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LinuxSecurity - Security Advisories



  • Fedora 33: xen 2020-306b84fd07>
    x86 pv: Crash when handling guest access to MSR_MISC_ENABLE [XSA-333, CVE-2020-25602] (#1881619) Missing unlock in XENMEM_acquire_resource error path [XSA-334, CVE-2020-25598] (#1881616) race when migrating timers between x86 HVM vCPU-s [XSA-336, CVE-2020-25604] (#1881618) PCI passthrough code reading back hardware registers [XSA-337, CVE-2020-25595] (#1881587) once valid event




  • Debian LTS: DLA-2383-1: nfdump security update>
    Two issues have been found in nfdump, a netflow capture daemon. Both issues are related to either a buffer overflow or an integer overflow, which could result in a denial of service or a local code


LWN.net

  • [$] Toward a "modern" Emacs
    It has only been a few months since the Emacs community went through an extended discussion on how to make the Emacs editor "popularagain". As the community gears up for the Emacs 28 development cycle,(after the Emacs27.1 release in August)that discussion has returned with a vengeance. The themes of thisdiscussion differ somewhat from the last; developers are concerned aboutmaking Emacs — an editor with decades of history — seem "modern" to attractnew users.


  • Calibre 5.0 released
    Version 5.0 of theCalibre electronic-book manager has been released. "There has been alot of work on the calibre E-book viewer. It now supports Highlighting. Thehighlights can be colors, underlines, strikethrough, etc. and have addednotes. All highlights can be both stored in EPUB files for easy sharing andcentrally in the calibre library for easy browsing. Additionally, theE-book viewer now supports both vertical and right-to-left text."Another significant change is a port to Python 3; that was a necessarychange but it means that there are a number of plugins that have not yetbeen ported and thus won't work. The status of many plugins can be foundon thispage.


  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (rails), openSUSE (chromium, jasper, ovmf, roundcubemail, samba, and singularity), Oracle (firefox), SUSE (bcm43xx-firmware, firefox, libqt5-qtbase, qemu, and tiff), and Ubuntu (aptdaemon, atftp, awl, packagekit, and spip).


  • [$] Saying goodbye to set_fs()
    The set_fs() function dates back to the earliest days of the Linuxkernel; it is a key part of the machinery that keeps user-space andkernel-space memory separated from each other. It is also easy to misuseand has been the source of various security problems over the years; kerneldevelopers have long wanted to be rid of it. They won't completely get theirwish in the 5.10 kernel but, as the result of work that has been quietlyprogressing for several months, the end of set_fs() will be easilyvisible at that point.


  • PostgreSQL 13 released
    Version 13 of the PostgreSQL database management system is out."PostgreSQL 13 includes significant improvements to its indexing and lookupsystem that benefit large databases, including space savings and performancegains for indexes, faster response times for queries that use aggregates orpartitions, better query planning when using enhanced statistics, and more.Along with highly requested features like parallelized vacuuming andincremental sorting, PostgreSQL 13 provides a better data managementexperience for workloads big and small, with optimizations for dailyadministration, more conveniences for application developers, and securityenhancements."


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (firefox, libproxy, mbedtls, samba, and zeromq), openSUSE (chromium and virtualbox), Red Hat (firefox and kernel), SUSE (cifs-utils, conmon, fuse-overlayfs, libcontainers-common, podman, libcdio, python-pip, samba, and wavpack), and Ubuntu (rdflib).



  • [$] OpenPGP in Thunderbird
    It is a pretty rare event to see a nearly 21-year-old bug be addressed—manyprojects are nowhere near that old for one thing—but that is just what hasoccurred for the Mozilla Thunderbird emailapplication. An enhancementrequest filed at the end of 1999 asked for a plugin to support email encryption, but it has mostlylanguished since. The Enigmail plugin did comealong to fill the gap by providing OpenPGP support using GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG), but wasnever part of Thunderbird.As part of Thunderbird 78,though, OpenPGP is now fully supported within the mail user agent(MUA).


  • Six stable kernels
    Stable kernels 5.8.11, 5.4.67, 4.19.147, 4.14.199, 4.9.237, and 4.4.237 have been released with importantfixes. Users should upgrade.


  • [$] Removing run-time disabling for SELinux in Fedora
    Disabling SELinuxis, perhaps sadly in some ways, a time-honored tradition for users of Fedora, RHEL, and other distributions that feature thesecurity mechanism. Over the years, SELinux has gotten easier to toleratedue to the hard work of its developers and the distributions, but there arestill third-party packages that recommend or require disabling SELinux inorder to function. Up until fairly recently, the kernel has supporteddisabling SELinux at run time, but that mechanism has been deprecated—inpart due to another kernel security feature. Now Fedora is planningto eliminate the ability to disable SELinux at run time in Fedora 34, which sparkedsome discussion in its devel mailing list.



LXer Linux News



  • Build a successful community using a Linux leaders playbook
    I love books about technology. My idea of a relaxing weekend is—legitimately—settling in with my copy of DocBook: The Definitive Guide (TDG to those of us who us who[he]#039[/he]ve read the whole series). I love learning to understand and integrate technology, and so those are the books I read.


  • COM quartet showcases Intel’s Elkhart Lake Atoms
    TQ announced four “TQMxE40” compute modules with Intel’s 10nm “Elkhart lake” Atom x6000E SoCs in SMARC, COM Express Mini Type 10, and Compact Type-6 form factors. TQ-Embedded announced a quartet of TQMxE40 modules with Intel’s new Elkhart Lake Atom x6000E, Pentium, and Celeron SoCs. No OS support was listed, but Linux and Windows should work […]


  • How to fix sound issues on Ubuntu 18.04
    Ubuntu 18.04 was possibly the most compatible and powerful of all Ubuntu versions. There are however some sound problems with certain types of hardware or even configurations.


