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Firefox 65.0 Released, CO.LAB to Host First "Global Experience" at the Tate Modern, Electric Guitar with a Built-In RPi Synthesizer, Debian's Reproducible Builds Report and Update on Fedora's New Privacy System for User Stats

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 09:59

News briefs for January 29, 2019.

Firefox 65.0 was released to Channel users today. New features include enhanced tracking protection, better experience for multilingual users, support for HandOff on macOS, better video streaming for Windows users, and improved performance and web compatibility, with support for the WebP image format. Go here to download Firefox.

CO.LAB to host its first "global experience" at the Tate Modern in London. On Wednesday, "students from two London schools will participate in an all-day session learning a bit about coding, a bit about music and a lot about open source. The program is a collaboration between Red Hat and Femi Owolade-Coombes, better known as Hacker Femo. Femi, a 13-year-old coder known for his Young Coder Workshops in London, worked with us to provide a curriculum that extends the capabilities of the micro:bit, a pocket-sized codeable computer of which one million were delivered to England and Wales year 7 students in 2016. Differing from previous CO.LAB events, the curriculum will be led by Femi, and mentors will be both Red Hat experts and middle school girls from the Young Coders program." For more info about Red Hat's CO.LAB initiative, go here.

Lucern Custom Instruments from the UK teamed up with Tracktion Corporation of Seattle to create Spirit Animal, an electric guitar with a Raspberry Pi synthesizer built in. According to the Raspberry Pi Blog, the guitar "boasts an onboard Li-ion battery granting about 8 hours of play time, and a standard 1/4" audio jack for connecting to an amp. To permit screen-sharing, updates, and control via SSH, the guitar allows access to the Pi's Ethernet port and wireless functionality." See also the Gear News website and the Lucern Instruments Facebook page for more information.

Debian published its Reproducible Builds report for the past week. There are many updates of note, including "There was considerable progress towards making the Debian Installer images reproducible with a number of rounds of code review, a subsequent merge of Chris Lamb's merge request and the closing of the corresponding bug report for the time being, pending further testing."

Fedora's new privacy system for user statistics is making progress. Phoronix reports that "Earlier this month there was a change proposal announced that would give Fedora system's a new unique UUID tracking identifier to count systems. The intention isn't to track users but rather to provide more statistics about the Fedora install base compared to the current system that is just tracking unique IP addresses, but a revised proposal would improve the privacy while still offering up much of the same statistics potential." The revised proposal will work like this: "Rather than relying upon a unique identifier that is transmitted to the Fedora update servers, the revised proposal is focusing upon just transmitting the 'variant' (indicating if you are running Fedora Workstation or one of the other spins) and then a new 'countme' variable. That countme variable would be managed client-side and under current thinking would increment weekly to reflect the age of the Fedora system: that would allow Fedora to see the age of the systems, new vs. updating installs to new releases, the number of users just running in Docker/cloud/other short-lived instances, and other metrics but without relying upon a per-system UUID."

News Firefox Privacy Fedora Education Raspberry Pi Music CO.LAB Red Hat Debian ReproducibleBuilds
Categories: Linux News

FOSS Project Spotlight:, an Open-Source Over-the-Air Software Update Manager for IoT Devices

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/29/2019 - 08:00
by Ralph Nguyen

Mender is an open-source (Apache 2.0) project to address over-the-air (OTA) software update management for Linux-based IoT devices. When we researched this five years ago, there were no open-source end-to-end (device-to-server) options to manage the lifecycle of OTA updates for connected devices. Some open-source options were available, but they either had a proprietary management server, or they were client-only and required integration with another back-end server.

In short, the options available to IoT device-makers either had vendor lock-in or simply were too kludgy. Thus, we created Mender, which has two components: the runtime client integrated into the device and the management server with an intuitive user interface to manage updates at scale for large fleets.

Figure 1. The Mender Server's User Interface

We found in our initial research phase that many embedded systems developers created their own remote update mechanism, which usually took risky shortcuts around security and robustness. Embedded development traditionally has been a very diverse space, and the lack of technology standardization generates a lot of custom work for device-makers. Unlike web development and accepted standards, such as the LAMP stack, device-makers had to create much of their stack. This includes the fundamental capability of remote updates. And, most developers had no other choice but to build their own, given how exotic hardware and OS combinations could be for connected devices. We created a community repository called Mender Hub to allow developers to create and reuse tested and validated integrations to enable OTA updates for any combination of hardware and OS.

A consequence of the growth of IoT devices is the increase of easy targets for malicious actors, evident in the proliferation of malware targeting poorly secured IoT devices. There have been an increasing number of malware attacks infecting poorly secured connected devices. The 2016 Dyn DDoS attack was one of the clearest examples of the ramifications of poorly secured IoT devices, which was executed through the Mirai malware infecting a large number of IoT devices and enslaved them into a botnet. The IoT botnet attack caused major outages across internet platforms and services, including Amazon, GitHub and Netflix.

The increasing connectivity of cars, medical devices and more is making IoT security a serious public health issue. We created Mender to help with baseline security-hardening, and security patching is fundamental. But remote updates is quite challenging and has a lot of nuances to consider to establish a secure and robust OTA process.

