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Music

Red Hat Announces Fedora Will Support MP3 Playback (fedoraproject.org) 140

Long-time Slashdot reader jrincayc shares news from Red Hat's Fedora Engineering Manager, Tom Callaway. On the Fedora-legal mailing list, Callaway announced: Red Hat has determined that it is now acceptable for Fedora to include MP3 decoding functionality (not specific to any implementation, or binding by any unseen agreement). Encoding functionality is not permitted at this time.
And the same day Christian Schaller announced on the Gnome blog that mp3 playback would be supported in Fedora Workstation 25. You should be able to download the mp3 plugin on Day 1 through GNOME Software or through the missing codec installer in various GStreamer applications. For Fedora Workstation 26 I would not be surprised if we decide to ship it on the install media.
He added, "I know this has been a big wishlist item for a long time for a lot of people..."
Data Storage

Spotify Is Writing Massive Amounts of Junk Data To Storage Drives (arstechnica.com) 196

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For almost five months -- possibly longer -- the Spotify music streaming app has been assaulting users' storage devices with enough data to potentially take years off their expected lifespans. Reports of tens or in some cases hundreds of gigabytes being written in an hour aren't uncommon, and occasionally the recorded amounts are measured in terabytes. The overload happens even when Spotify is idle and isn't storing any songs locally. The behavior poses an unnecessary burden on users' storage devices, particularly solid state drives, which come with a finite amount of write capacity. Continuously writing hundreds of gigabytes of needless data to a drive every day for months or years on end has the potential to cause an SSD to die years earlier than it otherwise would. And yet, Spotify apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux have engaged in this data assault since at least the middle of June, when multiple users reported the problem in the company's official support forum. Three Ars reporters who ran Spotify on Macs and PCs had no trouble reproducing the problem reported not only in the above-mentioned Spotify forum but also on Reddit, Hacker News, and elsewhere. Typically, the app wrote from 5 to 10 GB of data in less than an hour on Ars reporters' machines, even when the app was idle. Leaving Spotify running for periods longer than a day resulted in amounts as high as 700 GB. According to comments left in the Spotify forum in the past 24 hours, the bug has been fixed in version 1.0.42, which is in the process of being rolled out.
Windows

Open Source Pioneer Munich Debates Report That Suggests Abandoning Linux for Windows 10 (techrepublic.com) 176

As an open-source software pioneer, Munich spent years moving away from Windows, but now politicians are debating a report that suggests the city could eventually abandon Linux. A report on TechRepublic adds: If the authority ruling Germany's third largest city backs proposals to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available across the council, it would be a significant step away from open-source software for an organization once seen as its champion. Over a nine-year period starting in 2004, the council moved about 15,000 staff from using Windows and Office to LiMux -- a custom version of the Ubuntu desktop OS -- and other open source software. At the time, Munich was one of the largest organizations to reject Windows, and Microsoft took the city's leaving so seriously that then CEO Steve Ballmer flew to Munich to meet the mayor. Now a report commissioned by current mayor Dieter Reiter to help determine the future of IT at the council has outlined a project to make Windows 10 and Microsoft Office available to all departments, and give staff the choice about whether to use Windows or LiMux.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Budgie Is Now An Official Ubuntu Flavor (softpedia.com) 49

prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: After two successful major releases, budgie-remix has finally been accepted as an official Ubuntu flavor, earlier today during a meeting where four Canonical technicians voted positive. As such, we're extremely happy to inform our readers that the new Ubuntu flavor is called Ubuntu Budgie. In April this year, when budgie-remix hit the road towards its first major release, versioned 16.04, we reported that David Mohammed was kind enough to inform Softpedia about the fact that he got in touch with Ubuntu MATE leader Martin Wimpress, who urged the developer to target Ubuntu 16.10 for an official status. budgie-remix 16.10 arrived as well this fall shortly after the release of Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), and the dream of becoming an official Ubuntu flavor is now a reality. Re-branding of the official website and the entire distribution is ongoing. "We now move full steam ahead and look forward to working with the Ubuntu Develop Membership Board to examine and work through the technical aspects [...] 17.04 will be our first official release under the new name," said David Mohammed in the announcement.
Operating Systems