  • Manage Remote And Virtual Machines With Gnome Boxes
    This guide explains what is Gnome Boxes and how to install Boxes on various Linux distributions and then how to manage remote and virtual machines with Gnome boxes from a Linux desktop operating system.


  • How to Install Putty SSH Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
    Putty is the most widely used SSH and telnet client for Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is used to remotely access and configure devices such as servers, switches, and routers. Putty, being a free and open-source utility, is also popular among Linux users. In this article, we will explain how to install Putty on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system.




  • 8 Best Free and Open Source Console Email Clients
    For the traditionalists, emails remains a fundamental part of the operating system. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of free email software available on the Linux platform which is stable, feature laden, and ideal for personal and business environments.



Slashdot

  • 'Why Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 Is So Damn Hard'
    Slashdot reader the_newsbeagle writes: At the beginning of the pandemic, modelers pulled out everything they had to predict the spread of the virus. This article explains the three main types of models used: 1) compartmental models that sort people into categories of exposure and recovery, 2) data-driven models that often use neural networks to make predictions, and 3) agent-based models that are something like a Sim Pandemic.   "Researchers say they've learned a lot of lessons modeling this pandemic, lessons that will carry over to the next..." the article points out:  Finally, researchers emphasize the need for agility. Jarad Niemi, an associate professor of statistics at Iowa State University who helps run the forecast hub used by the CDC, says software packages have made it easier to build models quickly, and the code-sharing site GitHub lets people share and compare their models. COVID-19 is giving modelers a chance to try out all their newest tools, says biologist Lauren Ancel Meyers, the head of the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin. "The pace of innovation, the pace of development, is unlike ever before," she says. "There are new statistical methods, new kinds of data, new model structures."   "If we want to beat this virus," says Mikhail Prokopenko, a computer scientist at the University of Sydney, "we have to be as adaptive as it is."
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Silicon Valley Tech Workers Angered By Proposal to Make Some Mandatory Telecommuting Permanent
    "The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional government agency in the San Francisco Bay Area, voted Wednesday to move forward with a proposal to require people at large, office-based companies to work from home three days a week as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from car commutes," reports NBC News:  It's a radical suggestion that likely would have been a non-starter before Covid-19 shuttered many offices in March, but now that corporate employees have gotten a taste of not commuting, transportation planners think the idea has wider appeal. "There is an opportunity to do things that could not have been done in the past," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a member of the transportation commission who supports the proposal. She said she felt "very strongly" that a telecommuting mandate ought to be a part of the region's future...   Some of the nation's largest companies are headquartered in the Bay Area, including not only tech giants Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel and Netflix, but Chevron, Levi Strauss and Wells Fargo... The idea of a mandate was a surprise to residents, many of whom first learned of the idea this week from social media and then flooded an online meeting of the transportation agency Wednesday to try, unsuccessfully, to talk commissioners out of the idea. "We do not want to continue this as a lifestyle," Steven Buss, a Google software engineer who lives in San Francisco, told the commission. "We are all sacrificing now to reduce the spread of the virus, but no one is enjoying working from home," he said. "It's probably fine if you own a big house out in the suburbs and you're nearing retirement, but for young workers like me who live in crowded conditions, working from home is terrible."  Many callers pointed out that the situation exacerbates inequality because only some types of work can be done from home. Others worried about the ripple effects on lunch spots, transit agencies and other businesses and organizations that rely on revenue from office workers. Still other residents said that if car emissions are the problem, the commission should focus on cars, not all commutes... Dustin Moskovitz, a cofounder of Facebook who usually keeps a low public profile, mocked the idea as an indictment of the Bay Area's general failure to plan for growth. "We tried nothing, and we're all out of ideas," Moskovitz, now CEO of software company Asana, tweeted Tuesday.    The mandate would apply to "large, office-based employers" and require them to have at least 60 percent of their employees telecommute on any given workday. They could meet the requirement through flexible schedules, compressed work weeks or other alternatives.
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • The US Space Force Will Use Blockchain-Based Data Protection - and SpaceX's Reusable Rockets
    "The service branch protecting U.S. interests outside the stratosphere may use blockchain to render its computer systems, on earth and in space, unhackable," reports CoinDesk: Last week, Xage Security won a contract from the United States Space Force to develop and roll out a blockchain-based data protection system across its networks. Called the Xage Security Fabric, the blockchain verifies data and protects the network from third party intervention, so confidential data sent from satellites to earth isn't intercepted en-route.   It also ensures security remains consistent across the entire United States Space Force network, preventing hackers and other malicious entities from identifying and exploiting any weak spots.   And UPI reports: The U.S. Space Force will start to fly missions on reused SpaceX rockets next year to save millions of dollars, the service announced Friday.   The Space Force will fly two GPS satellites into orbit on a Falcon 9 first-stage booster. The lower cost that SpaceX charges for reused rockets will save taxpayers $52.7 million, a statement from the military branch said... Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer, said in a news release that the company was pleased the Space Force saw "the benefits of the technology."
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Researcher Discusses Whether Time Travel Could Prevent a Pandemic
    University of Queensland student Germain Tobar who worked with UQ physics professor Fabio Costa on a new peer-reviewed paper "says he has mathematically proven the physical feasibility of a specific kind of time travel" without paradoxes, reports Popular Mechanics:  Time travel discussion focuses on closed time-like curves, something Albert Einstein first posited. And Tobar and Costa say that as long as just two pieces of an entire scenario within a closed time-like curve are still in "causal order" when you leave, the rest is subject to local free will... In a university statement, Costa illustrates the science with an analogy   "Say you travelled in time, in an attempt to stop COVID-19's patient zero from being exposed to the virus. However if you stopped that individual from becoming infected, that would eliminate the motivation for you to go back and stop the pandemic in the first place. This is a paradox, an inconsistency that often leads people to think that time travel cannot occur in our universe. [L]ogically it's hard to accept because that would affect our freedom to make any arbitrary action. It would mean you can time travel, but you cannot do anything that would cause a paradox to occur...."   But the real truth, in terms of the mathematical outcomes, is more like another classic parable: the monkey's paw. Be careful what you wish for, and be careful what you time travel for. Tobar explains in the statement:   "In the coronavirus patient zero example, you might try and stop patient zero from becoming infected, but in doing so you would catch the virus and become patient zero, or someone else would. No matter what you did, the salient events would just recalibrate around you. Try as you might to create a paradox, the events will always adjust themselves, to avoid any inconsistency."
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • The World's Largest Concentrations of Java Programmers are in Asia and Germany