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Categories: Linux News

Episode 14: Digital Sovereignty

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/28/2019 - 14:21
Your browser does not support the audio element. Reality 2.0 - Episode 14: Digital Sovereignty

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Elizabeth Renieris about digital identity, ethics, boiled frogs, and horses with lasers.

Categories: Linux News

Raspberry Pi Launches Computer Module 3+, MakuluLinux Core Is Now Live, Nextcloud Introduces Virtual Drive, Linux 5.0-rc4 Is Out and LXQt 0.14.0 Released

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/28/2019 - 09:36

News briefs for January 28, 2019.

Raspberry Pi announces its Computer Module 3+ (CM3+) is now available for $25. The CM3+ is the "newest version of our flexible board for industrial applications offers over ten times the ARM performance, twice the RAM capacity, and up to eight times the Flash capacity of the original Compute Module." The company also has released a refreshed Compute Module Development kit. The CM3+ will be available until at least January 2026.

MakuluLinux Core is now live. This marks the first release for 2019, and the OS is designed for "extreme ease of use and comfort". With this version, "The Optional Gesture System will let users navigate their computers with barely even having to touch a keyboard if that is their wish. The more Traditional users don't have to enable gestures, they can simply use the operating system in much the same way they are used to navigating Linux. Core Also offers many 'Instant Access' features like a one click wallpaper changer or one click 3D option, easily control every aspect of your OS with a simply few clicks." Go here for download links and more details.

Nextcloud introduces a Virtual Drive in the Nextcloud Desktop Client. According to the press release, the virtual drive "replaces the traditional files in a locally synchronized folder with a virtual view on all files the user has, available on demand and with a smart caching strategy." At this time, the virtual drive is available as a tech preview and is not recommended for daily use. In addition, Nextcloud today announced "it more than doubled its customer base amidst massive growth of website visits and interest in compliance solutions to secure and control data during the course of 2018." It also is launching a new Customer Advisory Board, which will be kickstarting on March 12, 2019, on Enterprise Day in Stuttgart.

Linux 5.0-rc4 is out. Linus writes that "things look pretty normal, and nothing huge stands out." He also mentions that "Size-wise, rc4 has a bit more commits that the last few releases have had at this point, but it's not even remotely a new record size, and not all that much of an outlier anyway. I _do_ hope that things will start to calm down for rc5 onwards."

The LXQt team recently released LXQt 0.14.0, the Lightweight Qt Desktop Environment. With this release working toward LXQt 1.0.0, new features include split view is added to pcmanfm-qt, the "Desktop can have icons like Computer, Network, User-Dir and Trash", "custom terminal margins and history-based tab switching are added to qterminal" and more. See the release notes for all the changes, and you can download it from or GitHub.

News Raspberry Pi Embedded MakuluLinux Nextcloud kernel LXQt Distributions Desktop
Categories: Linux News

Data Privacy Year

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/28/2019 - 04:00
by Doc Searls

Today is Data Privacy Day, known in Europe as Data Protection Day.

It's not new. Though created in 2006, it commemorates the Council of Europe treaty creating "the first binding international instrument which protects the individual against abuses which may accompany the collection and processing of personal data and which seeks to regulate at the same time the transfrontier flow of personal data." The treaty was signed on January 28, 1981, a date when the ancestors of today's PCs were still in the wombs of IBM and Apple. Hats off to Eurocrats who were decades ahead of a problem that's worse than ever.

Clearly, a day isn't enough—not when most humans are still naked as newborns in the digital world, and not much better equipped to protect and project their privacy there.

See, like nature in the physical world, the digital world came without privacy. But while we've had millennia to make privacy meaningful in the physical world, we've had only a few decades here in the virtual one where you're reading this now. And so far we've failed.

Sure, most of us alpha geeks are adept at guarding our private lives and spaces in the digital world, but let's face it, that world is a jungle where the apex predators are vampires living off the blood of personal data, and the sum of victims rounds to everybody.

So, although we salute the organizations celebrating this day, we are looking instead at the gigantic pile of work to be done before humans begin to enjoy the same degrees of personal privacy online as they've had in the offline world since the invention of clothing and shelter.

That work is the job of the world's hackers, which is us. And that's why we're declaring 2019 Data Privacy Year. Because a year should be enough at least to start making real progress toward personal data privacy online.

It should help to know two things:

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Categories: Linux News

Dell Launches New XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition Laptop with Ubuntu Preloaded, Purism Announces Its PureOS Store to Use Flatpak, openSUSE Tumbleweed's Latest Snapshots, Google Urged Less Protection for Activist Employees and DNS Hijacking Attacks

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/25/2019 - 09:41

News briefs for January 25, 2019.

Dell launched its new XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition laptop, which runs Ubuntu out of the box. According to Forbes, highlights include Intel 8th generation i3, i5 and i7 processors; Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preloaded; InfinityEdge display with top camera placement; and much more. See for more information.

Purism yesterday announced that its free ecosystem of desktop and mobile apps for Librem products will "revolve around Flatpak, which we believe is the best technology for what we want to achieve today. We are eager to partner with the Flatpak community, and hope to rapidly build an app store centered around our core values—Free Software and Reproducible Builds." In addition, Purism announced that the Lollypop music player will be available for the Librem 5 phone and Librem laptops (or any device running PureOS) soon in Purism's PureOS Store.

openSUSE Tumbleweed recently received two new snapshots: 20190121 includes updates of KDE Applications 18.12.1 and Frameworks 5.54.0, along with several bug fixes, and 20190115 sports kernel 4.20.0 and Thunderbird 60.4.0, as well as a grep update, several performance improvements and more.

