Open Source

PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth? 393

Posted by Soulskill
from the never-say-never dept.
Artem Tashkinov writes: Luke Wolf, a KDE developer, argues that PC-BSD might become a serious desktop OS contender by year 2020, since Linux so far has failed to grasp any serious market share. He writes, "Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you'll find the answer is largely no. I do have to give a shout out to openSUSE for the OBS, but otherwise I've used my desktop in the same exact way that I have always used it within the continuity of distribution X,Y, or Z since I started using them. Distributions simply aren't focused on desktop features, they're leaving it up to the DEs to do so." He continues, "PC-BSD on the other hand in fitting with the BSD mindset of holistic solutions is focused on developing desktop features and is moving rapidly to implement them." What do you think?
Open Source

Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System 755

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-sides dept.
lkcl writes The introduction of systemd has unilaterally created a polarization of the GNU/Linux community that is remarkably similar to the monopolistic power position wielded by Microsoft in the late 1990s. Choices were stark: use Windows (with SMB/CIFS Services), or use UNIX (with NFS and NIS). Only the introduction of fully-compatible reverse-engineered NT Domains services corrected the situation. Instructions on how to remove systemd include dire warnings that "all dependent packages will be removed", rendering a normal Debian Desktop system flat-out impossible to achieve. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate that it is actually possible to run a Debian Desktop GUI system (albeit an unusual one: fvwm) with libsystemd0 removed. The reason for doing so: it doesn't matter how good systemd is believed to be or in fact actually is: the reason for removing it is, apart from the alarm at how extensive systemd is becoming (including interfering with firewall rules), it's the way that it's been introduced in a blatantly cavalier fashion as a polarized all-or-nothing option, forcing people to consider abandoning the GNU/Linux of their choice and to seriously consider using FreeBSD or any other distro that properly respects the Software Freedom principle of the right to choose what software to run. We aren't all "good at coding", or paid to work on Software Libre: that means that those people who are need to be much more responsible, and to start — finally — to listen to what people are saying. Developing a thick skin is a good way to abdicate responsibility and, as a result, place people into untenable positions.
Graphics

Wayland 1.7.0 Marks an Important Release 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: The 1.7.0 release of Wayland is now available for download. The project thanks all who have contributed, and especially the desktop environments and client applications that now converse using Wayland. In an official announcement from Bryce Harrington of Samsung, he says the Wayland protocol may be considered 'done' but that doesn't mean there's not work to be done. A bigger importance is now given to testing, documentation, and bugfixing. As Wayland is maturing, we are also getting closer to the point where the big Linux distros will eventually start integrating it to their operating system.
Operating Systems

Torvalds Polls Desire for Linux's Next Major Version Bump 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the numbers-game dept.
jones_supa writes: Linus Torvalds made this post about Linux version numbering: "So, I made noises some time ago about how I don't want another 2.6.39 where the numbers are big enough that you can't really distinguish them. We're slowly getting up there again, with 3.20 being imminent, and I'm once more close to running out of fingers and toes. I was making noises about just moving to 4.0 some time ago. But let's see what people think. So — continue with v3.20, because bigger numbers are sexy, or just move to v4.0 and reset the numbers to something smaller?" To voice your opinion, the Google+ post allows you to discuss the matter and cast a vote in a poll.
Open Source

Live Patching Now Available For Linux 117

Posted by timothy
from the not-big-and-fancy dept.
New submitter cyranix writes "You may never have to reboot your Linux machine ever again, even for kernel patching," and excerpts from the long (and nicely human-readable) description of newly merged kernel code that does what Ksplice has for quite a while (namely, offer live updating for Linux systems, no downtime required), but without Oracle's control. It provides a basic infrastructure for function "live patching" (i.e. code redirection), including API for kernel modules containing the actual patches, and API/ABI for userspace to be able to operate on the patches (look up what patches are applied, enable/disable them, etc). It's relatively simple and minimalistic, as it's making use of existing kernel infrastructure (namely ftrace) as much as possible. It's also self-contained, in a sense that it doesn't hook itself in any other kernel subsystem (it doesn't even touch any other code). It's now implemented for x86 only as a reference architecture, but support for powerpc, s390 and arm is already in the works (adding arch-specific support basically boils down to teaching ftrace about regs-saving).
Open Source

