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Zorin OS 15 Released, Canonical Issues Security Updates for All Supported Versions of Ubuntu Linux, New RCE Vulnerability Discovered Affecting Email Servers, Khadas VIM3 Launching Soon and Krita's Digital Atelier on Sale

Linux Journal - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 08:47

News briefs for June 6, 2019.

Zorin OS 15 has been released. From the announcement for this new major version: "Every aspect of the user experience has been re-considered and refined in this new release, from how apps are installed, to how you get work done, to how it interacts with the devices around you. The result is a desktop experience that combines the most powerful desktop technology with the most user-friendly design." Go here to download.

Canonical yesterday released important security updates for all supported versions of Ubuntu Linux. Update immediately if you haven't done so already. According to Softpedia News, "If you're using Ubuntu, you must update the kernel as soon as possible to patch these security issues. The new Linux kernel versions are linux-image 5.0.0-16.17 for Ubuntu 19.04, linux-image 4.18.0-21.22 for Ubuntu 18.10, linux-image 4.15.0-51.55 for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, linux-image 4.4.0-150.176 for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, linux-image 4.18.0-21.22~18.04.1 for Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, and linux-image 4.15.0-51.55~16.04.1 for Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS."

A new RCE (remote command execution) vulnerability is affecting almost half of the internet's email servers. ZDNet reports that the Qualys security firm "found a very dangerous vulnerability in Exim installations running versions 4.87 to 4.91. The vulnerability is described as a remote command execution—different, but just as dangerous as a remote code execution flaw—that lets a local or remote attacker run commands on the Exim server as root."

The Khadas VIM3, an Amlogic S922X-powered Raspberry Pi-competitor, is launching on June 24. According to Notebook Check, the Khadas VIM3 will run Android 9.0 Pie, LibreELEC or Ubuntu. The company will initially launch two boards, the Basic and Pro, for $69.99 and $99.99, respectively. In addition, "Khadas has also integrated a neural processing unit (NPU), which it claims can process up to 2.5 tera operations per second (TOPS). The company has revealed the back of the board too, which houses the microSD card slot, MIPI CSI camera connector, along with the MIPI DSI and TP connectors for linking the VIM3 with an external monitor."

To celebrate its new release, Krita is offering "a 50% off sale of Digital Atelier, Ramon Miranda's painterly brushes and tutorials pack for the rest of this month!" Digital Atelier includes more than 50 new brush presets, more than 30 new brush tips, new patterns and surfaces, and almost two hours of video tutorial. You can get Digital Atelier in the Krita shop.

News Zorin OS Canonical Ubuntu Security SBCs Khadas Krita
Categories: Linux News

Linux's Broadening Foundation

Linux Journal - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 06:30
by Doc Searls

It's time to embrace 5G, starting with the Edge in our homes and hands.

In June 1997, David Isenberg, then of AT&T Labs Research, wrote a landmark paper titled "Rise of the Stupid Network". You can still find it here. The paper argued against phone companies' intent to make their own systems smarter. He said the internet, which already was subsuming all the world's phone and cable TV company networks, was succeeding not by being smart, but by being stupid. By that, he meant the internet "was built for intelligence at the end-user's device, not in the network".

In a stupid network, he wrote, "the data is boss, bits are essentially free, and there is no assumption that the data is of a single data rate or data type." That approach worked because the internet's base protocol, TCP/IP, was as general-purpose as can be. It supported every possible use by not caring about any particular use or purpose. That meant it didn't care about data rates or types, billing or other selfish concerns of the smaller specialized networks it harnessed. Instead, the internet's only concern was connecting end points for any of those end points' purposes, over any intermediary networks, including all those specialized ones, without prejudice. That lack of prejudice is what we later called neutrality.

The academic term for the internet's content- and purpose-neutral design is end-to-end. That design was informed by "End-to-End Arguments in System Design", a paper by Jerome Saltzer, David P. Reed and David D. Clark, published in 1980. In 2003, David Weinberger and I later cited both papers in "World of Ends: What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else". In it, we explained:

When Craig Burton describes the Net's stupid architecture as a hollow sphere comprised entirely of ends, he's painting a picture that gets at what's most remarkable about the Internet's architecture: Take the value out of the center and you enable an insane flowering of value among the connected end points. Because, of course, when every end is connected, each to each and each to all, the ends aren't endpoints at all.

And what do we ends do? Anything that can be done by anyone who wants to move bits around.

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Categories: Linux News

Chrome 75 Released, ask.krita.org Website Retiring, LinuxGizmos Publishes Its Spring 2019 SBC Catalog, LibreOffice 6.3 Beta 1 Is Ready for Testing and Happy 15th to Phoronix

Linux Journal - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 08:17

News briefs for June 5, 2019.

Chrome 75 was released yesterday. ZDNet reports that "The vast majority of the new features and changes in Chrome 75 are centered around adding new internal APIs and updating existing features." The big new feature is "the addition of a hidden Reader Mode, similar to the one included with Firefox". See the changelog for more details.

The ask.krita.org website, a stack-exchange-like place for people to report problems and help each other, is being retired. According to the post, the problems were "Nobody seemed to be searching whether their problems had already been discussed and maybe solved, so the same questions were being asked again and again. Nobody seemed to stay around and engage with the people who were trying to help them, and nobody seemed to stay around to help other people." The team is looking for a replacement, but isn't sure quite what that will be yet.

