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LinuxSecurity - Security Advisories

  • RedHat: RHSA-2020-1208:01 Important: qemu-kvm security update>
    An update for qemu-kvm is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. 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

  • RedHat: RHSA-2020-1209:01 Important: qemu-kvm-ma security update>
    An update for qemu-kvm-ma is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. 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

  • MOSS launches COVID-19 Solutions Fund
    The Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) has launcheda COVID-19 Solutions Fund, which will provide awards of up to $50,000 eachto open source technology projects which are responding to the COVID-19pandemic in some way. "As part of the COVID-19 Solutions Fund, we will accept applications that are hardware (e.g., an open source ventilator), software (e.g., a platform that connects hospitals with people who have 3D printers who can print parts for that open source ventilator), as well as software that solves for secondary effects of COVID-19 (e.g., a browser plugin that combats COVID related misinformation)."

  • Security updates for Tuesday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (tinyproxy), Fedora (okular), Gentoo (ffmpeg, libxls, and qemu), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick), Red Hat (qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (cloud-init and spamassassin), and Ubuntu (bluez, libpam-krb5, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, and Timeshift).

  • Unangst: Rethinking OpenBSD security
    OpenBSD developer Ted Unangst looksfor lessons in a set of recent vulnerabilities in that system."Even OpenBSD is subject to compromise for the sake of practicality,which is how some legacy designs stick around. So the lesson perhaps is toreally stick with the principles that work, and not just whenconvenient. But not always an easy choice to make."

  • [$] Some 5.6 kernel development statistics
    When the 5.6 kernel was released onMarch 29, 12,665 non-merge changesets had been accepted from 1,712developers, making this a fairly typical development cycle in a number ofways. As per longstanding LWN tradition, what follows is a look at wherethose changesets came from and who supported the work that created them.This may have been an ordinary cycle, but there are still a couple ofdifferences worth noting.

  • Fedora's Git forge decision
    Back in February, LWN reported on theprocess of gathering requirements for a Git forge system. That processthen went relatively quiet until March 28, when the posting of a"CPE Weekly" news summary included, under "other updates", a note thatthe decision has been made. It appears that the project will be pushedtoward a not-fully-free version of the GitLab offering. It is fair to saythat this decision — or how it was presented — was not met with universalacclaim in the Fedora community; see thisresponse from Neal Gompa for more.

  • Debian @ COVID-19 Biohackathon (April 5-11, 2020)
    The Debian community has announced a one-week, online "biohackathon" as afocused effort to improve the available free biomedical tools."Most tasks do not require any knowledge of biology or medicine, and alltypes of contributions are welcome: bug triage, testing, documentation,CI, translations, packaging, and code contributions."

  • Security updates for Monday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (php-horde-form and tika), Fedora (dcraw and libmodsecurity), Gentoo (libidn2 and screen), openSUSE (cloud-init, cni, cni-plugins, conmon, fuse-overlayfs, podman, opera, phpMyAdmin, python-mysql-connector-python, ruby2.5, strongswan, and tor), Oracle (ipmitool), Scientific Linux (ipmitool), SUSE (spamassassin and tomcat), and Ubuntu (twisted and webkit2gtk).

  • [$] Per-system-call kernel-stack offset randomization
    In recent years, the kernel has (finally) upped its game when it comes tohardening. It is rather harder to compromise a running kernel than it usedto be. But "rather harder" is relative: attackers still manage to findways to exploit kernel bugs. One piece of information that can be helpfulto attackers is the location of the kernel stack; thispatch set from Kees Cook and Elena Reshetova may soon make thatinformation harder to come by and nearly useless in any case.

  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (bluez and php5), Fedora (chromium, kernel, and PyYAML), Gentoo (adobe-flash, libvpx, php, qtcore, and unzip), openSUSE (chromium, kernel, and mcpp), Oracle (ipmitool and libvncserver), Red Hat (ipmitool and rh-postgresql10-postgresql), Slackware (kernel), and SUSE (ldns and tomcat6).

LXer Linux News

  • How to Install GNU Octave on Debian 10
    In this article, we describe how to install GNU Octave, an interpreted high-level language mainly intended for numerical calculations. It offers possibilities for the numerical solution of linear and nonlinear problems and for performing other numerical experiments.

  • Rugged embedded PC supports Linux on Apollo Lake
    Nexcom’s rugged, Linux-ready “NISE 108” embedded computer has an Apollo Lake Celeron, triple display support with dual DP, 2x GbE, 4x USB, 3x COM, and M.2 and mini-PCIe expansion. Nexcom announced a 185 x 131 x 54mm industrial gateway that runs Linux 4.1 or Win 10 IoT Enterprise on a quad-core, 1.5GHz Celeron J3455 from […]

  • Why I switched from Mac to Linux
    In 1994, my family bought a Macintosh Performa 475 as a home computer. I had used Macintosh SE computers in school and learned to type with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, so I've been a Mac user for well over 25 years. Back in the mid-1990s, I was attracted to its ease of use. It didn't start with a DOS command prompt; it opened to a friendly desktop. It was more

  • How to update ONLYOFFICE Document Server to version 5.5
    In this tutorial, we'll learn how to update ONLYOFFICE Document Server to version 5.5 separately from other components. ONLYOFFICE is a free open-source solution with online editors and collaboration platform that includes doc management, projects, CRM, mail, chat, calendar and more.

