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LinuxSecurity - Security Advisories

  • Mageia 2019-0297: libpcap and tcpdump security update
    Updated libpcap and tcpdump packages fix security vulnerabilities: The libpcap packages have been updated to versions 1.9.1 and tcpdump to 4.9.3, respectively, fixing several buffer overread and overflow issues.

  • Mageia 2019-0296: e2fsprogs security update
    Updated e2fsprogs packages fix security vulnerability: Lilith of Cisco Talos discovered a buffer overflow flaw in the quota code used by e2fsck from the ext2/ext3/ext4 file system utilities. Running e2fsck on a malformed file system can result in the execution of arbitrary

  • Mageia 2019-0295: kernel security update
    This kernel update is based on the upstream 5.3.6 and fixes several issues. * a potential kernel crash by using suppress-prefix rule in ipv6 * 3rdparty rtl8723/rtl8821ce drivers have been fixed to work with kernel 5.3 series

  • Mageia 2019-0294: nmap security update
    Updated nmap packages fix security vulnerability: Nmap through 7.70, when the -sV option is used, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (stack consumption and application crash) via a crafted TCP-based service (CVE-2018-15173).

  • SciLinux: SLSA-2019-3067-1 Important: jss on SL7.x x86_64
    JSS: OCSP policy "Leaf and Chain" implicitly trusts the root certificate (CVE-2019-14823) For more details about the security issue(s), including the impact, a CVSS score, acknowledgments, and other related information, refer to the CVE page(s) listed in the References section. SL7 x86_64 jss-4.4.6-3.el7_7.x86_64.rpm jss-debuginfo-4.4.6-3.el7_7.x86_64.rpm jss-javadoc-4.4.6-3.el [More...]

  • RedHat: RHSA-2019-3131:01 Important: OpenShift Container Platform 4.1.20
    An update is now available for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.1. Red Hat Product Security has rated this update as having a security impact of Important. A Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) base score, which gives a detailed severity rating, is available for each vulnerability

  • [$] WireGuard and the crypto API
    When last we looked in on the progress ofthe WireGuard VPN tunnel toward themainline kernel, it seemed like the main sticking point had been overcome. The Zinc cryptography API used by WireGuard wasgenerally seen as a duplication of effort with the existing kernelcryptographic algorithms, so an effort to rework Zinc to use that existingcode seemed destined to route around that problem and bring WireGuard tothe mainline. In the six months since then, though, things have gonefairly quiet in WireGuard-land; that all changed based on a conversation atthe recent Kernel Recipesconference in Paris.

  • [$] FPGAs and free software
    The problems with field-programmablegate arrays (FPGAs) is not exactly an obvious talk topic for agraphics-related conference like the 2019 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC). BenWidawsky acknowledged that, but said that he sees parallels in thesituation with FPGA support in the free-software world and the situation withgraphics hardware support in the past. It is his hope that the tools fordeveloping with FPGAs can make the same journey that graphics drivers havemade over the last two decades or so.

  • Security updates for Wednesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache2 and unbound), Fedora (opendmarc, runc, and sudo), openSUSE (epiphany, GraphicsMagick, and libopenmpt), Oracle (kernel and sudo), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk, jss, kernel, kernel-rt, and kpatch-patch), SUSE (crowbar-core, crowbar-openstack, grafana, novnc, openstack-keystone, openstack-neutron, openstack-neutron-lbaas, openstack-nova, openstack-tempest, python-pysaml2, python-urllib3, rubygem-chef, rubygem-easy_diff, sleshammer, libpcap, sudo, and tcpdump), and Ubuntu (aspell and libsdl1.2).

  • Perl 6 renamed to Raku
    The pull request changing the name of Perl 6 to Raku has beenmerged. See thefull text for more information. "This document describes the stepsto be taken to effectuate a rename of 'Perl 6' to 'Raku', as described inissue #81. It does not pretend to be complete in scope or in time. Tochange a name of a project that has been running for 19+ years will taketime, a lot of effort and a lot of cooperation. It will affect people inforeseen and unforeseen ways." (Thanks to Sean Whitton)

  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (sudo and xtrlock), openSUSE (sudo), Red Hat (Single Sign-On), Slackware (sudo), SUSE (binutils, dhcp, ffmpeg, kernel, kubernetes-salt, sudo, and tcpdump), and Ubuntu (sudo).

  • KDE Plasma 5.17 released
    The KDE project has announced therelease of version 5.17 of the Plasma desktop environment."Night Color, the color-grading system that relaxes your eyes whenthe sun sets, has landed for X11. Your Plasma desktop also recognizes whenyou are giving a presentation, and stops messages popping up in the middleof your slideshow. If you are using Wayland, Plasma now comes withfractional scaling, which means that you can adjust the size of all yourdesktop elements, windows, fonts and panels perfectly to your HiDPImonitor."

  • PyPy 7.2 released
    Version7.2 of PyPy, an implementation of the Python language, is out. Withthis release, Python 3.6 support is deemed ready: "This releaseremoves the 'beta' tag from PyPy3.6. While there may still be some smallcorner-case incompatibilities (around the exact error messages inexceptions and the handling of faulty codec errorhandlers) we are happywith the quality of the 3.6 series and are looking forward to working on aPython 3.7 interpreter."

  • [$] Finding race conditions with KCSAN
    Race conditions can be some of the trickiest bugs to find. The resultingproblems can be subtle, and reproducing the problem in order to track itdown can be difficult or impossible; often code inserted to narrow down arace condition will cause it to stop manifesting entirely. A tool that canfind race conditions automatically would thus be a valuable thing for thekernel community to have. In late September, Marco Elver announceda tool called KCSAN (the Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer) that doesexactly that — and which has already found a number of real problems.

  • Security updates for Monday
    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, sdl, and unbound), Debian (clamav, libdatetime-timezone-perl, openssl, tcpdump, and tzdata), Fedora (cutter-re, jackson-annotations, jackson-bom, jackson-core, jackson-databind, jackson-parent, libapreq2, ming, opendmarc, radare2, and thunderbird), openSUSE (chromium), Oracle (kernel), and SUSE (axis, jakarta-commons-fileupload, kernel, sles12sp3-docker-image, sles12sp4-image, system-user-root, and webkit2gtk3).

  • Kernel prepatch 5.4-rc3
    The 5.4-rc3 kernel prepatch is out fortesting. "Things continue to look fairly normal, with rc3 beinglarger than rc2, as people are starting to find more regressions, but 5.4so far remains on the smaller side of recent releases."

  • [$] Calibrating your fear of big bad optimizing compilers
    As notedearlier,when compiling Linux-kernel code that does a plain C-language load orstore, as in"a=b", the C standard grants the compiler the rightto assume that the affected variables are neither accessed nor modifiedby any other thread at the time of that load or store.The compiler is therefore permitted to carry out a surprisinglylarge number of optimizations, any number of which might ruin yourconcurrent code's day.Given that current compilers usually do not emit diagnostics warning ofpotential ruined days, it would be good to have other tools take on thistask.

  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (lucene-solr and ruby-openid), Fedora (krb5 and SDL2), openSUSE (kernel and libopenmpt), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.4).

  • Understanding Scheduling Behavior with SchedViz (Google Open Source Blog)
    The Google Open Source Blog has an announcement of the release of the SchedViz tool that is used internally at the company "to discover many opportunities for better scheduling choices and to root-cause many latency issues". SchedViz provides a GUI to explore kernel traces: "The SchedViz UI displays collections in several ways. A zoomable and pannable heatmap shows system cores on the y-axis, and the trace duration on the x-axis. Each core in the system has a swim-lane, and each swim-lane shows CPU utilization (when that CPU is being kept busy) and wait-queue depth (how many threads are waiting to run on that CPU.) The UI also includes a thread list that displays which threads were active in the heatmap, along with how long they ran, waited to run, and blocked on some event, and how many times they woke up or migrated between cores. Individual threads can be selected to show their behavior over time, or expanded to see their details."

LXer Linux News

  • GhostBSD 19.09 - Based on FreeBSD 12.0-STABLE and Using MATE Desktop 1.22
    GhostBSD 19.09 is the latest release of GhostBSD. This release based on FreeBSD 12.0-STABLE while also pulling in TrueOS packages, GhostBSD 19.09 also has an updated OpenRC init system, a lot of unnecessary software was removed, AMDGPU and Radeon KMS is now valid xconfig options and a variety of other improvements and fixes.

  • How to Deploy a Dynamic DNS Server with Docker on Debian 10
    This article will guide you through the complete setup of a Dynamic DNS server in a Docker container on a Debian 10 system, including setting up the required DNS records, placing the management API behind an Nginx HTTPS reverse proxy, and automating the client-side DNS record updates.

  • How to Install and Secure Redis on CentOS 7
    Redis is a distributed in-memory key-value database with optional durability. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install and configure Redis Server on CentOS 7. We will install the Redis Server from the Remi repository, and then secure the installation.

  • Coffee Lake embedded PC has six USB 3.0 ports and GbE with BMC
    Trenton Systems is prepping a compact, Linux-friendly “Ion Mini PC” with 8th or 9th Gen Coffee Lake options and up to 32GB DDR4, SATA, DP, 6x USB 3.0, and 3x GbE, including one BMC-linked port for out-of-band, remote management. Trenton Systems has released a photo and preliminary documentation for an Ion Mini PC due to […]

  • 6 Ways to find your internal IP Address on Debian
    In this article, we will explain how to find an internal IP address in a Debian based OS. There are mainly two methods to find it via GUI and command line. We will describe both the methods including various commands.

  • Formatting NFL data for doing data science with Python
    No matter what medium of content you consume these days (podcasts, articles, tweets, etc.), you[he]#039[/he]ll probably come across some reference to data. Whether it[he]#039[/he]s to back up a talking point or put a meta-view on how data is everywhere, data and its analysis are in high demand. As a programmer, I[he]#039[/he]ve found data science to be more comparable to wizardry than an exact science. I[he]#039[/he]ve coveted the ability to get ahold of raw data and glean something useful and concrete from it. What a useful talent!

  • Gaming system run on Ryzen V1000 or R1000
    Quixant’s Linux-ready “QXI-7000 LITE” casino gaming PC runs on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded R1000 or V1000 with up to 32GB DDR4, dual SATA, up to 4x displays, and the Quixant Gaming Ecosystem with up to 16MB PCIe Gen2 NVRAM and new QxATS tracing system. Quixant has launched the QXI-7000 LITE casino gaming system it promised in […]

  • How to install TeamViewer in Linux ?
    TeamViewer is one of the most popular application for controlling other PCs remotely. As a free tech support software, TeamViewer is widely used by IT professionals and individuals. Additionally, it supports video conferencing and audio or video group calls. TeamViewer is available for Linux distributions and this article is a step-by-step guide on how to install TeamViewer in your Linux system

  • Ping - Basic Network Troubleshooting in Linux
    Most people know how to ping. But do they really know how it works? In this article we try to describe how ping works, why you should us it and how to use the basic command and it's options.


	Copyright 2019|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • 'Serious' Linux Sudo Bug's Damage Potential Actually May Be Small
    Developers have patched a vulnerability in Sudo, a core command utility for Linux, that could allow a user to execute commands as a root user even if that root access was specifically disallowed. The patch prevents potential serious consequences within Linux systems. However, the Sudo vulnerability posed a threat only to a narrow segment of the Linux user base, according to Todd Miller, a maintainer of the open source Sudo project.

  • Austrumi Linux Has Great Potential if You Speak Its Language
    Austrumi Linux is an unusual distribution. With a little more polish, it could be a good tool for running Linux on any computer you touch without changing anything on the hard drive. Last updated on Oct. 3 to version 4.08, Austrumi Linux is a bootable live Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux. It was created and is maintained by a group of programmers from the Latgale region of Latvia.

  • Devs Engage in Soul-Searching on Future of Open Source
    Two things to avoid in online discussions are politics and religion. Open source technology may be an explosive third topic that software developers should be wary of subjecting to a virtual debate. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg and Ruby on Rails creator and Basecamp cofounder David Heinemeier Hansson got into an all-out Twitter slugfest last week about the role of open source.

  • SolydXK Delivers Rock Solid Linux Performance
    SolydXK is a Debian-based distribution with a choice of Xfce or KDE desktops. Both versions are simple to use and offer dependable and consistent performance. SolydX and SolydK are Debian Buster-based Linux OSes with the Xfce and KDE desktops respectively. The SolydXK distro is a solid open source alternative for small businesses, nonprofit organizations and home users.

  • ArcoLinux Eases the Way for the Arch-Curious User
    ArcoLinux is a big change for the better for anyone switching from another Linux distro to the Arch infrastructure. ArcoLinux previously was known as "ArchMerge Linux." It is a rolling update distribution based on Arch Linux, but it offers an unusual learning path to make assimilating into the Arch architecture a more pleasant experience. ArcoLinux is a continuation of ArchMerge Linux.

  • Manjaro 18.1: Goes Arch One Better
    Manjaro Linux 18.1, released on Sept. 12, is one of the most complete Linux OSes you will find. It is a powerhouse distro that offers a better Arch Linux computing platform, and it is the de facto standard for comparing Arch family options. After six months of development, the latest series is a fast, user-friendly, desktop-oriented operating system based on Arch Linux with an independent nature.

  • Pine64 Teases $25 Linux Smartwatch
    While open source enthusiasts still await the year of the Linux desktop, hardware developer Pine64 is advancing the cause of a $25 Linux-powered smartwatch, dubbed "PineTime." The Pine64 community has invited developers with an interest in smartwatches to join in its efforts to bring the product to market. Pine64 makes inexpensive Linux-based single board ARM computers that cost $15 to $20.

  • Archman Linux: Pure Arch With Extra Flair
    Archman is an Arch Linux-based rolling distribution featuring the Calamares system installer, Pamac package manager, and a selection of preconfigured desktop environments. The distro's name is derived from the combination of Arch Linux and Pacman package management. The new version comes with a customized Xfce 4.14 desktop environment. The customization is immediately noticeable.

  • New OSGeoLive Release Opens Doors to Geospatial Worlds
    If you ever have considered investigating or working with elements of the geospatial world, check out the latest edition of OSGeoLive, a Linux distribution that runs directly from a bootable DVD or USB thumb drive. You also can load a pre-made virtual machine disk file that runs in a VMware Workstation or VirtualBox environment. Or you can install it on a hard drive the old-fashioned way.