LinuxGizmos.com published its Spring 2019 catalog of SBCs. This latest catalog includes 125 community-backed Linux and Android SBCs with prices, features and a comparison spreadsheet. From the catalog intro, "Major new products this year include Google's i.MX8M driven Coral Dev Board and Nitrogen8M_Mini, as well as the dirt-cheap, Intel Cherry Trail based Atomic Pi. In the RK3399 world the Rock960 Model C and even cheaper Rock Pi 4 are forcing other RK3399 boards to cut prices. Also of note are the Amlogic S922X driven Odroid-N2 and the Allwinner H6-based Orange Pi 3 and Pine H64 Model B, among others."

LibreOffice 6.3 Beta 1 is out and ready for testing. The Document Foundation notes that since the 6.3 Alpha 1 release in November 2018, 683 commits have been submitted and 141 bugs fixed. See the release notes for details, and download from here. The final release of version 6.3 is scheduled for mid-August.

Phoronix turns 15 today. From Michael Larabel's post: "I started Phoronix for the poor Linux hardware support at the time and it's been an amazing turnaround since that point. No longer is it a battle of getting network devices or input devices working on Linux but now it's all a matter of maximizing the performance out of today's hardware on Linux and watching the amazing growth of Linux on servers, AI / deep learning, Android, Linux gaming, and embedded along with all other sorts of verticals. Each year it becomes more amazing to see what other hardware runs Linux as well as seeing where else the Phoronix Test Suite usage pops up next." Happy Birthday Phoronix!

News Chrome Krita SBCs LibreOffice Phoronix
Categories: Linux News

Line Length Limits in the Kernel

Linux Journal - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 07:00
by Zack Brown

Periodically, the kernel developers debate something everyone generally takes for granted, such as the length of a line of text. Personally, I like lines of text to reach both sides of my screen—it's just a question of not wasting space.

Alastair D'Silva recently agreed with me. He felt that monitor sizes and screen resolution had gotten so big in recent years, that the kernel should start allowing more data onto a single line of text. It was simple pragmatism—more visible text means more opportunity to spot the bug in a data dump.

Alastair posted a patch to allow 64-byte line lengths, instead of the existing options of 16 bytes and 32 bytes. It was met with shock and dismay from Petr Mladek, who said that 64 bytes added up to more than 256 characters per line, which he doubted any human would find easy to read. He pointed out that the resolution needed to fit such long lines on the screen would be greater than standard hi-def. He also pointed out that there were probably many people without high-definition screens who worked on kernel development.

Alastair noted that regular users never would see this data anyway, and he added that putting the choice in the hands of the calling routine couldn't possibly be a bad thing. In fact, instead of 16-, 32- and 64-bytes, Alastair felt the true option should be any multiple of the groupsize variable.

There's very little chance that Alastair's patch will make it into the kernel. Linus Torvalds is very strict about making sure Linux development does not favor wealthy people. He wants developers working on ancient hardware to have the same benefits and capabilities as those working with the benefit of the latest gadgets.

Linus commented about seven years ago on the possibility of changing the maximum patch line length from 80 to 100 characters. At that time he said:

I think we should still keep it at 80 columns.

The problem is not the 80 columns, it's that damn patch-check script that warns about people *occasionally* going over 80 columns.

But usually it's better to have the *occasional* 80+ column line, than try to split it up. So we do have lines that are longer than 80 columns, but that's not because 100 columns is ok - it's because 80+ columns is better than the alternative.

So it's a trade-off. Thinking that there is a hard limit is the problem. And extending that hard limit (and thinking that it's 'ok' to be over 80 columns) is *also* a problem.

So no, 100-char columns are not ok.

Note: if you're mentioned above and want to post a response above the comment section, send a message with your response text to ljeditor@linuxjournal.com.

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Categories: Linux News

Firefox Now Will Have Enhanced Tracking Protection On by Default, 5.0 Kernel Reaches End of Life, Apple Replacing Bash with zsh as Default Shell, IBM Announces Major Upgrade to Db2 and Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5 Update 2 Is Now Available

Linux Journal - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 09:01

News briefs for June 4, 2019.

Mozilla today announces that the Firefox browser will now have Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default. From Chris Beard's blog post: "These protections work in the background, blocking third-parties from tracking your online activity while increasing the speed of the browser. We're offering privacy protections by default as you navigate the web because the business model of the web is broken, with more and more intrusive personal surveillance becoming the norm. While we hope that people's digital rights and freedoms will ultimately be guaranteed, we're here to help in the interim."

Greg Kroah-Hartman today announced the last maintenance update of kernel 5.0. From his LKML message: "I'm announcing the release of the 5.0.21 kernel. All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade. Note, this is the LAST 5.0.y kernel to be released. It is now end-of-life. Please move to the 5.1.y kernel tree at this point in time."

Apple is replacing bash with zsh as the default shell in macOS Catalina. According to The Verge, "Starting with macOS Catalina, Macs will now use zsh as the default login shell and interactive shell across the operating system. All newly created user accounts in macOS Catalina will use zsh by default. Bash will still be available, but Apple is signaling that developers should start moving to zsh on macOS Mojave or earlier in anticipation of bash eventually going away in macOS."

