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Open Source

Kali Linux 2.0 Released 109

An anonymous reader writes: Kali Linux 2.0 has been released, together which an assortment of interesting new features. Most importantly, Kali is now a rolling distribution, using Debian Testing as their upstream source. (Download page.) There are also huge changes to the UI, including a fully fledged, custom GNOME 3 environment, as well as support for myriad other Desktop Environments. The maintainers describe the release this way: "If Kali 1.0 was focused on building a solid infrastructure then Kali 2.0 is focused on overhauling the user experience and maintaining updated packages and tool repositories." I'm enjoying 2.0 so far. What are your thoughts and comments?
Education

Ask Slashdot: Switching To a GNU/Linux Distribution For a Webdesign School 233

spadadot writes: I manage a rapidly growing webdesign school in France with 90 computers for our students, dispatched across several locations. By the end on the year it will amount to 200. Currently, they all run Windows 8 but we would love to switch to a GNU/Linux distribution (free software, easier to deploy/maintain and less licensing costs). The only thing preventing us is Adobe Photoshop which is only needed for a small amount of work. The curriculum is highly focused on coding skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP/MySQL) but we still need to teach our students how to extract images from a PSD template. The industry format for graphic designs is PSD so The Gimp (XCF) is not really an option. Running a Windows VM on every workstation would be hard to setup (we redeploy all our PCs every 3 months) and just as costly as the current setup. Every classroom has at least 20Mbit/s — 1Mbit/s ADSL connection so maybe setting up a centralized virtualization server would work? How many Windows/Photoshop licenses would we need then? Anything else Slashdot would recommend?
Windows

Windows 10, From a Linux User's Perspective 321

Phoronix features today a review of Windows 10 that's a little different from most you might read, because it's specifically from the point of view of an admin who uses both Windows and Linux daily, rather than concentrating only on the UI of Windows qua Windows. Reviewer Eric Griffith finds some annoyances (giant start menu even when edited to contain fewer items, complicated process if you want a truly clean install), but also some good things, like improved responsiveness ("feels much more responsive than even my Gnome and KDE installations under Fedora") and an appropriately straightforward implementation of virtual workspaces. Overall? Windows 10 is largely an evolutionary upgrade over Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, rather than a revolutionary one. Honestly I think the only reason it will be declared as 'so good' is because Windows 8/8.1 were so bad. Sure, Microsoft has made some good changes under the surface-- the animations feel crisper, its relatively light on resources, battery life is good. There is nothing -wrong- with Windows 10 aside from the Privacy Policy. If you're on Windows Vista, or Windows 8/8.1, then sure, upgrade. The system is refreshing to use, it's perfectly fine and definitely an upgrade. If you're on Windows 7 though? I'm not so sure. ... Overall, there's really nothing to see here. It's not terrible, it's not even 'bad, it's just... okay. A quiet little upgrade.
Encryption

Linux Servers' Entropy Pool Too Shallow, Compromising Security 111

The BBC reports that Black Hat presenters Bruce Potter and Sasha Woods described at this year's Black Hat Briefings a security flaw in Linux servers: too few events are feeding the entropy pool from which random numbers are drawn, which leaves the systems "more susceptible to well-known attacks." Unfortunately, [Potter] said, the entropy of the data streams on Linux servers was often very low because the machines were not generating enough raw information for them. Also, he said, server security software did little to check whether a data stream had high or low entropy. These pools often ran dry leaving encryption systems struggling to get good seeds for their random number generators, said Mr Potter. This might meant they were easier to guess and more susceptible to a brute force attack because seeds for new numbers were generated far less regularly than was recommended. Update: 08/10 01:05 GMT by T : Please note that Sasha Woods' name was mis-reported as Sasha Moore; that's now been changed in the text above.
Debian

Largest DebConf Ever Will Hit Heidelberg In Mid-August 41

New submitter alfino writes: Less than two weeks away, DebConf15, the 16th Debian Conference, scheduled to take place 15–22 August in Heidelberg, Germany, has been officially announced. The organisers are expecting more than 550 participants from 53 countries (making it the largest DebConf so far, and the first in history that will be closing registrations early), and have presented a schedule packed with talks and events, including several prominent, invited speakers, and yet plenty of room for informal and ad-hoc collaboration. Most events will be streamed live to allow for remote participation, and archived for later consumption.

The celebrations of Debian's 22nd birthday on 16 August, the traditional "Cheese & Wine BoF", a screening of the Oscar-award-winning documentary Citizenfour (which mentions Debian in its end credits), and a day trip for all attendees top off the programme. Additionally, DebConf15 will be preceeded by DebCamp, a week of sprints, workshops and hacking sessions. It is expected that much progress will be made on Debian (gcc5 transition, planning of the next stable release "stretch", etc.), and of course Free Software in general. The conference itself begins with an Open Weekend geared to the public, and featuring a job fair.

Attendance is free of charge thanks to numerous sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor Hewlett-Packard. Registration is required nonetheless and only very few places are left.

The conference will be tracked on various social media sites using hashtag #DebConf15. Even though Debian does not endorse proprietary services, @DebConf will have the news.
Programming

Lennart Poettering Announces the First Systemd Conference 416

jones_supa writes: Lennart Poettering, the creator of the controversial init system and service manager for Linux-based operating systems has announced the first systemd conference. The systemd.conf will take place November 5-7, in Berlin, Germany. systemd developers and hackers, DevOps professionals, and Linux distribution packagers will be able to attend various workshops, as well as to collaborate with their fellow developers and plan the future of the project. Attendees will also be able to participate in an extended hackfest event, as well as numerous presentations held by important names in the systemd project, including Poettering himself.
GNU is Not Unix

Video Purism Offers Free (as in Freedom) Laptops (Video) 77

Purism uses its own OS, PureOS, which is a Debian derivative by way of Ubuntu and other members of the Debian-derivative family, but with no taint of proprietary code. Now imagine all the binaries stripped out of the Linux kernel, making it closer to the FSF ideal of a 100% free operating system than the Linux kernel in use almost everywhere else.