    "To celebrate Java's 25th anniversary this year and the latest release of Java 15, JetBrains has compiled data from multiple sources to look at what the current state of the language," reports SD Times:  The largest concentration of Java developers is in Asia, where 2.5 million developers use it as their primary language. JetBrains believes this may be due to the fact that it is common to hire offshore developers in countries like China and India to build Android apps. "We might have expected the USA to have a high percentage of Java users, but it also makes a lot of sense that they don't. There is a big technology stack to choose from and often a lot of the tech companies are at the forefront of that stack, so it could be that developers there don't need the power or stability of Java and are using languages that allow them to build and test quickly," JetBrains wrote in a post.   The post on JetBrains notes that the six countries with the highest percentage of developers using Java as their primary language are: China, South Korea, India, Germany, Spain, and Brazil:  The reasons Java is most likely so popular in the first 6 countries include the free use of Java, governmental support, and open-source... Germany is also very high which could be attributed to Java being the most popular language in Germany for software engineers as it is used to build highly scalable applications for a multitude of industries. Most enterprise services rely on Java to power the applications that enable the day-to-day running of businesses, such as payroll, inventory management, reporting, and so on. Germany also has a big financial sector that uses Java heavily for their homegrown tech, such as trading bots, retail banking systems, and other applications that the finance industry requires in order to remain competitive...   According to the State of the Developer Ecosystem Survey 2020, more than a third of professional developers use Java as a primary language and Java remains the second primary language among professional developers after JavaScript. Expert analysis: It is not surprising to see JavaScript and Java taking the leading positions as they are kind of paired together; developers who work with Java often write their frontend and any quick scripts in JavaScript. Python is probably third place due to the spread of machine learning. In general, we expect the web to be a big part of the developer ecosystem and so JavaScript, HTML and CSS, and PHP will always have solid standing. SQL is also always going to be around as there isn't much that doesn't require databases in some capacity. C++ is also kind of a solid language in that it is used for a lot of embedded applications, so it won't be disappearing off the charts any time soon. C# though seems to be losing ground, and I guess if Java is high then C# will be low, as they are both very similar in terms of capabilities.   As to why I think Java is so high in the sphere of professional development — it's similar to what was mentioned about Germany. Most enterprise business services rely on Java to make them tick along. It's not just the IT sector either — almost every company, be it in distribution, manufacturing, or banking, has IT services as part of their infrastructure, and these services, such as payroll or inventory management, are generally built with Java in the backend. So Java is used a lot by professional developers who work for these companies.
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • NASA Launches New $23 Million Toilet to International Space Station
    First, PetaPixel reminds us that Estee Lauder's products will be launching into space this week: The cosmetics giant Estee Lauder is paying NASA $128,000 for a product photography shoot onboard the International Space Station. Bloomberg reports that the company will be paying the space agency to fly 10 bottles of its Advanced Night Repair skin serum to the orbiting space station on a cargo run that will launch from Virginia on Tuesday and dock on Saturday. Once the product is on board, astronauts will be tasked with shooting product photos of the serum floating in the cupola module, which has sweeping panoramic views of Earth and space.   NASA charges a "professional fee" of $17,500 per hour for the astronauts' time.  In a possibly-related story, the same flight will also be carrying a new $23 million space toilet to the station as part of a routine resupply mission "to test it out before it's used on future missions to the moon or Mars."
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Microsoft Updates Edge With New Features To Challenge Chrome
    Forbes looks at new features Microsoft added to Edge "as it looks to beat Chrome in the browser wars." It's now going to be possible to search for work files directly inside the Edge browser directly from the address bar. To use this you need Microsoft Search configured, then type "work" and press the Tab key to search your company's network for your work files. Another work-related Microsoft Edge update is also about to launch to let IT admins manage specific work related apps on user devices as well as the browsing users do from their Work Profile in Edge.   Integration with other Microsoft products is a key factor as the IT giant looks to entice more business users to use the updated Edge browser. Edge now supports native policies for Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention, which are used to find and protect sensitive items across Microsoft 365 services, Microsoft said in a blog highlighting the firm's security credentials. Another soon to launch feature of note highlighted by Bleeping Computer is Sleeping Tabs, which Microsoft says can improve memory usage by up to 26%. It can also reduce CPU usage by 29% potentially resulting in battery savings...   The browser is also adding security features such as alerts for the Edge password monitor if a compromised password is detected.
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Tesla's Elon Musk Promises Full Self-Driving Autopilot Beta In 'A Month Or So'
    "I think we'll hopefully release a private beta of Autopilot — the full self-driving version of autopilot — in, I think a month or so?" CEO Elon Musk said this week at Tesla's annual shareholder meeting/Battery Day event. "And then people will really understand the magnitude of the change," said Musk adding, "It's profound. You'll see what it's like, it's amazing."  CNET reports that attendees then showed their approval "by honking the horns of their safety bubbles."  "It's kind of hard for people to judge the progress of Autopilot," Musk told a crowd of shareholders present at the event, each social distancing in their own Tesla Model 3, drive-in style. "I'm driving a bleeding edge, alpha build of Autopilot, so I sort of have insight into what is going on."  Musk went on to explain how Tesla's engineers recently had to overhaul major parts of the Autopilot, including a rethinking of how the system sees the world. "We had to do a fundamental rewrite of the entire Autopilot software stack... We're now labeling 3D video, which is hugely different from when we were previously labeling single 2D images," Musk explained, referring to the way the Autopilot software understands what the objects it sees with its eight cameras are, and how it should react to them. "We're now labeling entire video segments, taking all cameras simultaneously and labeling that. The sophistication of the neural net of the car and the overall logic of the car is improved dramatically."
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Python Developer Builds a Raspberry Pi That Alerts Drone Pilots
    "A Raspberry Pi, a USB SDR dongle, an LCD a buzzer and a little bit of coding in Python and C has created a very useful alarm for drone and RC model aircraft operators," explains long-time Slashdot reader NewtonsLaw . The device allows users to set an "alarm" perimeter around their operating area and automatically alert them whenever a manned aircraft with ADSB fitted intrudes into that area. While there are apps like FlightRadar24 that allow you to monitor ADSB-equipped air traffic, this is the first stand-alone hand-held unit that isn't reliant on cellular or Wifi data and which not just monitors aircraft movments but also sounds an alarm according to user-defined parameters.   sUAS News reports: "As an avid proponent of safety within the drone and RC communities, I decided to put my background in electronics engineering and computer software to good use by developing a device that has the potential to ensure the skies remain safe," said Kiwi drone and RC model enthusiast Bruce Simpson.   "The alarm I've developed is not a silver bullet but it is an extremely valuable tool for improving safety... I will be publishing some DIY videos showing people how they can build their own from readily available parts. This will ensure it remains cheap enough to be used by everyone..."   Drone users now call on the manned aviation community to ensure that they play their part by equipping their aircraft with the ADSB technology that has become such an important part of safety in the 21 st century.
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Firefox 81 Released, Can Now Be Your Default Browser in iOS
    Engadget reports: One big benefit of iOS 14 is that you can set non-Apple-made apps as your default, including for email and web browsing. Hot on the heels of you being able to set Chrome and Gmail as your clients of choice, Firefox is enabling you to make its browser the default on iPhones and iPads. Naturally, you'll need to have both the latest version of the operating system and the apps, and then just make the switch inside settings.   Meanwhile, Bleeping Computer profiles some of the new features in this week's release of Firefox 81, including:   The ability to control videos via your headset and keyboard even if you're not using Firefox at the time  A new credit card autofill feature for Firefox users in the U.S. and Canada  A new theme called AlpenGlow  Firefox can now be set as the default system PDF viewer
          