  • Drauger OS Makes a Capable Linux Game Console Platform
    Drauger OS is a relatively new Linux distro for users with a penchant for games. Several design elements make this Linux gaming platform different from typical distributions that merely pack digital titles. However, it lacks a few productivity tools that otherwise would make it a daily computing driver out of the box. This is a distro targeting game players who want good desktop performance.

  • Cryptocurrency OS Makes It Easy to Buy and Spend Digital Cash
    If you are ready to jump into the digital world of a bitcoin economy, Cryptocurrency OS might be your most convenient way to fast-track your entry. Cryptocurrency OS is a specialty Linux distribution that serves a niche user market destined to grow as the crypto economy continues to develop. This distro is packed with all the tools you need to create and manage your crypto accounts.

  • Slackel Linux Works Well Inside Its Openbox
    The latest release of Slackel Linux renews and improves the mashup of Slackware and Salix built around an Openbox pseudo desktop environment. Slackel 7.2 hit the download servers on July 20, eight months after the release of Slackel 7.1 Openbox edition. Slackel also is available in two older versions running the KDE and Fluxbox environments. All releases are available in 64-bit and 32-bit builds.

  • How to Distro Hop With a Web Browser
    Getting familiar with Linux up close and personal is easy to do with a free service provided by, which allows testing without ISO downloads or local installations. Are you a wandering Linux distro hopper looking for a way to streamline the selection process? Are you a Windows or macOS user who wants to try Linux? Linux has countless distributions and dozens of desktop environments.

  • Newcomer EndeavourOS Offers a Friendlier Arch Linux Experience
    Good-bye Antergos Linux. Welcome to the Arch neighborhood, EndeavourOS. Here's hoping that you are well received! That may seem like a strange way to begin this week's Linux review discussion. After all, Linux distributions come and go far too often. However, the handoff from Antergos to EndeavourOS is significant. EndeavourOS is a new Arch-based Linux distro that picks up where Antergos left off.

  • TROM-Jaro: A New Twist on Open Source Freedom
    TROM-Jaro Linux offers a new twist on the concept of open source as free software. First released as a beta version last December, TROM-Jaro's second and current non-beta release pushed out in June. This new distro is a custom-built version of the popular Manjaro Arch Linux. It is probably more accurate to describe TROM-Jaro as a strategically modified version of Manjaro Linux.

  • GitHub Blocks Devs in US-Sanctioned Regions
    GitHub is blocking users in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria from accessing its services to comply with U.S. trade control laws. The Microsoft-owned company disclosed the action on a support page as a courtesy, noting that GitHub users ultimately are responsible for ensuring that their use of GitHub's products and services complies with all applicable laws and regulations.


  • Volvo To Roll Out a New Electric Vehicle Every Year Through 2025
    Volvo Car Group President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson laid out the company's new business strategy that includes introducing a new EV every year through 2025 and slashing the carbon footprint of the lifecycle of every car and SUV it builds by 40%. All of the changes are aimed at Volvo Cars' target to become a climate neutral company by 2040. TechCrunch reports: A critical piece to hitting its target will be making more EVs available. The automaker plans to launch an all-electric car every year over the next five years. By 2025, it wants all-electric vehicles to represent 50% of global sales with the rest compromised by hybrids. As of this year, every new Volvo launched will be electrified, which means it could be a hybrid, plug-in electric (PHEV) or all-electric (BEV) vehicle. To hit this target, every Volvo model will include a Recharge option. This means a plug-in hybrid or all-electric version will be available, according to the company. To further encourage electric driving, every Volvo Recharge plug-in hybrid model will come with free electricity for a year, provided through a refund for the average electricity cost during that period. Volvo also plans to triple its manufacturing capacity and is now quickly ramping up its production globally, Bjorn Annwall, head of global commercial operations at Volvo, said during the press conference. Volvo is aiming for plug-in hybrid cars to make up 20% of total sales in 2020.   Volvo isn't ditching combustion engines completely. But it's distancing itself from them by spinning it out. Volvo Cars and its Chinese parent company Geely Holdings will merge their existing combustion engine operations into a standalone business. The move will "clear the way for Volvo Cars to focus on the development of its all-electric range of premium cars," Samuelsson said. "So we believe we will bring sustainability into our company, not as something to add on, because it's good or something that is expected for us," Samuelsson said. "We bring it into the company because we think it's really good for our business. It will make our company grow faster it will make our company stronger exactly as safety made Volvo stronger."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Huge Child Porn Ring Busted As Authorities Cite Ability To Crack Bitcoin Privacy
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Federal authorities in the U.S. have unsealed charges against the South Korean operator of a child porn ring that's been billed as the world's "largest dark web child porn marketplace." The child porn site, known as Welcome to Video, charged some users in Bitcoin and authorities say they successfully unmasked those Bitcoin transactions in order to catch the perpetrators. An additional 337 people from around the world have been charged in relation to the Tor-based site. Welcome to Video contained over 200,000 videos of child sexual abuse and had users from countries like the U.S., UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil, and Australia, according to the indictment, which was uploaded by NBC News reporter Cyrus Farivar. Users could download videos through a system of credits that could be gained by referring new users or by buying those credits with Bitcoin.   Charges in the U.S. against the site's operator Jong Woo Son were only unveiled today, but the 23-year-old Korean national was arrested in March of 2018 and is already behind bars in South Korea. The operation was a joint investigation by numerous law enforcement agencies around the globe. Between June 2015 and March 2018, Welcome to Video received Bitcoin transactions totaling over $370,000 in U.S currency. Undercover agents in Washington D.C. monitored the site, filled with images of child rape, and were able to deanonymize the Bitcoin transactions, something that average users often believe is impossible. The investigation uncovered at least two former federal law enforcement officials allegedly involved in the child porn site, a 35-year-old U.S. Border Patrol Agent from Texas, and a former HSI special agent, also from Texas.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Microsoft Launches Two New Open Source Projects for Developers -- OAM and Dapr
    Continuing its embracing of open source, Microsoft has today announced two new open source projects. From a report: The first is Open Application Model (OAM), a new standard for developing and operating applications on Kubernetes and other platforms. The second project is Dapr (Distributed Application Runtime), designed to make it easier to build microservice applications. Microsoft says that both OAM and Dapr "help developers remove barriers when building applications for cloud and edge." Microsoft has worked on OAM with Alibaba, and the aim is to simplify the development and deployment of applications. The company explains that: "OAM is a specification for describing applications so that the application description is separated from the details of how the application is deployed onto and managed by the infrastructure. This separation of concerns is helpful for multiple reasons." The second open source project is Dapr, which Microsoft describes as "an open source, portable, event-driven runtime that makes it easy for developers to build resilient, microservice stateless and stateful applications that run on the cloud and edge."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • FCC Votes To Approve T-Mobile-Sprint Merger
    The FCC on Wednesday formally approved the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. The vote comes months after the Justice Department greenlit the deal. The Verge reports: In May, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai first signaled that he would vote to approve the merger after the commission and the companies struck a deal that Republicans believed would help foster a faster 5G rollout. The other Republican commissioners, Brendan Carr and Michael O'Rielly, also voiced support for the merger at the time. The merger was pushed through on a party-line vote with Democrats dissenting, an FCC official told The Verge.   Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel announced her disapproval in an op-ed for The Atlantic Wednesday morning. In it, she argues that a merged T-Mobile-Sprint would only hurt consumers, driving up prices and staving off competition. "These state officials understand something fundamental: With less competition, rates rise and innovation falls. All the evidence demonstrates that this holds true in the mobile-phone industry too," Rosenworcel said. "If this merger succeeds, consumers will pay the price." The other Democrat, Geoffrey Starks, was the last to vote on the deal. In September, Starks put out a statement calling on the FCC to delay any votes on the merger until Sprint could be fully investigated for allegedly misappropriating Lifeline subsidy funds for around 885,000 ineligible accounts. "There is no credible way that the merger before us can proceed until this Lifeline investigation is resolved and responsible parties are held accountable," Starks said at the time. Before the deal closes, representatives from the two companies said they'll wait until a multistate lawsuit trying to block the deal is resolved.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Analogue Announces Game Boy Clone Dubbed 'Analogue Pocket'
    Analogue is set to announce a new Game Boy clone. From a report: Analogue, known for their FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)-based hardware clones of the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis/Megadrive, will be launching a handheld addition to their lineup called the "Analogue Pocket." The unit will be compatible with the entire library of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, as well as Sega's Game Gear, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Colour, and Atari's Lynx -- essentially bringing every 90's handheld under one hardware roof, without software emulation. The unit will also feature a 3.5" LTPS LCD at 1600 x 1440 resolution (615ppi), and USB-C charging port. Further reading: Game Boy has turned Game Man, just in time for the original device's 30th birthday.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Yahoo Groups Is Winding Down and All Content Will Be Permanently Removed
    Yahoo announced on Wednesday that it is winding down its long-running Yahoo Groups site. From a report: As of October 21, users will no longer be able to post new content to the site, and on December 14 Yahoo will permanently delete all previously posted content. "You'll have until that date to save anything you've uploaded," an announcement post reads. Yahoo Groups, launched in 2001, is a cross between a platform for mailing lists and internet forums. Groups can be interacted with on the Yahoo Groups site itself, or via email. In the 18 years that it existed, numerous niche communities made a home on the platform. Now, with the site's planned obsolescence, users are looking for ways to save their Groups history.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Hacking 20 High-Profile Dev Accounts Could Compromise Half of the NPM Ecosystem
    The npm ecosystem of JavaScript libraries is more interwoven than most developers think, and the entire thing is a gigantic house of cards, being one bad hack away from compromising hundreds of thousands of projects, according to a recent academic study. From a report: The research, carried out by the Department of Computer Science from the Technical University of Darmstadt, in Germany, analyzed the dependency graph of the entire npm ecosystem. Researchers downloaded metadata for all the npm packages published until April 2018 and created a giant graph that included 676,539 nodes and 4,543,473 edges (lines connecting the nodes). In addition, academics also analyzed different versions of the same packages, looking at historical versions (5,386,239 versions for the 676,539 packages), but also at the package maintainers (199,327 npm accounts), and known security flaws impacting the packages (609 public reports). [...]   Their goal was to get an idea of how hacking one or more npm maintainer accounts, or how vulnerabilities in one or more packages, reverberated across the npm ecosystem; along with the critical mass needed to cause security incidents inside tens of thousands of npm projects at a time. [...] But while some npm packages load code from too many packages and from too many developers, there is another dangerous trend forming on the npm package repository -- namely the consolidation of popular npm packages under a few maintainer accounts. "391 highly influential maintainers affect more than 10,000 packages, making them prime targets for attacks," the research team said. "If an attacker manages to compromise the account of any of the 391 most influential maintainers, the community will experience a serious security incident."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Hubble Observes First Confirmed Interstellar Comet
    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their best look yet at an interstellar visitor -- comet 2I/Borisov -- whose speed and trajectory indicate it has come from beyond our solar system. In a press release, the space agency said: This Hubble image, taken on Oct. 12, 2019, is the sharpest view of the comet to date. Hubble reveals a central concentration of dust around the nucleus (which is too small to be seen by Hubble). Comet 2I/Borisov is only the second such interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system. In 2017, the first identified interstellar visitor, an object officially named 'Oumuamua, swung within 24 million miles of the Sun before racing out of the solar system. "Whereas 'Oumuamua appeared to be a rock, Borisov is really active, more like a normal comet. It's a puzzle why these two are so different," said David Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), leader of the Hubble team who observed the comet.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Interview With Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller On 15 Years of Fedora
    intensivevocoder writes: Fedora -- as a Linux distribution -- will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its first release in November, though its technical lineage is much older, as Fedora Core 1 was created following the discontinuation of Red Hat Linux 9 in favor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Five years after the start of, the distribution is on the right track -- stability has improved, and work on minimizing hard dependencies in packages and containers, including more audio/video codecs by default, flicker-free boot, and lowering power consumption for notebooks, among other changes, have greatly improved the Fedora experience, while improvements in upstream projects such as GNOME and KDE have likewise improved the desktop experience. In a wide-ranging interview with TechRepublic, Fedora project leader Matthew Miller discussed lessons learned from the past, popular adoption and competing standards for software containers, potential changes coming to Fedora, as well as hot-button topics, including systemd.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • US Carried Out Secret Cyber Strike on Iran in Wake of Saudi Oil Attack
    The United States carried out a secret cyber operation against Iran in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh blame on Tehran, two U.S. officials have told Reuters. From the report: The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the operation took place in late September and took aim at Tehran's ability to spread "propaganda." One of the officials said the strike affected physical hardware, but did not provide further details. The attack highlights how President Donald Trump's administration has been trying to counter what it sees as Iranian aggression without spiraling into a broader conflict.   Asked about Reuters reporting on Wednesday, Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said: "They must have dreamt it," Fars news agency reported. The U.S. strike appears more limited than other such operations against Iran this year after the downing of an American drone in June and an alleged attack by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on oil tankers in the Gulf in May. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany have publicly blamed the Sept. 14 attack on Iran, which denied involvement in the strike. The Iran-aligned Houthi militant group in Yemen claimed responsibility. Publicly, the Pentagon has responded by sending thousands of additional troops and equipment to bolster Saudi defenses -- the latest U.S. deployment to the region this year.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • UK Drops Plans For Online Pornography Age Verification System
    Plans to introduce a nationwide age verification system for online pornography have been abandoned by the government after years of technical troubles and concerns from privacy campaigners. From a report: The climbdown follows countless difficulties with implementing the policy, which would have required all pornography websites to ensure users were over 18. Methods would have included checking credit cards or allowing people to buy a "porn pass" age verification document from a newsagent. Websites that refused to comply with the policy -- one of the first of its kind in the world -- faced being blocked by internet service providers or having their access to payment services restricted. The culture secretary, Nicky Morgan, told parliament the policy would be abandoned. Instead, the government would instead focus on measures to protect children in the much broader online harms white paper. This is expected to introduce a new internet regulator, which will impose a duty of care on all websites and social media outlets -- not just pornography sites.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • The Simmering Debate Over Big Tech Explodes on the Democratic Debate Stage
    Democrats running for president had their most vigorous debate yet about the power of tech companies, finally bringing the long-simmering conversation about Big Tech into the mainstream of Democratic politics. From a report: The dozen Democratic candidates quarreled for almost 15 minutes at the fourth presidential debate about topics including digital privacy rights, the monopoly power of companies like Amazon, political fundraising in Silicon Valley, and whether politicians like Donald Trump should be banned from Twitter. It was the first time tech was discussed meaningfully on the Democratic debate stage -- and a sign that the media sees the growing techlash as enough of a concern that candidates should be pressed on it on national television. The combat mostly centered on Elizabeth Warren, the new presidential frontrunner who has made her proposal to break up tech companies like Facebook a cornerstone of her presidential run.   Many of her competitors said they were not willing to go as far as her, although several decided to take their own whacks at Silicon Valley from other angles. Beto O'Rourke offered the most direct criticism to Warren's plan, even comparing her approach to Trump's rhetoric about the press. "We will be unafraid to break up big businesses if we have to do that -- but I don't think it is the role of a president or a candidate for the presidency to specifically call out which companies will be broken up," O'Rourke said. "That's something that Donald Trump has done in part because he sees enemies in the press and wants to diminish their power. It's not something that we should do." Andrew Yang, the political neophyte running on tech-infused themes such as universal basic income, said Warren was correct in diagnosing the problem but that "using a 20th century antitrust framework will not work." Cory Booker would only say that his administration would "put people in place that enforce antitrust laws" but declined to sign on to the proposal to break up the tech giants. He did use some of the harshest language on the stage, saying that tech companies were responsible for a "massive crisis on our democracy."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Goldman Sachs CEO Says Apple Card is the Most Successful Credit Card Launch Ever
    Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon called his bank's rollout of the Apple Card "the most successful credit card launch ever." From a report: Solomon provided investors with an update on the bank's new initiatives at the start of a conference call Tuesday. "We believe Apple Card is the most successful credit card launch ever," he said. Continuing on the Apple Card, which the bank built in partnership with the iPhone maker, Solomon said that "since August, we've been pleased to see a high level of consumer demand for the product. From an operational and risk perspective, we've handled the inflows smoothly and without compromising our credit underwriting standards."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Some Colleges Are Using Students' Smartphones To Track Their Locations on Campus
    Lee Gardner, reporting for Chronicle: James Dragna had his work cut out for him when he became "graduation czar" at California State University at Sacramento, in 2016. The university's four-year graduation rate sat at 9 percent. It hadn't moved in about 30 years, he says. Like many student-success experts at public colleges these days, Dragna combed through academic data about students that the university had on hand -- grades, attendance, advising information -- to track how they were doing as each semester wore on. He fed those data into predictive-analytics software to look for potential problems or hurdles that might lead to failing grades or dropping out, and to identify students who might benefit from a little extra support. Three years later, the university's four-year graduation rate is up to 20 percent. Its six-year rate has risen to 54 percent from 47 percent.   Stories like that dot the higher-education landscape as more colleges take advantage of burgeoning Big Data technology to keep tabs on their students and find more places where they can successfully intervene. But recently, the practice of tracking students has taken a more literal turn. Sacramento State plans to gather data on where some of its students spend time on the campus and for how long, joining 14 other institutions using software from a company called Degree Analytics. When a tracked student -- a freshman who has opted in -- enters the student union, her smartphone or laptop will connect to the local Wi-Fi router, and the software will make note of it. When the student leaves and her phone connects to the router in the chemistry building, or the library, or the dorm, it will capture that, too, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It isn't hard to imagine the wealth of observational data such location tracking might produce, and the student-success insights that might arise from it. For example, knowing that A students spend a certain number of hours in the library every week -- and eventually communicating that to students -- might motivate them to study there more often.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Elite MBA Programs Report Steep Drop In Applications
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Applications to some of America's most elite business schools fell at a steeper rate this year, as universities struggled to attract international students amid changes to immigration policies and political tensions between the U.S. and China. The declines affected some of the nation's top-rated programs, with Harvard University, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others, all reporting larger year-over-year drops in business-school applications. Some, such as Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business, posted double-digit percentage declines.   Overall, applications to American M.B.A. programs fell for the fifth straight year, according to new data from the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council, an association of business schools that administers the GMAT admissions test. In the latest academic cycle ended this spring, U.S. business schools received 135,096 applications for programs including the traditional master of business administration degree, down 9.1% from the prior year, according to an annual survey. Last year applications for U.S. business programs were down 7%.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Register