After Protest, Lenovo Releases BIOS For Loading Linux on Yoga 900, IdeaPad 710S (liliputing.com) 74

Lenovo received a lot of heat in September when it said the Yoga 900 and Yoga 900S hybrids would only support Windows, and not Linux. The company has now changed its stance, though there is still a catch. An anonymous reader shares a Lilputing article: But now you can install Linux, because Lenovo has released new BIOS options for those laptops. There's a bit of a catch though. Lenovo's new BIOS has an AHCI option that lets you install Linux... but if you're using the new BIOS, then Windows is not officially supported. In fact, Lenovo says it's not officially supporting the new BIOS either... if you want to install it, you're pretty much on your own if you run into any problems. While Lenovo is presenting this as an either/or solution for choosing whether you want to run Windows or Linux. But some users have discovered that it is possible to set up dual-boot system using the new BIOS, allowing you to choose between Windows and Linux when your computer boots.
Hardware Hacking

How I Freed My Android Tablet: A Journey in Reverse Engineering (www.thanassis.space) 79

Slashdot reader ttsiod is an embedded software engineer at the European Space Agency, and shares this story about his quest to "dominate" his new tablet: Just like it's predecessor, I wanted to run a Debian chroot inside it -- that would allow me to apt-get install and run things like Privoxy, SSH SOCKS/VPN tunnels, Flask mini-servers, etc; and in general allow me to stay in control. But there was no open-source way to do this... and I could never trust "one-click roots" that communicate with servers in China... It took me weeks to reverse engineer my tablet -- and finally succeed in becoming root. The journey was quite interesting, and included both hardware and software tinkering. I learned a lot while doing it -- and wanted to share the experience with my fellow Slashdotters...
He writes that "I trust Debian. Far more than I trust the Android ecosystem," and describes everything from how he probed the boot process and created his own boot image to hunting for a way "to tell SELinux to get off my lawn".
Operating Systems

Mythbuntu Linux Has Been Discontinued (softpedia.com) 49

"Mythbuntu as a separate distribution will cease to exist. We will take the necessary steps to pull Mythbuntu specific packages from the repositories unless someone steps up to take these packages over," read Friday's announcement. prisoninmate writes: Mythbuntu was an operating system based on the widely-used Ubuntu Linux distro and built around the MythTV free and open source digital video recorder (DVR) project... The Mythbuntu team recommends users who want to use Mythbuntu to install the latest release of the Xubuntu Linux operating system and then add the Mythbuntu PPA (Personal Package Archive), which will continue to provide the latest MythTV releases and other related packages...

The first release of the OS was back when Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) was announced, and the last one was Mythbuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus). From this point...there will be no new ISO images anymore. Also, the mythbuntu-desktop and Mythbuntu-Control-Centre packages are now discontinued and won't be available from the Ubuntu repositories anymore. However, users will still be able to install the MythTV software and configure it as they see fit.

Classic Games (Games)

The NES Classic is a $60 Single Board Computer Running Linux 121

"Nintendo's accurate NES emulator apparently needs no less than a quad-core CPU," joked Ars Technica. "The next step, of course, is unscrewing of the nostalgic little box to see how it ticks -- and whether its limited functionality might ever be expanded, either officially or by hackers." Slashdot reader romiz summarizes what's inside Nintendo's new miniature emulator for classic games: With a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7, 256 MB of RAM, and 512 MB of NAND Flash, it is typical of the hardware found in Linux single board computers, like the Raspberry Pi 2. Surprisingly for Nintendo, there does not seem to be any custom components in it, and it looks like it even does run Linux. [YouTube video] The GPL license for the kernel and many other open source components is visible in the legal information screen. The source, however, is not yet available on Nintendo's open source page.