IBM today announced a major upgrade to its Db2 database. According to the press release, among the many new features of Db2 version 11.5 "is built-in support for data science development. Through a series of newly-available drivers for multiple open source programming languages and frameworks, it will now be easier for developers to analyze and build machine learning models into applications using Db2. The enhancements are designed to help Db2 developers more easily write applications that require less management, are more resilient to outages, and help improve productivity." The press release also notes that "The supported languages include Go, Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Node.js, Sequelize. In addition there is support for popular frameworks such as Visual Studio Code and Jupyter notebook. The latest drivers and code samples for each are available now at GitHub." Go here for more information on data and AI.

Oracle announces that the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 Update 2 is now available. UEK R5 Update 2 is based on the mainline kernel version 4.14.35 and has many new features and bug fixes. Highlights include filesystem and storage fixes, virtualization updates, driver updates and much more.

News Mozilla Firefox Privacy kernel Apple Bash zsh IBM Databases AI Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel
Categories: Linux News

Facebook, Not Microsoft, Is the Main Threat to Open Source

Linux Journal - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 08:24
by Glyn Moody

In the future, Facebook won't be a social-media site.

Facebook is under a lot of scrutiny and pressure at the moment. It's accused of helping foreign actors to subvert elections by using ads and fake accounts to spread lies—in the US, for example—and of acting as a conduit for terrorism in New Zealand and elsewhere. There are calls to break up the company or at least to rein it in.

In an evident attempt to head off those moves, and to limit the damage that recent events have caused to Facebook's reputation, Mark Zuckerberg has been publishing some long, philosophical posts that attempt to address some of the main criticisms. In his most recent one, he calls for new regulation of the online world in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability. The call for data portability mentions Facebook's support for the Data Transfer Project. That's clearly an attempt to counter accusations that Facebook is monopolistic and closed, and to burnish Facebook's reputation for supporting openness. Facebook does indeed use and support a large number of open-source programs, so to that extent, it's a fair claim.

Zuckerberg' previous post, from the beginning of March 2019, is much longer, and it outlines an important shift in how Facebook will work to what he calls "A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking". Greater protection for privacy is certainly welcome. But, it would be naïve to think that Zuckerberg's post is simply about that. Once more, it is an attempt to head off a growing chorus of criticism—in this case, that Facebook undermines data protection. This is the key idea:

I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever.

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Categories: Linux News

The "From Mac to Linux" Issue

Linux Journal - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 10:00
by Bryan Lunduke

What you are reading right now is a Linux magazine—with a focus on Apple computers running macOS. (Or MacOS. Or however Apple is doing the capitalization nowadays.)

I know, it's weird. It's extremely weird—like cats and dogs living together weird.

But we're not here to bash on Apple. Neither are we here to sing praises to those down in Cupertino.

The reality is, many within the Open Source and Free Software worlds do use Macintoshes—at least a portion of the time—and there are some unique challenges that pop up when you need to use both macOS and Linux on a regular basis. Likewise, many people have moved from Mac to Linux as part of their computing journey, and we'd like to offer some tips and ideas to help them out.

(And if we help a few Mac users feel a bit more confident in making the switch over to Linux? Well, that's just gravy on top.)

Never used a Macintosh before? There's some interesting technical tidbits held within these pages that might come in handy when interacting with co-workers that utilize a number of Mac-specific file types and programs. Or, at the very least, the various distinct differences between the platforms are sure to provide a bit of amusement. Who doesn't want to know how Mac filesystems work? You'll be the life of the party!

We kick everything off with a delightful tale we call "Hello Again, Linux" by a gentleman named Richard Mavis who recounts his own story of how he switched from Windows to Mac, then from Mac to Linux. He describes what hardware and software he used, what prompted his change, and how the entire experience went.

Then we get into the meat and potatoes of some of the more "Macintosh-y" things you can do from your Linux desktop.

We begin with "Accessing Those Old MacOS Volumes" by Linux Journal Editor at Large, Petros Koutoupis. In it, Petros walks through the process of how to mount (and read/write) Macintosh volumes (hard drives and so on) that were formatted with "Hierarchical File System Plus" (usually called "HFS+"). This process can be a royal pain in the posterior, so having it written down with step-by-step instructions is simply too handy for words.

Then I cover the various software and packages that allow Linux (and, to a lesser extent, some UNIX variants) to read and write some of the Mac-specific file types out there: DMG files, SIT files, ClarisWorks files and so on. I cover how to open them all, right on your Linux computer. No Mac required.

But let's say you're a Mac software developer. You've got a small mountain of code written in Objective-C using the Cocoa framework. Don't want to lose that massive investment in time and knowledge when you make the move to Linux? Petros Koutoupis provides an introduction to the free software re-implementation of Apple's closed-source frameworks in "Porting Mac OS Applications to Linux with GNUstep".

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Categories: Linux News

System76 Launching Reborn Gazelle Laptops, Red Hat Has Joined the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, Fedora Accepting Submissions for Fedora 31 Supplemental Wallpapers, Linux 5.2-rc3 Is Out and Creative Commons Introduces Its Summer of Code Students

Linux Journal - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 08:54

News briefs for June 3, 2019.

