Ubuntu

Ubuntu User Count Pegged At Over One Billion (phoronix.com) 165

An anonymous reader writes: In response to an article claiming Ubuntu didn't reach its goal of 200 million users this year — a goal set out by Mark Shuttleworth in 2011 to surpass 200 million users by 2015 — a Canonical engineer has come out to say the opposite. Dustin Kirkland, a member of Ubuntu Product and Strategy team, has come out to say there are more than one billion Ubuntu users. His billion tally though does include cloud/container instances as well as those shopping online at Wallmart, watching popular movies where the studios used Ubuntu servers, streamed from Netflix, rode with Uber, and other businesses that rely upon Ubuntu servers.
Ubuntu

Porting Ubuntu For Raspberry Pi 2 Just Got a Lot Easier (softpedia.com) 32

prisoninmate writes: Ubuntu Pi Flavour Maker is an open source tool, a shell script that lets anyone port any of the official or unofficial Ubuntu Linux flavors for the Raspberry Pi 2. Ubuntu Pi Flavour Maker is officially supported on the Ubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME flavors, and uses the traditional apt and dpkg package management systems from Debian GNU/Linux.
Graphics

Super Mario Inspired SuperTux Issues Its First Official Release In 10 Years (phoronix.com) 116

An anonymous reader writes: SuperTux, the free software game inspired by Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers, has put out its first stable release in a decade. SuperTux 0.4 rewrites the game engine to make use of OpenGL, SDL2, and other modern open-source game tech. SuperTux 0.4 additionally features a lot of new in-game content, an in-game download manager, and support for translations. SuperTux 0.4 can be downloaded for Linux, Windows and Mac via GitHub.
Wine

Wine 1.8 Released (winehq.org) 119

An anonymous reader writes: Wine 1.8.0 is now the latest stable release of Wine Is Not An Emulator and available from WineHQ.org. Wine 1.8 features include support for DirectWrite, Direct2D support, very limited Direct3D 11 support, simple application support of DIrect3D 10, support for process jobs, 64-bit architecture support on OS X, networking updates, and over 13,000 other individual changes.
Linux Business

Street Fighter V Announced For Linux and SteamOS 126

An anonymous reader writes: Capcom has announced that their upcoming Street Fighter V game, one of the most anticipated games for 2016, will also be available for SteamOS and Linux. Already in place is support functionality for the Steam Controller, Valve's game controller that was recently updated with some new features. Ever since Valve launched Steam for Linux, the number of native Linux games has positively exploded. But will it be enough for gamers to choose a Linux distribution as their gaming platform?
Chrome

VLC Launches On Chrome OS Thanks To Android Port 44

An anonymous reader writes: VideoLAN today launched VLC, the world's most used media player, for Chrome OS. You can download the new app, which is a port of the VLC version for Android, from the Chrome Web Store. Chrome OS was one of the last desktop operating systems for which VLC was not available (the media player exists for Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS/2, Haiku/BeOS, and ReactOS). Yet Chrome OS wasn't an easy operating system to support, as VLC is a native application on all platforms (it uses low-level APIs to output video, audio, and gain access to threads) built using mostly C and C++. Writing VLC in JavaScript and other Web technologies, as Chrome OS requires, is not an easy task by any stretch.
The Almighty Buck

IBM and Linux Foundation To Create Blockchain For Major Financial Institutions (thestack.com) 99

An anonymous reader writes: Following initial news of the project in March, IBM, under the supervision of the Linux Foundation and in partnership with several major tech interests including Fujitsu, has announced today that it will lead development of a new blockchain — a financial transaction ledger fashioned after the Bitcoin model. Provisionally called Open Ledger, the new initiative is aimed specifically at financial transactions, and though it will be open source in terms of development, but 'semi-private' in operation. Those with an interest in the project are said to include JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and the Bank of England. IBM VP Jerry Cuomo, who has discussed the project with Fortune and Wired, commented "The current blockchain is a great design pattern...Now, how do we make that real for business? What are the key attributes needed to make that happen? That's what this organization is about."
Operating Systems

Ubuntu 16.04 Will Not Send Local Searches Over the Web By Default 102

jones_supa writes: Canonical introduced Amazon Product Results as part of Ubuntu 12.10, which meant that local searches performed by a user in Dash were also sent online. This made many Ubuntu users spill their coffee and got criticism from EFF and FSF as well. The so called "Shopping Lens" had to be manually disabled if that kind of search behavior was not desired. Finally after years, Canonical is reacting to the negative feedback and respecting users' privacy, so that Ubuntu 16.04 (the next Long Term Support release) won't send local searches over the web by default. The Amazon search feature is still available for those who explicitly want to use it.
Security

