Programming

Lennart Poettering Announces the First Systemd Conference 292 292

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) 75 75

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 181 181

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 81 81

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 152 152

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 136 136

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 216 216

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 100 100

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 114 114

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 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."
Government

NSA Releases Open Source Security Tool For Linux 105 105

Earthquake Retrofit writes: The NSA's systems integrity management platform — SIMP — was released to the code repository GitHub over the weekend. NSA said it released the tool to avoid duplication after US government departments and other groups tried to replicate the product in order to meet compliance requirements set by US Defence and intelligence bodies. "By releasing SIMP, the agency seeks to reduce duplication of effort and promote greater collaboration within the community: the wheel would not have to be reinvented for every organisation," the NSA said in a release.
Linux Business

ARM Support Comes To SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 23 23

jrepin writes: SUSE announced partner program expansion to include support for 64-bit ARM server processors. This expansion makes available to partners a version of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 that allows them to develop, test and deliver products to the market using 64-bit ARM chips. To simplify partner access, SUSE has also implemented support for ARM and AArch64 into its openSUSE Build Service. This allows the community to build packages against real 64-bit ARM hardware and the SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 binaries.
GNOME

What the GNOME Desktop Gets Right and KDE Gets Wrong 267 267

An anonymous reader writes: Eric Griffith at Phoronix has provided a fresh perspective on the KDE vs. GNOME desktop debate after exclusively using GNOME for the past week while being a longtime KDE user. He concluded his five-page editorial (which raises some valid points throughout) by saying, "Gnome feels like a product. It feels like a singular experience. When you use it, it feels like it is complete and that everything you need is at your fingertips. It feels like the Linux desktop. ... In KDE, it's just some random-looking window popup that any application could have created. ... KDE doesn't feel like cohesive experience. KDE doesn't feel like it has a direction its moving in, it doesn't feel like a full experience. KDE feels like its a bunch of pieces that are moving in a bunch of different directions, that just happen to have a shared toolkit beneath them." However, with the week over and despite his criticism, he's back to using KDE.
GUI

Speed-Ups, Small Fixes Earn Good Marks From Ars For Mint 17.2 69 69

Ars Technica reviews the newest release from Linux MInt -- version 17.2, offered with either the Cinnamon desktop, or the lighter-weight MATE, which feels like what Gnome 2 might feel in an alternate universe where Gnome 3 never happened. Reviewer Scott Gilbertson has mostly good things to say about either variety, and notes a few small drawbacks, too. The nits seem to be minor ones, though they might bite some people more than others: Mint, based on Ubuntu deep down, is almost perfectly compatible with Ubuntu packages, but not every one, and this newest version of Mint ships with the 3.16 kernel of Ubuntu 14.04, which means slightly less advanced hardware support. (Gilbertson notes, though, that going with 3.16 means Mint may be the ideal distro if you want to avoid systemd.) "This release sees the Cinnamon developers focusing on some of what are sometimes call "paper cut" fixes, which just means there's been a lot of attention to the details, particularly the small, but annoying problems. For example, this release adds a new panel applet called "inhibit" which temporarily bans all notifications. It also turns off screen locking and stops any auto dimming you have set up, making it a great tool for when you want to watch a video or play a game." More "paper cut" fixes include improved multi-panel options, graphics-refresh tweaks, a way to restart the Cinnamon desktop without killing the contents of a session, graphics-refresh tweaks, and other speed-ups that make this release "noticeably snappier than its predecessor on the same hardware."
Open Source

Calculating the Truck-Factor of Popular Open Source Projects 79 79

An anonymous reader writes: The Truck Factor describes the minimal number of developers that have to be hit by a truck (or quit) before a project is incapacitated. Wikipedia defines it as a "measurement of the concentration of information in individual team members. A high truck factor means that many individuals know enough to carry on and the project could still succeed even in very adverse events." The term is also known by bus factor/number. In this article, the authors calculate the truck factor for 133 popular GitHub applications. Spoiler, but unsurprising: Linux ranks near the top (meaning that it's highly resilient).