  • Prepare your company IT infrastructure for the future: Learn how with Gartner next month
    Catch up with the fast-moving digital world at the IT Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Strategies Conference
    Promo As the world gravitates towards cloud, edge computing, the internet of things, DevOps, and AIOps, the ground is shifting for infrastructure and operations teams. Their organisations must stay agile to keep up with the changing digital landscape.…

 offline for now


  • A Quick Look At EXT4 vs. ZFS Performance On Ubuntu 19.10 With An NVMe SSD
    For those thinking of playing with Ubuntu 19.10's new experimental ZFS desktop install option in opting for using ZFS On Linux in place of EXT4 as the root file-system, here are some quick benchmarks looking at the out-of-the-box performance of ZFS/ZoL vs. EXT4 on Ubuntu 19.10 using a common NVMe solid-state drive.

  • A Vast Majority Of Linux's Input Improvements Are Developed By One Individual
    While there is an ever increasing number of open-source developers focusing on the Linux graphics stack with the GPU drivers and related infrastructure, it's quite a different story when it comes to the Linux input side. It's basically one developer that has been working on the Linux input improvements for the past number of years...

  • LLVM Clang RISC-V Now Supports LTO
    With the recent release of LLVM 9.0 the RISC-V back-end was promoted from an experimental CPU back-end to being made "official" for this royalty-free CPU ISA. Work though isn't over on the LLVM RISC-V support with new features continuing to land, like link-time optimizations (LTO) most recently being enabled within the Clang 10 code...

  • TURNIP Vulkan Driver Gets MSAA Working
    Mesa's TURNIP Vulkan driver that provides open-source Vulkan API support for Qualcomm Adreno hardware in recent weeks has been back to seeing new activity and this week more useful contributions are being made...

  • Linux Graphics Drivers Could Have User-Space API Changes More Strictly Evaluated
    User-space API additions and changes (granted, no ABI breakage permitted for the mainline Linux kernel) to Linux Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) drivers is done fairly easily by their developers and possibly without enough thought. Linux DRM subsystem co-maintainer David Airlie has issued a proposal that would make user-space API alterations more strictly reviewed...

  • LLVM Plans To Switch From Its SVN To Git Workflow Next Week
    LLVM developers had been planning to transition to the Git revision control system in place of SVN by the time of their developer meeting in October. It looks like that goal will be realized on the same-day as kicking off that annual developer meeting...

  • ASRock Rack EPYCD8 Series Make For Great Value AMD EPYC Motherboards With Rome Support
    For those that have been interested in AMD's EPYC 7002 "Rome" processors for your own server build, more 7002 series supported motherboards have been hitting Internet stores in recent weeks. If you are looking for one of the lower-cost motherboards, ASRock Rack's EPYCD8 motherboards have been refined with 7001/7002 series processor support.

Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"

  • Yahoo is shutting down its Groups website and deleting all content
    Yahoo (owned by Engadget's parent company Verizon) is phasing out one its longest-standing features. The internet pioneer is closing the Yahoo Groups website in a two-phase process that will effectively see it disappear. You'll lose the ability to post new content on October 21st, and Yahoo will delete all "previously posted" material on December 14th. Users can still connect to their groups through email, but the site will effectively be vacant. All groups will be made private and require an administrator's approval.

    If you're at all interested in preserving your history on the site, you'll want to download your data either directly from posts or through Yahoo's Privacy Dashboard.

    Yahoo hasn't formally explained the shutdown, but you could see this coming. Yahoo launched Groups in 2001 as a sort of forum and mailing list hybrid, and it quickly became a home for specialist communities. There was one major problem, however: social networking happened. There's not as much incentive to use Yahoo's community when your Facebook group, Twitter friends or Discord chat will fit the bill, and often more effectively.

    Still, this could be a sad moment for some. Much like the GeoCities shutdown, Yahoo is erasing a piece of internet history. Even if you haven't used Yahoo Groups in years, you might still have a presence there -- say, a fan club for a favorite band from your youth. Yahoo is effectively erasing that historical record, even if it's likely to live on through archive services.

    Via: Motherboard

    Source: Yahoo

  • Google discontinues Clips, the AI-powered camera you forgot about
    While Google was busy showcasing its latest devices yesterday, it was also, more quietly, pulling the plug on a few others. Today, it confirmed that it has removed its Clips camera from the Google Store.

    Google Clips was a short-lived camera that users were meant to position around their homes. It had artificially intelligent auto-capture and promised to record clips when it saw something interesting, like something cute your kid or pet might do before you had a chance to grab your camera.

    Clips cost $250 and didn't have the best ratings -- users said it was unpredictable and unreliable. So it's not surprising that Google is doing away with the device. In a statement to Engadget, a Google spokesperson said Clip users will continue to get support until December 2021, but the company will not release any updates to Clips devices after that.

    Google also removed the first-generation Pixel Buds from the Google Store. That's understandable considering that it announced new Pixel Buds yesterday and the originals had such bad reviews.

    This also comes just one day after Google announced it would discontinue sales of its Daydream View. The VR headset is not compatible with Google's new phones, and it has already been removed from the Store. Chances are few users will miss these devices, and even if they do, Google has plenty of new hardware to distract them.

    Via: The Verge, Android Police

  • Netflix grows to 158 million subscribers as Disney+ looms
    Netflix just released its results for Q3 in 2019 (PDF), showing that it added slightly fewer subscribers (6.77 million) than the 7 million it anticipated, while still notching an all-time record for the quarter. The company cited lower retention rates in the US since its most recent price hike, and justifies with a statement that "With more revenue, we'll continue to invest to improve our service to further strengthen our value proposition."

    The one thing the company's investor letter seeks to convince people is that the problem isn't competition, with the likes of Amazon Prime and Hulu already here ahead of Disney+ and Apple TV+ launching later this year with HBO Max and Peacock waiting in the wings.

    Specifically it pulled up a growth chart for Netflix in Canada (as measured by penetration in broadband connected homes) to compare with the US to claim that Hulu's impact on it doesn't really exist. With more competition incoming, soothing investor's nerves will be key. When Disney is dropping three hour trailers for the video it has, the Netflix library will be compared, top to bottom, with these new entrants.
    #StrangerThings Season 3 was the most watched season to date, with 64 million member households watching in its first four weeks
    — See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) October 16, 2019
    It said that flagship series Stranger Things notched its "most watched season to date" with 64 million member households watching in the first four weeks, and noted expanding investment in non-English originals. Disney and Apple are launching at lower prices, but will take time to offer as wide of a range of items as Netflix already has -- and may have to raise prices eventually just like Netflix in order to be profitable.

    Update: Netflix has posted the video interview portion of its earnings release, we've embedded it below and will update this post with any interesting statements.
    Source: Netflix Q3 2019 Earnings PDF

  • Japanese airline's robots could let the elderly 'travel' from home
    If your inability to travel prevents you from embarking on a dream vacation, a robot might one day stand in your place. Japan's All Nippon Airways has unveiled plans to deploy 1,000 "Newme" telepresence robots as surrogates for people whose health prevents them from traveling far. It could attend a big game in your place or go shopping on your behalf, ANA said.

    The bot is pokey with a top speed of just 1.8MPH, but it lasts for about three hours on battery and operates at a 1080p resolution. A tiltable 10.1-inch touchscreen serves as your virtual face.

    ANA hopes to complete the rollout by summer 2020, or roughly alongside the summer Olympics. It's easy to be cynical about the project and argue that a video call on someone's phone might be cheaper and sometimes more effective. This saves the hassle of asking someone to stand in your place, though, and could provide more independence. It might also be appealing to would-be travelers who could explore tourist hotspots more on their own terms.

    Via: CNET

    Source: ANA Group

  • Virgin Galactic passengers will wear these Under Armour spacesuits
    Yesterday, NASA revealed the spacesuits its astronauts will wear on future Moon and Mars missions. They're impressive but clunky and a little heavy-handed on the patriotic theme. As you might expect, commercial space travel will be a bit more stylish. Today, Under Armour unveiled the space gear -- a base layer, spacesuit and boots -- that it's designed for passengers on Virgin Galactic flights.

    The base layer looks like something you'd wear on a cold jog, and that's partly because Under Armour retrofit the UA RUSH, mineral-infused fabric that it sells to athletes. The company says this will help with temperature regulation and sweat management.

    The fitted spacesuit is the same dark blue but with gold accents inspired by rays of sunlight. According to Under Armor, each spacesuit iteration underwent rigorous testing with pilots, spaceship engineers, medical professionals and astronaut instructors. It has functional features like an integrated communication system and plenty of pockets. It also has a clear pocket on the inside of the jacket (above the heart) for a photo of a loved one, and each suit will have a removable patch that can be transferred to flight jackets for everyday wear.

    The look wouldn't be complete without matching boots. Inspired by racecar drivers' footwear, the boots are designed to be lightweight, not the big, bulky moon boots you might expect.

    Virgin Galactic is still preparing for its inaugural commercial flight. Despite facing setbacks, it has sent its first passengers to the edge of space, and it has a waitlist of more than 600 passengers from 58 countries who have paid or put down deposits for a ride.

    Source: Under Armour

  • Showtime is turning the story of Uber into a TV series
    It seems Showtime reckons the turbulent behind-the-scenes story of Uber is good fodder for a TV show. It's developing a limited series about the ups and downs of the ridesharing company. Billions co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien will write and produce the show, based on its IPO in May. The adaptation will "depict the roller-coaster ride of the upstart transportation company, embodying the highs and lows of Silicon Valley," with co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick as a central figure.

    "The story of Uber is rich in plot twists, one-of-a-kind personalities and important implications for corporate America," Jana Winograde, co-president of entertainment at Showtime, said in a statement. "It is a case study of ingenuity and insanity, and there are no writers better suited than Brian and David to explore this business and the people who drive it, literally and metaphorically."

    It's not clear when the limited series will debut. It joins several other screen adaptations of tech companies' stories. Snapchat and Theranos are on the way to Quibi and Hulu respectively.

    Via: Deadline

    Source: CBS

  • The FCC voted to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger
    Today, the FCC formally approved the contested T-Mobile and Sprint merger, The Verge reports. But commissioners are still speaking out. Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks released statements explaining their decisions to vote against the transaction.