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


The Register












Linux.com offline for now

Phoronix












Engadget"Engadget RSS Feed"

  • BMW's motorsport division announces first EV based on the i4

    BMW M, the German automaker’s motorsport division, has announced that it’s developing its first battery-electric car based on the upcoming i4 EV. According to CarAdvice, BMW M CEO Markus Flasch has made the revelation during a press event for Australian media, where he also said that the car will be unveiled next year and will fall under the company’s “performance segment.”

    Flasch said:

    “Next year we will launch the first battery-electric M car in the performance segment, based on the i4, as something to confirm. Then we’re working on hybrid electrified performance and high-performance cars, but it is too early to disclose which ones it is going to be.”

    As CarAdvice noted, it likely means that the vehicle will be sportier than the standard i4 but won’t be able to match the division’s “high-performance” models, such as the BMW M3 and M4. Flasch explained that current battery technologies still don’t have the capability to power its high-performance cars and that it will take more time to design one that can. The company still has to figure out a few more things to be able to develop a full-blown M EV, as well: “[T]he biggest question to answer is,” he said, “how to handle weight of a battery electric car and still offer M-specific, or M-style, dynamics.”

    The CEO didn’t have a lot of details to share about the car, but if it’s a sportier i4, then we can probably expect better specs than the standard version. BMW previously revealed that the i4 will have a 390 kW motor that can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in about four seconds. It will have a max speed of 124 miles per hour and an 80 kWh battery that will give it the capability to run for approximately 373 miles on a single charge. The standard i4 is expected to be available in 2022, which means you may have to wait more than a couple of years before the M version comes out.


  • SpaceX's reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

    SpaceX has been reusing rockets for years, but they’ve been off-limits for some crucial launches. They’ll get more use soon, however. The private spaceflight company has signed a contract with the US Space Force to reuse a Falcon 9 booster rocket for the first time on a National Security Space Launch mission. The previously-launched vehicle will carry the fifth GPS III satellite to orbit in 2021.

    The firm had been allowed to recover boosters for GPS III missions, but had to use fresh examples for new launches.

    There’s clearly a pragmatic incentive to allow reused rockets. The Space Force expects to save $52.7 million for the GPS III missions alone. It might also be difficult to insist on brand new rockets. SpaceX is shifting its focus to Starship, and might not be eager to make more Falcon 9 rockets than necessary.

    This also reflects added trust in SpaceX. Although the company has clearly played a crucial role in US government launches through projects like Crew Dragon, the contract represents another level of confidence.