0-Day GRUB2 Authentication Bypass Hits Linux (hmarco.org) 144

prisoninmate writes: A zero-day security flaw was discovered by developers Ismael Ripoll and Hector Marco in the upstream GRUB2 packages. GRUB2 did not correctly handle the backspace key when the bootloader was configured to use password protected authentication, thus allowing a local attacker to bypass GRUB's password protection. Versions from 1.98 (December, 2009) to 2.02 (December, 2015) are affected. At the moment, it looks like only a few distributions received the patched GRUB2 versions, including Ubuntu, Debian (Squeeze LTS only) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.
Microsoft

Microsoft Offers Linux Certification. Yes, Really. (dice.com) 200

Nerval's Lobster writes: Former CEO Steve Ballmer once publicly referred to Linux as a 'cancer.' Not content to just let Ballmer blow up about it, company also spent a good deal of money and legal effort on claiming that open-source software violated its patents. A decade ago, the idea of Microsoft creating a Linux certification would have seemed like lunacy. But now that very thing has come to pass, (Dice link) with the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Linux on Azure certification, designed in conjunction with the Linux Foundation. Earning the Linux on Azure certification requires tech pros to pass Microsoft Exam 70-533 (Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions) as well as the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam, which collectively require knowledge of Linux and Azure implementation. Microsoft evidently recognizes that open-source technology increasingly powers the cloud and mobile, and that it needs to play nice with the open-source community if it wants to survive and evolve.
GUI

Elementary OS 0.3.2 "Freya" Released 86

linuxscreenshot writes: Just in time for the holidays, it's a new release of elementary OS. Freya 0.3.2 is a minor release, mostly focused around solving some issues folks have had with UEFI & SecureBoot, but we've also managed to sneak in some internationalization updates and a couple new features. Screenshots are available.
Intel

$5 Raspberry Pi Zero Compared To Intel's NetBurst CPUs & Newer (phoronix.com) 99

An anonymous reader writes: Curious about the performance of a Raspberry Pi Zero, Phoronix has published a number of Raspberry Pi 2 + Pi Zero performance benchmarks with paired power consumption data. They found the Pi Zero performed slower than even an Intel Celeron 320 from the NetBurst era, but that the Raspberry Pi 2 was performing between that Celeron and a Pentium 4 "C" 2.8GHz CPU from 2004. While the Raspberry Pis didn't win in raw performance, the performance-per-Watt of the Raspberry Pi 2 was 220x greater than the Pentium Northwood. The Pi Zero had an average power consumption of 2.7 Watts and the Raspberry Pi 2 was at 3.5 Watts; however, compared to newer Broadwell and Skylake processors, Intel's low-end parts delivered greater power efficiency while the Raspberry Pi had the best value.
Operating Systems

Linux Mint 17.3 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 109

prisoninmate sends news that Linux Mint 17.3 "Rosa" has been officially released. Following a few technical problems with their website, the Mint developers posted release announcements for both the Cinnamon and MATE flavors of the operating system. "Both Linux Mint 17.3 "Rosa" editions ship with the same improvements for some of the operating system's core components and in-house built apps, such as Software Sources, which is now more reliable, responsive, and fast, Update Manager, which can perform more checks, Driver Manager, which is now more robust, and Login Screen." Here are the release notes (Cinnamon, MATE), and the summaries of new features (Cinnamon, MATE).
Ubuntu

Canonical Patches Two Kernel Vulnerabilities In Ubuntu 14.04 (softpedia.com) 33

jones_supa writes: Canonical has announced that a new kernel update is now live in the default software repositories for the Ubuntu 14.04 operating system. According to the security notice, two Linux kernel vulnerabilities have been fixed. The first security flaw was discovered in the SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol) implementation, which conducted a wrong sequence of protocol-initialization steps. The second kernel vulnerability (discovered by Dmitry Vyukov) was in the Linux kernel's keyring handler, which tried to garbage collect incompletely instantiated keys. Both vulnerabilities allow a local attacker to crash the system by causing a denial of service. To fix the issues mentioned above, Canonical urges all users of Ubuntu 14.04 to update their kernel packages on all platforms.
Chrome