System76 announces the rebirth of its Gazelle laptop line, offering the choice of Pop!_OS or Ubuntu as the OS. Beta News reports, "It comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 by default, and you can choose between an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 or 1660 Ti for graphics. There are two screen sizes available -- 15.3-inch and 17.3-inch. Regardless of the display you opt for, the resolution will be 1080p." See the full specs and sign up to be notified when the laptops are available (which should be sometime this month) here.

Red Hat today announced it has joined the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, "a group of leading U.S. employers supporting U.S. federal legislation that would provide the same basic protections to LGBTQ people as are provided to other protected groups under federal law." The Equity Act "creates clear, consistent protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment. In addition, the bill provides protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people in a number of areas, including housing, credit, jury service, and public spaces and services."

Fedora is now accepting submissions for the Fedora 31 supplemental wallpapers. The design team will work with the community on 16 wallpapers that users can install along with the standard wallpapers. The post asks that submissions "Please stay away to submit pictures of pets, especially cats." The deadline for submissions is July 26, 2019 at 23:59 UTC. The voting will begin August 1, 2019 and will run through August 16, 2019 at 23:59 UTC. See the post for instructions and past wallpaper images.

Linux 5.2-rc3 is out. Of this release, Linus Torvalds writes: "Hmm. Fairly calm week, and rc3 is almost exactly the same size as rc2 was. Which is a bit unusual - usually rc2 is calm, and then rc3 is when people have started finding problems and we get a more active week. But far be it for me to complain about a calm rc week, so I won't."

Creative Commons introduces its 2019 Summer of Code Students. See the Creative Commons blog post to learn more about the "five phenomenal students (representing three continents) who will be working on CC tech projects full-time over the summer".

News System76 Laptops Red Hat Fedora creative commons Google Summer of Code
Categories: Linux News

Debian Announces Interns for Outreachy and Summer of Code, Unity Editor for Linux Now Available, DistroWatch Turns 18 Today, Google Announces New Privacy Protections for Chrome Extensions and KStars v3.2.3 Released

Linux Journal - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 08:49

News briefs for May 31, 2019.

Debian announces it has chosen seven interns—two people for Outreachy and five people for the Summer of Code. See the post for the list of interns and the projects they'll be working on.

Unity announces its Unity Editor for Linux, after years of offering an experimental Unity Editor for Linux. It's currently available as a preview for Ubuntu and CentOS, and it's expected it to be fully supported by Unity 2019.3. You can get the latest builds from the Unity Hub, and feedback is welcome at the Unity for Linux Editor Forum.

DistroWatch is 18 today. It started as "a single page comparing a dozen Linux distributions in a table format, with major features and package versions". Today the database contains "a total of 899 operating systems of which nearly 300 are considered active". Happy Birthday DistroWatch!

Google yesterday announced new privacy protections for Chrome extensions as well as new rules for the Google Drive API and Drive third-party apps. According to ZDNet, "The new rules are part of what Google calls Project Strobe, an initiative to improve the privacy and security of users' data, which the company set in motion after discovering a serious bug in Google+ that exposed the personal details of over 500,000 users. Project Strobe's main mission is to limit the amount of data third-parties can access about Google users via the company's many services, APIs, and tools."

KStars v3.2.3 has been released. This is likely the last release of the v3.2.x series, with development beginning on 3.3.0 now. The release contains a few minor bug fixes and also some convenience fixes thaat users had requested. Go here to download KDE's KStars.

News Debian unity DistroWatch Google Chrome Privacy KStars Astronomy
Categories: Linux News

Hello Again, Linux

Linux Journal - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 08:26
by Richard Mavis

My first MacBook was the first computer I really loved, but I wasn't happy about the idea of buying a new one. I decided it's important to live your values and to support groups that value the things you do.

After ten years of faithful service, last year the time finally came to retire my MacBook. Not many laptops last ten years—not many companies produce a machine as durable and beautiful as Apple does—but, if one was available, I was willing to invest in a machine that might last me through the next ten years. A lot has changed in ten years—for Apple, for Linux and for myself—so I started looking around.

The Situation

Prior to 2006, I had used only Windows. Around that time, there was a lot of anxiety about its upcoming successor to Windows XP, which at the time was code-named Project Longhorn. My colleagues and I all were dreading it. So, rather than go through all that trouble, I switched to Linux.

However, my first experience with Linux was not great. Although 2006 was The Year of the Linux Desktop (I saw headlines on Digg proclaiming it almost every day), I quickly learned, right after wiping my brand-new laptop's hard drive to make way for Fedora, that maybe it wasn't quite The Year of the Linux Laptop. After a desperate and miserable weekend, I finally got my wireless card working, but that initial trauma left me leery. So, about a year later, when I decided to quit my job and try the digital nomad freelance thing, I bought a MacBook. A day spent hunting down driver files or recompiling my kernel was a day not making money. I needed the assurance and convenience Apple was selling. And it proved a great investment.