But it is the re-edition a 1980s video console: there is no network access, no hardware expansion port, and the 30 games cannot be changed. Changing the system running on it will probably be difficult.
Linux

Meet VoCore2 Lite, a $4 Coin-Sized, Open Source Linux Computer (zdnet.com) 106

An anonymous reader shares a report on ZDNet:Four bucks buys a lot of hardware these days, and nothing highlights this more than a project like the VoCore2 Lite. VoCore2 is an open source Linux computer and a fully-functional wireless router that is smaller than a coin. It can also act as a VPN gateway for a network, an AirPlay station to play lossless music, a private cloud to store your photos, video, and code, and much more. The Lite version of the VoCore2 features a 580MHz MT7688AN MediaTek system on chip (SoC), 64MB of DDR2 RAM, 8MB of NOR storage, and a single antenna slot for Wi-Fi that supports 150Mbps. Spend $12 and go for the full VoCore2 option and you get the same SoC, but you get 128MB of DDR2 RAM, 16MB of NOR storage, two antenna slots supporting 300Mbps, an on-board antenna, and PCIe 1.1 support.
Cloud

AWS Releases Amazon Linux Container Image For Use in On-Premises Data Centers (venturebeat.com) 33

Amazon Web Services, a division of Amazon that offers cloud computing and storage services, has released a container image of its Amazon Linux operating system -- which has, until now, only been accessible on AWS virtual machine instances -- that customers can now deploy on their own servers. From a report on VentureBeat: Of course, other Linux distributions are available for use in companies' on-premises data centers -- CentOS, CoreOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Canonical's Ubuntu, and so on. Now companies that are used to Amazon Linux in the cloud can work with it on-premises, too. It's available from AWS' EC2 Container Registry. Amazon Linux is not currently available for instant deployment on other public clouds, whether Oracle's, Google's, Microsoft's, or IBM's. "It is built from the same source code and packages as the AMI and will give you a smooth path to container adoption," AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post. "You can use it as-is or as the basis for your own images."
Botnet

New, More-Powerful IoT Botnet Infects 3,500 Devices In 5 Days (arstechnica.com) 56

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: There's a new, more powerful Internet-of-things botnet in town, and it has managed to infect almost 3,500 devices in just five days, according to a recently published report. Linux/IRCTelnet, as the underlying malware has been named, borrows code from several existing malicious IoT applications. Most notably, it lifts entire sections of source code from Aidra, one of the earliest known IoT bot packages. Aidra was discovered infecting more than 30,000 embedded Linux devices in an audacious and ethically questionable research project that infected more than 420,000 Internet-connected devices in an attempt to measure the security of the global network. As reported by the anonymous researcher, Aidra forced infected devices to carry out a variety of distributed denial-of-service attacks but worked on a limited number of devices. Linux/IRCTelnet also borrows telnet-scanning logic from a newer IoT bot known as Bashlight. It further lifts a list of some 60 widely used username-password combinations built into Mirai, a different IoT bot app whose source code was recently published on the Internet. It goes on to add code for attacking sites that run the next-generation Internet protocol known as IPv6. The best-of-breed approach "is driving a high infection speed of Linux/IRCTelnet (new Aidra) so it can [infect] almost 3,500 bot clients within only five days from the moment its loader was first detected," a researcher who goes by the handle Unixfreakjp wrote in a blog post reporting on the new malware. "To incarnate a legendary botnet code into a new version that can [target] the recent vulnerable threat landscape is really inviting more bad news."
Desktops (Apple)

MacBook Pro (2016) Disappointment Pushes Some Apple Loyalists To Ubuntu Linux (betanews.com) 535