Elementary OS: Why We Make You Type "$0" 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the drop-a-dollar-in-the-bucket dept.
jones_supa writes Open source software can always be acquired without charge, but can still incur significant development costs. Elementary OS wants to make people aware of this, and have changed their website to suggest donating when downloading, and make users explicitly enter "$0" if they want a free download. This is the same strategy Canonical has used when offering Ubuntu. The Elementary OS blog explains: "Developing software has a huge cost. Some companies offset that cost by charging hundreds of dollars for their software, making manufacturers pay them to license the software, or selling expensive hardware with the OS included. Others offset it by mining user data and charging companies to target ads to their users. [...] If we want to see the world of open source software grow, we should encourage users to pay for its development; otherwise it'll be underfunded or developers will have to resort to backdoor deals and advertising. And nobody wants that future." Currently the only people who have received money for working on Elementary OS have been community members through their bounty program.
Open Source

Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex? 716

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-it-yourself-after-several-years-of-intensive-study dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Debian developer John Goerzen asks whether Linux has become so complex that it has lost some of its defining characteristics. "I used to be able to say Linux was clean, logical, well put-together, and organized. I can’t really say this anymore. Users and groups are not really determinitive for permissions, now that we have things like polkit running around. (Yes, by the way, I am a member of plugdev.) Error messages are unhelpful (WHY was I not authorized?) and logs are nowhere to be found. Traditionally, one could twiddle who could mount devices via /etc/fstab lines and perhaps some sudo rules. Granted, you had to know where to look, but when you did, it was simple; only two pieces to fit together. I've even spent time figuring out where to look and STILL have no idea what to do."
Security

New Multi-Purpose Backdoor Targets Linux Servers 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
An anonymous reader writes A new multi-purpose Linux Trojan that opens a backdoor on the target machine and can make it participate in DDoS attacks has been discovered and analyzed by Dr. Web researchers, who believe that the Chinese hacker group ChinaZ might be behind it. "First, Linux.BackDoor.Xnote.1 sends information about the infected system to the server. It then goes into standby mode and awaits further instructions. If the command involves carrying out some task, the backdoor creates a separate process that establishes its own connection to the server through which it gets all the necessary configuration data and sends the results of the executed task," the researchers explained.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Web Development Linux Distro? 136

Posted by timothy
from the best-of-brood dept.
Qbertino writes I've been a linux user for more than 15 years now and in the last ten I've done basically all my non-trivial web development on Linux. SuSE in the early days, after that either Debian or, more recently, Ubuntu, if I want something to click on. What really bugs me is, that every time I make a new setup, either as a virtual machine, on concrete hardware or a remote host, I go through 1-2 hours of getting the basics of a web-centric system up and running. That includes setting PHP config options to usable things, setting up vhosts on Apache (always an adventure), configging mod_rewrite, installing extra CLI stuff like Emacs (yeah, I'm from that camp) walking through the basic 10-15 steps of setting up MySQL or some other DB, etc. ... You get the picture.

What has me wondering is this: Since Linux is deeply entrenched in the field of server-side web, with LAMP being it's powerhouse, I was wondering if there aren't any distros that cover exactly this sort of thing. You know, automatic allocation of memory in the runtime settings, ready-made Apache http/https/sftp/ftp setup, PHP all ready to go, etc. What are your experiences and is there something that covers this? Would you think there's a need for this sort of thing and would you base it of Debian or something else? If you do web-dev, how do you do it? Prepareted scripts for setup? Anything else? ... Ideas, unkown LAMP distros and opinions please."
GUI