  • Hyundai's next electric race car hints at the future of sporty road-going EVs

    Hyundai’s electric sports car ambitions didn’t end with a spruced-up Veloster. The automaker has unveiled an RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car that not only promises to boost its motorsport plans, but reflects the “next generation” of N performance cars — it’s billed as the company’s first “high-performance” electric sports car of any kind. It’s powerful, as you’d expect from racing EVs, but Hyundai is also promising a balanced design that could even be ready for the street.

    As the name implies, the 810HP motor sits at the middle of the body. That not only lets the RM20e reach 62MPH in less than three seconds and 124MPH in 9.88 seconds, but allows for the traction, balance, and braking you’d hope for in a race car. Even so, the design supposedly offers “daily-driver quietness” and responsiveness.

    The machine also claims a top speed over 155MPH. The battery is relatively small at 60kWh (not surprising given the need for a lightweight design), but 800V fast charging helps it get back to the track relatively quickly.

    Not surprisingly, Hyundai is using the RM20e as a tentpole for its overall green transportation push. It’s hoping to deliver 44 eco-friendly models by 2025, and that clearly involves N sports cars. While they won’t necessarily look as stylish as the Prophecy concept, you will get options that are more exciting than the usual mix of sedans and crossovers.


  • Polestar will put its eco-friendly Precept car into production

    Polestar’s Precept won’t suffer the same grim fate as many concept cars. The Volvo sibling has revealed that it will turn the Precept into a production car after a strong public response. While Polestar didn’t say just how the mass-produced version would differ, it expected “much” of the concept’s sustainable design to reach the electric vehicle you can buy.

    The firm said it would build the Precept at a new carbon neutral facility in China. There wasn’t any mention of when production would start.

    The Precept’s cabin uses a slew of recycled and reclaimed material, including plastic bottles, cork vinyl and fishing nets. You’ll also find a flax composite in both the interior and exterior. However, it’s also a reflection of Polestar’s goals for semi-autonomous driving. LiDAR offers “increased driving assistance,” while the grille from the Polestar 2 has been replaced with a camera and radar sensors.

    The Precept also has a sleeker, more original look than the Polestar 2, which was based on the Volvo Concept 40.2.

    It’s not shocking that Polestar would manufacture the Precept. It’s still a young standalone brand with just two vehicles in its stable — this could be a more upscale option for those who want a pure EV. It also has obvious competition from rivals like Tesla. The Precept won’t necessarily offer a direct challenge to cars like the Model S, but it could provide a viable alternative.


  • SpaceX scales back plans for Starship's first high-altitude flight

    You might want to dial back your expectations for the first high-altitude SpaceX Starship flight. Elon Musk now says the flight with the SN8 prototype will top out at 15km, or close to 50,000ft, instead of the 18km and 60,000ft he’d mentioned earlier. It’s not clear what prompted the lowered expectations, but Musk added that the rocket would get its nosecone and front flaps “next week.”

    He also showed current progress on the prototype, noting that the rear body flaps were already in place. An SN9 prototype is due in October.

    Don’t be surprised if that timeframe moves. Musk said on September 13th that he expected SN8 to be ready about a week from then, and clearly that didn’t happen.

    While a 50,000-foot trip won’t be quite as ambitious, the goal should remain the same. SpaceX wants to show that Starship can perform more than short hops. If the high-altitude test is successful, it’s much closer to providing a fully operational rocket. The company is betting its future on Starship in hopes it will enable space tourism and interplanetary trips, and that won’t happen without major milestones like this.

    Starship SN8 with rear body flaps pic.twitter.com/GdxMbzX0ct
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020


  • Tesla will boost your Model Y's acceleration for $2,000

    How eager are you to improve the performance of your Tesla Model Y? Eager enough that you’d pay a hefty sum for what’s ultimately some code changes? Now’s your chance. Electrek reports that Model Y owners with Dual Motor AWD variants (but not Performance) now have an option to buy a $2,000 Acceleration Boost that improves the 0-60MPH time from 4.8 seconds to 4.3. So long as you have the latest software, you can have a faster electric crossover almost immediately.

    The company offered a similar update for Model 3 buyers in December.

    Tesla has a long history of including features in hardware and locking them with software to help simplify its production while keeping costs in check. However, this is one of the most obvious examples of it — your AWD Model Y can already accelerate this quickly, it just hasn’t been given the option until now.

    This is also a defensive move. Tesla has tried to block unofficial performance hacks for a while. An Acceleration Boost might reduce the temptation to use those hacks while giving the automaker a way to profit well after you buy an EV.



  • Hitting the Books: The invisible threat that every ISS astronaut fears

    Despite starry-eyed promises by the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin, only a handful of humans will actually experience existence outside of Earth’s atmosphere within our lifetime. The rest of us are stuck learning about life in space second hand but that’s where How to Astronaut by former ISS commander Colonel Terry Virts comes in. Virts shares his myriad experiences training for and living aboard the ISS — everything from learning Russian and space-based emergency medicine to figuring out how to unpack an autonomously-delivered cargo shipment or even prep a deceased crew member for burial among the stars — through a series of downright entertaining essays.

    And where many titles of this genre can become laden with acronyms and technical jargon, How to Astronaut remains accessible to aspiring astronauts of all ages. Just maybe don’t read the story below about how the ISS crew thought they were all going to die from a toxic ammonia leak to your 6-year-old right before bed.
    Workman
    Excerpted from How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth by Terry Virts (Workman). © 2020.