    In her statement, Rosenworcel said:

    "We've all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one. In the airline industry, it brought us baggage fees and smaller seats. In the pharmaceutical industry, it led to a handful of drug companies raising the prices of lifesaving medications. There's no reason to think this time will be different."

    She elaborated on her reasons for opposing the deal in an separate statement, Commissioner Starks express similar sentiment.

    In July, the Department of Justice approved T-Mobile's $26.5 billion bid to merge with Sprint, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has endorsed the deal. But many have pointed out that it could hurt competition, raises prices for cell service, limit innovation and jeopardize retail jobs and wages. Eighteen attorneys general have filed a multistate lawsuit to block the merger -- even with the condition that T-Mobile must sell some of its business to Dish Network.

    We are still waiting for confirmation from the FCC, but it appears the deal is moving forward. While normally a deal with FCC and DOJ approval would be allowed to close, there is a chance that the lawsuit filed by the attorneys general could still block the merger.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks

  • 'PUBG' season 5 will have throwable items and weapons
    Season 5 of offered some details on what's in store. One of the bigger additions is spike traps, which you can place in the path of an enemy car to pop the tires.

    You'll be able to throw items to your teammates as well. That should come in handy when you're in the midst of a firefight and you're running low on ammo or health. You can request a particular item using the communication system, and your teammate can send it your way with a single press of the interact key.

    Also, you'll have the option of chucking melee weapons at enemies. What's truly most exciting about that is the prospect of picking up a kill via a thrown frying pan. It has a shorter maximum range than other throwable weapons, but it can actually cause more damage than the machete, crowbar or sickle. Ouch.

    Also new with the season 5 update are vending machines, which is a case of PUBG taking a leaf out of the Fortnite playbook. They'll dispense painkillers and energy drinks, and will be available in Miramar and Camp Jackal.

    PUBG Corp is planning a refresh for the Miramar map this time around, after it gave Erangel an overhaul in season 4. Miramar will feature a race track with loops, ramps and jumps, along with a new car, the Gold Mirado. There'll be less clutter in and around buildings, while spawn rates for long-range weapons and scopes will be increased, as will those for helmets, bags and vests. Meanwhile, along with a higher spawn rate, the Win94 will have a built-in 2.7x scope though the weapon will be exclusive to Miramar. You'll likely see fewer pistols on the map in the future, as PUBG Corp has cut the drop rate of those guns by 31 percent.

    There's a new survivor pass, of course, along with community missions everyone can take part in. Curiously, this involves collecting DVDs and broken discs from cardboard boxes to unlock skin rewards along with more details about the game's lore. You'll have access to challenge, progression and season missions too.

    You can expect some UI tweaks in the wardrobe, store and in-game, along with sound and performance updates. PUBG Corp will add more options to Zombie Mode, along with ground respawns for war mode (instead of dropping from the plane), bug fixes and replay system tweaks.

    You can try out what PUBG season 5 has in store now on the PC test server. The 5.1 update will hit the live PC servers October 23rd and consoles October 29th.

    Source: PUBG Corp

  • Law enforcement shuts down largest known child porn site on the dark web
    The US just scored a significant coup against crime on the dark web. Federal agents and international partners have taken down Welcome To Video, believed to be the largest child pornography darknet site to date based on its sheer volume of content. Law enforcement has seized a South Korea server for WTV that held over 8TB of disturbing content, including more than 250,000 videos. It appeared to be a source for exploitative media rather than just a distributor, as 45 percent of the videos studied so far included images that were new to investigators.

    The bust led to the arrest of 338 people around the world, including 23 states, the District of Columbia and 11 countries. Some have already pleaded guilty or have faced sentences. Authorities have also rescued "at least" 23 children who were facing active abuse.

    Agents took WTV down thanks in no small part to vulnerabilities in its payment system. Each user received a unique bitcoin address to let them buy content. IRS agents traced their bitcoin transactions through a "sophisticated" (but unspecified) approach that identified the server's general whereabouts, the site's administrator and eventually the server's physical location. A separate complaint aims to seize bitcoin from 24 people and compensate the victims.

    This isn't likely to discourage other black markets from operating on the dark web, and it's unlikely to do much damage to legitimate dark web users (such as activists hoping to avoid oppressive regimes) or bitcoin users. It does show that the US can take down particularly large dark web operations, though, and serves as a reminder that cryptocurrencies are bound by the law.

    Source: Justice Department

  • Moto G8 Plus may borrow features from higher-end phones
    The Moto G7 family is barely months old, but that apparently isn't stopping Motorola from readying a quick follow up. Both One series, just in a more affordable design. You'd get a three-camera setup on the back that would include a 48-megapixel main sensor, a 117-degree wide-angle "action cam," a five-megapixel depth camera for portrait shots and laser autofocus. Outside of telephoto shots, you wouldn't be hurting for photographic options.

    The G8 Plus would also stuff in a large 4,000mAh battery (the G7 Plus had 'just' a 3,000mAh pack) to help it comfortably last through the day, while a Snapdragon 665 chip could give it a speed boost over the 632 from its predecessor. Its display wouldn't be anything to write home about as a notched, 6.3-inch 2,280 x 1,080 LCD, but that's still sizeable for a mid-range device.

    The regular G8, meanwhile, appears to ditch the laser autofocus while otherwise preserving a large part of the design. It's not clear what other sacrifices are being made in the name of cost, but we wouldn't rule out screen and memory differences.

    Provided the leaks are on the mark, you could see Motorola unveil the G8 series at a event in Brazil (arguably the Moto G's core market) on October 24th. G-series phones tend to reach the US, so it's highly likely you'll get to buy one soon after. It's just a question of whether the whole series is available stateside. Motorola sometimes doesn't sell particular Moto G variants in the US, so you may have to make do with what's available.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: WinFuture (translated), Mobielkopen (translated)

  • Google needs a sustainable phone moonshot
    "Developing sustainable solutions to mass production and consumption is one of the biggest challenges we face today as an industry," Rick Osterloh, Google's senior vice president for devices and services said onstage yesterday. "It impacts all of us and it will for generations to come."

    Sustainability was a major focus of the Pixel 4 event. The company said it would spend another $150 million on renewable energy projects, for instance, that will generate the same amount of electricity that is currently required to build Made by Google products. Ivy Ross, the head of Google's hardware design team, revealed that all of its 2019 Nest products will include some amount of recycled material, too. The new Nest Mini speaker, for example, has a fabric top made entirely from old plastic bottles.

    "Our goal is to clear the way for the entire industry, and [for] our planet to benefit," Ross said. She also revealed that the Google Stadia controller will include recycled plastics. The cloud-based gaming service is eco-friendly, she argued, because it doesn't force players to upgrade their console or PC over time. "Another sustainability goal [for Google] is simply reducing the amount of hardware you need to buy in the first place," she explained.

    The eco-friendly chatter ended, though, long before the Pixel 4 was introduced on stage. The back half of the event was dedicated to the phone's new 90Hz Smooth Display, radar-based Soli sensor — which enables super-fast Face Unlock and mid-air Motion Sense gestures — and upgraded camera setup, which includes a 16-megapixel telephoto.

    It's an impressive Android flagship. But an impressive sustainability effort? That seems unlikely. I've pored over the company's official marketing materials and can't see any mention of carefully sourced materials or sustainable manufacturing processes. A Google spokesperson told Engadget: "In our upcoming product environmental reports, we'll be sharing that Pixel will be registered EPEAT [Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool] gold to meet a greener electronics industry standard." Many smartphones share this rating, including the iPhone 11, Samsung's Galaxy S10, and Google's own Pixel 3.

    It feels like the company could be doing more.

    "We believe Google has both the ability and the responsibility to create systemic change," Osterloh said at the start of yesterday's event. "As a company, we've been focused on sustainability for a long time."

    He's absolutely right. Remember Project Ara? Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division tried to build a handset that anyone could upgrade with colorful LEGO-like parts. That meant you could repair and replace individual components without buying an entirely new phone. There were trade-offs, of course — an Ara smartphone could never be as thin as the latest Samsung Galaxy — but the environmental advantages were clear.

    In September 2016, though, the project was suspended indefinitely. Google didn't give a reason, but it was most likely financial. Project Ara was a long shot and the company wanted to prioritize the Pixel, a device that could compete directly with the iPhone and countless Android flagships.

    What is Google doing now? It's part of the capitalist machine that encourages consumers to upgrade their phone every year, rather than repair what they already own. Clearly, the company wants to sell more devices, not less, every quarter. "With the launch of Pixel 3a in May, overall Pixel unit sales in Q2 grew more than 2x year-over-year," Google chief executive Sundar Pichai told investors on an earnings calllast July.

    If Google cares about the planet, it should start a new sustainable phone moonshot. Alphabet's secretive "X" division has already developed a bunch of solutions to seemingly impossible environmental problems. These include Dandelion, a now-independent startup that makes it cheaper to heat your home with geothermal energy. Malta, meanwhile, is a grid-scale system that stores renewable energy inside tanks of molten salt. X has also produced Makani, a so-called "energy kite" that allows people on the ground to harness wind power, Waymo, a self-driving business that could eventually reduce traffic and carbon emissions, and Foghorn, an unsuccessful attempt to create carbon-neutral fuel from seawater.

    If anyone can crack the eco-friendly phone problem, it's the X factory.

    I don't expect Google to abandon the Pixel line. The stock Android phones are simply too important to the company. Consistent research, though, and outside-the-box thinking could produce an environmental breakthrough that doesn't compromise the price or quality of the next Pixel.

    Okay, so Project Ara didn't work out. That doesn't mean there aren't other solutions, though, or that Google should simply give up on the idea of a truly sustainable smartphone. Just look at Fairphone -- the plucky upstart in Amsterdam is still making handsets that are modular, repairable, and built from a mix of "fair" and recycled materials.

    It's time Osterloh's team did the same.

  • Hulu revamp uses 'like' and 'dislike' buttons to personalize suggestions
    Hulu is determined to improve its recommendations, and one of its biggest upgrades will seem remarkably familiar to some. It's adding Netflix-style "like" and "dislike" buttons to indicate that you'd either like to see similar titles or never to see a show again. The feature is available now both through the web as well as Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast, the Switch, the Xbox One as well as "select" LG, Samsung, Vizio and Android-powered smart TVs. More platforms are "coming soon."

    The Disney-owned service also plans to refine the overall recommendation and search experiences. It's working on a more personalized home screen that at once shows more relevant yet diverse collections. It'll do more to build collections of suggested shows based on what you've seen. And when you have to search for a show, Hulu is promising faster, simpler results that will be more forgiving and allow shortcuts (such as HIMYM instead of How I Met Your Mother).

    The search improvements will deploy in the "next few months," so you may have to be patient. It'll be good news for both viewers and Hulu when everything is in place, however. The more likely you are to find a new show or a favorite movie, the less likely you are to jump to one of the many rival services out of frustration.

    Source: Hulu Press

  • Uber is adding electric mopeds to its app in Paris
    Beginning next month, Uber users in Paris will be able to book trips on Cityscoot's electric mopeds through the app. This marks the first time Uber has offered e-mopeds through its app, and the company says it's part of its goal to become a one-stop shop for all transportation needs.

    Uber recently added public transit info to its app in Paris -- as it's done in the Bay Area, Denver and London. So, when the e-moped partnership goes live, users in Paris will be able to choose from traditional ridesharing, scooters, bikes and mopeds. Cityscoot has a fleet of 4,000 electric mopeds, and it will offer them at the same price through the Uber app.

    Uber believes the options will complement each other, not compete. It says its JUMP scooters are ideal for very short trips (less than two kilometers), while JUMP bikes are best for short distances and e-mopeds fill the need for mid-distance trips. It predicts that users will still opt for cars for longer distances (nine kilometers on average).

    Despite having 100 million users, Uber has been losing money. Last month, it rolled out a major app redesign to test brining all of its services under one app. "We want to be the operating system of your life," said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. The Cityscoot partnership is another step in that direction.

    Via: The Verge

    Source: Uber

  • Volvo unveils the XC40 EV, its first full-electric vehicle
    Not to be outdone by its electrified-performance sibling Polestar, Volvo today unveiled its all-wheel-drive (AWD) XC40 Recharge pure EV at an event in Los Angeles. The car looks exactly like its gas-powered counterpart and will house a 78kWh battery pack underneath the passenger area. This isn't the first time this vehicle has been used by the automaker to introduce a new technology or service. Care by Volvo was initially available only for the XC40.

    Plus, if you're going to introduce an EV that will sell well in the United States, making sure it's an SUV or crossover is a bit of a no brainer. The sedan market continues to shrink as Americans opt for larger and taller vehicles.

    While we still have to wait for EPA tests for an official range, Volvo is targeting over 200 miles of mixed driving between charges. The XC40 EV will support DC fast-charging port and says it can be charged to 80 percent from zero in 40 minutes. In a bit of a surprise, the dual motors will output 402 horsepower and 486 foot-pounds of torque. More powerful than expected for a small SUV. The zero-to-60 time will be 4.7 seconds. Not exactly a drag racer, but still quick.

    It will be the first Volvo to use Android's Automotive OS and will support over-the-air updates. Volvo says the car will be updated regularly and will be better over its lifetime. This is the same pitch as Tesla and it's working well for that company.

    The news comes on the heels of Volvo announcing that it would reduce its per-car lifecycle carbon footprint by 40 percent between 2018 and 2025. That means that each car built in 2025 will have a 40 percent lower carbon footprint than those built today. Volvo hopes to become carbon neutral by 2040. "We believe there should be real action from the business community," said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

    In addition to its own manufacturing processes moving quickly to renewable and recycled practices, the company is pushing its suppliers to do the same thing and do so ethically. Currently one of its battery suppliers is using recycled cobalt from old batteries.

    Samuelsson noted Volvo's commitment to safety as a blueprint to its goal of reducing carbon emissions. But he also said that this would also make the company better and lead to economic growth. It set a target that half of its sales in 2025 will be BEVs (battery electric).

    The company said that the advancement in gas engines will not lead to lower emissions and that electrification was the only real path to that goal.

    Future EVs will be part of the company's Recharge lineup which will include hybrids and BEVs. So get ready for an XC60 Recharge, S60 Recharge and well, you get the point.