Xfce Getting a New Version Soon 193

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-eye-candy dept.
jones_supa writes It looks like the release of Xfce 4.12 is finally about to materialize. It has been about two and half years since the last stable release. There is now a concerted effort underway to ship a new release of this lightweight GTK+2 desktop environment out around the end of February or early March. "As we have discussed the status and progress of core components with many of you individually, we feel confident that the state of Xfce is good enough to polish some final edges and push more translations until then," wrote Simon Steinbeiß on the xfce4-dev mailing list. The official list of showstopper bugs does not look too bad either. However, looking at the long time between releases certainly makes one think if the project could have use for some extra resources.
Ubuntu

Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-hope dept.
tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry — you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform — Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone — the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ — won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.
Debian

Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 Will Be Rolling-Release 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the rollin'-rollin'-rollin',-keep-them-penguins-rollin' dept.
jones_supa writes: Following the trend of rolling-release Linux distributions, Linux Mint brings you some news and information about Linux Mint Debian Edition 2, aka. "Betsy." As you might know, the Linux Mint team maintains two distributions: Linux Mint and LMDE. LMDE was a rolling distro for a while and eventually turned into a semi-rolling one. This was good at the time but it also presented challenges: the biggest issue in LMDE was the fact that it required a lot more maintenance than Linux Mint but that it had far less users. This hurt the frequency of updates it received but also the quality of the distribution. Now, LMDE 2 is going back to be continuously upgraded and to occasionally just receive media refresh ISO images. You can check the Roadmap to see the remaining issues. As the quality of Betsy is getting higher and higher, the project is getting closer to QA stage to iron out the bugs and perform proper testing.
Debian

CrunchBang Linux Halts Development 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-good-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Philip Newborough, the developer behind CrunchBang Linux, has put an end to work on the distro. CrunchBang was built as a layer on top of Debian using the Openbox window manager that focused on performance and customization. Newborough says the changing landscape of Linux over the past decade has obviated the need for a distro like CrunchBang. "Whilst some things have stayed exactly the same, others have changed beyond all recognition. It's called progress, and for the most part, progress is a good thing. That said, when progress happens, some things get left behind, and for me, CrunchBang is something that I need to leave behind. I'm leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don't believe that would be in the best interest of its users, who would benefit from using vanilla Debian."
Cloud

Greg KH Favors Rolling Release Distros 175

Posted by timothy
from the as-long-as-the-hill-is-gentle dept.
jones_supa writes In an interesting Google+ post, the lieutenant Linux developer Greg Kroah-Hartman mentions him fully moving to rolling-release Linux distributions: 'Finally retired my last 'traditional' Linux distro box yesterday, it's all 'rolling-release' Linux systems for me. Feels good. And to preempt the ask, it's Arch Linux almost everywhere (laptop, workstation, cloud servers), CoreOS (cloud server), and Gentoo for the remaining few (laptop, server under my desk).' What's your experience? Would in the current situation a rolling-release operating system indeed be the optimal choice?
Open Source

Systemd Getting UEFI Boot Loader 471

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-module-among-many dept.
New submitter mrons writes: Many new features are coming for systemd. This includes the ability to do a full secure boot. As Lennart Poettering mentions in a Google+ comment: "This is really just about providing the tools to implement the full trust chain from the firmware to the host OS, if SecureBoot is available. ... Of course, if you don't have EFI SecureBoot, than nothing changes. Also if you turn it off, than nothing changes either. [sic]" Phoronix notes, "Gummiboot is a simple UEFI boot manager that's been around for a few years but only receives new work from time-to-time. Lennart and Kay Sievers are looking at adding Gummiboot to systemd to complete the safety chain of the boot process with UEFI Secure Boot. Systemd will communicate with this UEFI boot loader to ensure the system didn't boot into a compromised state."
Linux Business