    For all the emergency training I went through as an astronaut, I never expected to be holed up in the Russian segment of the ISS, the hatch to the US segment sealed, with my crew waiting and wondering—would the space station be destroyed? Was this the end? As we floated there and pondered our predicament, I felt a bit like the guy in the Alanis Morissette song “Ironic,” who was going down in an airplane crash, thinking to himself, “Now isn’t this ironic?” This is how we ended up in that situation.

    Every space station crew trains for all types of emergencies—computer failures, electrical shorts, equipment malfunctions, and more serious fire and air leak scenarios. However, on the International Space Station, the most dangerous of all is an ammonia leak. In fact, our NASA trainers used to tell us, “If you smell ammonia, don’t worry about running the procedure, because you’re going to die anyway.” That sure instilled confidence.

    A few months after arriving in space, we were having a typical day. My crewmate Samantha Cristoforetti and I were each in our own crew quarters, going through email and catching up with administrative work, when the alarm went off. The sound of the ISS alarm is exactly what you would think a proper space alarm should sound like—a cross between a Star Trek alarm and a sci-fi B-movie klaxon. When it goes off, there is no doubt that something significant is happening. Sam and I both popped our heads out of our respective quarters and glanced at the alarm panel.

    When I saw the ATM alarm lit up, my first thought was, “Atmosphere— there must be an atmosphere leak.” The ISS had occasionally had an air leak false alarm over its fifteen-year history, and I thought it must be one of those. However, that is not what ATM means—it stands for toxic atmosphere, most probably from an ammonia leak. Significantly, this alarm was going off for the first time in ISS history. My brain couldn’t believe it, so I said to Samantha, “This is an air leak, right?” To which she immediately responded “NO—ammonia leak!”

    Jolted back to reality, we jumped into action. Gas masks on. Account for everyone; we didn’t want anyone left behind. Float down to the Russian segment ASAP and close the hatch between the US and Russian segments. The US segment uses ammonia as a coolant, but the Russian segment doesn’t, so the air should be safe there. Remove all clothes in case they’re contaminated. Nobody smelled ammonia, so we skipped this step! Close a second hatch to

    keep any residual ammonia vapors on the American segment. Get out the ammonia “sniffer” device to make sure there isn’t any of that deadly chemical in the atmosphere on the Russian segment. All clear. Then, await word from Houston. . . .

    Fifteen long, suspense-filled minutes later, we got the news—it was a false alarm. We let out a collective sigh of relief; the station wouldn’t be dying today! Whew. Similar to frequent fire alarms and rare air leaks, ammonia leak was just added to the collection of ISS false alarms. We put away the ammonia detector, floated back to the US segment, and started to clean up the mess that we had left floating in midair when that alarm went off.

    Then we received an urgent call. “Station, Houston, execute ammonia leak emergency response, I say again, execute emergency response, ammonia leak, this is not a drill!” Pretty unambiguous. Only this time the warning had come via a radio call, not via electronic alarm. After the false alarm I knew that an army of NASA engineers were in mission control, poring over every piece of data they had, trying to determine if this had been a false alarm or the real thing. Now that mission control had confirmed that it was an actual leak, there was no doubt in my mind that this thing was real. No way all those NASA engineers got this call wrong. Having worked in mission control for nearly a decade myself, I had complete confidence in our flight director and flight control team. When they said, “Execute ammonia response,” I put the mask on, shut the hatch, and asked questions later.

    It was like a scene out of European Vacation—“Look kids! Big Ben!”—or maybe Groundhog Day. Oxygen masks activated—check. US segment evacuated with nobody left behind—check. Hatch between US and Russian segments closed and sealed—check. Get naked—nope. No ammonia in the Russian atmosphere—check.

    By this point, we had run the ISS ammonia leak procedures twice within an hour of each other. We had a quick debrief as a crew to discuss how we handled the emergency, what checklist steps were missed, what could have been done better, and what we needed to report to Houston. By this point, it was very obvious that there would be a lot of meetings happening in Houston and Moscow and that everybody in the NASA chain of command would be aware of our predicament.

    Very quickly the gravity (pun intended) of the situation hit us. Using ammonia as the coolant for the American half of the ISS had worked well for decades, but we were acutely aware of its danger. Thankfully, the engineers who designed the station did a great job making a leak extremely unlikely, but the possibility was always there. On the other hand, the Russian glycol-based coolant is not dangerous, which is why the whole station crew would safe haven there in the event of an ammonia leak.

    Besides the danger of the crew breathing in toxic fumes, there was a risk to equipment. The ISS has two ammonia loops, a series of tanks and pipes that carry heat from the station’s internal water loops to the external radiators. If one leaked out to space, there would still be a second available to cool equipment. It would be a serious loss of redundancy for the station, especially given that there is no longer a space shuttle to restock the station with the massive ammonia tanks needed to fill a loop. It would be ugly, but survivable.

    What is not survivable, however, is having that ammonia leak to the inside of the American segment. First of all, if the entire contents of an ammonia loop came inside the station, it would probably overpressurize and pop the aluminum structure of one or more of the modules, like a balloon being overfilled with air. Mission control could avert this problem by venting the ammonia to space—we would lose the cooling loop, but it would prevent the station from popping. Months after returning to Earth, I learned that Houston had been seriously considering that option during our emergency, and it was only averted because of a tough—and ultimately correct—call by our flight director. That’s why those guys get paid the big bucks—they are some of the smartest and most competent people I have ever worked with. However, even if you averted a catastrophic “popping” of structure, there would still be the problem of ammonia in the US segment.