    The automaker also announced that beginning today, all hybrids will be sold with one year of free electric charging. The automaker will make sure that plug-ins will be available in every car in its lineup and will triple the capacity of plug-in production to reduce wait times for orders.

    As for the XC40 Recharge, it'll start under $48,000 after federal tax credits and land in showrooms by the end of 2020. If you're interested you can place a $1,000 deposit now on Volvo's site.

  • Gigantamax Pikachu is coming to ‘Pokémon Sword’ and ‘Shield’
    We know that Pokémon SwordGigantamaxing, which will turn certain creatures into giant forms and give them a special move. Today, Nintendo revealed the Gigantamax forms for some of the most popular Pokémon: Pikachu, Charizard, Eevee, Meowth and Butterfree.

    Gigantamax Pikachu will grow to over 68-feet-tall, and it will gain the G-Max Volt Crash, which will damage and paralyze opponents. Gigantamax Charizard's G-Max Wildfire will deal damage for four turns to any Pokémon that isn't Fire type. Gigantamax Eevee will use its G-Max Cuddle to deal damage and infatuate opponents of the opposite gender. Gigantamax Meowth will deal damage with its G-Max Gold Rush and scatter coins over the area, creating an opportunity for an in-game cash bonus after the battle. Finally, Gigantamax Butterfree will use its G-Max Befuddle to scatter poisonous scales around its opponents.

    Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are set to be released on November 15th (exclusively on Nintendo Switch), so you won't have to wait too much longer to try Gigantamaxing in the game.

    Source: Nintendo

  • UK finally abandons its unworkable ‘porn block’ plan
    The UK has conceded that its regularly-delayed proposal to create a nationwide adult content firewall will not go ahead. The system, due to be implemented in April 2018, December 2018, July 2019, the near future, has been abandoned, for now. In a statement, Nicky Morgan MP said that officials would move to tackle so-called "online harms" in a different manner than those laid out in the existing law.

    Part 3 of the 2017 Digital Economy Act laid out a plan for a system where people could not access adult content unless they proved they were over 18. Rather than administer the system itself, the government farmed out responsibility to a third-party, the British Board of Film Classification. The BBFC is, itself, a regulatory body funded by the movie industry, as a way to avoid direct censorship.

    In order to prove their age, users would have to sign up to some sort of age-verification service, run by a third party. That would have required the purchase of a "porn pass," sold over the counter in retail stores so staff could establish your age as they do for alcohol sales. The pass would have then allowed you to access sites that market adult content on a commercial basis, as laid down in the act.

    The law was intended to prevent minors from accessing adult content, but its aims were defeated long before publication. Social media sites, like Twitter and Reddit, were exempted from the bill, despite the fact that it's very easy to find adult content on there. Compared to, say, an adult content website where the material is behind a paywall, and it was hard to understand the reasoning behind the law.

    And the existence of one or two large registers of users who had paid money to view adult content was a civil liberties nightmare. The proposals were decried, from the get-go, by experts and pundits as technically unworkable and highly damaging to individual freedoms. Even sending a press release was bungled by the BBFC, which exposed the email addresses of over 300 journalists in talking about the news.

    There were also concerns raised about the identity of the companies tasked with implementing the age identification system. Mindgeek, owner of Pornhub, was heavily criticized for both its business practices and the risk that it would gain monopoly power over rivals if it controlled access to their sites. Not to mention that the system, if tied to UK IP addresses, could be easily circumvented with the use of a VPN.

    The UK has not given up on its plans to censor the internet, however, and is looking at a broader "regulatory regime." In her statement, Morgan addresses the exemption of social media sites, saying that regulators will have "discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care." What that turns out to be is not yet clear, but it's likely to have similar chilling effects on civil liberties.

    In a press release, the BBFC said that it "had all systems in place to undertake the role of AV regulator," but "understands the government's decision." It added that it will bring its "expertise and work closely with government to ensure that the child protection goals of the DEA are achieved."

    Source: UK Parliament, BBFC

  • Polestar is opening its first North American EV store
    If you want to get a close look at Polestar's cars and check out its relatively novel retail experience, you may need to plan a trip to Canada. Polestar has announced that its first retail partner in the Americas, and thus its first "Polestar Space" in these areas, will be in Montreal. The team still has to pick a location in the city, but you can shop the brand's electrified cars starting in 2020.

    The Montreal location will be joined by Spaces in Toronto and Vancouver, plus a "strategically-placed" (but unspecified) retail network in the US.

    Polestar's retail strategy is, like the cars themselves, an attempt to break away from convention. Rather than subject you to the usual dealerships with commissioned sales reps (though those will still be around), Spaces encourage you to explore cars (including test drives) and order more on your own terms. To some extent, that's necessary given efforts by Polestar and its Volvo parent to change how you pay for a car in the first place. If all goes well, you'll have the option of picking up a Polestar EV through a subscription, not just a purchase or lease. There's not much need for traditional dealerships under that model, even if those dealerships frequently object to being sidelined.

    Source: Polestar

  • Internet Archive adds 2,500 more DOS games to playable database
    Since 2013, the underappreciated heroes at Internet Archive have been working diligently to preserve old and abandoned PC games. In 2015, the organization started hosting 2,400 DOS games, allowing you to play cult classics like Gods and Tongue of the Fatman in your browser. This week, the organization added another 2,500 DOS games to its database.

    According to the Internet Archive, the expansion is its biggest update yet. A couple of the more notable highlights include The Lost Vikings, one of the first games Blizzard, then known as Silicon & Synapse, shipped; Loom, a lesser-known gem from Lucasarts' adventure heyday; and The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, the game Bethesda released just before starting working on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in 1998. It goes without saying, but there's a lot of history in the new titles.

    Jason Scott from The Internet Archive notes that some of the games, particularly those that shipped on CD-ROMs back in the day, may take a while to load if you have a slow internet connection. "Maybe in a few years we'll look back at cable-modem speeds and laugh at the crawling, but for now, they're pretty significant," he wrote on the organization's official blog. Take a look at the Internet Archive's database to see if one of your old favorites is there.

    Via: PC Gamer

    Source: Internet Archive

  • The Panama Papers lawyers want to stop Netflix’s ‘The Laundromat’
    Just days before The Laundromat is scheduled to arrive on Netflix, the lawyers portrayed in the movie have filed a defamation action against Netflix and are trying to prevent the film's release.

    The Steven Soderbergh movie stars Meryl Streep as a widow investigating an insurance fraud and chasing leads to the Panama City law firm Mossack Fonseca. As you may remember, that firm had 2.6 terabytes of its data leaked, sparking the Panama Papers scandal. That was one of the largest data leaks in history, and it exposed a web of offshore tax evasion by the super-rich and global leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The firm's partners Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, played by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, say The Laundromat portrays them as "ruthless uncaring lawyers who are involved in money laundering, tax evasion, bribery and/or other criminal conduct," The Guardian reports. They fear that the film could interfere with the trial they're set to face in Panama, as well as the FBI's investigation in the US. They're asking the court to stop The Laundromat's release.

    It seems a little late for that. The court documents were just filed on Tuesday. The film has already been shown at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, and it's scheduled to launch around the world on Friday.

    Despite being implicated in the shady offshore tax evasion, this isn't the first time Mossack and Fonseca have said they're victims. In 2016, they claimed the firm was hacked and that the only proven crime was the hack itself. We'll see if the courts agree.

    Source: The Guardian, Deadline

  • Oppo’s Reno 2 has a 'sharkfin' pop-up camera and decent zoom on the cheap
    It's a hard time to launch a smartphone. We're clinging onto our phones for longer and innovation has slowed to crawl -- irrespective of what companies are telling us. A lot of us either want the greatest, latest phone, or simply want a good deal. Oppo's Reno 2 is in the latter camp, attempting to steal away would-be Honor and middleweight Samsung phone shoppers. Why should you take a chance on the Reno 2? It might be its stylish, all-screen looks, or it might be the cameras. In this age of dual, tri- or quad-camera flagship phones, Oppo has tried to distill down the best features into a cheaper device, but it might have watered it down a little too much. Even if the sharkfin pop-up camera is still on board.

    Before we get to all of the cameras, let's breeze through the other specifications. Normally, I'd say you don't usually see phones this stylish at this price, but mid-range phones have never looked better. Oppo has lifted the flagship looks of its Reno 10x Zoom, pretty much to a tee. It's slick, smooth and I like the faux blue 'glow' effect around the camera unit. It looks premium, and even the faux, forest green leather case that comes in the box is nice enough to use -- something that's often not true with free-with-the-phone cases. On the rear, there's a weird green nubbin. What I thought was a Sony Ericsson tribute (RIP) is actually a ceramic defense mechanism against scratching the camera units (which run flush to the phone) when you place the Reno 2 down. It's kinda dumb and smart at the same time.

    There is a mid-range Snapdragon 730G processor inside, and the Reno 2 is the first Oppo phone to benefit from neural network processing to speed up night-mode shooting -- a la the Pixel series and Huawei's P30 Pro. Which is where we circle back to the camera array.

    The Reno 2 has a 48-megapixel f/1.7 primary camera, a 13-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto sensor, an 8-megapixel 116-degree ultra-wide camera and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera which mostly just helps out with depth and the portrait 'bokeh' effects.

    The banner feature is versatility. You can take ultra-wide shots of landscapes or groups of people, you can take up-close macro images of flowers or other details, and alongside 2x optical zoom, the Reno 2 can deliver hybrid 5x zoom results that combine the high-megapixel primary shooter with the telephoto lens.

    It's a jack of all trades but, judging from my week with it, master of none. Macro photos on fine details and close-ups are often washed out, forcing you to tweak exposure on every photo, which isn't great. The results aren't particularly wow, either. The ultra-wide lens gives nice results in cramped settings, like this pinball arcade. It still manages to pull in a lot of light and detail here.

    How about that zoom function? You won't get the impressive 10x zoom seen on the pricier, imaginatively titled Reno 10x Zoom, sadly. And you don't get a default 6x zoom either. Instead, there's a 2x optical zoom (par for the course now), and a 5x Hybrid zoom. Because it's hybrid, combining several camera sensors with some cropping and clever image processing, results can be mixed -- I've seen great and terrible applications of it. When it does work in perfect conditions, it's amazing. Sometimes it's fuzzy and pointless.

    Perhaps because it's combining images, shutter speed seems to take the hit -- the coffee shop stand here seems pin-sharp, but the pedestrians are a blur. They weren't walking that fast -- it was a Sunday. Colors and low-light performance are strong, a testament to the advances we've seen in smartphone cameras, but if you're already using a flagship Galaxy, Pixel or iPhone, your shots might appear a little foggy and less punchy. That's the experience I had -- especially with the hybrid zoom. Note the color temperature differences between the zoom modes too.

    So while the Reno 2 won't give you a top-class camera experience, it gives you latitude and flexibility to frame shots, to avoid elbowing crowds to get a decent photo at a concert or live event. The Pixel 3 (now supplanted) didn't have any optical zoom, let alone hybrid zoom features. The Reno 2 bests our pick of 2018's camera phones, at least in the telephoto stakes. The Reno 2 also has a new video stabilizing feature that smooths out wobbly footage. It keeps your footage while walking or running pretty smooth, but there's a fair degree of pixel blur too. I don't want to critique the feature too much, however. Whatever Oppo is doing here makes your handheld video much better -- and you're more likely to share or rewatch it.

    On the front, the sharkfin pop-up selfie camera still looks cool, but I found the 16-megapixel camera itself was so far away from the screen that the direction of my eyes was, well, off. They were looking at the screen, while the camera floated above it. The screen is a 6.5-inch Full HD Plus (2,340 x 1,080) AMOLED display and takes pride of place on the Reno 2. Thanks to the pop-up camera, it takes up 93.6 percent of the front, with no notch or hole-punch to ruin the effect.
    A 'Dazzle Color' mode punches up pictures in miserable British weather.Mat Smith.

    High-speed charging is an increasingly common feature now. Samsung has its own standard, ditto Qualcomm, and even Apple is finally catching up with USB-C charging far faster than what you used to get on iPhones. Oppo is pushing the boundaries here, and while the Reno 2 doesn't have 30-minute full battery charging (you'd need this Gundam-themed Ace model for that), the in-box adapter supports "VOOC 3.0" charging. This gets you to over 50 percent of the 4,000mAh battery (Oppo's biggest phone battery yet) in a half-hour, similar to Apple's iPhone claims, but at a fraction of the price. One feature that's fading into obscurity is also here: the headphone jack. Add the Reno 2 to the shrinking list of phones that do.

    There is another
    Confusingly, and Oppo's spokespeople couldn't really give a strong reason for why, the Reno 2 Z will also launch alongside it. The Reno 2's "little brother" has a pop-up, not sharkfin, front-facing camera and 19.5:9 screen ratio which makes it a little chubbier than the Reno 2 -- there's also a different processor inside, the Mediatek P90. Otherwise, there's next to no difference. The camera specs are the same, likewise battery and the same under-screen fingerprint reader. Oh and colors. The Reno 2 will come in Ocean Blue/ Luminous Black (seen here), while the Reno 2 Z will have a Sky White option, alongside Luminous Black. Oppo has priced this phone, which I haven't spent time with, at £329 (roughly $420) -- worryingly blowing its own Reno 2 out of the water.

    The price is crucial here. The Reno 2 will launch in the UK at £499 (or 499 Euros, around $640) on October 18th, making it more expensive than a Pixel 3a and some Honor devices. Beside the fact that its own Reno 2 Z can do nearly everything the Reno 2 can on the cheap, Oppo's new mid-range phone does a good job of punching above its weight. It looks and feels like a flagship Android phone, and the camera feature set is above and beyond what similarly-priced phones are capable -- even if it's not class-leading. If only that 10x hybrid zoom had made it.

  • Analogue's $200 Pocket could be the ultimate retro gaming portable
    In just eight years, Analogue has transformed itself from a maker ofwildly expensive bespoke Neo Geo consoles to a retro gaming giant. Capitalizing on the buzz aroundNintendo's Classic Mini NES and the following mini console craze, the Seattle-based company has created premium high-definition consoles based on theNES,SNES andGenesis, all of which have been extremely well received. Today, it's announcing its most ambitious project to date: the Analogue Pocket.