  • How to Set Up SSH Keys on Debian 10
    This article describes how to generate SSH keys on Debian 10 systems. We will also show you how to set up an SSH key-based authentication and connect to remote Linux servers without entering a password.


	Copyright 2020|Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"]]
  • AryaLinux Provides the Building Blocks for a Unique Linux Experience
    AryaLinux is something different, and when it comes to Linux operating systems, different can be very intriguing. Arya is both a distribution and a platform. That means you can use it as is or turn it into a branded computing system to meet your own specialized needs. Not all potential users want or need to turn Arya into their own Linux build. However, if you like tinkering, you can.

  • 3D Printers Join Arsenal of COVID-19 Weapons
    The worldwide 3D printing community is stepping up to alleviate the shortage of medical equipment needed to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants include entrepreneurs and hackers, companies in the 3D printing industry, automobile makers, aircraft manufacturers, universities, and even a shipbuilder. Some are offering free 3D printer files for download and use. Others are designing equipment.

  • Zorin OS Core Makes GNOME More Comfortable
    Zorin OS 15.2, released on March 8, adds an impressive selection of upgrades and improvements to an already well-oiled Linux operating system. Since its debut in July 2009 Zorin OS cofounder Artyom Zorin has hawked his distribution as an ideal Microsoft Windows replacement. That description is a strong selling point for this easier-to-use computing platform.

  • Open Source Tech Rushes to Front Lines of COVID-19 War
    Open Source software, once the scorn of Microsoft and profit-seeking software developers, is playing an active role in efforts to combat COVID-19's spread. Several open source projects are assisting health providers and helping people mitigate some of the hardships associated with the pandemic. Often, open source accomplishments in the public health and government services fields go unreported.

  • Crowdsourcing App Takes Aim at COVID-19
    COVID-19 researchers have a new source of distributed computing power: crowdsourcing. Usually crowdsourcing involves information or opinion gathering, but in this case it involves computing power. By installing the Folding@home software program, anyone with a computer, gaming console, or even some phones and compute cycles to spare can contribute to the work of coronavirus researchers.

  • Report: Open Source Vulnerabilities Rampant in Popular Projects
    Open source vulnerabilities rose by nearly 50 percent in 2019 over the previous year, based on a new report. Common vulnerabilities rated as high or critical severity were found in all of the most popular open source projects, according to the WhiteSource 2020 annual report, "The State of Open Source Security Vulnerabilities." The vulnerability rate is expected to continue rising.

  • How to Run the Linux KDE Desktop on a Chromebook
    Chromebooks with the right stuff inside now are able to install and run a complete Linux experience with the KDE desktop without giving up the Chrome OS on the same device. It is not yet flawless, but it does create a hybrid computing platform that lets Linux and Android apps coexist on top of the Chrome OS. You can run a complete Linux graphical environment with the KDE desktop.

  • Elive Beta With Enlightenment Is Brilliant, but Don't Get Lost in the Maze
    Elive is one of the most unusual Linux distributions you are likely to encounter. Elive Linux is an awesome integration of the Debian Linux base and the Enlightenment desktop. The combination provides a uniquely powerful and flexible computing platform. Its name suggests only a part of what makes this distro unlike the few others that have the lightweight Enlightenment desktop baked in.

  • Netrunner Linux Still Goes Its Own Way at 'Twenty'
    Netrunner "Twenty" is a birthday release offering that makes what was good even better. Developers released Netrunner 20.01 on Feb. 23 with the latest stable Debian 10.3 "Buster" base and the KDE Plasma desktop. This release marks the distro's 20th birthday in a way. Code-named "Twenty," the 20.01 release is the 20th upgrade of the Netrunner project over its 10-year history.

  • Linux-Powered Azure IoT Security Platform Arrives
    After several years of building and testing previews, Microsoft has announced the general availability of its Azure Sphere secure IoT service. Microsoft first introduced Azure Sphere in 2018, opting to use its own version of a Linux operating system instead of Windows 10 to drive its new Azure Sphere OS to securely connect Internet of Things devices.