Google urged less protection for activist workers. According to Bloomberg, "While Google publicly supported employees who protested company policies, it quietly asked the government to narrow the right to organize over work email." Evidently, counter to Obama-era protections that "broadened employees' rights to use their workplace email system to organize around issues on the job", in filings in 2017 and 2018, "Google's attorneys wrote that the 2014 standard should be overruled' and a George W. Bush-era precedent—allowing companies to ban organizing on their employee email systems—should be reinstated."

The US Department of Homeland Security published a security alert earlier this week regarding recent DNS hijacking attacks coming out of Iran. ZDNet reports that the emergency directive "government agencies to audit DNS records for unauthorized edits, change passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication for all accounts through which DNS records can be managed". It also "urges government IT personnel to monitor Certificate Transparency (CT) logs for newly-issued TLS certificates that have been issued for government domains, but which have not been requested by government workers".

News Dell Laptops Ubuntu Purism Flatpak Google Security DNS
Categories: Linux News

Redefining the Landscape of System Monitoring: an Interview with Pulseway's Founder

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/25/2019 - 08:15
by Petros Koutoupis

Pulseway provides a product of the same name that's built to enable IT personnel and give them the ability to monitor, manage and automate their systems and the tasks or applications that they host. And, the best part is that they can do all of these things anywhere and everywhere, from their pockets. In fact, I wrote about Pulseway once before, so check out that article for an introduction.

Pulseway is the Swiss Army knife of IT management, all accessible from your fingertips. You don't need to be glued to physical computer or connected to your employer's network. You are able to manage everything from either a web browser or mobile device—all you need is internet access.

I recently sat down with the founder and CEO of Pulseway, Marius Mihale, to ask him not only about exciting new things going on with the company, but also to find out where the company is heading.

Petros Koutoupis: Please, tell us a bit about yourself.

Marius Mihale: I am the Founder and CEO of Pulseway. I created both the software and solution about eight years ago. I initially designed the product with the goal of making the lives of IT administrators easier. It all started when I was attempting to shut down a server remotely but could not find a mobile application to aid me in this. This is how Pulseway was born. And while users can also access the same administration functions via a web browser and through our website, our core application is the mobile app: you can monitor Windows, Linux and Mac OS alongside various applications from your mobile device and take the necessary actions as they are needed.

PK: What has the demand been for such a solution?

MM: In 2011, we released a trial version of our product and almost immediately received a lot of wonderful feedback from the industry. It was this feedback that helped us shape the application we have today. Today, there are more than 300K registered free user accounts and more than 4,500 paid business and managed service provider (MSP) accounts worldwide—more specially, in both Europe and the United States.

PK: How has the IT management landscape evolved in the past year?

MM: Most of the actions we take and the features we implement are based on the needs of our users. We pay careful attention to our customer feedback and requests. And we implement a lot of this feedback, with simplicity in mind.

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Categories: Linux News

openSUSE's Kubic Distro Is Now a Certified Kubernetes Distribution, ModemManager 1.10 Released, The Linux Foundation Announces LF Edge, Creative Commons and the Cleveland Museum of Art and Kexi 3.2 Beta Ships

Linux Journal - Thu, 01/24/2019 - 09:36

News briefs for January 24, 2019.

openSUSE's Kubic team announced that the Kubic distribution is now a Certified Kubernetes Distribution, making it the "first open source Kubernetes distribution to be certified using the CRI-O container runtime". The Cloud Native Computing Foundation validates the Kubernetes Conformance Certifications to ensure that "versions, APIs, and such are all correct, present, and working as expected so users and developers can be assured their Kubernetes-based solutions will work with ease, now and into the future."

Modem Manager 1.10 has been released. Phoronix reports that this new version of the project for controlling mobile broadband devices/connections "improvements for fwupd integration, support for parallel enable/disable calls to the modem interface, support for exposing the network Protocol COnfiguration Options (PCO), allowing to configure the initial LTE default bearer settings, LTE Tracking Area Code (TAC) in 3GPP location information, support for injecting assistance data into the GNSS engine, fixes and improvements to voice call management, new MBIM features, the Dell plug-in now supports XMM-based devices and the DW5821e, and other new modem support". For the full list of changes, see the Git commit.

The Linux Foundation this morning announced LF Edge, an "umbrella organization to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system". From the press release: "LF Edge includes Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, and Open Glossary of Edge Computing, formerly stand-alone projects at The Linux Foundation. The initiative also includes a new project contributed by Samsung Electronics, which will create a hub for real-time data collected through smart home devices, and another project from ZEDEDA, which is contributing a new agnostic standard edge architecture."

Creative Commons yesterday announced that 30,000 high-quality digital images from the Cleveland Museum of Art are now available. The free and open digital images are now under the CC0 and available via their API. The "CC0 allows anyone to use, re-use, and remix a work without restriction." Museum Director William M. Griswold said "Open Access with Creative Commons will provide countless new opportunities to engage with works of art in our collection. With this move, we have transformed not only access to the CMA's collection, but also its usability—inside as well as outside the walls of our museum."

