Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15.04 Released, First Version To Feature systemd 453

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: The final release of Ubuntu 15.04 is now available. A modest set of improvements are rolling out with this spring's Ubuntu. While this means the OS can't rival the heavy changelogs of releases past, the adage "don't fix what isn't broken" is clearly one 15.04 plays to. The headline change is systemd being featured first time in a stable Ubuntu release, which replaces the inhouse UpStart init system. The Unity desktop version 7.3 receives a handful of small refinements, most of which aim to either fix bugs or correct earlier missteps (for example, application menus can now be set to be always visible). The Linux version is 3.19.3 further patched by Canonical. As usual, the distro comes with fresh versions of various familiar applications.
Open Source

Linux Getting Extensive x86 Assembly Code Refresh 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the code-run-through-de-spaghettifier dept.
jones_supa writes: A massive x86 assembly code spring cleaning has been done in a pull request that is to end up in Linux 4.1. The developers have tried testing the code on many different x86 boxes, but there's risk of regression when exposing the code to many more systems in the days and weeks ahead. That being said, the list of improvements is excellent. There are over 100 separate cleanups, restructuring changes, speedups and fixes in the x86 system call, IRQ, trap and other entry code, part of a heroic effort to deobfuscate a decade old spaghetti assembly code and its C code dependencies.
Open Source

10 Years of Git: An Interview With Linus Torvalds 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the straight-from-the-horses-mouth dept.
LibbyMC writes Git will celebrate its 10-year anniversary tomorrow. To celebrate this milestone, Linus shares the behind-the-scenes story of Git and tells us what he thinks of the project and its impact on software development. From the article: "Ten years ago this week, the Linux kernel community faced a daunting challenge: They could no longer use their revision control system BitKeeper and no other Software Configuration Management (SCMs) met their needs for a distributed system. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, took the challenge into his own hands and disappeared over the weekend to emerge the following week with Git. Today Git is used for thousands of projects and has ushered in a new level of social coding among programmers."
Windows

OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the feel-free-to-do-whatever-we-want-with-your-new-computer dept.
jones_supa writes: Hardware that sports the "Designed for Windows 8" logo requires machines to support UEFI Secure Boot. When the feature is enabled, the core software components used to boot the machine are verified for correct cryptographic signatures, or the system refuses to boot. This is a desirable security feature, because it protects from malware sneaking into the boot process. However, it has an issue for alternative operating systems, because it's likely they won't have a signature that Secure Boot will authorize. No worries, because Microsoft also mandated that every system must have a UEFI configuration setting to turn the protection off, allowing booting other operating systems. This situation may now change. At its WinHEC hardware conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft said the setting to allow Secure Boot to be turned off will become optional when Windows 10 arrives. Hardware can be "Designed for Windows 10," and offer no way to opt out of the Secure Boot lock down. The choice to provide the setting (or not) will be up to the original equipment manufacturer.
Portables

Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research? 385

Posted by timothy
from the budget-for-replacement-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes My daughter is in her third year of college as a physics major. She has an internship in Europe this summer, will graduate next year, and continue with graduate physics studies. Her area of research interest is in gravitational waves and particle physics. She currently has a laptop running Win7 and wants to buy a new laptop. She would like to use Linux on it, and plans to use it for C++ programming, data analysis and simulations (along with the usual email, surfing, music, pictures, etc). For all of the physics-savvy Slashdotters out there: what should she get? PC? Mac? What do you recommend for running Linux? For a C++ development environment? What laptop do you use and how is it configured to support your physics-related activities?
Bug

Google Chrome Requires TSYNC Support Under Linux 338

Posted by timothy
from the what-you-gotta-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google's Chrome/Chromium web browser does not support slightly older versions of the Linux kernel anymore. Linux 3.17 is now the minimum requirement. According to a thread on the Debian mailing list, a kernel feature called TSYNC is what makes the difference. When a backported patch for the Debian 8 kernel was requested, there were hostile replies about not wanting to support "Google spyware."
Ubuntu

Ubuntu To Officially Switch To systemd Next Monday 765

Posted by Soulskill
from the dissenting-dachshund dept.
jones_supa writes: Ubuntu is going live with systemd, reports Martin Pitt in the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list. Next Monday, Vivid (15.04) will be switched to boot with systemd instead of UpStart. The change concerns desktop, server, and all other current flavors. Technically, this will flip around the preferred dependency of init to systemd-sysv | upstart in package management, which will affect new installs, but not upgrades. Upgrades will be switched by adding systemd-sysv to ubuntu-standard's dependencies. If you want, you can manually do the change already, but it's advisable to do an one-time boot first. Right now it is important that if you run into any trouble, file a proper bug report in Launchpad (ubuntu-bug systemd). If after some weeks it is found that there are too many or too big regressions, Ubuntu can still revert back to UpStart.
Open Source

Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons 264

Posted by timothy
from the year-of-the-hurr-durr dept.
An anonymous reader writes Following polling on Linus Torvald's Google+ page, he's decided to make the next kernel version Linux 4.0 rather than Linux 3.20. Linux 4.0 is going to bring many big improvements besides the version bump with there being live kernel patching, pNFS block server support, VirtIO 1.0, IBM z13 mainframe support, new ARM SoC support, and many new hardware drivers and general improvements. Linux 4.0 is codenamed "Hurr durr I'ma sheep."
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs? 260

Posted by timothy
from the good-idea-or-not dept.
m.alessandrini writes Children grow up, and inevitably they will start using internet and social networks, both for educational and recreational purposes. And it won't take long to them to learn to be autonomous, especially with all the smartphones and tablets around and your limited time. Unlike the years of my youth, when internet started to enter our lives gradually, now I'm afraid of the amount of inappropriate contents a child can be exposed to unprepared: porn, scammers, cyberbullies or worse, are just a click away.

For Windows many solutions claim to exist, usually in form of massive antivirus suites. What about GNU/Linux? Or Android? Several solutions rely on setting up a proxy with a whitelist of sites, or similar, but I'm afraid this approach can make internet unusable, or otherwise be easy to bypass. Have you any experiences or suggestions? Do you think software solutions are only a part of the solution, provided children can learn hacking tricks better than us, and if so, what other 'human' techniques are most effective?
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.
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."
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."
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.