  • FCC Mandates Robocall-fighting Tech Be in Use By End of June 2021
    The Federal Communications Commission voted Tuesday to finalize rules requiring phone companies to use the Shaken/Stir protocol to automatically block calls to fight illegal robocalls. The new rules mandate the use of the technology by all voice providers by the end of June of 2021. From a report: The rules come after Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the Traced Act last year. The law, which makes Shaken/Stir compliance mandatory for all voice service providers, directed the FCC to develop rules within 18 months. The FCC has said previously that eliminating the wasted time and the nuisance caused by illegal scam robocalls could save the US economy $3 billion annually.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Xerox Ends Its Hostile Takeover Bid For HP
    Xeros is pulling the plug on its hostile bid to buy larger rival HP (Warning: paywalled; alternative source) after the coronavirus pandemic undermined the copier maker's ability to pull off the debt-laden merger. The Wall Street Journal reports: Xerox said Tuesday it is ending both its more than $30 billion tender offer and a proxy fight to replace the printer and PC maker's board. Xerox concluded it is no longer prudent to pursue the deal given the public health crisis and resulting market swoon. The move puts the kibosh on one of the biggest mergers in the works and underscores the blow that the coronavirus has dealt to the world of deal making.   It marks the end of a five-month-long offensive by Xerox, kicked off when its offer became public in early November after the two companies had earlier explored a combination quietly but failed to come to an agreement. HP has repeatedly rebuffed its rival since then, rejecting Xerox's latest cash-and-stock offer of $24 a share and an earlier one as insufficient and too risky given the amount of debt involved. Xerox's move to buy a company more than three times its size was always going to be a challenge, but at the outset the company was in a stronger position than it is today. It had cash coming in from the sale of its joint venture with Fujifilm and its stock had been rising as it continued to cut costs.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Why Do Matter Particles Come in Threes? A Physics Titan Weighs In.
    Three progressively heavier copies of each type of matter particle exist, and no one knows why. A new paper by Steven Weinberg takes a stab at explaining the pattern. From a report: Electrons and two types of quarks, dubbed "up" and "down," mix in various ways to produce every atom in existence. But puzzlingly, this family of matter particles -- the up quark, down quark and electron -- is not the only one. Physicists have discovered that they make up the first of three successive "generations" of particles, each heavier than the last. The second- and third-generation particles transform into their lighter counterparts too quickly to form exotic cats, but they otherwise behave identically. It's as if the laws of nature were composed in triplicate. "We don't know why," said Heather Logan, a particle physicist at Carleton University. In the 1970s, when physicists first worked out the Standard Model of particle physics -- the still-reigning set of equations describing the known elementary particles and their interactions -- they sought some deep principle that would explain why three generations of each type of matter particle exist. No one cracked the code, and the question was largely set aside.   Now, though, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg, one of the architects of the Standard Model, has revived the old puzzle. Weinberg, who is 86 and a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, argued in a recent paper in the journal Physical Review D that an intriguing pattern in the particles' masses could lead the way forward. "Weinberg's paper is a bit of lightning in the dark," said Anthony Zee, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "All of a sudden a titan in the field is suddenly working again on these problems." "I'm very happy to see that he thinks it's important to revisit this problem," said Mu-Chun Chen, a physicist at the University of California, Irvine. Many theorists are ready to give up, she said, but "we should still be optimistic."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • HPE, Intel and Linux Foundation Team Up For Open Source Software for 5G Core
    HPE announced on Tuesday it's working with Intel and the Linux Foundation on a new open source software project to help automate the roll out of 5G across multiple sites. From a report: The new partnership, which will be under the Linux Foundation umbrella, is called the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Framework. The partnership represents HPE's move into the 5G core network space as it branches out from its enterprise roots. Other partners for the open source project include AMI, Apstra, IBM's Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology. HPE will also introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Zoom is Leaking Peoples' Email Addresses and Photos To Strangers
    Popular video-conferencing Zoom is leaking personal information of at least thousands of users, including their email address and photo, and giving strangers the ability to attempt to start a video call with them through Zoom. From a report: The issue lies in Zoom's "Company Directory" setting, which automatically adds other people to a user's lists of contacts if they signed up with an email address that shares the same domain. This can make it easier to find a specific colleague to call when the domain belongs to an individual company. But multiple Zoom users say they signed up with personal email addresses, and Zoom pooled them together with thousands of other people as if they all worked for the same company, exposing their personal information to one another.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • C.D.C. Weighs Advising Everyone To Wear a Mask
    Widespread use of nonmedical masks could reduce community transmission. But recommending their broad use could also cause a run on the kind of masks that health care workers desperately need. From a report: Should healthy people be wearing masks when they're outside to protect themselves and others? Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. And as health care workers around the world face shortages of N95 masks and protective gear, public health officials have warned people not to hoard masks. But those official guidelines may be shifting.   On Monday during the coronavirus task force briefing, President Trump was asked whether Americans should wear nonmedical masks. "That's certainly something we could discuss," he said. "It could be something like that for a limited period of time." Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., confirmed in an interview with National Public Radio on Monday that the agency was reviewing its guidelines on who should wear masks. Citing new data that shows high rates of transmission from people who are infected but show no symptoms, he said the guidance on mask wearing was "being critically re-reviewed, to see if there's potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected." The coronavirus is probably three times as infectious as the flu, Dr. Redfield said.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Linux Mint 20 is 64-bit Only, Based on Ubuntu 20.04, and Named 'Ulyana'
    An anonymous reader shares a report: Today, we learn some new details about the upcoming Linux Mint 20. While most of the newly revealed information is positive, there is one thing that is sure to upset many Linux Mint users. First things first, Linux Mint 20 will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as Mint only uses Long Term Support versions of Ubuntu, and 20.04 will be an LTS. We also now know the name of Linux Mint 20. The Mint team always uses female names, and this time they chose "Ulyana." This is apparently a Russian name meaning "youthful." So far, all of the news is positive, so what exactly will upset some users? The Linux Mint developers are finally dropping 32-bit support and will only produce 64-bit ISOs.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Apple Acquires Dark Sky App To Boost Weather Data on iPhones
    Apple acquired popular mobile weather service Dark Sky to help bolster the Weather applications on its devices. From a report: The service, which has existed on the web and on iPhone and Android platforms, stood out from the competition by offering more specific data and notifications such as when it is about to rain. Dark Sky announced the deal on its website, saying "we're thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone." The companies didn't specify the price of the deal. Apple has included a Weather app on its devices since the first iPhone and currently gets its data from The Weather Channel. It could use this purchase to revamp its Weather app.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Trump Won the Internet. Democrats Are Scrambling to Take It Back.
    In the era of big data, memes and disinformation, the Democrats are trying to regain their digital edge as the president and his loyalists dictate the terms of debate. From a report: The deceptively edited video that purported to show Joseph R. Biden Jr. endorsing President Trump's re-election bounced relentlessly around the internet, falsely painting the former vice president as too confused to know what office he was running for or whom he was vying to run against. The doctored video didn't originate with one of the extremist sites that trade in left-bashing disinformation. It was posted on Twitter by Mr. Trump's own social media director. [...] The video, based on a speech Mr. Biden gave earlier this month, registered five million views in a day before his campaign responded -- with statements to the press and cable interviews that largely focused on persuading Facebook to follow the example of Twitter, which had labeled the content "manipulated media." A direct social media counterattack, aides said later, would have risked spreading the damage. [...] As Mr. Biden closes in on his party's nomination, that digital mismatch underscores one of the Democrats' biggest general-election challenges: They are up against a political figure who has marshaled all the forces of the modern web to refract reality and savage his opponents. Yet they are starting from a deficit, struggling to regain their once-formidable online edge.   Now closing this technological divide has taken on deepening urgency, with public life shut down against the threat of the coronavirus. Already, Mr. Biden's allies have expressed anxiety about his ability to break into the national conversation around the pandemic as it reverberates from the president's daily briefings to social media feeds. If modern politics is increasingly digital politics, today even more so. In the three years since Hillary Clinton's humiliating 2016 defeat, the Democrats have been urgently scrambling to reorder the digital equation, an all-hands-on-deck effort that has drawn a range of new donors, progressive activists and operatives together with veterans of the tech-forward Obama campaigns and the old-line contributors and party regulars of the Bill Clinton era. So far, the Democrats and their allies have produced new apps to organize volunteers and register voters, new media outlets to pump out anti-Trump content and a major new data initiative to drive what the party hopes will be the biggest voter-mobilization effort in its history.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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  • The entire Overwatch League regular season will be online-only