Kexi 3.2 Beta shipped earlier this week, with a focus on "improving stability of KEXI and KEXI frameworks, KDb, KProperty, KReport". Date/time support was greatly improved with this release, and there are several bug-fixes. Documentation for the frameworks also has been improved and is available here.

News openSUSE Kubic Kubernetes Cloud Native Computing Foundation ModemManager The Linux Foundation Edge Computing creative commons Kexi
Categories: Linux News

Introductory Go Programming Tutorial

Linux Journal - Thu, 01/24/2019 - 08:00
by Jay Ts

How to get started with this useful new programming language.

You've probably heard of Go. Like any new programming language, it took a while to mature and stabilize to the point where it became useful for production applications. Nowadays, Go is a well established language that is used in web development, writing DevOps tools, network programming and databases. It was used to write Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform and Ethereum. Go is accelerating in popularity, with adoption increasing by 76% in 2017, and there now are Go user groups and Go conferences. Whether you want to add to your professional skills or are just interested in learning a new programming language, you should check it out.

Go History

A team of three programmers at Google created Go: Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike and Ken Thompson. The team decided to create Go because they were frustrated with C++ and Java, which through the years have become cumbersome and clumsy to work with. They wanted to bring enjoyment and productivity back to programming.

The three have impressive accomplishments. Griesemer worked on Google's ultra-fast V8 JavaScript engine used in the Chrome web browser, Node.js JavaScript runtime environment and elsewhere. Pike and Thompson were part of the original Bell Labs team that created UNIX, the C language and UNIX utilities, which led to the development of the GNU utilities and Linux. Thompson wrote the very first version of UNIX and created the B programming language, upon which C was based. Later, Thompson and Pike worked on the Plan 9 operating system team, and they also worked together to define the UTF-8 character encoding.

Why Go?

Go has the safety of static typing and garbage collection along with the speed of a compiled language. With other languages, "compiled" and "garbage collection" are associated with waiting around for the compiler to finish and then getting programs that run slowly. But Go has a lightning-fast compiler that makes compile times barely noticeable and a modern, ultra-efficient garbage collector. You get fast compile times along with fast programs. Go has concise syntax and grammar with few keywords, giving Go the simplicity and fun of dynamically typed interpreted languages like Python, Ruby and JavaScript.

The idea of Go's design is to have the best parts of many languages. At first, Go looks a lot like a hybrid of C and Pascal (both of which are successors to Algol 60), but looking closer, you will find ideas taken from many other languages as well.

Go is designed to be a simple compiled language that is easy to use, while allowing concisely written programs that run efficiently. Go lacks extraneous features, so it's easy to program fluently, without needing to refer to language documentation while programming. Programming in Go is fast, fun and productive.

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Categories: Linux News

Security Vulnerability Found in APT, Wine 4.0 Release, GPU Acceleration for Linux Apps on Chrome OS, Kickstarter Campaign for Polished Game Creation Tutorials for the Godot Free Game Engine, TUXEDO Computers Launch Two New High-Performance Laptops

Linux Journal - Wed, 01/23/2019 - 09:52

News briefs for January 23, 2019.

All Debian and Ubuntu users (as well as users of their derivatives, such as Linux Mint, Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu) should update APT immediately. Softpedia News reports that Max Justicz discovered a vulnerability in the APT package that could "allow a remote attacker to trick APT into installing malicious packages that pose as valid ones, but which could be used for code execution with administrative (root) privileges after installation to gain control of the vulnerable machine." See CVE-2019-3462 for the details.

Wine 4.0 was released, representing a year of development and more than 6,000 changes. The main highlights include Vulkan support, Direct3D 12 support, game controller support and High-DPI support on Android. You can get the source here, or go here for binaries. See the release notes for more information.

GPU acceleration for Linux apps on Chrome OS is happening. According to IoT Gadgets, "Chromebooks with 'Eve' and 'Nami' baseboard should now, or very soon, be able to try GPU hardware acceleration." The article notes that "GPU acceleration for Linux apps should hit the Chrome OS Dev Channel soon. While it's not expected to run the most intense of games smoothly, some simpler games, and apps like photo/video editor should work better once given the full access to GPU."

Nathan Lovato from the Krita team is launching a Kickstarter "to create your own games with Godot, the free game engine". The campaign is to create "polished game creation tutorials" for the free 2D and 3D Godot game engine. With your pledge, they will create "free and accessible video series for the official Godot manual" and "a premium course to learn more advanced techniques that you will get as a Kickstarter reward". In addition, they plan to "produce a minimum of 60 high-quality video tutorials, on top of the Free game demos."