    If even a small amount of ammonia were present in the atmosphere, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. The only scrubber we had was our ammonia masks, so theoretically you could have an astronaut sit in a contaminated module, breathing the contaminant out of the air and into the mask filter, and over time enough of this scrubbing would lower the ammonia concentration, but as the poor astronaut sat there cleaning the air he would also be covered in ammonia, and convincing his fellow crewmates on the Russian segment to allow him back to their clean air would be problematic, to say the least. There would need to be some sort of shower and cleaning system to completely clean him up, which of course doesn’t exist in space. It would be a similar situation to soldiers in a chemical warfare environment, or the Soviet soldiers in the recent miniseries Chernobyl. Dealing with a toxic environment on Earth is difficult enough, but in space it would be nearly impossible. The reality is that an actual leak into the American segment would make a significant portion of the ISS uninhabitable, and if there were no crew there when the equipment broke down, there would be nobody to fix it.

    A real ammonia leak would eventually lead to the slow death of the US half of the ISS, which would then lead to the end of the entire station. We knew this and spent our afternoon staring at each other, wondering out loud how long it would be before they sent us home, leaving the space station uninhabited and awaiting an untimely death.

    Later that evening, we received a call from Houston. “Just kidding, it was a false alarm.” That was a huge false alarm. It turned out that some cosmic radiation had hit a computer, causing it to kick out bad data regarding the cooling system, and it took Houston hours to sort out what was really happening. Because that call from Houston had told us that it was a real leak, we all believed it—we knew that the folks in mission control were some of the best engineers in the world and that they would be 100 percent sure before making a call like that. So we were very relieved to get that call.


  • US slaps trade restrictions on China's top chipmaker

    The US didn’t waste much time blocking sales to China’s largest chipmaker. According to after Huawei. While the effect of the ban won’t be clear until the Commerce Department decides who (if anyone) gets a license, it could represent a significant blow to Chinese tech as a whole. SMIC may have to turn to non-US technology whenever it wants to upgrade its manufacturing or maintain hardware, and there’s no guarantee it will find what it needs. It could find itself trailing behind rivals that have access to a wider range of equipment.

    This could have a knock-on effect for companies that depend on SMIC. Huawei needs SMIC to make some of the Kirin chips in its phones, especially after losing access to partners like TSMC — it might have further trouble if SMIC can’t meet demands under the new restrictions. It won’t be surprising if the Chinese government retaliates with comparable restrictions on American companies.



OSnews

  • Firefox Nightly flips on new JIT Warp! code for greater JavaScript performance
    Warp aims to improve the Firefox JavaScript performance by reducing the amount of internal type information that is tracked along with other optimizations. Warp can lead to greater responsiveness and faster page load speed. Numbers cited by Warm developers are normally in the 5~15% range. As of yesterday, Firefox Nightly now enables Warp by default. The enabling in Firefox Nightly is seeing 20% faster load times for Win64 Google Docs, 13% faster for the Android Reddit SpeedIndex, 18% faster for PDFPaint, and other measurable improvements elsewhere. Thats a big improvement, and sadly, due to the state of the modern web, a very, very welcome one.


  • Microsoft’s Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 source code leaked online
    The source code for Windows XP SP1 and other versions of the operating system was allegedly leaked online today. The leaker claims to have spent the last two months compiling a collection of leaked Microsoft source code. This 43GB collection was then released today as a torrent on the 4chan forum. This is a massive leak of old code, and other than Windows XP, it also includes Windows Server 2003 and various versions of MS-DOS and Windows CE. One of the funnier tidbits weve already learned from the leak is that Microsoft was working on a Mac OS X Aqua theme for Windows XP, probably just to see if they could. I doubt much of this code will be useful to any serious projects, since no serious developer working on things like ReactOS or Wine will want to be found anywhere near this code. That being said, individuals, tinkerers, and those crazy people still making community-updated builds of Windows XP will have a field day with this stuff.


  • Swift System is now open source
    In June, Apple introduced Swift System, a new library for Apple platforms that provides idiomatic interfaces to system calls and low-level currency types. Today, I’m excited to announce that we’re open-sourcing System and adding Linux support! Our vision is for System to eventually act as the single home for low-level system interfaces for all supported Swift platforms. Never a bad thing to see potentially useful code enter the open source world.


  • Edge for Linux coming in October
    If you were brave and bored enough to read through this long, long list of enterprise babble from Microsoft, youd eventually come to the interesting bit: Our mission to bring Microsoft Edge to the platforms our customers use daily takes its next step: starting in October, Microsoft Edge on Linux will be available to download on the Dev preview channel. When it’s available, Linux users can go to the Microsoft Edge Insiders site to download the preview channel, or they can download it from the native Linux package manager. And just like other platforms, we always appreciate feedback—it’s the best way to serve our customers. Microsoft announced that Edge would come to Linux earlier this year, but now theyve set a date for the availability of developer builds. I wonder if it will come with the old and by now well-tested VA-API patches to enable hardware accelerated video decoding, something Google is refusing to enable for Chrome for Linux.


  • The Fairphone 3+ is a repairable dream that takes beautiful photos
    A few weeks ago, I found myself in need of a repair for a borked camera lens on my iPhone 11. I do everything in my power to essentially encase my Apple products in bubble wrap, but a nearly imperceptible fracture in one lens had greatly impacted the functionality of my phone’s camera. I hadn’t anticipated that repairing it was going to be a whole thing, but finding a way to get it repaired quickly in my area turned out to be futile. And repairing it myself? Pfft, forget it. This inability to quickly remedy such a small issue stuck with me as I was demoing the Fairphone 3+, a £425.00 (roughly $550) modular phone currently only available overseas. I desperately wish it or something like it were available in the United States because it makes it so easy to repair that just about anyone can fix their own phone—a rarity in this gadget repair dystopia we’re living in. This should be more normal than it is.


