceding its purely proprietary culture. Finally there is a response with actions, not just words. Interestingly enough, a little message from Torvalds in Google+ almost generated more headlines than the original news [9-11] (a lot of the aforementioned links overemphasise Torvalds), especially because he previously gave Nvidia the finger (as in, “up your rectum”). Imagine what the reaction would be if Stallman had done that. When Torvalds does provocative stuff in order to attract attention then it’s portrayed as “cool” or “funny”, whereas the father of GNU gets smacked down if he even dares to try. The person who all along preached in favour of source code freedom is Stallman, not Torvalds, who had also created Linux as a proprietary kernel at first (so basically the same as Nvidia).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. [RFC 00/16] drm/nouveau: initial support for GK20A (Tegra K1)
  2. drm/nouveau: initial support for GK20A (Tegra K1) Directly Rendered From Nvidia
  3. Nvidia gets even more open saucy

    This Tegra K1 Nouveau support is still proof-of-concept but it is a sign that Nvidia is getting more open saucy having committed to better open source graphics support in September.

  4. Nvidia deepens Linux Nouveau support for upcoming Tegra chips
  5. Nvidia Seeks Glasnost With Linux, Contributes Open Source Code
  6. Nvidia slips love letter to open source driver devs
  7. Nvidia startles Linux world with driver contribution
  8. NVIDIA offers initial open source support for K1 graphics

    Chip maker NVIDIA has a long history of making sure there are Linux drivers for its graphics cards. But they’re usually closed-source drivers which means they’re not easy for OS developers and open source enthusiasts to work with. Linux founder Linus Torvalds was not amused by this approach.

  9. Torvalds gives Nvidia software thumbs up, not middle finger

    “This time I’m raising a thumb for Nvidia. Good times,”Torvalds said Sunday night on Google+, a strong contrast to a June 2012 speech in which Torvalds instead offered Nvidia a middle finger for its non-cooperation. Nvidia has preferred to offer proprietary binary drivers to let operating systems use its graphics chips, not open-source software that others can adapt, modify, and debug.

  10. Linus Torvalds Applauds NVIDIA For Posting Early Tegra K1 Open Source Drivers To The Nouveau Project
  11. Nvidia opens Tegra K1 driver, wins Torvalds thumbs-up


Tuxera GPL Violations Alleged

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Patents, Samsung at 2:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unable to cover up the deeds

A band-aid bandage

Summary: Microsoft’s partner Tuxera is claimed to be violating the GPL, adding insult to injury (helping Microsoft make money from Linux shakedowns, using code that was illegally copied)

LAST year we campaigned with great success for Samsung to obey (i.e. comply with) the GPL after it had gotten caught violating it [1, 2. 3], specifically when it served Microsoft with patent traps (exFAT). Samsung’s GPL violations go years back and they show that this company, which has just liaised with Google on patents (Google too is becoming patents-greedy), is no friend of FOSS. Samsung also commits crimes, but that’s beyond the scope of our coverage.

Another company which can easily be confused or mishandled as a FOSS company because it uses Linux (but mostly provides proprietary software with Microsoft patents) is Tuxera. Like Xamarin, all it really does is promote Linux dependence on Microsoft patent traps (the ones that allegedly have Samsung paying Microsoft for Linux). exFAT (promoted by Samsung and Tuxera) as well other forms/variants of FAT are not really needed, we need to abolish them.

The woman who told us about Samsung’s GPL violations contacted us earlier today to say that based on this file (forked to https://github.com/rxrz/asuswrt-merlin just in case), Tuxera is violating the GPL.

As the reporter of this violation put it, “download the blob, run `modinfo` on it:

filename:       thfsplus.ko
license:        GPL
description:    Extended Macintosh Filesystem
author:         Brad Boyer
vermagic: mod_unload MIPS32_R2 32BIT

“it’s MIPS32, so `strings` won’t give the function names, rather something like this:

`strings /tmp/thfsplus.ko | grep -i tux`:
<6>Tuxera HFS+ driver 3013.11.18

“Seems like a GPL violation to me,” she concluded. “I’d like to have that source code now, since it’s been based on native code from Linux.”