TUXEDO Computers announced the new XUX508 and XUX708 (XUX stands for Xtreme User Xperience) high-performance laptops. These gaming laptops have "a desktop processor that can be configured up to Intel's i7-9700K and i9-9900K. In addition, a GeForce GTX graphics card can be used as a 1060, 1070, or 1080 model from NVIDIA. They also feature a sophisticated cooling system with two extra-large fans and two additional synchronized heatpipes". Other specs include 15.6 and 17.3 inch displays (matt/anti-reflective), space for up to 64GB of RAM, two large 2.5" hard drives and two M.2 NVMe SSDs, Soundsystem of Onkyo 2.0 and SOUND BLASTER X-FI MB5 and USB 3.1 Typ-C incl. Thunderbolt 3. Plus, "all components are easy to maintain, clean or replace after removing the underside of the housing". Note: "TUXEDO Computers does not offer its customers standard Linux PCs, but systems specially designed for the customer. These are individually built computers/PCs and notebooks that are fully compatible with Linux and Windows."

News Security Debian Ubuntu Distributions Wine Chrome OS Krita gaming Tuxedo Computers Hardware
Categories: Linux News

Is Privacy a Right?

Linux Journal - Wed, 01/23/2019 - 08:00
by Doc Searls

Good question.

That's what people say when they don't have an answer yet.

And such is the case with the question in the headline.

I started wondering about it following  a tweeted response by Raouf Eldeeb (@raouf777) to Privacy is Personal:

It is also a fundamental right, not a privilege to be bestowed on anyone. The individual should have the right to determine the extent of his privacy.

While I agreed automatically with both of Raouf's points, I began to wonder about all kinds of rights, including privacy. That's because I was haunted by what Yuval Noah Harari says about rights in his book Sapiens—A Brief History of Humankind (Harper, 2011, 2104):

Sapiens rule the world, because we are the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers….We cooperate effectively with strangers because we believe in things like gods, nations, money and human rights. Yet none of these things exists outside the stories that people invent and tell one another. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money and no human rights—except in the common imagination of human beings….

That's in Chapter 2. In Chapter 6, he also challenges the concept of equality, which informs much of our thinking and lawmaking around rights:

Is there any objective reality, outside the human imagination, in which we are truly equal? Are all humans equal to one another biologically? … Equally, there is no such thing as rights in biology. There are only organs, abilities and characteristics. Birds fly not because they have a right to fly, but because they have wings.

And yet, while Harari says rights are a collection of stories we tell ourselves, he also credits the role of belief in rights for holding civilization together and for advancing it. He points out, for example, that the story of rights America's founders told in the Declaration of Independence was a helluva lot more civilized than the Code of Hammurabi, which applied the death penalty to a huge roster of crimes (including lying), and codified women and slaves as forms of property. Harari also adds that the United States "would not have lasted 250 years if the majority of presidents and congressmen failed to believe in human rights". 

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Categories: Linux News

Canonical Announces Ubuntu Core 18 for IoT, Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.2 Now Available, Parrot 4.5 Officially Released, HP Launching Two New Chromebooks for Schools and Google Hit with $57 Million GDPR Fine

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 09:45

News briefs for January 22, 2019.

Canonical announced the release of Ubuntu Core 18 "for secure, reliable IoT devices" this morning. The Canonical blog notes that "Immutable, digitally signed snaps ensure that devices built with Ubuntu Core are resistant to corruption or tampering. Any component can be verified at any time." In addition, "The attack surface of Ubuntu Core has been minimized, with very few packages installed in the base OS, reducing the size and frequency of security updates and providing more storage for applications and data." Ubuntu Core also "enables a new class of app-centric things, which can inherit apps from the broader Ubuntu and Snapcraft ecosystems or build unique and exclusive applications that are specific to a brand or model." You can download it from here.

Red Hat today announced that Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.2 is now generally available. This new version of the open-source Java EE 8-compliant application server "brings greater compliance with Java Enterprise Edition (EE) 8, JDK 11/Java SE 11, and further support for Microsoft Windows and enterprise Java microservices. With this release, Red Hat is continuing our commitment to Java EE 8 and Jakarta EE, the new home for cloud-native Java, a community-driven specification under the Eclipse Foundation." See the JBoss EAP 7.2 documentation for more information.

Parrot 4.5 was officially released yesterday with some major changes. Parrot 4.5 no longer provides live ISO files for the i386 architecture. With this version, Parrot has released "desktop virtual appliances in the OVA format that can be imported in VirtualBox, VMware and other famous virtualization environments". The default kernel is 4.19, and Parrot plans to support two branches: a stable kernel and a testing kernel, and it will provide updates for both. In addition, Parrot includes recently released Metasploit 5.0, that Parrot "immediately imported and tested". There are many more updates, so be sure to see the release notes for details and download links.

HP is releasing two new Chromebooks for schools. Engadget reports that the Chromebook x360 11 G2 Education Edition is an 11.6" update of HP's G1 convertible tablet that has options for a Wacom pen and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. It also sports "a much newer 1.1GHz Celeron chip, up to 8GB of RAM (not so common in budget Chromebooks) and as much as 64GB of expandable storage". HP also is launching the Chromebook 11 G7 Education Edition, which is an 11.6" touchscreen laptop with the same storage options as the Chromebook x360. HP plans to ship both Chromebooks in April, and "There's no listed pricing, but it's safe to say you're not buying one in a store. This is for institutions that will likely be purchasing in bulk, and you're more likely to see it in a kid's backpack than anywhere else."