    The Overwatch League has canceled all of its live events for the remainder of the 2020 regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matches will take place in an entirely online format until August at the very least.

    After two seasons of OWL matches taking place almost exclusively at a studio in Los Angeles, Blizzard took the league on the road this year. Teams were to play matches at live homestands across North America, Europe and Asia. But coronavirus concerns affected those plans from the jump.

    The league postponed events that were scheduled to take place in China and Korea in February and March. Teams elsewhere were only able to make it through five weeks of homestands before Blizzard called off all league events through April. Matches resumed this past weekend with teams playing at their own training facilities or team houses.

    With the spread of COVID-19 accelerating in many parts of the world, Blizzard9s call to cancel the remaining 28 homestands is understandable, though surely disappointing to fans who9d planned to see their favorite team in person. Blizzard is hoping the situation will have changed enough to run live events for the playoffs and Grand Finals in the fall. It will announce more details about those down the line.

  • Twitch's Mod View puts all of its moderation tools in one place

    Behind every successful Twitch channel, there9s at least one person who9s there to moderate chat. The best mods create a safe space where everyone in a community can express themselves. It9s not an easy job, but in an attempt to make it a bit more manageable, Twitch is introducing a new channel mode interface called Mod View.

    The company describes Mod View as a "customizable home" for all the tools moderators need to do their job. It features a series of widgets they can move and resize to their liking. Each one allows mods to complete an action they previously had to type into chat to execute. Twitch says the widgets better allow allows mods to take action without losing track of the stream and chat they9re currently watching.