    The Pocket is a roughly Game Boy-shaped console that can play any Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance game, with support for Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color and Atari Lynx coming through add-on adapters. The system has a few more buttons than you'd expect from a Game Boy: There's a D-Pad, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons nestled on either side of the cartridge slot and a trio of small system buttons. All of the controls are remappable to individual users' tastes. Elsewhere, there are stereo speakers, a headphone jack and a lithium-ion battery that charges over USB-C.

    A lot of attention appears to have gone into the Pocket's display. Analogue CEO and co-founder Christopher Taber told Engadget that, while many all-in-one retro portables use displays that have been around for 15 to 20 years, the Pocket's "modern and sophisticated" panel only began being manufactured in 2018.

    More specifically, it's a 3.5-inch, 615-PPI LTPS LCD panel running at 1,600 x 1,440, which is handily exactly 10 times the resolution of the original Game Boy's display on each axis. The resolution choice means you can get a pixel-perfect, full-screen rendition of Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Gear games. Atari Lynx titles can also scale perfectly to take up the full height of the display; although the aspect ratio of that console means there will be black space at the sides. For the Game Boy Advance and Neo Geo Pocket Color, there's no way to neatly multiply the resolution, but Analogue will offer its usual suite of display options across every system, letting you tailor how they look.

    For Game Boy Advance titles, the more modern display coupled with scaling and filtering could improve the notoriously muddy and hard-to-make-out character models. But all cartridges should benefit from the Pocket's superior panel, color reproduction and brightness. Analogue describes the display as having "pro level color accuracy, dynamic range and brightness," calling it the most advanced ever in a video game system. The company isn't sharing all the technical specifications of the display just yet, but the dimensions and resolution are the same as the premium panels found in Valve's $999 Index VR headset.

    Rounding out the hardware is an optional dock, which will use Analogue's renowned in-house scaling tech to put handheld games on your TV with "no loss in quality," according to Taber. It will feature HDMI, two USB inputs for wired controllers and Bluetooth for connecting wireless controllers from companies like 8BitDo. The dock is scheduled to launch alongside the Pocket, but the company isn't revealing the price yet.

    There are countless Game Boy knockoffs and retro handhelds out there, but the Pocket is different. While all-in-one consoles typically run games through software emulation, Analogue's party trick is and has always been its use of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA). The company develops its machines by examining the original hardware and circuitry of a console, and then coding an FPGA core to mimic it. Many months (if not years) later, the result is an accurate machine that can play cartridge media directly as if it were original hardware.

    Although Analogue pioneered the use of FPGA for gaming, a healthy community of developers has sprung up in recent years, writing code for subsidized development boards. Where the Pocket diverges from Analogue's other devices is that it has two FPGA chips. The first the Pocket uses to support the various systems and games, while the second is a blank slate for others to work with.

    Taber said the company will "be providing resources and putting together a lot of cool stuff" for the FPGA community to create cores for the Pocket. That includes access to the company's proprietary scalers and hardware, including the cartridge slot to allow for accessories.

    The limit to what the spare FPGA can achieve "comes down to how skilled the developers are," according to Taber. It's worth setting some expectations, though: Mimicking even an NES is not easy, and with every generation the complexity of consoles increases. Even making the leap from NES to SNES adds orders of magnitude more transistors and paths to suss out. There's no reason, though, that someone proficient enough couldn't do what Analogue did with its hardware emulation of the Neo Geo, SNES or Genesis using the Pocket's FPGA, and build a simple adapter to plug in the carts.

    In addition to support for Nintendo's early portable game systems, Analogue is also planning to sell adapters to handle games for the Atari Lynx, Neo Geo Pocket Color and Sega Game Gear.

    These adapters aren't simply hardware that adapts the pins of cartridges into a Game Boy-friendly layout -- although they will do that. Analogue has to write a core for the FPGA that mimics that system's original hardware for each adapter it creates. "When a user moves between systems on our products the FPGA is literally being reconfigured as that system on a transistor level," Taber explained.

    For the preservation of video game history, supporting Atari, Sega and SNK's portable consoles is perhaps a bigger deal than creating the perfect Game Boy. Titles for less-popular consoles are more at danger of being lost to time than those made for Nintendos. The Lynx community, for example, relies on enthusiast knowledge to keep systems running when displays die or capacitors burn out. Having a modern device that can play original games as they're intended won't stop Lynx fans from collecting everything they can find, but it does offer them, and others, a user-friendly way to play the system's games.

    Nanoloop is a storied electronic music program originally created for the Game Boy in the late '90s. For almost two decades, Nanoloop only ran on official hardware -- retro emulator boxes are incompatible -- meaning a Nintendo Game Boy, Advance or DS. That changed earlier this year when a dedicated Nanoloop device was crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

    Taber is a longtime Nanoloop fan and user and reached out to its creator, Oliver Wittchow, to explain the Pocket and discuss a collaboration. The result? The Pocket is set to be the second non-Nintendo device to support the software. More than that, every Analogue Pocket comes with Nanoloop built in -- it's usually sold as a $50 cartridge -- and also has a Link Cable-style port for connecting up to a larger setup.

    Nanoloop uses the Game Boy's sound chip to create music straight on the console, but through a Link Cable adapter, it can make the Game Boy a synth or sequencer as part of a larger music setup. Nanoloop 2 for the Game Boy Advance added features and could tap into the Advance's more... advanced hardware. Both editions are widely used in the chiptune world, and there are numerous accessories for expanding your setup that will be compatible with Analogue's console.

    While the Pocket doesn't technically have the same sound chip as a Game Boy Advance, it does have a core that precisely mimics the console's hardware. Taber said the version of Nanoloop that'll ship is "tailored for the pocket," with all the same functionality as Nanoloop 2 but a customized UI.

    I asked Taber whether it's feasible for Nanoloop to utilize the "chips" in other system cores. His response was "more on that later." If it's possible, being able to switch between various retro sound chips on the fly is a game-changer. Even someone with a passing interest in making music could have a lot of fun tapping into, say, the legendary Texas Instruments sound chip found in the Genesis and Game Gear.

    Analogue made a name for itself by producing products that typically do one thing extremely well. For years, its takes on various consoles have offered the single best way to play retro games on modern TVs. The company now has a loyal audience, which Taber said, typically buys every product Analogue makes. And it's managed to lower prices considerably by turning to plastics in place of wood or metal. These products remain focused: It's carved out its own niche and largely stayed there.

    Producing one product that does a lot of things, then, may seem counterintuitive. But Taber said the Pocket is something the company has "always wanted to do," it's just taken a long time for the company to get to where it needs to be to make it happen.

    In retrospect, you can draw a line between each of Analogue's systems and the Pocket. The scaling tech it developed to make low-res NES games work on modern TVs will now offer the display options necessary to support a wide array of consoles. The transition to plastics for its Super NT consoles gave it the materials knowledge to create a (hopefully) durable portable. The Master System adapter packed in with the Mega SG boosted its experience working with multiple cores on one FPGA. The Game Gear core created for the Mega SG's adapter is also going to come in handy. All of these are steps that have led to the Pocket.

    The Analogue Pocket will be available in 2020 for $199.99. The dock will be available at the same time at an unspecified cost. Taber said the company is "working really hard" to have at least one of the add-on adapters ready for launch, with the others coming over "the following quarter or two." There's no price for those yet, and there's no word on when pre-orders for the Pocket will go live.

    How you react to the Pocket's price will depend on how familiar you are with Analogue's products. Just two and a half years ago, its NES-compatible console launched at $450. Its most recent device, which is inarguably its best-value product to date, was the $190 Mega SG. At $200, the Pocket, with its dual FPGA chips, ultra-high-res display and compatibility with over 25 years worth of Nintendo handheld games almost seems like a steal.

  • Ang Lee chases cinema’s 120FPS future with ‘Gemini Man’
    Ang Lee is curious. That's why the Oscar-winning director has spent the past decade fighting against the limitations of cinema -- 2D screens and the 24 frames-per-second standard -- instead of just making sure-fire hits. With Life of Pi, he dove into elaborate 3D filmmaking and creating life-like digital animals. After the global success of that film, he set his sights on Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. That drama wasn't particularly well received by audiences or critics, but it allowed him to explore the uncanny realism of combining high framerates (HFR) of 120 FPS, together with 4K and 3D. Now with Gemini Man, Lee's latest film starring Will Smith (and his younger digital double), he's trying to bring his new vision of cinema to a mainstream action film.

    Lee's approach is bound to be contentious. High frame rates look overly smooth and hyper-real in a way we're not used to seeing from movies. To many, it just looks "fake." But Gemini Man's set pieces make it clear why he's betting on new tech. During a motorcycle chase between Will Smith's aging assassin and his clone, I felt like I was riding right alongside him through narrow Colombian alleys. It felt visceral in a way a movie chase hasn't felt to me since The Bourne Supremacy.

    "Sometimes I'm asked to be more normal, because that's what we're used to," Lee said in a roundtable chat with journalists. "I hope, movie by movie, we get in a different way of exciting people [with high frame rates]." He pointed to that bike chase as a great example of the benefits of HFR. Watching someone riding a bike at 24FPS removes you from the experience, whereas with a high framerate and 3D, it's like you're practically there.

    So why go to all this trouble? For one, higher frame rates smooth out the jumpy effect (or juddering) you see in films whenever the camera pans around a scene, as well as the blurriness from fast moving objects across the frame. In theaters, those issues are due to the slower nature of the 24FPS standard. But in homes, they're even more problematic. TVs are built to show between 60 and 120 frames per second, so manufacturers have been pushing motion smoothing, which adds fake frames to smooth out 24FPS content.

    Like any self-respecting movie fan, I've learned to hate motion smoothing over the past few years. It makes everything look like a cheap soap opera, and invariably speeds up on screen movement. The problem high frame rate films like Gemini Man face is that they share a similar look -- the difference is that they're actually getting additional frames, instead of fake ones. That leads to more detail and a more immersive filmgoing experience, especially when it's paired with the additional depth of 3D.

    "High frame rates comes along with 3D, and it all comes from digital [filmmaking]," Lee said. "Once it's digital, it allows dimension unlike film." But, he added, shooting in high frame rates requires a fundamental rethinking of what we take for granted when making and watching movies. Scenes have to be lit differently, and like the jump from standard definition to HD, filmmakers have to step up the level of detail throughout.

    That's one reason why Peter Jackson's 48 FPS Hobbit movies looked terrible. He shot them like traditional movies, and the sets and costumes simply looked cheap. I'll admit, those movies left a sour taste in my mouth -- so much so, that I didn't think HFR would ever truly work. But then I saw Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in 120FPS 4K 3D, and I instantly became a believer. It was as if I was peering through a giant window and seeing the actors in real life. It was a strange, yet ultimately thrilling, experience. Gemini Man builds on that in every way, with action scenes that show off what's possible with a higher frame rate.
    Paramount Pictures

    "[3D] is one of our desires -- like the desire to see color, to hear talking pictures, it's just natural because that's what we see in life," Lee said in an interview with Engadget. "Then I realized if you wanted to see 3D properly, experiencing it, you need to raise the frame rate. Once you raise the frame rate, things happen. I realized the way we process the 3D image in our head, because of two angles is quite different. It's not more clear. It's not about resolution, it's just sharper."

    HFR gives Gemini Man an immediacy that feels revelatory. It's like you're standing right next to Will Smith during hectic shootouts. And one scene, where he ends up brutally wrestling his clone, feels akin to watching a UFC fight from the middle of the ring. Gemini Man isn't a great movie -- it's basically a lost relic of cheesy '90s sci-fi-- but the experience of watching it is unlike anything I've seen before. It's no wonder James Cameron is also planning to use HFR in his upcoming Avatar sequels. It adds an entirely new level of immersion, just like 3D did for the original Avatar.
    Paramount Pictures

    Lee also pushed for Will Smith's clone, Junior, to be an entirely CG character. He's not just de-aged like Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel -- he's built completely from the ground up by Weta Digital to recapture Smith in his youth. So, in a way, Junior is more closely related to Gollum from Lord of the Rings than an actual human who's had a bit of computer-assisted wrinkle reduction. His performance is motion captured by Will Smith and stuntmen, and his face his painstakingly recreated by Weta. This allows Junior to both move like a younger man, but also tap into Will Smith's talents for his facial movements.

    "The man gave peace of his heart," Lee said. "He actually has to act harder than his usual job. No, ten times harder. If you'd like to talk about hard, Junior has it hard, a lot more than a real person. The investment we put into it to try to make believe that was a hundred times harder than just directing an actor or movie star."

    Lee doesn't seem too concerned about actors just becoming digital characters that we can easily manipulate in the future, like the film The Congress. "But anything can happen," he says. Junior isn't a perfect digital facsimile of young Will Smith -- at times, you can easily tell that the facial rendering feels a bit off -- but he's a big step towards seeing completely digital actors in more films.

    No matter how Gemini Man ends up being received -- it currently sits at 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has grossed just $20.6 million in its first weekend -- Lee still plans to continue chipping away at the possibilities of digital cinema.

    "Digital is more attractive to me now because it's harder," he said. "I'm curious, I have so many questions... It's not like I'm like 36 or something. I'm in a hurry to find some answers to those questions. And it seems like every answer I get, then 10 questions open up."

    Images: Paramount Pictures

  • Google rolls out real-time captioning starting with Pixel 4
    At I/O in May, Google showcased its Live Caption tech, which provides captions for all audio on your device in real-time, except for voice and video calls. Google has now revealed when you'll be able to take advantage of the accessibility feature.

    Live Caption is available on Pixel 4 at first, and it'll arrive on Pixel 3 and 3a phones later this year. Google says it's working with Android manufacturers to bring Live Caption to other devices in the coming months. It'll be available in English at first, with support for more languages arriving later. Google notes that the transcriptions might have inaccuracies (especially if the sound quality isn't great), but it'll keep improving the tech to reduce the number of errors.

    You can activate Live Caption by tapping a prompt that pops up after you press the volume button. The feature works entirely on your device, so you won't need a data or WiFi connection to use Live Caption. Since all the processing takes place on your phone, the captions will remain private. You can drag the text around on your screen and expand it to see more text at once with a double tap.

    If it works well, it could be hugely beneficial for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. It might be useful for folks who are in a noisy place without their headphones too. Google announced another helpful accessibility feature last week, with improved spoken walking directions for Google Maps.

    The rollout comes just after Google's Pixel 4 event at which it showed off its new Recorder app. That will simultaneously capture and transcribe audio for you in real-time. Recorder and Live Caption also follow the live captioning YouTube has offered for a decade.