Google is being slapped with a $57 million GDPR fine. According to BGR, "France's data protection authority has announced a $57 million fine against Google in the first such GDPR penalty levied against a US technology company. In a statement explaining the action, the French agency known as the CNIL noted that the fine is a result of deficiencies that include Google not being clear enough about the way user data is handled to present personalized ads." From the CNIL's statement: "the infringements observed deprive the users of essential guarantees regarding processing operations that can reveal important parts of their private life since they are based on a huge amount of data, a wide variety of services and almost unlimited possible combinations." The BGR article also notes that Google hasn't yet decided whether to appeal.

News Canonical Ubuntu Core Embedded IOT Red Hat Java Jakarta Eclipse Parrot Metasploit Security Distributions HP Chromebooks Google GDPR Privacy
Categories: Linux News

Command-Line Tip: Put Down the Pipe

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 07:30
by Kyle Rankin

Learn a few techniques for avoiding the pipe and making your command-line commands more efficient.

Anyone who uses the command line would acknowledge how powerful the pipe is. Because of the pipe, you can take the output from one command and feed it to another command as input. What's more, you can chain one command after another until you have exactly the output you want.

Pipes are powerful, but people also tend to overuse them. Although it's not necessarily wrong to do so, and it may not even be less efficient, it does make your commands more complicated. More important though, it also wastes keystrokes! Here I highlight a few examples where pipes are commonly used but aren't necessary.

Stop Putting Your Cat in Your Pipe

One of the most common overuses of the pipe is in conjunction with cat. The cat command concatenates multiple files from input into a single output, but it has become the overworked workhorse for piped commands. You often will find people using cat just to output the contents of a single file so they can feed it into a pipe. Here's the most common example:

cat file | grep "foo"

Far too often, if people want to find out whether a file contains a particular pattern, they'll cat the file piped into a grep command. This works, but grep can take a filename as an argument directly, so you can replace the above command with:

grep "foo" file

The next most common overuse of cat is when you want to sort the output from one or more files:

cat file1 file2 | sort | uniq

Like with grep, sort supports multiple files as arguments, so you can replace the above with:

sort file1 file2 | uniq

In general, every time you find yourself catting a file into a pipe, re-examine the piped command and see whether it can accept files directly as input first either as direct arguments or as STDIN redirection. For instance, both sort and grep can accept files as arguments as you saw earlier, but if they couldn't, you could achieve the same thing with redirection:

sort < file1 file2 | uniq grep "foo" < file Remove Files without xargs

The xargs command is very powerful on the command line—in particular, when piped to from the find command. Often you'll use the find command to pick out files that have a certain criteria. Once you have identified those files, you naturally want to pipe that output to some command to operate on them. What you'll eventually discover is that commands often have upper limits on the number of arguments they can accept.

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Categories: Linux News

Orange Pi 3 SBC Now Available, New Malware Targeting Linux Servers to Mine Cryptocurrency, Chrome OS 73 for the Dev Channel Released, Inkscape Nearing Version 1.0 Milestone and Linux 5.0-rc3 Is Out

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 09:24

News briefs for January 21, 2019.

Orange Pi 3 SBC is now available. Linux Gizmos reports that the open-source hardware platform, Allwinner H6-based Orange Pi 3 SBC is now available for $30, or for $40 with 2GB of RAM and 8GB eMMC. Also, other highlights include "GbE, HDMI 2.0, 4x USB 3.0, WiFi-ac, and mini-PCIe." For more info, visit the Orange Pi 3 AliExpress page.

Security researchers at Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 have discovered malware that targets Linux servers to mine cryptocurrency. According to the Softpedia News post, this malware was launched by a group named "Rocke" to "infiltrate into Linux systems and look for five different cloud security products that could block further malicious activities on the compromised hosts". The article mentions that "Flaws in Apache Struts 2, Oracle WebLogic, and Adobe ColdFusion are being used."

Google recently released Chrome OS 73 for the Dev Channel, and the new version has "quite a few new items related to Project Crostini, for Linux app support", according to the About Chromebooks post. One new feature is the "choice of running Linux apps in either high or low density", and another is "a new flag that will enable backups of your Crostini container data files". And, you now can "share Android's Google Play Files, My Files and even Google Drive with Linux in the native Chrome OS Files app." See also the changelog for more details.

Inkscape is finally reaching the 1.0 milestone after 15 years of development. Softpedia News reports that Inkscape 1.0 will feature "an updated user interface that offers better support for 4K/HiDPI screens and theming support, the ability to rotate and mirror canvases, new options for exporting to the PNG image format, variable fonts (requires pango 1.41.1 or higher), as well as much faster path operations and deselection of a large amounts of paths." You can download the pre-release alpha as an Appimage from here and see the release notes here.

Linux 5.0-rc3 was released yesterday. Linus writes that "This rc is a bit bigger than usual. Partly because I missed a networking pull request for rc2, and as a result rc3 now contains _two_ networking pull updates. But part of it may also just be that it took a while for people to find and then fix bugs after the holiday season." He concludes his release message with "Nothing particularly odd strikes me."

News Orange Pi 3 SBC Security cryptomining Google Chrome Crostini Inkscape kernel
Categories: Linux News

A Use Case for Network Automation

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/21/2019 - 08:00
by Eric Pearce

Use the Python Netmiko module to automate switches, routers and firewalls from multiple vendors.