During the next decade, I dabbled with Linux. Every year seemed to be The Year of the Linux Desktop—the real one, at last—so on my desktop at work (freelancing wasn't fun for long), I installed Ubuntu, then Debian, then FreeBSD. An article in this journal introduced me to tiling window managers in general and DWM in particular. The first time I felt something like disappointment with my MacBook was after using DWM on Debian for the first time.

Through the years, as my MacBook's hardware failures became increasingly inconvenient, and as my personal preference in software shifted from big beautiful graphical applications to small command-line programs, Linux started to look much more appealing. And, Linux's hardware compatibility had expanded—companies had even started selling laptops with Linux already installed—so I felt reasonably sure I wouldn't need to waste another weekend struggling with a broken wireless connection or risk frying my monitor with a misconfigured Xorg.conf.

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Categories: Linux News

Dell Announces More Ubuntu-Based Precision Developer Edition Laptops, Mozilla's Alan Davidson Testifies on Internet Privacy, Canonical Announces the Release of Multipass 0.7.0 Beta, GParted Reaches 1.0 Milestone and New HiddenWasp Malware

Linux Journal - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 08:30

News briefs for May 30, 2019.

Dell announces its Precision 5540, Precision 7540 and Precision 7740 developer edition laptops, the next in the line of Dell's Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstations. From the announcement: "What started 5+ years ago as a blog post explaining how to get Ubuntu up and running on the Precision M3800 soon became a line of mobile workstations. With today's announcement, project Sputnik's Ubuntu-based mobile workstation line is now in its 4th generation. What's next for project Sputnik? Stay tuned..." See the announcement for specs and further details.

Mozilla's Alan Davidson, Vice President of Global Policy, Trust and Security, testified yesterday before the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy. Alan's testimony focused "on the need for better product design to protect privacy; getting privacy policy and regulation right; and the complexities of content policy issues. Against the backdrop of tech's numerous missteps over the last year, our mission-driven work is a clear alternative to much of what is wrong with the web today." See the Mozilla blog for more details, or read Alan's statement here.

Canonical yesterday announced the release of Multipass 0.7.0 beta. The announcement notes that "the big part is that we added a preview of VirtualBox support for Windows and macOS!" Highlights include improved concurrency, a new primary instance feature and more, along with several bug fixes. See the announcement for download links and how to provide feedback.

GParted (GNOME Partition Editor) has reached the 1.0 milestone after 15 years of development, now requiring gtkmm3 instead of gtkmm2. Softpedia News reports that this version features "support for the F2FS file system to read disk usage, grow, and check, the ability to enable online resizing of extended partitions, better refreshing of NTFS file systems, and port to Gtkmm 3 (GTK+3) and GNOME 3 yelp-tools." See the release notes for all the details.

Researchers have discovered new strain of malware targeting Linux machines. According to ZDNet, it "appears to have been created by Chinese hackers and has been used as a means to remotely control infected systems. Named HiddenWasp, this malware is composed of a user-mode rootkit, a trojan, and an initial deployment script." The ZDNet article quotes Nacho Sanmillan, a security researcher at Intezer Labs, "Unfortunately, I don't know what is the initial infection vector. Based on our research, it seems most likely that this malware was used in compromised systems already controlled by the attacker."

News Dell Laptops Ubuntu Mozilla Privacy Multipass VirtualBox GParted GNOME HiddenWasp malware Security
Categories: Linux News

KUnit and Assertions

Linux Journal - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 06:30
by Zack Brown

KUnit has been seeing a lot of use and development recently. It's the kernel's new unit test system, introduced late last year by Brendan Higgins. Its goal is to enable maintainers and other developers to test discrete portions of kernel code in a reliable and reproducible way. This is distinct from various forms of testing that rely on the behavior of the system as a whole and, thus, do not necessarily always produce identical results.

Lately, Brendan has submitted patches to make KUnit work conveniently with "assertions". Assertions are like conditionals, but they're used in situations where only one possible condition should be true. It shouldn't be possible for an assertion to be false. And so if it is, the assertion triggers some kind of handler that the developer then uses to help debug the reasons behind the failure.

Unit tests and assertions are to some extent in opposition to each other—a unit test could trigger an assertion when the intention was to exercise the code being tested. Likewise, if a unit test does trigger an assertion, it could mean that the underlying assumptions made by the unit test can't be relied on, and so the test itself may not be valid.

In light of this, Brendan submitted code for KUnit to be able to break out of a given test, if it triggered an assertion. The idea behind this was that the assertion rendered the test invalid, and KUnit should waste no time, but proceed to the next test in the queue.

There was nothing particularly controversial in this plan. The controversial part came when Frank Rowand noticed that Brendan had included a call to BUG(), in the event that the unit test failed to abort when instructed to do so. That particular situation never should happen, so Brendan figured it didn't make much difference whether there was a call to BUG() in there or not.

But Frank said, "You will just annoy Linus if you submit this." He pointed out that the BUG() was a means to produce a kernel panic and hang the entire system. In Linux, this was virtually never an acceptable solution to any problem.

At first, Brendan just shrugged, since as he saw it, KUnit was part of the kernel's testing infrastructure and, thus, never would be used on a production system. It was strictly for developers only. And in that case, he reasoned, what difference would it make to have a BUG() here and there between friends? Not to mention the fact that, as he put it, the condition producing the call to BUG() never should arise.