    Mod View also includes a dock that makes some of the other impactful actions a mod can take easier to access. Each icon can be moved as needed, and they provide a preview of stats like stream uptime. Another nifty feature is a dedicated space that allows moderators to look up a user9s history on the channel, which should help them make more informed decisions. Lastly, there9s a feature that displays a queue of potentially offensive messages caught by Twitch9s AutoMod tool, making it easier for mods to allow those messages to post to chat or deny them altogether.

    The above tools will only be as useful as the moderators using them, and whether they9re effective or not will depend on the limits and rules streamers impose on their channels. Still, hard-working moderators are likely to appreciate their addition all the same.

  • Ubisoft offers free games to encourage you to stay at home

    Ubisoft thinks it has a simple way to encourage people to stay at home and wait out the COVID-19 pandemic: shower them with games. It9s running a month-long campaign that will give away free games, trials, discounts and other offers to give you something to do while you9re cooped up. It9s starting things off by offering the PC version of Free Events site.

    There9s no doubt that Ubi is using this partly as a promotional tool for its catalog. You might try a game you skipped the first time around, or might feel compelled to subscribe to Uplay+ to see more. At the same time, it might be particularly useful in some households. Not everyone has a backlog of games to burn through until lockdowns come to an end, let alone the money to buy more.

  • Remastered 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' is available now on PS4

    As expected, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is now available on PlayStation 4. If you own a Sony console, you can download the game today for $20. PC and Xbox One owners can pre-order the remaster today but will have to wait until April 30th before they9re able to start working their way through Modern Warfare 29s single-player campaign.

    According to its PlayStation Store listing, the remaster updates the game with improved textures and animations. It also adds support for high-dynamic range lighting. In other words, it should make the 2009 game look better than ever.

    While there9s no multiplayer included, you do get bonus content for far back as 2018. During a recent investor call, Activision CFO Dennis Durkin said the publisher plans to release "several remastered and reimagined" titles this year.

  • Save $60 on Master & Dynamic’s much-improved true wireless earbuds

    Master & Dynamic9s improved true wireless MW07 Plus earbuds are on sale for $240 via Best Buy today. That9s a $60 savings off one of the company9s newest models. It9s a deal of the day, so this price won9t last for long. If you9re in the market for true wireless earbuds, you may want to take a look before the discount disappears.
    original MW07 earbuds had. Unlike the predecessor, the MW07 Plus model offers decent battery life, strong Bluetooth range, active noise cancellation (ANC) and increased water resistance (IPX5). When Engadget reviewed the earbuds, we gave them high praise (86).

    The MW07 Plus offers 10 hours of battery life on a single charge -- more than double the 3.5 hours that the MW07 was capable of. The shiny stainless steel carrying case packs three full charges, in addition to what the earbuds can hold, so that9s a total of 40 hours of listening time. Conveniently, the case has LED indicators that display green, orange and red to help ballpark the battery level of each earbud, as well as the case. Sadly, there is no wireless charging.

    This newer model has Bluetooth 5.0, which should be enough range to put some distance between your earbuds and your device without experiencing a stutter or dropout. The left earbud has a volume rocker, which also controls ANC and turns ambient sound on/off. The ANC might not live up to the high standards set by the likes of Sony or Bose, but it does a pretty good job of filtering out your surroundings. And voice prompts will let you know when you9re turning ambient sound on or off. On the right earbud, you9ll find a single multi-function button for play/pause, skipping tracks or skipping backwards. You can also hold the button to summon your preferred voice assistant.

    There are a few drawbacks. For instance, there9s no companion app to fine tune settings, but Master & Dynamic has delivered consistent sound quality over the years, and the MW07 are no different. And this deal only applies to the Quartz Black earbuds. You9ll have to pay full price if you want them in White Marble or Tortoise Shell.

    Still, these are some of the best-sounding earbuds you9ll find right now, and at this price, they9re on par with the AirPods Pro ($249) and another one of our top picks: Sony9s WF-1000XM3 ($230).

  • Niantic buys a 3D mapping startup to enable 'planet-scale' AR

    As much as Niantic might be focused on making its location-based games more playable at home, it9s also thinking about its future. The developer has bought 3D mapping startup to help it develop "planet-scale" augmented reality. The relative newcomer9s work on 3D environment reconstruction and persistent AR objects promises more sophisticated experiences than you9re used to in the past. Niantic teased the prospect of seeing creature habitats in Pokémon Go, or dragons landing on buildings.

    The team saw the buyout as a logical fit. Niantic knows "better than anyone" about this kind of AR, according to 6D chief Matt Miesnieks, and it has a giant audience. There "couldn9t be a better team" for the startup to join, he said.

    This won9t be great news for 6D9s existing developers when the company is ramping down its existing toolset over 30 days. It wants teams to focus on Niantic9s Real World Platform instead. Still, this could easily represent a big step forward for AR gaming by bringing advanced effects to a large audience.