I frequently find myself in the position of confronting "hostile" networks. By hostile, I mean that there is no existing documentation, or if it does exist, it is hopelessly out of date or being hidden deliberately. With that in mind, in this article, I describe the tools I've found useful to recover control, audit, document and automate these networks. Note that I'm not going to try to document any of the tools completely here. I mainly want to give you enough real-world examples to prove how much time and effort you could save with these tools, and I hope this article motivates you to explore the official documentation and example code.

In order to save money, I wanted to use open-source tools to gather information from all the devices on the network. I haven't found a single tool that works with all the vendors and OS versions that typically are encountered. SNMP could provide a lot the information I need, but it would have to be configured on each device manually first. In fact, the mass enablement of SNMP could be one of the first use cases for the network automation tools described in this article.

Most modern devices support REST APIs, but companies typically are saddled with lots of legacy devices that don't support anything fancier than Telnet and SSH. I settled on SSH access as the lowest common denominator, as every device must support this in order to be managed on the network.

My preferred automation language is Python, so the next problem was finding a Python module that abstracted the SSH login process, making it easy to run commands and gather command output.

Why Netmiko?

I discovered the Paramiko SSH module quite a few years ago and used it to create real-time inventories of Linux servers at multiple companies. It enabled me to log in to hosts and gather the output of commands, such as lspci, dmidecode and lsmod.

The command output populated a database that engineers could use to search for specific hardware. When I then tried to use Paramiko to inventory network switches, I found that certain switch vendor and OS combinations would cause Paramiko SSH sessions to hang. I could see that the SSH login itself was successful, but the session would hang right after the login. I never was able to determine the cause, but I discovered Netmiko while researching the hanging problem. When I replaced all my Paramiko code with Netmiko code, all my session hanging problems went away, and I haven't looked back since. Netmiko also is optimized for the network device management task, while Paramiko is more of a generic SSH module.

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Categories: Linux News

Episode 13: Surveillance Marketing

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 13:53
Your browser does not support the audio element. Reality 2.0 - Episode 13: Surveillance Marketing

Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Dr. Augustine Fou about surveillance marketing, ad tech, and privacy.

Links mentioned:

If it weren’t for retargeting, we might not have ad blocking

Categories: Linux News

openSUSE Announces Three New Tumbleweed Snapshots for 2019, Malware in Google Play Using Motion Sensors to Avoid Detection, Leaked Android Q Features, deepen 5.9 Released and ZFS On Linux 0.8 Coming Soon

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 09:51

News briefs for January 18, 2019.

openSUSE announces three new Tumbleweed snapshots to start of 2019, which include updates for KDE Plasma, Vim, RE2, QEMU, curl and much, much more. The openSUSE blog post notes that, "all snapshots have either logged or are treading as moderately stable with a rating of 83 or above, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer. There are more than 300 packages in staging that will likely be released in several snapshots over the coming weeks."

Malware in Google Play used motion sensors in phones to hide itself, triggering only when the phones moved. According to Ars Technica, the malicious apps avoid detection by monitoring "the motion-sensor input of an infected device before installing a powerful banking trojan to make sure it doesn't load on emulators researchers use to detect attacks. The thinking behind the monitoring is that sensors in real end-user devices will record motion as people use them. By contrast, emulators used by security researchers—and possibly Google employees screening apps submitted to Play—are less likely to use sensors. Two Google Play apps recently caught dropping the Anubis banking malware on infected devices would activate the payload only when motion was detected first. Otherwise, the trojan would remain dormant." Trend Micro found the malware in two apps: BatterySaverMobi and Currency Converter.

XDA Developers got their hands on a Google Pixel 3 XL with a leaked version of Android Q, giving them a first look at what Google has been working on. First is a system-wide Dark Theme. In addition, it has a huge permissions revamp "in the Settings app that allows you to get an overview of permission access by apps and restrict certain permissions like location only while the app is in use". It also includes new Developer Options, accessibility settings and other miscellaneous changes.

deepin 5.9 has been released. This release fixes several bugs and "adds support for touchscreen gestures and onscreen keyboard, optimizes the using frequency algorithm for application sequence in Launcher mini mode, and introduces a new function - Smart Mirror Switch, hoping to bring users more stable and efficient experiences." You can download the ISO from here.

ZFS On Linux 0.8 is coming soon, and it's expected to be a huge release. Phoronix reports that this update will include "native encryption support, device removal, direct I/O, sequential scrub, pool checkpoints, and a lot of other new features for the first time with this Linux port of the Sun/Oracle ZFS file-system."

News openSUSE Google Mobile Android Security Deepin ZFS
Categories: Linux News

Some Thoughts on Open Core

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 08:00
by Kyle Rankin

Why open core software is bad for the FOSS movement.

Nothing is inherently anti-business about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In fact, a number of different business models are built on top of FOSS. The best models are those that continue to further FOSS by internal code contributions and that advance the principles of Free Software in general. For instance, there's the support model, where a company develops free software but sells expert support for it.

Here, I'd like to talk a bit about one of the more problematic models out there, the open core model, because it's much more prevalent, and it creates some perverse incentives that run counter to Free Software principles.