    Source: Google


  • A detailed look at Ubuntu’s new experimental ZFS installer
    Yesterday brought exciting news on the ZFS and Ubuntu fronts—experimental ZFS root support in the installer for Ubuntus upcoming interim release, Eoan Ermine. The feature appeared in the 2019-10-09 daily build of Eoan—its not in the regular beta release and, in fact, wasnt even in the current daily! when we first went to download it. Its that new! (Readers wanting to play with the new functionality can find it in todays daily build, available here.) Ars takes a look at this feature thats clearly in still in alpha.

  • DuckDuckGo Search improvements: past year date filter, dark theme refinements, and more
    While weve been busily improving our privacy protection ducklings — like DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (for iOS/Android) and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials (for Firefox/Chrome) — we havent been neglecting our first born — DuckDuckGo Private Search! In fact, quite the opposite — weve made several improvements recently that were excited to share with you. They should make your searching not only more effective, but also a more pleasant experience, and still of course with our same strict commitment to privacy: no personal information is associated with your searches, such that you have no search history and therefore no search profiling or ads following you around based on your searches. Some solid improvements all around, but nothing earth-shattering.

  • Flash is responsible for the internets most creative era
    These days, our web browsers—whether on mobile or desktop—are highly functional and can do all sorts of things that we could only dream of a decade prior. But despite that, one could argue that the web has actually gotten less creative over time, not more. This interpretation of events is a key underpinning of Web Design: The Evolution of the Digital World 1990-Today (Taschen, $50), a new visual-heavy book from author Rob Ford and editor Julius Wiedemann that does something that hasn’t been done on the broader internet in quite a long time: It praises the use of Flash as a creative tool, rather than a bloated malware vessel, and laments the ways that visual convention, technical shifts, and walled gardens have started to rein in much of this unvarnished creativity. This is a realm where small agencies supporting big brands, creative experimenters with nothing to lose, and teenage hobbyists could stand out simply by being willing to try something risky. It was a canvas with a built-in distribution model. What wasn’t to like, besides a whole host of malware? I dont think you can argue that the the Flash era yielded more creativity than, say, the whole of YouTube, but if you restrict the internet to just actual websites, there may be something to be said for this. I remember so many cool and amazing  at the time  Flash projects that youd stumble across back when Flash was a normal, accepted thing, and those things have gone away, replaced not by cool HTML5 equivalents  as was promised  but by bland samey-samey websites, with far less creativity. I surely dont mourn the loss of Flash, but it also wasnt all bad.

  • Apple of 2019 is the Linux of 2000
    After my blood pressure dropped to healthier levels I got the strangest feeling of déjà vu. This felt exactly like using Linux in the early 2000s. Things break at random for reasons you cant understand and the only way to fix it is to find terminal commands from discussion forums, type them in and hope for the best. Then it hit me. This was not an isolated incidence. The parallels are everywhere. I certainly wouldnt go that far, but theres definitely a kernel of truth to the perception that macOS just doesnt feel as polished and effortless as it once was, during the Leopard days.

  • Apple Safari browser sends some user IP addresses to Chinese conglomerate Tencent by default
    During the last week, the reality that US companies often bend the knee to China has been thrown into the spotlight. Apple, one of the biggest US tech companies, has appeased China by hiding the Taiwan flag emoji and ignoring US lawmakers when choosing to ban a Hong Kong protest safety app. Now it’s been discovered that Apple, which often positions itself as a champion of privacy and human rights, is sending some IP addresses from users of its Safari browser on iOS to Chinese conglomerate Tencent – a company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Apple admits that it sends some user IP addresses to Tencent in the “About Safari 8 Privacy” section of its Safari settings which can be accessed on an iOS device by opening the Settings app and then selecting “Safari > About Privacy 8 Security.” Im sure the genocidal totalitarian surveillance state that is China wont be abuse this information at all. They pinky-promised to Tim Cook, who was busy telling his company not to make any TV shows critical of China  in line with the rest of Hollywood.

  • Tim Cook makes false claims to rationalise Apples China appeasement
    Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent an email to employees with a lengthier explanation for why the company chose to remove from the App Store yesterday. Similar to Apple’s statement last night, Cook claims that the app — a crowdsourced mapping tool that’s become useful amid the ongoing protests in Hong Kong — was being misused in ways that could threaten public safety. Tim Cooks email is riddled with nonsense, so Ill let people more knowledgeable than me debunk this weak excuse of an explanation as to why Apple is bending over backwards to please a brutal communist genocidal dictatorship. The claims made by Cook simply dont hold up, he again refuses to cite which Hong Kong laws are being broken, and countless of Apples own services are being used for the same purposes as Will iMessage be removed next? AirDrop? Tim Cook is a coward.

  • SerenityOS: from zero to HTML in a year
    SerenityOS, a UNIX-like OS written from scratch has turned one year old today. The authors have made huge progress and impressively it can now run Doom and render HTML content in its own HTML engine. Be sure to scroll down the page for an overview of the progress thats been made, including a bunch of screenshots that really show just how fast the project has evolved.

  • New VxWorks release released
    From the obtuse press release: • First and only real-time operating system to support C++17, Boost, Python, and Rust collection of technologies, along with continued support for languages like Ada and SPARK • New LLVM-based infrastructure that enables support for a broad set of modern and productive tools and frameworks • New open source board support packages (BSPs) such as Raspberry Pi and TI Sitara AM65x for quick prototyping and flexibility of choice • OpenSSL 1.1.1 for the most up-to-date cryptography libraries Very informative headline, I know, but VxWorks isnt exactly a very approachable topic, so I had to make do.

  • Rwanda just released the first smartphone made entirely in Africa
    Rwanda’s Mara Group has grand ambitions. The company hopes to help turn Rwanda into a regional tech hub, and it just got one step closer to completing that mission. This week, the company released two smartphones, earning Mara Group the title of the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa. If you know Rwandas recent history, you know just how monumental of an achievement this is.

  • Apple removes app used in Hong Kong protests after pressure from China
    Apple has removed, a crowdsourced mapping app widely used by Hong Kong residents, from the App Store. The app and accompanying web service has been used to mark the locations of police and inform about street closures during the ongoing pro-democracy protests that have engulfed Hong Kong this year. Apple initially rejected from the App Store earlier this month, then reversed its decision a few days later. Now it has reversed its reversal. Tim Cook is a coward.

  • Apple removes Quartz news app from the Chinese App Store over Hong Kong coverage
    News organization Quartz tells The Verge that Apple has removed its mobile app from the Chinese version of its App Store after complaints from the Chinese government. According to Quartz, this is due to the publication’s ongoing coverage of the Hong Kong protests, and the company says its entire website has also been blocked from being accessed in mainland China. The publication says it received a notice from Apple that the app “includes content that is illegal in China.” Ive been highlighting Apples and Tim Cooks hypocrisy for years now, but Ive always felt like a man screaming into the void. Its interesting to see the media finally waking up to just how much their innate love for Apple and Tim Cook has allowed the wool to be pulled over their eyes.

  • The modular PC: Intel’s new Element brings Project Christine to life
    Way back at CES 2014, Razer’s CEO introduced a revolutionary concept design for a PC that had one main backplane and users could insert a CPU, GPU, power supply, storage, and anything else in a modular fashion. Fast forward to 2020, and Intel is aiming to make this idea a reality. Today at a fairly low-key event in London, Intel’s Ed Barkhuysen showcased a new product, known simply as an ‘Element’ – a CPU/DRAM/Storage on a dual-slot PCIe card, with Thunderbolt, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and USB, designed to slot into a backplane with multiple PCIe slots, and paired with GPUs or other accelerators. Behold, Christine is real, and it’s coming soon. Anything to compete with the default ATX design of a PC is welcome, and this looks incredibly interesting.

  • Apple under fire from China over app that tracks police activity amid Hong Kong protests
    Chinese state media on Tuesday accused Apple Inc of protecting “rioters” in Hong Kong and enabling illegal behaviour, after the US-based technology giant listed on its app store an application that tracks police activity in the city. Apple had previously rejected the app, called, but reversed its decision on Friday and made the programme available for download from the iOS App Store on Saturday, according to the program’s developer. It will be interesting to see if Apple bows to Chinese pressure and removes the application. Apple already bows to Chinese censorship, so I wouldnt be surprised.

  • Blizzard failed to make a stand for anything but China and money
    Ng Wai “Blitzchung” Chung is a professional Hearthstone player who supported the protests happening in Hong Kong against China during a post-win interview for the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament on Sunday. Hearthstone publisher Blizzard Entertainment responded with a harsh punishment, banning Blitzchung from the digital card game’s esports for a year and taking his prize money from Grandmasters. Blizzard also says it will no longer work with the two casters who covered the event, who literally ducked behind their desk when Blitzchung voiced his support for Honk Kong’s protest. Usually, players are banned from Blizzard esports for cheating. But Blitzchung did not cheat. Blizzard is partially owned by the Chinese company Tencent, and the Chinese market is hugely important for the game maker  as such, it does not want to offend the Chinese government. Like the NBA, yet another American enterprise subjected to Chinese censorship.

  • Collapse O: bootstrap post-collapse technology
    I expect our global supply chain to collapse before we reach 2030. With this collapse, we wont be able to produce most of our electronics because it depends on a very complex supply chain that we wont be able to achieve again for decades (ever?). Among these scavenged parts are microcontrollers, which are especially powerful but need complex tools (often computers) to program them. Computers, after a couple of decades, will break down beyond repair and we wont be able to program microcontrollers any more. To avoid this fate, we need to have a system that can be designed from scavenged parts and program microcontrollers. We also need the generation of engineers that will follow us to be able to create new designs instead of inheriting a legacy of machines that they cant recreate and barely maintain. This is where Collapse OS comes in. Thats one way to introduce an operating system. This is a very unique project aimed at creating an operating system that can run on microcontrollers and which can self-replicate.

Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • Linux Journal Ceases Publication: An Awkward Goodbye
    by Kyle Rankin    IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM LINUX JOURNAL, LLC: On August 7, 2019, Linux Journal shut its doors for good. All staff were laid off and the company is left with no operating funds to continue in any capacity. The website will continue to stay up for the next few weeks, hopefully longer for archival purposes if we can make it happen.  –Linux Journal, LLC

    Final Letter from the Editor: The Awkward Goodbye

    by Kyle Rankin

    Have you ever met up with a friend at a restaurant for dinner, then after dinner you both step out to the street and say a proper goodbye, only when you leave, you find out that you both are walking in the same direction? So now, you get to walk together awkwardly until the true point where you part, and then you have another, second goodbye, that's much more awkward.

    That's basically this post. 

    So, it was almost two years ago that I first said goodbye to Linux Journal and the Linux Journal community in my post "So Long and Thanks for All the Bash". That post was a proper goodbye. For starters, it had a catchy title with a pun. The post itself had all the elements of a proper goodbye: part retrospective, part "Thank You" to the Linux Journal team and the community, and OK, yes, it was also part rant. I recommend you read (or re-read) that post, because it captures my feelings about losing Linux Journal way better than I can muster here on our awkward second goodbye. 

    Of course, not long after I wrote that post, we found out that Linux Journal wasn't dead after all! We all actually had more time together and got to work fixing everything that had caused us to die in the first place. A lot of our analysis of what went wrong and what we intended to change was captured in my article Go to Full Article          

  • Oops! Debugging Kernel Panics
    by Petros Koutoupis   
    A look into what causes kernel panics and some utilities to help gain more information.

    Working in a Linux environment, how often have you seen a kernel panic? When it happens, your system is left in a crippled state until you reboot it completely. And, even after you get your system back into a functional state, you're still left with the question: why? You may have no idea what happened or why it happened. Those questions can be answered though, and the following guide will help you root out the cause of some of the conditions that led to the original crash.

    Figure 1. A Typical Kernel Panic

    Let's start by looking at a set of utilities known as kexec and kdump. kexec allows you to boot into another kernel from an existing (and running) kernel, and kdump is a kexec-based crash-dumping mechanism for Linux.
     Installing the Required Packages
    First and foremost, your kernel should have the following components statically built in to its image:
    You can find this in /boot/config-`uname -r`.

    Make sure that your operating system is up to date with the latest-and-greatest package versions:
      $ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade  
    Install the following packages (I'm currently using Debian, but the same should and will apply to Ubuntu):
      $ sudo apt install gcc make binutils linux-headers-`uname -r`  ↪kdump-tools crash `uname -r`-dbg  
    Note: Package names may vary across distributions.

    During the installation, you will be prompted with questions to enable kexec to handle reboots (answer whatever you'd like, but I answered "no"; see Figure 2).

    Figure 2. kexec Configuration Menu

    And to enable kdump to run and load at system boot, answer "yes" (Figure 3).

    Figure 3. kdump Configuration Menu
     Configuring kdump
    Open the /etc/default/kdump-tools file, and at the very top, you should see the following:
        Go to Full Article          

  • Loadsharers: Funding the Load-Bearing Internet Person
    by Eric S. Raymond   
    The internet has a sustainability problem. Many of its critical services depend on the dedication of unpaid volunteers, because they can't be monetized and thus don't have any revenue stream for the maintainers to live on. I'm talking about services like DNS, time synchronization, crypto libraries—software without which the net and the browser you're using couldn't function.

    These volunteer maintainers are the Load-Bearing Internet People (LBIP). Underfunding them is a problem, because underfunded critical services tend to have gaps and holes that could have been fixed if there were more full-time attention on them. As our civilization becomes increasingly dependent on this software infrastructure, that attention shortfall could lead to disastrous outages.

    I've been worrying about this problem since 2012, when I watched a hacker I know wreck his health while working on a critical infrastructure problem nobody else understood at the time. Billions of dollars in e-commerce hung on getting the particular software problem he had spotted solved, but because it masqueraded as network undercapacity, he had a lot of trouble getting even technically-savvy people to understand where the problem was. He solved it, but unable to afford medical insurance and literally living in a tent, he eventually went blind in one eye and is now prone to depressive spells.

    More recently, I damaged my ankle and discovered that although there is such a thing as minor surgery on the medical level, there is no such thing as "minor surgery" on the financial level. I was looking—still am looking—at a serious prospect of either having my life savings wiped out or having to leave all 52 of the open-source projects I'm responsible for in the lurch as I scrambled for a full-time job. Projects at risk include the likes of GIFLIB, GPSD and NTPsec.