  • Endless is a simple, fun music collaboration app

    Thanks to social distancing measures, online collaboration is more prominent than ever. But that doesn9t just go for work -- it9s part of having fun, too. When it comes to remotely making music with friends, there9s typically a high barrier to entry. Not everyone is familiar with the workflows of digital audio workstations like Ableton Live or Apple9s Logic Pro X. That9s where Endless comes in. Billed as a "multiplayer music" app, it9s aimed at users who are familiar with the basics of music production and synthesis while remaining somewhat accessible to those who aren9t. Though it probably won9t become a staple of bedroom producers, it could be a fun way to pass the time while cooped up at home.

    The app9s interface is somewhat intuitive. The right-most page contains setup options for quantizing, tempo, key and more. The left-most page lets you select between types of instruments, samples and effects, as well as the microphone input. Once you make a selection, the app will automatically switch to the next page, which lets you choose a particular instrument. For example, if you picked "Notes" (the app9s term for melodic instruments) this page will let you choose between different types of leads. You can then trigger notes by tapping a four-by-four pad -- or you can navigate to the third page, which lets you tweak your sound. If you9re familiar with the concepts of attack, decay, sustain and release, you should have no problem dialing in what you9re looking for. Once you start playing, the app displays a waveform that rolls across a timeline. If you like what you9ve played, you can tap on it and save the performance as a loop.

    Engadget9s Managing Editor Terrence O9Brien and I set up a project. Oddly, the app makes you click on an invitation link to join a project, rather than just sending you an in-app or a push notification. From there though, things were relatively straightforward. Terrence had already laid out a one-measure drum beat and bass line. My first idea was to use the microphone and record a few chords from my digital piano. I dialed in a Fender Rhodes tone, played three chords and tapped the waveform.

    That9s when things got wonky. Even though I had selected an option to mute the output from my iPhone while recording, the song kept playing and the mic picked up the audio from my phone9s speakers as well as my piano chords. This created a lo-fi echo, and since external recordings can9t be quantized, a bit of lag made the piano chords sound off-beat. This might be a cool effect for some songs, but it definitely wasn9t what I was aiming for.

    Once I gave up on using the mic, things got much easier. I added a lead and then opened up the effects page. This presented me with a handful of options to choose from, as well as an XY pad for controlling them. There are some standard effects like high- and low-pass filters, reverb and distortion, as well as some wackier ones like a comb filter and a tremolo gate. Garbling and strangling our loop was probably the most fun part of the app. The selected riffs kept playing, so I dragged my finger around the XY pad to modulate the sounds. Once I pulled off the weirdness I was looking for, I tapped the waveform to save the effects.

    A mixer view lets you turn loops on and off, as well as adjust volume levels. (Understandably, there are no panning controls, though.) We kept adding to and subtracting from the song until we had something chaotic but amusing. It took us about 15 minutes to create the beat. We wanted to create a longer loop but the option wasn9t readily apparent. My coworker finally figured out that there9s a cryptically-titled "advanced" looping option that changes the timeline from one to four measures. This should enable a bit more creativity -- and could kill some more time.

    Endless is fun, but there are some problems. It was difficult to play a riff and then tap on the waveform, all while staying in tempo, especially when I was playing a lot of notes toward the end of a loop -- I didn9t have enough time to move my finger from the playing area to the waveform. This caused the app to cut off the last few milliseconds of sound.

    Playing anything other than a simple riff can be difficult, too. Inputs are a bit clunky, since the quantizer (which automatically arranges slightly off-beat notes to be on-rhythm) doesn9t shift notes forward -- just backward. This cut off my input when I was a split-second in front of the beat. Turning off the quantizer could be a solution, but this leads to other problems. The biggest being that notes don9t always seem to trigger perfectly -- blame the limitations of modern touch screen technology.

    The app also varies the input volume of a note depending on how quickly you tap your device. It9s not very accurate, though, so it seems best to try to keep your taps as uniform as possible, rather than getting fancy.

    A few basic improvements would go a long way. There were several times I wished I didn9t commit to a loop or apply an effect. A simple undo button would fix this. Also, the ability to trim a loop -- or adjust where a loop starts -- would be a helpful way to keep everything on the beat. It also might be easier to have a grid-based sequencer input for creating beats and melodies, rather than playing live. This would let users take a more thoughtful, trial-and-error approach to writing a riff.

    These complaints would be a big knock against a product aimed at pros or hardcore enthusiasts, but for a freemium app (you9ll have to pay for anything beyond the provided handful of instruments and effects), it9s hard not to recommend Endless for some simple fun. If you do end up loving a loop, you can export the various tracks as audio files, and then import those into your DAW for more detailed work. Or you can use it as just one part in a larger set up by syncing the tempo using Abelton Link. In other words, there is potential for Endless to be used in a more serious setting. The app only came out a few days ago, so as its creator, Time Exile, fleshes things out, it could become a more and more powerful music creation -- and collaboration -- tool. For now, though, it seems like its catchphrase of "multiplayer music" is right on.