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Categories: Linux News

GNOME 3.33.2 Released, Krita 4.2 Debuts, RPi Camera Modules on RPi Zeros Power the Penguin Watch Project, Intrinsyc Switches Its Home Automation Dev Board from Android Things to Linux and Intel Hosting a Clear Linux OS Meetup Today

Linux Journal - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 07:18

News briefs for May 29, 2019.

GNOME 3.33.2 was released yesterday. This marks the second development release of the 3.34 GNOME desktop, which is expected to be available this fall. According to Softpedia News, "GNOME 3.33.2 adds huge performance improvements to GNOME Shell, a new Backgrounds panel in GNOME Control Center, countless enhancements to the Epiphany web browser and GNOME Calculator, rendering improvements for the Mutter window and composite manager with X.Org Server, and much more." See the Changelog for more details.

Krita 4.2 makes its debut. OMG Ubuntu! reports that the new version "features more than 1,000 bug fixes (!) as well as several new features, including support for HDR displays on Windows 10." See the Release Notes for more on all the new features.

Raspberry Pi Camera Modules mounted on Raspberry Pi Zeros provide the images for the Penguin Watch project. The raspberrypi.org blog post calls the project "citizen science on a big scale", noting that "thousands of people from all over the world come together on the internet to...click on penguins. By counting the birds in their colonies, users help penguinologists measure changes in the birds' behaviour and habitat, and in the larger ecosystem, thus assisting in their conservation.

Intrinsyc has switched its Snapdragon 212-based Open-Q 212 module and 212A Home Hub Development Kit from Android Things to Linux. From Linux Gizmos: "Intrinsyc's Open-Q 212A module and Development Kit, which were announced a year ago as along with several other Android Things production boards offered by Google, are being re-released as a Linux development platform for next-gen smart speaker and voice-controlled home hub products. The OpenEmbedded/Yocto Project based Linux stack brings improved support for the audio features on the $595 dev kit, which has been rebranded as the Open-Q 212A Home Hub Development Kit. There's also a new Bluetooth and 802.15.4 wireless add-on on the way."

Intel is hosting a Clear Linux OS meetup today in Santa Clara. The meetup will run from 3pm to 8:30pm and "is to introduce you to the Clear Linux Project and help you learn how to better use the Clear Linux OS in your everyday job. Light refreshments and dinner provided."

News GNOME Desktop Krita Raspberry Pi SBCs Embedded Intel Clear Linux
Categories: Linux News

Visualizing Science with ParaView

Linux Journal - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 07:00
by Joey Bernard

I'd like to introduce one of the more popular tools used for visualizing data within several scientific disciplines: ParaView. ParaView started as a joint project between Kitware, Inc., and Los Alamos National Laboratory back in 2000. The first public release was version 0.6, which came out in 2002. Since then, ParaView has become one of the most popular visualization packages for visualizing large data sets.

Because it's open source, it should be available in most, if not all, package repository systems. For example, in Debian-based distributions, you should be able to install it with the command:

sudo apt-get install paraview

Starting it the first time should give you an empty workspace, ready for you to get to work.

Figure 1. When you first start ParaView, you'll see a new, empty layout to start your visualization.

Two major parts populate the bulk of the window. The right-hand side is the main display pane where the visualization will appear. The left-hand pane shows the list of objects being visualized, along with their properties. At the top, there is a toolbar of the common functions in ParaView.

To play with ParaView, you'll need some data. If you don't have any data of your own to use, you can grab some data provided as part of the ParaView Tutorial. More documentation and sample scripts are also available there.

Let's assume you're going to use the sample data as you learn how to use ParaView. To load the data, click File→Open, and navigate to where you unpacked the sample data.

While you're here, take a quick look at the list of all of the file types ParaView supports. For example, you can load the data stored in the file can.ex2. You won't see anything displayed right away. In the bottom part of the left-hand side pane, you should see the properties for the newly loaded data file. For now, you can just accept the defaults and click the apply button. You then should see the data visualized in the main pane.

Figure 2. The data in the sample file can.ex2 renders as a half cylinder attached to a rectangle on the end.

Clicking and dragging on the image allows you to rotate the view, so you can see the entire object from various angles.

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Categories: Linux News

Kernel 5.2-rc2 Is Out, Ubuntu Security Team's New Podcast, the E Foundation's Refurbished Phones with /e/ OS Available Soon, Mozilla Announces Firefox 68 Beta 6 Test Day and PostgreSQL 12 Beta Released

Linux Journal - Tue, 05/28/2019 - 08:59

News briefs for May 28, 2019.

Kernel 5.2-rc2 was released over the weekend. Linus Torvalds writes: "Hey, what's to say? Fairly normal rc2, no real highlights - I think most of the diff is the SPDX updates. Who am I kidding? The highlight of the week was clearly Finland winning the ice hockey world championships. So once you sober up from the celebration, go test".

The Ubuntu Security Team announces its new Ubuntu Security Podcast. The weekly podcast will cover "the various security updates that have been published across the Ubuntu releases, describing the technical details of both the security vulnerabilities as well as the fixes involved". The podcast is available from iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or RSS.