If you haven't heard about it, the open core business model is one where a company develops free software (often a network service intended to be run on a server) and builds a base set of users and contributors of that free code base. Once there is a critical mass of features, the company then starts developing an "enterprise" version of the product that contains additional features aimed at corporate use. These enterprise features might include things like extra scalability, login features like LDAP/Active Directory support or Single Sign-On (SSO) or third-party integrations, or it might just be an overall improved version of the product with more code optimizations and speed.

Because such a company wants to charge customers to use the enterprise version, it creates a closed fork of the free software code base, or it might provide the additional proprietary features as modules so it has fewer problems with violating its free software license.

The first problem with the open core model is that on its face it doesn't further principles behind Free Software, because core developer time gets focused instead of writing and promoting proprietary software. Instead of promoting the importance of the freedoms that Free Software gives both users and developers, these companies often just use FOSS as a kind of freeware to get an initial base of users and as free crowdsourcing for software developers that develop the base product when the company is small and cash-strapped. As the company get more funding, it's then able to hire the most active community developers, so they then can stop working on the community edition and instead work full-time on the company's proprietary software.

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Categories: Linux News

Oracle Releases First Critical Patch Update of 2019, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora to Drop MongoDB, The Linux Foundation Announces Its 2019 Event Lineup, Firefox Closing Its Test Pilot Program and GoDaddy to Support AdoptOpenJDK

Linux Journal - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 09:04

News briefs for January 17, 2019.

Oracle released its first Critical Patch Update of the year this week, which addresses 284 vulnerabilities. eWeek reports that "Thirty-three of the vulnerabilities are identified as being critical with a Common Vulnerabilities Scoring System (CVSS) score of 9.0 or higher."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora are dropping MongoDB. ZDNet reports that the decision is due to MongoDB's new Server Side Public License (SSPL), which, according to Red Hat's Technical and Community Outreach Program Manager Tom Callaway, is "intentionally crafted to be aggressively discriminatory towards a specific class of users." ZDNet explains that "specific objection is that SSPL requires, if you offer services licensed under it, that you must open-source all programs that you use to make the software available as a service."

The Linux Foundation has announced its event schedule for 2019. New events for this year include include Cephalocon and gRPC Conf. See the full lineup here.

Firefox is closing its Test Pilot program and moving to a new model. From the announcement: "Migrating to a new model doesn't mean we're doing fewer experiments. In fact, we'll be doing even more! The innovation processes that led to products like Firefox Monitor are no longer the responsibility of a handful of individuals but rather the entire organization. Everyone is responsible for maintaining the Culture of Experimentation Firefox has developed through this process. These techniques and tools have become a part of our very DNA and identity. That is something to celebrate. As such, we won't be uninstalling any experiments you're using today, in fact, many of the Test Pilot experiments and features will find their way to Addons.Mozilla.Org, while others like Send and Lockbox will continue to take in more input from you as they evolve into stand alone products."

GoDaddy recently announced support for AdoptOpenJDK, which provides prebuilt open-source OpenJDK binaries. Charles Beadnall, GoDaddy CTO, says "GoDaddy supports an open access Internet because our 18 million customers depend on the open and equal nature of the Internet to compete with enterprises and corporations with more resources. With this sponsorship, we're proud to provide further support for open-source software and our community of entrepreneur customers."

News Oracle Security Red Hat Fedora MongoDB licensing The Linux Foundation Firefox GoDaddy AdoptOpenJDK
Categories: Linux News

Ditching Out-of-Date Documentation Infrastructure

Linux Journal - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 07:30
by Zack Brown

Long ago, the Linux kernel started using 00-Index files to list the contents of each documentation directory. This was intended to explain what each of those files documented. Henrik Austad recently pointed out that those files have been out of date for a very long time and were probably not used by anyone anymore. This is nothing new. Henrik said in his post that this had been discussed already for years, "and they have since then grown further out of date, so perhaps it is time to just throw them out."

He counted hundreds of instances where the 00-index file was out of date or not present when it should have been. He posted a patch to rip them all unceremoniously out of the kernel.

Joe Perches was very pleased with this. He pointed out that .rst files (the kernel's native documentation format) had largely taken over the original purpose of those 00-index files. He said the oo-index files were even misleading by now.

Jonathan Corbet was more reserved. He felt Henrik should distribute the patch among a wider audience and see if it got any resistance. He added:

I've not yet decided whether I think this is a good idea or not. We certainly don't need those files for stuff that's in the RST doctree, that's what the index.rst files are for. But I suspect some people might complain about losing them for the rest of the content. I do get patches from people updating them, so some folks do indeed look at them.

Henrik told Jonathan he was happy to update the 00-index files if that would be preferable. But he didn't want to do that if the right answer was just to get rid of them.

Meanwhile, Josh Triplett saw no reason to keep the 00-index files around at all. He remarked, "I was *briefly* tempted, reading through the files, to suggest ensuring that the one-line descriptions from the 00-INDEX files end up in the documents themselves, but the more I think about it, I don't think even that is worth anyone's time to do."

Paul Moore also voiced his support for removing the 00-index files, at least the ones for NetLabel, which was his area of interest.

The discussion ended there. It's nice that even for apparently obvious patches, the developers still take the time to consider various perspectives and try to retain any value from the old thing to the new. It's especially nice to see this sort of attention given to documentation patches, which tend to get left out in the cold when it comes to coding projects.

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Categories: Linux News
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