  • Chevy's refreshed Bolt EV is delayed until 2021

    So much for driving an updated Chevy Bolt EV in 2020. The company9s Megan Soule told Electrek in a statement that it has pushed back the updated Bolt EV9s release to 2021 due to the "current business situation" (read: the COVID-19 pandemic). The Bolt EUV crossover "remains on schedule" for the same year, Soule said. The updated version of the standard Bolt is expected to have a sportier design, more comfortable seats, a wider range of front cameras for adaptive cruise control and a better infotainment system, among other changes.

    The automaker has shut down regular manufacturing across North America to prevent coronavirus infections, and doesn9t expect to resume production until it can "safely" get back to business. While the tweaked Bolt EV wasn9t due to arrive until later in 2020, a shutdown for several weeks or more could disrupt operations and create a knock-on effect for releases like this.

    Not that GM is alone. Tesla recently had to stop work at its Fremont plant due to California9s shelter-in-place order, while Lucid Motors is delaying the unveiling of its Air EV. Like it or not, the future of transportation (along with other fields) is being put on hold until it9s safe for factory workers and engineers alike.

  • EPA weakens annual fuel economy standard increase to 1.5 percent

    While coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate headlines, the Trump administration has quietly weakened the country9s fuel economy standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule.

    According to the new rule, the EPA will require automakers to increase the average fuel economy of their new vehicles by 1.5 percent between model years 2021 and 2026. Eventually, that standard will lead to cars that average about 40 miles per gallon. By contrast, the previous 2012 Obama-era standard pushed manufacturers to increase the average fuel economy of their cars and trucks by five percent annually. Had the EPA continued to enforce that standard, automakers would have had to build vehicles that averaged 54 miles per gallon eventually.

    The Trump administration estimates lowering the fuel economy standard will save most consumers about $1,000 on their next car purchase, thereby allowing a greater number of Americans to buy newer, safer and ultimately cleaner cars. It also argues the new standard will help make the US automotive industry more competitive by reducing regulatory costs by as much as $100 billion through model year 2029.

    However, most experts disagree on those points. According to a recent estimate by Consumer Reports, rolling back the fuel economy standard to 1.5 percent will increase the average net cost of a new vehicle by $2,100, eliminating any upfront savings.

    On the climate front, an estimate by the Environmental Defense Fund suggests the rollback will add 1.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the air by 2040. What9s more, the agency estimates the new rule will lead to 18,500 more premature deaths, 250,000 more asthma attacks and 350,000 other respiratory issues by the middle of the century. All this at a time when a worldwide pandemic is inflicting thousands of Americans with a potentially lethal respiratory disease.

    The one silver lining in all this is that the rollback isn9t as drastic as the EPA9s original proposal. When the agency first proposed modifying the rule in 2018, it recommended freezing the standard at 2020 levels. Had the agency put that rule in place, the average fuel economy would have stayed at 37 miles per gallon.

    States like California are likely to legally challenge the rollback, particularly as the EPA attempts to use the rule to enforce a national fuel economy standard. Last year, the state and four automakers -- Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Honda -- agreed to a voluntary pledge to make their engines more efficient by about 3.7 miles per gallon every year until 2026.

  • Apple buys Dark Sky weather app

    Apple has bought weather app Dark Sky, which is highly regarded for its radar maps and accuracy of its hyperlocal, by-the-minute weather predictions. It9ll still be available on the iOS App Store, as you might expect, but the Android and Wear OS versions will shut down on July 1st. You9ll no longer be able to download the app on those platforms, and people who are still subscribed to the service when Dark Sky pulls the plug will receive a refund.

    Dark Sky9s forecasts, maps and embeds will keep working on the web until July 1st. The website will stay online after then "in support of API and iOS App customers." As for the API, it9ll remain active until the end of next year, but Dark Sky won9t let anyone else sign up.

    "Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy," the Dark Sky team wrote in a blog post. "There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We9re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone."

    It seems likely Apple will use Dark Sky9s know how to bolster its own Weather app. Apple has used data from Yahoo (which is owned by Engadget9s parent company Verizon) and The Weather Channel to power the app over the years.


  • Rethinking OpenBSD security
    OpenBSD aims to be a secure operating system. In the past few months there were quite a few security errata, however. That’s not too unusual, but some of the recent ones were a bit special. One might even say bad. The OpenBSD approach to security has a few aspects, two of which might be avoiding errors and minimizing the risk of mistakes. Other people have other ideas about how to build secure systems. I think it’s worth examining whether the OpenBSD approach works, or if this is evidence that it’s doomed to failure. I picked a few errata, not all of them, that were interesting and happened to suit my narrative.