    That refocused my mind on the LBIP problem. There aren't many Load-Bearing Internet People—probably on the close order of 1,000 worldwide—but they're a systemic vulnerability made inevitable by the existence of common software and internet services that can't be metered. And, burning them out is a serious problem. Even under the most cold-blooded assessment, civilization needs the mean service life of an LBIP to be long enough to train and acculturate a replacement.

    (If that made you wonder—yes, in fact, I am training an apprentice. Different problem for a different article.)

    Alas, traditional centralized funding models have failed the LBIPs. There are a few reasons for this:
        Go to Full Article          

  • Documenting Proper Git Usage
    by Zack Brown   
    Jonathan Corbet wrote a document for inclusion in the kernel tree, describing best practices for merging and rebasing git-based kernel repositories. As he put it, it represented workflows that were actually in current use, and it was a living document that hopefully would be added to and corrected over time.

    The inspiration for the document came from noticing how frequently Linus Torvalds was unhappy with how other people—typically subsystem maintainers—handled their git trees.

    It's interesting to note that before Linus wrote the git tool, branching and merging was virtually unheard of in the Open Source world. In CVS, it was a nightmare horror of leechcraft and broken magic. Other tools were not much better. One of the primary motivations behind git—aside from blazing speed—was, in fact, to make branching and merging trivial operations—and so they have become.

    One of the offshoots of branching and merging, Jonathan wrote, was rebasing—altering the patch history of a local repository. The benefits of rebasing are fantastic. They can make a repository history cleaner and clearer, which in turn can make it easier to track down the patches that introduced a given bug. So rebasing has a direct value to the development process.

    On the other hand, used poorly, rebasing can make a big mess. For example, suppose you rebase a repository that has already been merged with another, and then merge them again—insane soul death.

    So Jonathan explained some good rules of thumb. Never rebase a repository that's already been shared. Never rebase patches that come from someone else's repository. And in general, simply never rebase—unless there's a genuine reason.

    Since rebasing changes the history of patches, it relies on a new "base" version, from which the later patches diverge. Jonathan recommended choosing a base version that was generally thought to be more stable rather than less—a new version or a release candidate, for example, rather than just an arbitrary patch during regular development.

    Jonathan also recommended, for any rebase, treating all the rebased patches as new code, and testing them thoroughly, even if they had been tested already prior to the rebase.

    "If", he said, "rebasing is limited to private trees, commits are based on a well-known starting point, and they are well tested, the potential for trouble is low."

    Moving on to merging, Jonathan pointed out that nearly 9% of all kernel commits were merges. There were more than 1,000 merge requests in the 5.1 development cycle alone.
        Go to Full Article          

  • Understanding Python's asyncio
    by Reuven M. Lerner   
    How to get started using Python's asyncio.

    Earlier this year, I attended PyCon, the international Python conference. One topic, presented at numerous talks and discussed informally in the hallway, was the state of threading in Python—which is, in a nutshell, neither ideal nor as terrible as some critics would argue.

    A related topic that came up repeatedly was that of "asyncio", a relatively new approach to concurrency in Python. Not only were there formal presentations and informal discussions about asyncio, but a number of people also asked me about courses on the subject.

    I must admit, I was a bit surprised by all the interest. After all, asyncio isn't a new addition to Python; it's been around for a few years. And, it doesn't solve all of the problems associated with threads. Plus, it can be confusing for many people to get started with it.

    And yet, there's no denying that after a number of years when people ignored asyncio, it's starting to gain steam. I'm sure part of the reason is that asyncio has matured and improved over time, thanks in no small part to much dedicated work by countless developers. But, it's also because asyncio is an increasingly good and useful choice for certain types of tasks—particularly tasks that work across networks.

    So with this article, I'm kicking off a series on asyncio—what it is, how to use it, where it's appropriate, and how you can and should (and also can't and shouldn't) incorporate it into your own work.
     What Is asyncio?
    Everyone's grown used to computers being able to do more than one thing at a time—well, sort of. Although it might seem as though computers are doing more than one thing at a time, they're actually switching, very quickly, across different tasks. For example, when you ssh in to a Linux server, it might seem as though it's only executing your commands. But in actuality, you're getting a small "time slice" from the CPU, with the rest going to other tasks on the computer, such as the systems that handle networking, security and various protocols. Indeed, if you're using SSH to connect to such a server, some of those time slices are being used by sshd to handle your connection and even allow you to issue commands.

    All of this is done, on modern operating systems, via "pre-emptive multitasking". In other words, running programs aren't given a choice of when they will give up control of the CPU. Rather, they're forced to give up control and then resume a little while later. Each process running on a computer is handled this way. Each process can, in turn, use threads, sub-processes that subdivide the time slice given to their parent process.
        Go to Full Article          

  • RV Offsite Backup Update
    by Kyle Rankin   
    Having an offsite backup in your RV is great, and after a year of use, I've discovered some ways to make it even better.

    Last year I wrote a feature-length article on the data backup system I set up for my RV (see Kyle's "DIY RV Offsite Backup and Media Server" from the June 2018 issue of LJ). If you haven't read that article yet, I recommend checking it out first so you can get details on the system. In summary, I set up a Raspberry Pi media center PC connected to a 12V television in the RV. I connected an 8TB hard drive to that system and synchronized all of my files and media so it acted as a kind of off-site backup. Finally, I set up a script that would attempt to sync over all of those files from my NAS whenever it detected that the RV was on the local network. So here, I provide an update on how that system is working and a few tweaks I've made to it since.
     What Works
    Overall, the media center has worked well. It's been great to have all of my media with me when I'm on a road trip, and my son appreciates having access to his favorite cartoons. Because the interface is identical to the media center we have at home, there's no learning curve—everything just works. Since the Raspberry Pi is powered off the TV in the RV, you just need to turn on the TV and everything fires up.

    It's also been great knowing that I have a good backup of all of my files nearby. Should anything happen to my house or my main NAS, I know that I can just get backups from the RV. Having peace of mind about your important files is valuable, and it's nice knowing in the worst case when my NAS broke, I could just disconnect my USB drive from the RV, connect it to a local system, and be back up and running.

    The WiFi booster I set up on the RV also has worked pretty well to increase the range of the Raspberry Pi (and the laptops inside the RV) when on the road. When we get to a campsite that happens to offer WiFi, I just reset the booster and set up a new access point that amplifies the campsite signal for inside the RV. On one trip, I even took it out of the RV and inside a hotel room to boost the weak signal.
        Go to Full Article          

  • Another Episode of "Seems Perfectly Feasible and Then Dies"--Script to Simplify the Process of Changing System Call Tables
    by Zack Brown   
    David Howells put in quite a bit of work on a script, ./scripts/, to simplify the entire process of changing the system call tables. With this script, it was a simple matter to add, remove, rename or renumber any system call you liked. The script also would resolve git conflicts, in the event that two repositories renumbered the system calls in conflicting ways.

    Why did David need to write this patch? Why weren't system calls already fairly easy to manage? When you make a system call, you add it to a master list, and then you add it to the system call "tables", which is where the running kernel looks up which kernel function corresponds to which system call number. Kernel developers need to make sure system calls are represented in all relevant spots in the source tree. Renaming, renumbering and making other changes to system calls involves a lot of fiddly little details. David's script simply would do everything right—end of story no problemo hasta la vista.

    Arnd Bergmann remarked, "Ah, fun. You had already threatened to add that script in the past. The implementation of course looks fine, I was just hoping we could instead eliminate the need for it first." But, bowing to necessity, Arnd offered some technical suggestions for improvements to the patch.

    However, Linus Torvalds swooped in at this particular moment, saying:

    Ugh, I hate it.

    I'm sure the script is all kinds of clever and useful, but I really think the solution is not this kind of helper script, but simply that we should work at not having each architecture add new system calls individually in the first place.

    IOW, we should look at having just one unified table for new system call numbers, and aim for the per-architecture ones to be for "legacy numbering".

    Maybe that won't happen, but in the _hope_ that it happens, I really would prefer that people not work at making scripts for the current nasty situation.

    And the portcullis came crashing down.

    It's interesting that, instead of accepting this relatively obvious improvement to the existing situation, Linus would rather leave it broken and ugly, so that someone someday somewhere might be motivated to do the harder-yet-better fix. And, it's all the more interesting given how extreme the current problem is. Without actually being broken, the situation requires developers to put in a tremendous amount of care and effort into something that David's script could make trivial and easy. Even for such an obviously "good" patch, Linus gives thought to the policy and cultural implications, and the future motivations of other people working in that region of code.

    Note: if you're mentioned above and want to post a response above the comment section, send a message with your response text to
        Go to Full Article          

  • Experts Attempt to Explain DevOps--and Almost Succeed
    by Bryan Lunduke   
    What is DevOps? How does it relate to other ideas and methodologies within software development? Linux Journal Deputy Editor and longtime software developer, Bryan Lunduke isn't entirely sure, so he asks some experts to help him better understand the DevOps phenomenon.

    The word DevOps confuses me.

    I'm not even sure confuses me quite does justice to the pain I experience—right in the center of my brain—every time the word is uttered.

    It's not that I dislike DevOps; it's that I genuinely don't understand what in tarnation it actually is. Let me demonstrate. What follows is the definition of DevOps on Wikipedia as of a few moments ago:

    DevOps is a set of software development practices that combine software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops) to shorten the systems development life cycle while delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives.

    I'm pretty sure I got three aneurysms just by copying and pasting that sentence, and I still have no clue what DevOps really is. Perhaps I should back up and give a little context on where I'm coming from.

    My professional career began in the 1990s when I got my first job as a Software Test Engineer (the people that find bugs in software, hopefully before the software ships, and tell the programmers about them). During the years that followed, my title, and responsibilities, gradually evolved as I worked my way through as many software-industry job titles as I could:
     Automation Engineer: people that automate testing software.    Software Development Engineer in Test: people that make tools for the testers to use.    Software Development Engineer: aka "Coder", aka "Programmer".    Dev Lead: "Hey, you're a good programmer! You should also manage a few other programmers but still code just as much as you did before, but, don't worry, we won't give you much of a raise! It'll be great!"    Dev Manager: like a Dev Lead, with less programming, more managing.    Director of Engineering: the manager of the managers of the programmers.    Vice President of Technology/Engineering: aka "The big boss nerd man who gets to make decisions and gets in trouble first when deadlines are missed." 
    During my various times with fancy-pants titles, I managed teams that included:
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  • DNA Geometry with cadnano
    by Joey Bernard   
    This article introduces a tool you can use to work on three-dimensional DNA origami. The package is called cadnano, and it's currently being developed at the Wyss Institute. With this package, you'll be able to construct and manipulate the three-dimensional representations of DNA structures, as well as generate publication-quality graphics of your work.

    Because this software is research-based, you won't likely find it in the package repository for your favourite distribution, in which case you'll need to install it from the GitHub repository.

    Since cadnano is a Python program, written to use the Qt framework, you'll need to install some packages first. For example, in Debian-based distributions, you'll want to run the following commands:
      sudo apt-get install python3 python3-pip  
    I found that installation was a bit tricky, so I created a virtual Python environment to manage module installations.

    Once you're in your activated virtualenv, install the required Python modules with the command:
      pip3 install pythreejs termcolor pytz pandas pyqt5 sip  
    After those dependencies are installed, grab the source code with the command:
      git clone  
    This will grab the Qt5 version. The Qt4 version is in the repository

    Changing directory into the source directory, you can build and install cadnano with:
      python install  
    Now your cadnano should be available within the virtualenv.

    You can start cadnano simply by executing the cadnano command from a terminal window. You'll see an essentially blank workspace, made up of several empty view panes and an empty inspector pane on the far right-hand side.

    Figure 1. When you first start cadnano, you get a completely blank work space.

    In order to walk through a few of the functions available in cadnano, let's create a six-strand nanotube. The first step is to create a background that you can use to build upon. At the top of the main window, you'll find three buttons in the toolbar that will let you create a "Freeform", "Honeycomb" or "Square" framework. For this example, click the honeycomb button.

    Figure 2. Start your construction with one of the available geometric frameworks.
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  • Running GNOME in a Container
    by Adam Verslype   
    Containerizing the GUI separates your work and play.

    Virtualization has always been a rich man's game, and more frugal enthusiasts—unable to afford fancy server-class components—often struggle to keep up. Linux provides free high-quality hypervisors, but when you start to throw real workloads at the host, its resources become saturated quickly. No amount of spare RAM shoved into an old Dell desktop is going to remedy this situation. If a properly decked-out host is out of your reach, you might want to consider containers instead.

    Instead of virtualizing an entire computer, containers allow parts of the Linux kernel to be portioned into several pieces. This occurs without the overhead of emulating hardware or running several identical kernels. A full GUI environment, such as GNOME Shell can be launched inside a container, with a little gumption.

    You can accomplish this through namespaces, a feature built in to the Linux kernel. An in-depth look at this feature is beyond the scope of this article, but a brief example sheds light on how these features can create containers. Each kind of namespace segments a different part of the kernel. The PID namespace, for example, prevents processes inside the namespace from seeing other processes running in the kernel. As a result, those processes believe that they are the only ones running on the computer. Each namespace does the same thing for other areas of the kernel as well. The mount namespace isolates the filesystem of the processes inside of it. The network namespace provides a unique network stack to processes running inside of them. The IPC, user, UTS and cgroup namespaces do the same for those areas of the kernel as well. When the seven namespaces are combined, the result is a container: an environment isolated enough to believe it is a freestanding Linux system.

    Container frameworks will abstract the minutia of configuring namespaces away from the user, but each framework has a different emphasis. Docker is the most popular and is designed to run multiple copies of identical containers at scale. LXC/LXD is meant to create containers easily that mimic particular Linux distributions. In fact, earlier versions of LXC included a collection of scripts that created the filesystems of popular distributions. A third option is libvirt's lxc driver. Contrary to how it may sound, libvirt-lxc does not use LXC/LXD at all. Instead, the libvirt-lxc driver manipulates kernel namespaces directly. libvirt-lxc integrates into other tools within the libvirt suite as well, so the configuration of libvirt-lxc containers resembles those of virtual machines running in other libvirt drivers instead of a native LXC/LXD container. It is easy to learn as a result, even if the branding is confusing.
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Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 07:08 PM