Google To Drop Chrome Support For 32-bit Linux 175

prisoninmate writes: Google announces that its Google Chrome web browser will no longer be available for 32-bit hardware platforms. Additionally, Google Chrome will no longer be supported on the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) and Debian GNU/Linux 7 (Wheezy) operating systems. Users are urged to update to the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) release and Debian GNU/Linux 8 (Jessie) respectively. Google will continue to support the 32-bit build configurations for those who want to build the open-source Chromium web browser on various Linux kernel-based operating systems. Reader SmartAboutThings writes, on a similar note, that: Microsoft is tolling the death knell for Internet Explorer with an announcement that it will end support for all older versions next year. Microsoft says that all versions older than the latest one will no longer be supported starting Jan. 12, 2016. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older Internet Explorer versions. Furthermore, Internet Explorer 11 will be the last version of Internet Explorer as Microsoft shifts its focus on its next web browser, Microsoft Edge.
Hardware

Hardware For a Cheap Linux Desktop (phoronix.com) 207

An anonymous reader writes: Outside of the limelight of Intel's Core "Skylake" processors is the cheapest model, a $60 Intel Pentium G4400 dual-core processor that runs at 3.3Gz and has built-in HD Graphics 510. Ubuntu Linux results for this CPU show the cut-down Skylake graphics are the worst aspect of this budget processor while the CPU performance is okay if speed isn't a big factor and your workloads don't mind the lack of AVX support. To pair with the cheap Skylake Pentium processors are more Intel H110-powered motherboards appearing, with some also retailing for under $60 while being basic yet functional as a severely cutdown version of the Intel Z170 chipset. If pursuing this route for a budget Linux PC, it's possible to build a socketed Skylake system for less than $200. Those of you who have recently built, or are planning out a new budget Linux machine, what internals do you recommend?
Hardware

C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub-$10 Computer Is Better? (makezine.com) 122

Make Magazine weighs in on an issue that's suddenly relevant in a world where less than $10 can buy a new, (nominally) complete computer. Which one makes most sense? Both the $9 C.H.I.P and the newest, stripped-down Raspberry Pi model have pluses and minuses, but to make either one actually useful takes some additional hardware; at their low prices, it's not surprising that neither one comes with so much as a case. The two make different trade-offs, despite being just a few dollars apart in ticket price. C.H.I.P. comes with built-in storage that rPi lacks, for instance, but the newest Pi, like its forebears, has built in HDMI output. Make's upshot? The cost of owning either a C.H.I.P. or a Pi is a bit more money than the retail cost of the boards. Peripherals such as a power cable, keyboard, mouse, and monitor are necessary to accomplish any computer task on either of the devices. But it turns out the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero costs significantly more to operate than the Next Thing Co. C.H.I.P.
Operating Systems

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Will Ship With Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS 101

prisoninmate writes: The current daily build of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) remains based on the Linux 4.2 kernel packages of the stable Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) operating system, while the latest and most advanced Linux 4.3 kernel is tracked on the master-next branch of the upcoming operating system. In the meantime, the Ubuntu Kernel Team announced plans for moving to Linux kernel 4.4 for the final release of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.
AMD

AMD's Crimson Radeon Driver For Linux Barely Changes Anything (phoronix.com) 95

An anonymous reader writes: AMD Windows customers were greeted this week to the new "Crimson" Radeon Software that brought many bug fixes, performance improvements, and brand new control panel. While AMD also released this Crimson driver for Linux, it really doesn't change much. The control panel is unchanged except for replacing "Catalyst" strings with "Radeon" and there's been no performance changes but just some isolated slowdowns. The Crimson Linux release notes only mention two changes: a fix for glxgears stuttering and mouse cursor corruption.
KDE

Will You Be Able To Run a Modern Desktop Environment In 2016 Without Systemd? 785

New submitter yeupou writes: Early this year, David Edmundson from KDE, concluded that "In many cases [systemd] allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it [systemd] as an optional extra defeats the main benefit". A perfectly sensible explanation. But, then, one might wonder to which point KDE would remain usable without systemd?

Recently, on one Devuan box, I noticed that KDE power management (Powerdevil) no longer supported suspend and hibernate. Since pm-utils was still there, for a while, I resorted to call pm-suspend directly, hoping it would get fixed at some point. But it did not. So I wrote a report myself. I was not expecting much. But neither was I expecting it to be immediately marked as RESOLVED and DOWNSTREAM, with a comment accusing the "Debian fork" I'm using to "ripe out" systemd without "coming with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides". I searched beforehand about the issue so I knew that the problem also occurred on some other Debian-based systems and that the bug seemed entirely tied to upower, an upstream software used by Powerdevil. So if anything, at least this bug should have been marked as UPSTREAM.

While no one dares (yet) to claim to write software only for systemd based operating system, it is obvious that it is now getting quite hard to get support otherwise. At the same time, bricks that worked for years without now just get ruined, since, as pointed out by Edmunson, adding systemd as "optional extra defeats its main benefit". So, is it likely that we'll still have in 2016 a modern desktop environment, without recent regressions, running without systemd?

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