  • Honda bucks industry trend by removing touchscreen controls
    Honda has done what no other car maker is doing, and returned to analogue controls for some functions on the new Honda Jazz. While most manufacturers are moving to touchscreen controls, identifying smartphone use as their inspiration  most recently seen in Audi’s latest A3  Honda has decided to reintroduce heating and air conditioning controls via a dial rather than touchscreen, as in the previous-generation Jazz. Unlike what the introduction states, Honda joins fellow Japanese car maker Mazda in not just blindly using touchscreens for everything inside cars. This is a good move, and definitely takes some guts, since Ive seen countless car reviewers  including my standout favourite, Doug DeMuro  kind of blindly assuming that any car without 100% touchscreen control is outdated, without questioning the safety consequences. Good on Honda.

  • GNOMEs Mutter working on variable refresh rate support
    A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isnt advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR. I cant wait for Mutter and Kwin to adopt and integrate support for variable refresh rates, so seeing these first patches is good news.

  • Ryzen 4000 review: AMDs 7nm Ryzen 9 offers game-changing performance for laptops
    When AMD introduced its Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs at CES, the company made bold claims of game-changing performance. Coming off of years of underwhelming laptop chips, AMD promised it had optimized Ryzen 4000 for mobile computing. Now we’ve tested those claims in AMD’s Ryzen 9 4900HS chip, an 8-core, 7nm chip with Radeon Vega cores. We’re stunned at the CPU’s impressive tour de force that defeats just about every Intel 8th- and 9th-gen laptop CPU we’ve ever seen. Just open up your YouTube feed and youll see pretty much every PC hardware channel staring at disbelief in just how good AMDs Ryzen 4000 mobile processors really are. This isnt just a kind of good enough! processor  the top of the line model is faster than or equal than Intels top of the line processor at both single core and multicore workloads, while using slightly more than half the power. Its all well and good for AMD to roundly run circles around Intel in the server and desktop/workstation space, but the laptop space is where the real money and mindshare can be found. This new line of AMD mobile processors is simply stunning.

  • Linux 5.6 released with WireGuard
    Earlier this evening, Linus released Linux 5.6, which contains our first release of WireGuard. This is quite exciting. It means that kernels from here on out will have WireGuard built-in by default. And for those of you who were scared away prior by the dOnT uSe tHiS k0de!!1!! warnings everywhere, you now have something more stable to work with. The last several weeks of 5.6 development and stabilization have been exciting, with our codebase undergoing a quick security audit, and some real headway in terms of getting into distributions. WireGuard is probably the biggest new feature in 5.6, announced earlier today.

  • Control Panel isn’t dead yet  but the System applet is looking nervous
    You may have seen dark rumors around the Web that Microsoft is about to kill off the classic Control Panel. Rest assured, friend, we were as horrified as you are—but on more careful inspection, this seems not to be the case. Thats one of the many downsides of being at the mercy of closed operating systems like Windows or macOS  as a user, youre not really in control, and your platform landlords can decide to remove vital functionality or features on a whim, and theres nothing you can do about it. If you havent done so yet, Id highly suggest start looking at open source alternatives before its too late, because I feel the noose is only going to tighten more, not less.

  • Amiga machine code course
    Here you’ll find my complete set of posts covering the Amiga Machine Code course. The course consists of twelve letters and two disks, that can be found here. The letters are available as PDF’s in their original Danish language as well as translated to English. Some light reading for the weekend.

  • Dumping MiniDisc media
    If you have music on a collection of MiniDisc media and want to finally copy the data off onto modern media (or the cloud!), here are simple instructions for some different solutions. Why would you stop using MiniDisc though?

  • The exFAT filesystem is coming to Linux  Paragon software’s not happy about it
    Ars Technica reports on a story from the early 2000s 2020: When software and operating system giant Microsoft announced its support for inclusion of the exFAT filesystem directly into the Linux kernel back in August, it didnt get a ton of press coverage. But filesystem vendor Paragon Software clearly noticed this months merge of the Microsoft-approved, largely Samsung-authored version of exFAT into the VFS for-next repository, which will in turn merge into Linux 5.7—and Paragon doesnt seem happy about it. Yesterday, Paragon issued a press release about European gateway-modem vendor Sagemcom adopting its version of exFAT into an upcoming series of Linux-based routers. Unfortunately, it chose to preface the announcement with a stream of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that wouldnt have looked out of place on Steve Ballmers letterhead in the 1990s. This is some get the facts! level of tripe. Youd think that in 2020, wed be spared this sort of nonsense, and Im sad Im even spending precious bits on this one  but at least we get the name of Paragon out so you can avoid them like the plague.

  • AMD uses DMCA to mitigate massive GPU source code leak
    AMD has filed at least two DMCA notices against Github repos that carried stolen! source code relating to AMDs Navi and Arden GPUs, the latter being the processor for the upcoming Xbox Series X. The person claiming responsibility for the leak informs TorrentFreak that if they doesnt get a buyer for the remainder of the code, they will dump the whole lot online. Id love to hear the backstory behind this hack. For a company like AMD, such a hack mustve been an inside job, right? While I know I shouldnt be surprised anymore by just how lacking security can be at even the most prominent technology companies, I just cant imagine it being very easy to get your hands on this documentation and code without some form of inside help.

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