You can send the E Foundation your phone if you'd like a Google-free Android. FOSS Bytes reports that with the E Foundation's /e/ OS, "the main goal of /e/ is to take away Google's control over the device. It doesn't include any Google apps that you'd normally find on Android phones. Other than UI tweaks and pre-loading all the essential apps like Browser, Contacts, Calendar, Messaging, it even has an App Store of its own. You can also have an /e/ account, and take advantage of its cloud storage service, mail, and search." The E Foundation will soon be selling refurbished devices with the OS here, and according to Foss Bytes, you will be able to send them your phone, and they will install it for around $50. Or, you can flash your phone yourself and install the beta ROM, which you can download from here. It currently supports 81 devices from Google, Motorola, Huawei, Samsung and more.

Mozilla announces Friday, May 31, 2019, will be a test day for Firefox 68 Beta 6. The test will focus on Activity Stream and Pin Firefox shortcut to taskbar for Windows 10. If you're interested, see this etherpad for instructions. No experience with testing is needed, and you can join Mozilla at #qa on IRC.

PostgreSQL 12 Beta was released last week. This is the first beta release of version 12, and it includes previews of all the new features that will be available in the final version of PostgreSQL 12. The announcement notes that "In the spirit of the open source PostgreSQL community, we strongly encourage you to test the new features of PostgreSQL 12 in your database systems to help us eliminate any bugs or other issues that may exist. While we do not advise you to run PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 in your production environments, we encourage you to find ways to run your typical application workloads against this beta release." See the Beta Testing Page for more information.

News kernel Ubuntu Security /e/ Android Google Mozilla Firefox PostgreSQL
Categories: Linux News

Breaking Up Apache Log Files for Analysis

Linux Journal - Mon, 05/27/2019 - 06:00
by Dave Taylor

Dave tackles analysis of the ugly Apache web server log.

I know, in my last article I promised I'd jump back into the mail merge program I started building a while back. Since I'm having some hiccups with my AskDaveTaylor.com web server, however, I'm going to claim editorial privilege and bump that yet again.

What I need to do is be able to process Apache log files and isolate specific problems and glitches that are being encountered—a perfect use for a shell script. In fact, I have a script of this nature that offers basic analytics in my book Wicked Cool Shell Scripts from O'Reilly, but this is a bit more specific.

Oh Those Ugly Log Files

To start, let's take a glance at a few lines out of the latest log file for the site:

$ head sslaccesslog_askdavetaylor.com_3_8_2019 18.144.59.52 - - [08/Mar/2019:06:10:09 -0600] "GET /wp-content/ ↪themes/jumpstart/framework/assets/js/nivo.min.js?ver=3.2 ↪HTTP/1.1" 200 3074 "https://www.askdavetaylor.com/how-to-play-dvd-free-windows- ↪10-win10/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) ↪AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ ↪64.0.3282.140 Safari/537.36 Edge/18.17763 X-Middleton/1" ↪52.53.151.37 - - [08/Mar/2019:06:10:09 -0600] "GET ↪/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.js?ver=1.12.4 HTTP/1.1" ↪200 33766 "https://www.askdavetaylor.com/how-to-play ↪-dvd-free-windows-10-win10/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT ↪10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) ↪Chrome/64.0.3282.140 Safari/537.36 Edge/18.17763 ↪X-Middleton/1" 18.144.59.52 - - [08/Mar/2019:06:10:09 ↪-0600] "GET /wp-content/plugins/google-analytics-for- ↪wordpress/assets/js/frontend.min.js?ver=7.4.2 HTTP/1.1" ↪200 2544 "https://www.askdavetaylor.com/how-to-play ↪-dvd-free-windows-10-win10/" ↪"Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) ↪AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) ↪Chrome/64.0.3282.140 Safari/537.36 Edge/18.17763 ↪X-Middleton/1"

It's big and ugly, right? Okay, then let's just isolate a single entry to see how it's structured:

18.144.59.52 - - [08/Mar/2019:06:10:09 -0600] "GET ↪/wp-content/themes/jumpstart/framework/assets/js/ ↪nivo.min.js?ver=3.2 HTTP/1.1" 200 3074 "https://www.askdavetaylor.com/how-to-play-dvd-free-windows- ↪10-win10/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/64.0.3282.140 ↪Safari/537.36 Edge/18.17763 X-Middleton/1"

That's still obfuscated enough to kick off a migraine!

Fortunately, the Apache website has a somewhat clearer explanation of what's known as the custom log file format that's in use on my server. Of course, it's described in a way that only a programmer could love:

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Categories: Linux News

Build Your Own Internet Radio Receiver

Linux Journal - Mon, 05/27/2019 - 06:00
by Nick Tufillaro

Tune in to communities around the world with the push of a button.

When I get home at night, I like to tune into the world with the push of a button. I've lived in lots of different places—from Dunedin, New Zealand, to Santa Fe, New Mexico—and in each town, I've come to love a radio station (usually a community radio station) that embodies the spirit of the place. With the push of a button, I can get a bit back in sync with each of these places and also visit new communities, thanks to internet radio.