Never Ever Use Coprocessors for Cryptology, Especially If Implemented in the United States

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel, Security at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can you read the source code in this microchip?

AMD microchip

Summary: Why the hype about “accelerated” cryptology (like polygons rendering, but for cryptographic purposes) is a dangerous trap that should be shunned and perpetually avoided

THE QUICKEST and most convenient way to undermine all encryption is to weaken random number generation, e.g. lower the entropy, making keys more predictable and thus easily crackable by supercomputers (or even standard computers). This is effective against everything, including online financial transactions, simply because it cracks the very core components of today’s security: SSL, PGP, etc. My doctoral degree involved a great deal of work with entropy and my daytime job too sometimes involves it, so the subject is not foreign to me. I have been watching the NSA closely for a number of years, and always with great concern and suspicion. Now we know that the NSA compels (and even bribes) US companies to help undermine privacy, if not by direct handover of data (PRISM) then by making encryption too poor, setting up back doors, forcing companies to obey NSL/subpoenas, network wiretapping/DPI, or even a combination of all those things. No need for hypotheses anymore; there’s plenty of hard proof now.

Intel, a cleverly-named criminal company (serving the intelligence community), whose hardware-level random number generator (hidden in silicon) FreeBSD refuses to trust (OpenBSD too is historically very critical of Intel) is no longer the only x86 player seeking to manufacture consent (blind trust) for encryption with no source code, just minuscule circuits of semiconductors. AMD, another US company, is now following suit with ardware-level cryptology (i.e. cryptic algorithms for cryptology, which is a non-starter). This is bad just because AMD is a US company (FreeBSD did not single out the US); any company from any country should not be trusted with this type of task. It’s no better — and it is probably much worse — than proprietary software for one’s security. To quote Michael Larabel’s article about it: “Back in November was when patches first emerged for an AMD Cryptographic Coprocessor on Linux. This co-processor provides hardware encryption and other hashing functionality for the AES crypto API, AES CMAC, XTS-AES, and SHA cryptographic interfaces within the Linux kernel.

“Not much information is publicly known on this AMD Cryptographic Coprocessor but it’s believed to be part of AMD’s embedded ARM Cortex-A5 processor on upcoming server-class Opterons with TrustZone technology.”

“Have we learned nothing at all from Snowden’s explosive leaks?”So, Linux 3.14 will try to offload something so sensitive to proprietary code concealed in silicon. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Sure, it’s Linux, but it does open itself to some blobs (e.g. Microsoft’s hypervisor and more famously drivers for peripheral cards that handle graphics), firmware, and now peripheral, embedded-in-hardware proprietary algorithms. Have we learned nothing at all from Snowden’s explosive leaks? Just look what Microsoft has done (total complicity with the NSA). A new poll at FOSS Force asks: “Do you think Red Hat is cooperating with the NSA by building back doors into RHEL?”

The responses may surprise you. Only 42% say “No”. 28% say “I don’t know” and 30% say “Yes”. This relates to an article that alludes to Techrights. It was read by thousands and has been linked to by numerous news sites. I rarely ever comment in sites where identity cannot be verified (because of fakers), but this one challenged my claims and I had to respond. Here are my three replies:

It is not purely speculative. If you think that it is, then you must not have paid close enough attention.

I have been spending at least 2 hours per day since 2012 reading about the NSA. I knew what Snowden showed even before it was publicly known and I spoke about it with RMS on numerous occasions (he came to the UK to meet Assange and then myself, focusing on mass surveillance).

The truth of the matter just needs a little digging because the corporate press is not helping the general public find it out, just like it knowingly ‘buried’ a captured agent in Iran for several years (this leaked out in November).