  • Facebook says it will stop operating in Europe if regulators don’t back down
    Facebook has threatened to pack up its toys and go home if European regulators don’t back down and let the social network get its own way. In a court filing in Dublin, Facebook said that a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) would force the company to pull up stakes and leave the 410 million people who use Facebook and photo-sharing service Instagram in the lurch. The decision Facebook’s referring to is a preliminary order handed down last month to stop the transfer of data about European customers to servers in the U.S., over concerns about U.S. government surveillance of the data. 0is this supposed to be a threat? Because it sounds more like a gift to me. Please, Zuck, go home! I think we here in Europe will do just fine without your criminal enterprise.


  • Sculpt OS 20.08 released
    The new version of Sculpt OS is based on the latest Genode release 20.08. In particular, it incorporates the redesigned GUI stack to the benefit of quicker boot times, improved interactive responsiveness, and better pixel output quality. It also removes the last traces of the noux runtime. Fortunately, these massive under-the-hood changes do not disrupt the user-visible surface of Sculpt. Most users will feel right at home. Its really time I set up a specific category for Genode-related items. Its been appearing here on OSNews for years and years now.


  • ARM is now backing Panfrost Gallium3D as open-source Mali graphics driver
    Most information presented during the annual X.Org Developers Conference doesnt tend to be very surprising or ushering in breaking news, but during todays XDC2020 it was subtly dropped that Arm Holdings appears to now be backing the open-source Panfrost Gallium3D driver. Panfrost has been developed over the past several years as what began as a reverse-engineered effort by Alyssa Rosenzweig to support Arm Mali Bifrost and Midgard hardware. This driver had a slow start but Rosenzweig has been employed by Collabora for a while now and theyve been making steady progress on supporting newer Mali hardware and advancing the supported OpenGL / GLES capabilities of the driver. This is a major departure from previous policy for ARM, since the company always shied away from open source efforts around its Mali GPUs.


  • US will ban WeChat and TikTok downloads on Sunday
    The Commerce Department plans to restrict access to TikTok and WeChat on Sunday as the Trump administrations executive orders against the two apps are set to take effect. The Department said Friday that as of Sunday, any moves to distribute or maintain WeChat or TikTok on an app store will be prohibited. Apple and Google didnt immediately respond to requests for comment. While users who have already downloaded the apps may be able to continue using the software, the restrictions mean updated versions of the apps cannot be downloaded. This will hit American companies doing business in China hard, since virtually all consumer purchases there take place via WeChat.


  • Rust on Haiku: the case of the disappearing deceased threads
    For a long time I have been maintaining the build of the Rust compiler and development tools on Haiku. For this purpose, I maintain a separate tree with the Rust source, with some patches and specific build instructions. My ultimate end goal is to have Rust build on Haiku from the original source, without any specific patches or workarounds. Instead we are in the situation where we cannot build rust on Haiku itself (instead we need to cross-compile it), and we need a customization to be able to run the Rust compiler (rustc) and package manager (cargo) on Haiku. This summer my goal would be to find out the underlying issue, and fix it so that the patch will no longer be necessary in the future. Let’s go! There seems to be quite a bit of excitement around the Rust programming language, so it makes sense for Haiku to jump on the bandwagon as well.



Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

  • Linux Journal is Back
        by Webmaster   
    As of today, Linux Journal is back, and operating under the ownership of Slashdot Media.

    As Linux enthusiasts and long-time fans of Linux Journal, we were disappointed to hear about Linux Journal closing its doors last year. It took some time, but fortunately we were able to get a deal done that allows us to keep Linux Journal alive now and indefinitely. It's important that amazing resources like Linux Journal never disappear.

    If you're a former Linux Journal contributor or a Linux enthusiast that would like to get involved, please contact us and let us know the capacity in which you'd like to contribute. We're looking for people to cover Linux news, create Linux guides, and moderate the community and comments. We'd also appreciate any other ideas or feedback you might have. Right now, we don't have any immediate plans to resurrect the subscription/issue model, and will be publishing exclusively on LinuxJournal.com free of charge. Our immediate goal is to familiarize ourself with the Linux Journal website and ensure it doesn't ever get shut down again.

    Many of you are probably already aware of Slashdot Media, but for those who aren't, we own and operate Slashdot and SourceForge: two iconic open source software and technology websites that have been around for decades. We didn't always own SourceForge, but we acquired it in 2016, and immediately began improving, and have since come a long wayin restoring and growing one of the most important resources in open source. We'd like to do the same here. We're ecstatic to be able to take the helm at Linux Journal, and ensure that this legendary Linux resource and community not only stays alive forever, but continues to grow and improve.

    Reach out if you'd like to get involved!

    Update Wednesday, September 23rd @ 3:43pm PST: Thanks for the great response to Linux Journal being revived! We're overwhelmed with the thousands of emails so it may take a bit of time to get back to you. This came together last minute as a way to avoid losing 25+ years of Linux history so bear with us as we get organized.
        Go to Full Article          


  • 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:
      CONFIG_RELOCATABLE=y CONFIG_KEXEC=y CONFIG_CRASH_DUMP=y CONFIG_DEBUG_INFO=y CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ=y CONFIG_PROC_VMCORE=y  
    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/syscall-manage.pl, 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 ljeditor@linuxjournal.com.
        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:
        Go to Full Article          


  • 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 https://github.com/cadnano/cadnano2.5.git  
    This will grab the Qt5 version. The Qt4 version is in the repository https://github.com/cadnano/cadnano2.git.

    Changing directory into the source directory, you can build and install cadnano with:
      python setup.py 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.
        Go to Full Article          


Page last modified on October 08, 2013, at 07:08 PM