They're still using a proprietary BIOS, but have people working on a Free one. The main thing, though, is that Purism is working to give you all the privacy and freedom they can -- with more coming as they keep working to replace proprietary bits of the OS, BIOS, and hardware drivers with Free Software. Best of all, even if you don't need a new laptop right now, you can download PureOS and run it on any compatible hardware you already own.
Bug

Samsung Finds, Fixes Bug In Linux Trim Code 184

New submitter Mokki writes: After many complaints that Samsung SSDs corrupted data when used with Linux, Samsung found out that the bug was in the Linux kernel and submitted a patch to fix it. It turns out that kernels without the final fix can corrupt data if the system is using linux md raid with raid0 or raid10 and issues trim/discard commands (either fstrim or by the filesystem itself). The vendor of the drive did not matter and the previous blacklisting of Samsung drives for broken queued trim support can be most likely lifted after further tests. According to this post the bug has been around for a long time.
Graphics

On Linux, $550 Radeon R9 Fury Competes With $200~350 NVIDIA GPUs 83

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this month AMD released the air-cooled Radeon R9 Fury graphics card with Fury X-like performance, but the big caveat is the bold performance is only to be found on Windows. Testing the R9 Fury X on Linux revealed the Catalyst driver delivers devastatingly low performance for this graphics card. With OpenGL Linux games, the R9 Fury performed between the speed of a GeForce GTX 960 and 970, with the GTX 960 retailing for around $200 while the GTX 970 is $350. The only workloads where the AMD R9 Fury performed as expected under Linux was the Unigine Valley tech demo and OpenCL compute tests. There also is not any open-source driver support yet for the AMD R9 Fury.
Debian

Debian Drops SPARC Platform Support 152

jones_supa writes: SPARC isn't exactly a highly-used architecture anymore, so the Debian operating system is dropping support for the platform, according to Joerg Jaspert last week in the "debian-sparc" mailing list. He noted that this does not block a later comeback as "sparc64." Following that announcement, a new post today tells us that SPARC support was just removed from the unstable, experimental and jessie-updates channels.
Spam

Gmail Spam Filter Changes Bite Linus Torvalds 136

An anonymous reader points out The Register's story that recent changes to the spam filters that Google uses to pare down junk in gmail evidently are a bit overzealous. Linus Torvalds, who famously likes to manage by email, and whose email flow includes a lot of mailing lists, isn't happy with it. Ironically perhaps, it was only last week that the Gmail team blogged that its spam filter's rate of false positives is down to less than 0.05 per cent. In his post, Torvalds said his own experience belies that claim, and that around 30 per cent of the mail in his spam box turned out not to be spam. "It's actually at the point where I'm noticing missing messages in the email conversations I see, because Gmail has been marking emails in the middle of the conversation as spam. Things that people replied to and that contained patches and problem descriptions," Torvalds wrote.
Graphics

LibreOffice Ported To Run On Wayland 216

An anonymous reader writes: LibreOffice has lost its X11 dependency on Linux and can now run smoothly under Wayland. LibreOffice has been ported to Wayland by adding GTK3 tool-kit support to the office suite over the past few months. LibreOffice on Wayland is now in good enough shape that the tracker bug has been closed and it should work as well as X11 except for a few remaining bugs. LibreOffice 5.0 will be released next month with this support and other changes outlined by the 5.0 release notes.
Privacy

Red Star Linux Adds Secret Watermarks To Files 100

An anonymous reader writes: ERNW security analyst Florian Grunow says that North Korea's Red Star Linux operating system is tracking users by tagging content with unique hidden tags. He particularizes that files including Word documents and JPEG images connected to but not necessarily executed in Red Star will have a tag introduced into its code that includes a number based on hardware serial numbers. Red Star's development team seems to have created some quite interesting custom additions to Linux kernel and userspace, based on which Grunow has written a technical analysis.
Graphics

AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Performs Wildly Different Based On Program's Name 114

An anonymous reader writes: In past years the AMD Catalyst Linux driver has yielded better performance if naming the executable "doom3.x86" or "compiz" (among other choices), but these days this application profile concept is made more absurd with more games coming to Linux but AMD not maintaining well their Linux application profile database. The latest example is by getting ~40% better performance by renaming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Linux. If renaming the "csgo_linux" binary to "hl2_linux" for Half-Life 2 within Steam, the frame-rates suddenly increase across the board, this is with the latest Catalyst 15.7 Linux driver while CS:GO has been on Linux for nearly one year. Should driver developers re-evaluate their optimization practices for Linux?
GNU is Not Unix

The Free Software Foundation's Statement On Canonical's Updated Licensing Terms 75

New submitter donaldrobertson writes: After two years of negotiations, Canonical has updated the intellectual property rights policy for Ubuntu Linux to address a disagreement over how the software is licensed. The FSF announcement reads in part: "In July 2013, the FSF, after receiving numerous complaints from the free software community, brought serious problems with the policy to Canonical's attention. Since then, on behalf of the FSF, the GNU Project, and a coalition of other concerned free software activists, we have engaged in many conversations with Canonical's management and legal team proposing and analyzing significant revisions of the overall text. We have worked closely throughout this process with the Software Freedom Conservancy, who provides their expert analysis in a statement published today." Richard Stallman thinks there are still other issues to address saying: "While the FSF acknowledges that the first update emerging from that process solves the most pressing issue with the policy ... the policy remains problematic in ways that prevent us from endorsing it as a model for others."