Similarly, GNU/Linux sites did a very poor job covering (if at all) what happened in recent months regarding Linux. Let me summarise some facts (without links, as I don’t want to be put in the moderation queue again):

- Torvalds’ father said that the NSA had approached his son regarding back doors.

- Linux had a back door added to it about a decade ago. It got removed quickly afterwards and it wasn’t known who had added it. There was press coverage about it, but it was scarce.

- RSA received a bribe from the NSA to promote security standards with back doors.

- NIST and others had NSA moles and bogus (corrupt) peer review process to help usher in security standards with back doors.

- NSA is a large Red Hat client.

- The NSA sends patches to Red Hat, which in turn sends those for Linus Torvalds to put in Linux.

(the above two are now confirmed to me by Red Hat staff)

- BSD does not trust hardware-level random number generators, suspecting — quite rightly given the NSA’s track record — that it has too low an entropy.

- Several top-level Linux developers found vulnerabilities in Linux random number generation. They quietly (without much press coverage anywhere) addressed the issue (raising the entropy) a few months back. Only the latest kernel release has the fixes applied AFAIK (I don’t know if Greg K-H backported any of it because coverage is too scarce). To lay out the magnitude of this issue, it compromises SSL, PGP, etc. (pretty much everything with encryption, even passwords) not just at client side (desktop, tablet, smartphone) but also the server side (i.e. the Internet). This is huge! But the media hasn’t covered it.

Suffice to say, Red Hat has not done anything to convince me I was wrong. Instead, I notice that Red Hat staff is stalking me in LinkedIn and I see my article cited in several news sites which wrote about the issue in several languages (3 articles in Google News are in Spanish).

If you found holes in the above statements or if you want links attached, please request them and I will provide citations. I wrote about everything before, even years ago (NSA involvement in SLE* and RHEL I covered around 2007 or 2008).

I am frustrated to see people turning against the messenger rather than the message. I see a lot of the same done to Sam Varghese. We are making ourselves more vulnerable by refusing to listen to what seems uncomfortable.

Another reply:

I was thinking along the same lines — that Edward Snowden’s leaks (by the way, they’re not just his anymore, as anonymous people from the NSA reportedly leak more and more documents to be published under his name for their safety) can at some stage show encryption undermined at more levels (hardware level, or even kernel level). We already know that encryption was undermined at RSA and NIST by NSA moles, using bribes too. We also know that Linux (kernel) developers recently revised random number generators, after they had found a weakness.

Several state officials (in 6 state at the very least) now work to stop the NSA locally. Some call for a ban on companies that facilitate the NSA (that would include Red Hat), under the premise that they are complicit in crime. I am not kidding, watch the news this week (I don’t want to paste links here as the last time I did so my comment took half a day to appear).

Lastly, there are numerous E-mails sent from and to Red Hat. These further validated my suspicions.

I saw a lot of personal attacks (trying to discredit me or even remove links to my analyses). I even heard the usual personal attacks against Sam Varghese (which I expected from Red Hat because he dares to do real journalism, i.e. journalism that companies don’t like).

Trusting Red Hat should be based on its record, not emotional leanings and faith.

Don’t get me wrong. I was not offended by you and you oughtn’t be offended by my response. I am used to this type of divisive treatment (people trying to ostracise me) since the days I criticised Novell — only to be proven right throughout and at the very end (Novell gave its patents to Linux foes).

I hope you will wait patiently for more information and assess the facts based on their merit. Don’t rely purely/solely on what you read in OpenSource.com (Red Hat). I saw Novell doing its self-delusional spiel (IP “peace of mind”) and fortunately, at the end, Novell did not find enough fools to sell its lies to.

I have been frank in my analysis of Red Hat (on patents, build process, etc.) and if you want links for particular bits of my claims, just ask. I have a repository of tens of thousands of links I collect while researching. Sometimes people refuse to accept even a well-sourced claim because of cognitive dissonance — something I’ve had a lot of experience with when dealing with Microsoft spinners.