Dell Continues Shipping Fresh Linux Laptops 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the permanent-penguin dept.
jones_supa writes: In its latest move, Dell will be bringing Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to its top-of-the-line Precision M3800 workstation laptop and the latest model of the Dell XPS 13. Both systems will be running Ubuntu 14.04.1. According to Barton George, Dell's Director of Developer Programs, programmers had been asking for a better, officially-supported Ubuntu developer laptop. This came about from a combination of the efforts of Dell software engineer Jared Dominguez and enthusiastic feedback. Specs of M3800: 15.6" LCD @ 3840x2160, Intel i7 quad core CPU, NVIDIA Quadro GPU, up to 16 GB RAM. The bad news is, as Dominguez explained on his blog, this version of the M3800 doesn't support its built-in Thunderbolt 2 port out of the box. However, thanks to the hardware-enablement stack in Ubuntu, starting with upcoming Ubuntu 14.04.2, you will be able to upgrade your kernel to add some Thunderbolt support.
Security

Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure 375

Posted by Soulskill
from the targeted-for-improvement dept.
jones_supa writes: One thing we all remember from Windows NT is the security feature requiring the user to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to unlock the workstation (this can still be enabled with a policy setting). The motivation was to make it impossible for other programs to mimic a lock screen, as they couldn't react to the special key combination. Martin Gräßlin from the KDE team takes a look at the lock screen security on X11. On a protocol level, X11 doesn't know anything of screen lockers. Also the X server doesn't know that the screen is locked as it doesn't understand the concept. This means the screen locker can only use the core functionality available to emulate screen locking. That in turn also means that any other client can do the same and prevent the screen locker from working (for example opening a context menu on any window prevents the screen locker from activating). That's quite a bummer: any process connected to the X server can block the screen locker, and even more it could fake your screen locker.
Android

Embedded Linux Conference Headlined By Drones 22

Posted by Soulskill
from the penguins-can-fly dept.
DeviceGuru writes: The Linux Foundation has released the full agenda for its annual North American Embedded Linux Conference + Android Builders Summit, which takes place Mar. 23-25 in San Jose, Calif. The ELC, which this year is titled Drones, Things, and Automobiles, increasingly reflects new opportunities for Linux in areas such as drones, robots, automotive computers, IoT gizmos, 3D sensing, modular phones, and much more. For those worried that ELC is skimping on the basics as it explores the more colorful sides of Linux, worry not, as there are still plenty of sessions on booting, trace analysis, NAND support, PHY frameworks, power management, defragmenting, systemd, device tree, and toolchain.
Graphics

Ask Slashdot: GPU of Choice For OpenCL On Linux? 110

Posted by timothy
from the discriminating-tastes dept.
Bram Stolk writes So, I am running GNU/Linux on a modern Haswell CPU, with an old Radeon HD5xxx from 2009. I'm pretty happy with the open source Gallium driver for 3D acceleration. But now I want to do some GPGPU development using OpenCL on this box, and the old GPU will no longer cut it. What do my fellow technophiles from Slashdot recommend as a replacement GPU? Go NVIDIA, go AMD, or just use the integrated Intel GPU instead? Bonus points for open sourced solutions. Performance not really important, but OpenCL driver maturity is.
Bug

Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2 126

Posted by timothy
from the where-is-your-itch? dept.
jones_supa writes There has been quite a debate around the Linux version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and the fact that it wasn't really a port. A special kind of wrapper was used to make the Windows version of the game run on Linux systems, similar to Wine. The performance on Linux systems took a hit and users felt betrayed because they thought that they would get a native port. However, after the game stopped launching properly at some point, the reason was actually found to be a Linux regression. Linus quickly took care of the issue on an unofficial Witcher 2 issue tracker on GitHub: "It looks like LDT_empty is buggy on 64-bit kernels. I suspect that the behavior was inconsistent before the tightening change and that it's now broken as a result. I'll write a patch. Serves me right for not digging all the way down the mess of macros." This one goes to the bin "don't break userspace". Linus also reminds of QA: "And maybe this is an excuse for somebody in the x86 maintainer team to try a few games on steam. They *are* likely good tests of odd behavior.."