Why build your own internet radio receiver? One option, of course, is simply to use an app for a receiver. However, I've found that the most common apps don't keep their focus on the task at hand, and are increasingly distracted by offering additional social-networking services. And besides, I want to listen now. I don't want to check into my computer or phone, log in yet again, and endure the stress of recalling YAPW (Yet Another PassWord). I've also found that the current offering of internet radio boxes falls short of my expectations. Like I said, I've lived in a lot of places—more than two or four or eight. I want a lot of buttons, so I can tune in to a radio station with just one gesture. Finally, I've noticed that streams are increasingly problematic if I don't go directly to the source. Often, streams chosen through a "middle man" start with an ad or blurb that is tacked on as a preamble. Or sometimes the "middle man" might tie me to a stream of lower audio quality than the best being served up.

So, I turned to building my own internet radio receiver—one with lots of buttons that allow me to "tune in" without being too pushy. In this article, I share my experience. In principle, it should be easy—you just need a Linux distro, a ship to sail her on and an external key pad for a rudder. In practice, it's not too hard, but there are a few obstacles along the course that I hope to help you navigate.

My recipe list included the following:

  1. A used notebook with an ultra low voltage (Core 2 Duo) processor.
  2. An audio interface with an optical TOSLINK.
  3. pyradio: an open-source Python radio program.
  4. An external keypad.

Figure 1. My Hardware Setup

Why a notebook and not a Raspberry Pi or ship of a similar ilk? Mostly due to time—my time in particular. It's not too hard to find a high quality notebook about ten years old for about $50, so the cost is really not that different, and I find the development platform to be much quicker.

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Categories: Linux News

Blindered by the GDPR

Linux Journal - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 06:58
by Doc Searls

I usually don't like new tech regulations.

One reason is that technology changes so fast that new regulations tend to protect yesterday from last Thursday.

Another reason is that lawmakers tend to know little or nothing about tech. One former high U.S. government official once told a small group of us, roughly, "There are two things almost nobody in Congress understands. One is technology and the other is economics. So good luck."

Still, I had high hopes for the GDPR (the EU's General Data Protection Regulation), which famously went into effect one year ago. I suggested that we re-brand 25 May "Privmas Day" (hashtag #privmas), since I expected the GDPR would go far toward protecting personal privacy online, which prior to that date had been approximately nil. Back in 2017, I said (onstage, in front of thousands) the GDPR would be "an extinction event for  adtech in Europe."

Here in Linux Journal, I put up  an FUQ for the GDPR (the U meaning "Unanswered"), meant to provide guidance toward new developments that could give each of us many new forms of agency online, as well as some privacy. Because I really did expect the GDPR to encourage both.

Alas, mostly it hasn't. Worse, most of its early effects have been negative. For example,

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Categories: Linux News

Episode 19: Democratizing Cybersecurity

Linux Journal - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 09:18
Your browser does not support the audio element. Reality 2.0 - Episode 19: Democratizing Cybersecurity

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Alex Gounares of Polyverse Linux about Cybersecurity for everyone.

Categories: Linux News

ZFS On Linux 0.8 Released, BlackArch Linux 2019.06.01 Now Available, Canonical Releases Updated intel-microcode Firmware, Peppermint 10 Is Out, and Guardian Digital Celebrates 20 Years of Email Security with the Power of Open Source

Linux Journal - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:34

News briefs for May 24, 2019.

ZFS On Linux 0.8 has been released. This new version supports up through the 5.1 stable series. Phoronix reports that "ZFS On Linux 0.8 adds native encryption support as well as raw encrypted ZFS send/receive support. Other prominent feature additions for this ZFS Linux file-system code include support for device removal, pool checkpoints, TRIM/discard for solid-state drives is finally here, pool initialize support, Python 3 compatibility with its tools, the ability to tap the Linux kernel's direct I/O interfaces, various performance improvements, and much more." See GitHub for more details.

BlackArch Linux 2019.06.01 is now available. This version of the Arch-based distro for penetration testing and security researchers includes more than 150 new tools, updated vim plugins, Linux kernel 5.1.4, updated all system packages and much more. You can download ISOs or OVA images here.

Canonical has released updated intel-microcode firmware in response to new MDS security vulnerabilities discovered on systems running Intel Cherry Trail and Intel Bay Trail processors. According to Softpedia News, "If you are using Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo), Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), or Ubuntu 14.04 ESM (Trusty Tahr) on a computer powered by an Intel CPU, you must update the intel-microcode packages to version 3.20190514.0 as soon as possible, as well as to install the latest available Linux kernel package for your Ubuntu version."

Peppermint 10 was released recently. The main changes include kernel 4.18.0-18 (which will eventually roll onto the 5.xx kernel automatically), updated xorg stack, proprietary NVIDIA drivers are now installed automatically, and more. See the full release notes for more information. You can download Peppermint from here.

Guardian Digital, the open-source email security provider, is celebrating "20 years of revolutionizing email security using the power of Open Source". In honor of this anniversary, it is "offering 20% off EnGarde Email Security Gateway to businesses that sign up for a free trial during June 2019." Go here for more information on the Guardian Digital EnGarde Email Security Gateway.

News ZFS On Linux BlackArch Linux Security Canonical Intel Ubuntu Peppermint email Guardian Digital
Categories: Linux News
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