Linux distributions have emerged as one of the beneficiaries in the aftermath of the MacBook Pros launch. Many people aren't pleased with the offering and prices of Apple's three new laptops and some of them are resorting to Linux-powered laptops. From a report on BetaNews: Immediately after the Apple Keynote, famed Ubuntu laptop and desktop seller, System76, saw a huge jump in traffic from people looking to buy its machines. The traffic was so intense, that it needed to upgrade servers to keep up, it said. "We experienced much more traffic than we had prepared for, the website didn't go hard down but experienced slowness. We had to scale up to return to normal. It was a pretty big surge, I don't have the details in front of me at the moment but I've not really heard of anything like this before. People being so underwhelmed by a product that immediately following a new product release they actively seek out competitor's products," says Ryan Sipes, Community Manager, System76. I decided to compare specifications and pricing on my own, so I headed to both Apple.com and System76.com to compare. Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,400. This machine has a Quad-core Sklyake i7, maxes out at 16GB of RAM, has an NVMe 256GB SSD, and a Radeon Pro 450 with a paltry 2GB memory. Alternatively, I headed to System76 and configured its 15-inch Oryx Pro. I closely matched the MacBook Pro specs, with a Quad-core Sklyake i7 and NVMe 256GB SSD. Instead of 16GB of RAM as found on the Apple, I configured with 32GB (you can go up to 64GB if needed). By default, it comes with a 6GB Nvidia GTX 1060. The price? Less than $2,000! In other words, the System76 machine with much better specs is less expensive than Apple's.
Red Hat Software

Red Hat CEO: Linux Is Now The 'Default Choice' For The Cloud (bizjournals.com) 89

Speaking at the "All Things Open" conference, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst remembered when Linux "was just a 'bunch of geeks' getting together figuring it all out on an 8286 chip" 25 years ago. An anonymous reader quotes BizJournals: "It went from being kind of a hacker movement to truly what I'll say [is] a viable alternative to traditional software," Whitehurst says, adding that Red Hat was a part of that push. Over the years, it came out from under the radar, being what Whitehurst calls "the default choice for a next-generation of infrastructure," particularly when it comes to cloud architectures... He points to Google, Microsoft and Facebook, all having open sourced their machine learning systems. "They recognize the company that builds the community around that piece of technology, that technology is going to win."
Education

How Linux Saved A School's Failing Windows Laptop Program (opensource.com) 255

OpenSource.com reports on a Minnesota school's 1:1 program -- one device per child -- where "Lots of the Windows laptops were in very poor condition and needed to be replaced." An anonymous reader writes: An Indiegogo campaign triggered extra money and donations of laptops, allowing the school's Linux club to equip much of the school with Linux laptops. "When you're using open source software you're free to use operating systems and application software without the hassle of license keys or license tracking inherent with proprietary software," says Stu Keroff, the school's technology coordinator. "This allows a school to experiment [and] gives them the freedom to make mistakes...

But there's also another benefit. "By empowering the students to be part of that process we were able to get more done, and to generate more excitement about the learning that the students were taking part in." There's now a waiting list for the school's Linux club, where they'd planned to cap membership at 35...until 62 students applied. Instead, they found themselves creating two Linux clubs, one for the sixth graders, and one for the 7th and 8th graders.

And to answer the obvious question -- they're using Ubuntu, with the Unity desktop.
Portables

Ask Slashdot: What's The Best Cheap Linux-Friendly Netbook? 187

Seems like a good time to revisit this question -- assuming anyone's still using a netbook. Long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino writes: I'm looking for a cheap lightweight netbook that is Linux-friendly, i.e. lets me install Linux without any shoddy modern BIOS getting in my way... The Lenovo 100S-11 looks really neat, but I just read about installation problems... Are there any alternatives?

And if there aren't, what experience do you guys have running Linux on a Chromebook using Crouton -- the Linux-parallel-to-Chrome-OS hack? Is it a feasible alternative to dumping ChromeOS and installing a 100% lightweight Linux?

His budget is around $200, and he ends his submission with "Many thanks from a fellow Slashdotter." So leave your suggestions in the comments. What's the best cheap Linux-friendly netbook?

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