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

― George Orwell

Here is my original reply, challenging the counter-arguments:

This article starts with an incorrect assertion that I accuse “Red Hat of being in cahoots with the NSA.”

No, NSA is a big client of Red Hat (this was not just revealed but also confirmed to me by Red Hat staff some days ago, by E-mail) and it was also confirmed that NSA submits patches to Linux through Red Hat (think of NIST and RSA; we don’t even have NSA E-mail address to keep track of). Back doors can also be added outside the scope of source code, during a build process. My job involves dealing with this risk. I don’t think you read an essential earlier post:


This, in turn, links to proof that the NSA did try to put back doors in Linux, as noted by Torvalds the father. See:




Defending Red Hat makes sense, but mischaractering my position is a little unfair. I note that trusting Red Hat is not easy and based on articles I read half a decade ago, NSA was involved in the build process of Windows, OS X, SUSE, and Red Hat (only those 4 were mentioned).

The bottom line is this. Do not have blind trust in Linux. Not even access to source code is enough because the build process needs to be carefully checked and validated; moreover, Linux is joined with some proprietary code and even hardware-level code, so trust is seriously harmed. Now that we know about Red Hat’s relationship with the NSA we should ask ourselves if the NSA is once again trying to put back doors in Linux, or worse, maybe it already did. Letting blobs enter the pipeline helps the NSA achieve (but hide) what it already said it wanted to achieve.


Kernel Roundup: Linux 3.14 Features Preview and Other News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New relating to Linux and graphics-related extensions

Kernel Space

Graphics Stack

  • Wayland reaches version 1.4 RC

    The first release candidate for Wayland 1.4 is out now. Designed by Kristian Høgsberg, Wayland is a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients as well as a C library implementation of that protocol. It is intended as a simpler replacement for X, easier to develop and maintain. GNOME and KDE are expected to be ported to it. Part of the Wayland project is also the Weston reference implementation of a Wayland compositor.

  • NVIDIA Is Still Killing AMD Over Linux OpenGL Performance

    Back in November I published my review of the AMD Radeon R9 290 on Linux. This high-end AMD Radeon “Hawaii” graphics card ended up being a wreck on Linux: its performance was devastating. Radeon R9 290X owners have also reported their Linux performance with the Catalyst driver has been less than stellar. In new tests conducted last week with the latest AMD and NVIDIA binary graphics drivers, the high-end AMD GPUs still really aren’t proving much competition to NVIDIA’s Kepler graphics cards. Here’s a new 12 graphics card comparison on Ubuntu.

  • Khronos Releases SPIR 1.2 For OpenCL

    The SPIR 1.2 specification announced today provides non-source encoding and binary level portability for OpenCL 1.2 programs. Besides the new specification they’re putting otu today, the Khronos Group is also publishing code to a modified Clang 3.2 compiler that can generate SPIR from OpenCL C 1.2 programs, a SPIR module written as an LLVM pass, and a header file with all enumerated values of the SPIR 1.2 specification.


New Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Linux 3.13 released, Linux 3.14 planned, maintenance releases, and graphics news

Linux Kernel 3.13

  • Linux Kernel 3.13 Officially Released with Support for NFC Payments

    Today, January 19, Linus Torvalds has proudly announced the immediate availability for download of the highly anticipated Linux kernel 3.13, which brings major improvements, numerous new and updated drivers, as well as a dozen of new features.

  • The 3.13 kernel is out

    This release includes nftables, the successor of iptables, a revamp of the block layer designed for high-performance SSDs, a power capping framework to cap power consumption in Intel RAPL devices, improved squashfs performance, AMD Radeon power management enabled by default and automatic Radeon GPU switching, improved NUMA performance, improved performance with hugepage workloads, TCP Fast Open enabled by default, support for NFC payments, support for the High-availability Seamless Redundancy protocol, new drivers and many other small improvements.

Linux Kernel 3.14

  • SCHED_DEADLINE To Be Added To Linux 3.14 Kernel

    The first 3.14 pull request worth pointing out on Phoronix are the scheduler changes sent in by Ingo Molnar. The most notable change with this pull is the initial implementation of SCHED_DEADLINE. SCHED_DEADLINE is a new CPU scheduler for the Linux kernel that’s been in development for several years and has undergone numerous revisions. SCHED_DEADLINE implements the Earliest Deadline First (EDF) scheduling algorithm.

  • Intel Merrifield MID Support Landing In Linux 3.14

    The Intel MID (Mobile Internet Device) platform updates for the Linux 3.14 kernel include supporting Merrifield and Clovertrail platforms. Clovertrail has been around for a while but Merrifield is Intel’s new smart-phone architecture focused on Android. Merrifield has a 22nm Atom SoC and it’s expected to start appearing this quarter.

  • Linux 3.14 Officializes Broadwell, Deprecates Legacy UMS

    Daniel Vetter of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center blogged on Wednesday about the major changes queued up for the Linux 3.14 kernel as it concerns their DRM kernel graphics driver. The main changes for Intel DRM in Linux 3.14 include runtime D3 support, wwatermark computation / frame-buffer compression fixes, a rewrite of the low-level backlight code, work on full PPGTT support, Bay Trail Atom improvements, and a kernel option to disable legacy fbdev support.

Old Linux Kernels

More Kernel

  • Kdbus Details
  • Intel vs. AMD Performance-Per-Watt On Ubuntu 14.04 Linux

    To complement the many Intel vs. AMD CPU/APU Linux benchmarks published earlier this week as part of our AMD A10-7850K “Kaveri” APU coverage, here’s some results mostly examining the performance-per-Watt and overall system power consumption of the many different Intel and AMD processors running Ubuntu Linux.

  • Linux Kernel’s Sysfs Logic Turns Into “Kernfs” For 3.14

    Kernfs is the sysfs logic that in turn can be taken advantage of by other subsystems in need of a virtual file-system with handling for device connect/disconnect, dynamic creation, and other attributes.

Graphics Stack

  • Wayland and Weston 1.3.93 (1.4 RC)

    We’re getting close to the 1.4.0 release date – well, actually that was supposed to be Jan 16, but we ended up slipping a week to get a more solid first beta (1.3.92) out. We tagged that Jan 10 and here’s 1.3.93, aka second beta or release candidate:

  • Linux Graphics News

    2013 has been a dramatic and controversial year for graphics in Linux, yet actual changes to the overall graphics stack have so far been more incremental than revolutionary. But with us closing in on several Linux distributions’ Long-Term Support releases this is to be expected, as stability weighs stronger than novelty among consumers of these products. This next summer may be a safer window for distros to undertake major transitions; we should expect to see major graphics system transitions in desktop distros at that point. The landing of XWayland support in the X server can be seen as an early indicator of a Wayland desktop future, since it’s a crucial prerequisite.



  • The Linux 3.13 Kernel Is A Must-Have For AMD RadeonSI Users

    The Linux 3.13 kernel that will be released in the very near future is very worth the upgrade if you are a RadeonSI user — in particular, the Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs and newer on the Gallium3D Linux graphics driver — but other open-source graphics driver users as well may also see nice improvements in the new kernel release. Here’s some benchmarks showing off the gains found with the Linux 3.13 kernel for Radeon HD and R9 graphics cards.

  • AMD A10-7850K Radeon R7 Graphics Comparison

    The latest benchmarks of the AMD A10-7850K APU to share on Phoronix and to complement yesterday’s Windows vs. Linux OpenGL comparison are benchmarks of the APU’s Radeon R7 Graphics compared to numerous AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

  • RadeonSI GLAMOR 2D Performance vs. Catalyst

    While the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver continues making much headway as the modern open-source AMD Gallium3D Linux graphics driver along with the GLAMOR library it depends upon for 2D acceleration, the 2D performance of the Linux desktop is still quite poor compared to the proprietary Catalyst driver.

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