Ever since news broke last year that Microsoft would require Windows 8 machines to have UEFI secure boot enabled, there were concerns that it would be used to block the installation of other operating systems, such as Linux distributions. Now, reader dgharmon sends this quote from Ars Technica about a new defense against that outcome: "The Linux Foundation has announced plans to provide a general purpose solution suitable for use by Linux and other non-Microsoft operating systems. The group has produced a minimal bootloader that won't boot any operating system directly. Instead, it will transfer control to any other bootloader — signed or unsigned — so that can boot an operating system." The announcement adds, "The pre-bootloader will employ a 'present user'; test to ensure that it cannot be used as a vector for any type of UEFI malware to target secure systems. This pre-bootloader can be used either to boot a CD/DVD installer or LiveCD distribution or even boot an installed operating system in secure mode for any distribution that chooses to use it."
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DMA-BUF is a recent kernel feature that allows multiple GPUs to quickly copy data into each others' framebuffers. A use case would be the NVIDIA Optimus that pairs a fast GPU with an Intel integrated GPU, where the NVIDIA GPU writes into the Intel framebuffer when it is active. But, NVIDIA won't be able to use this infrastructure because it's GPL. Alan Cox replied on LKML to a request from one of their engineers to mark the API non-GPL: "NAK. This needs at the very least the approval of all rights holders for the files concerned and all code exposed by this change. Also I'd note if you are trying to do this for the purpose of combining it with proprietary code then you are still in my view as a (and the view of many other) rights holder to the kernel likely to be in breach of the GPL requirements for a derivative work. You may consider that formal notification of my viewpoint. Your corporate legal team can explain to you why the fact you are now aware of my view is important to them." The rest of the thread is worth a read (a guy from RedHat agrees that this code is GPL and cannot become non-GPL without relicensing from a major subset of graphics system contributors). This has a ripple effect: it means that all of the ARM SoC GPU drivers can't use it either, and it may prevent any proprietary drivers for the proposed DRI version 3.
Monday you had a chance to ask Linus Torvalds any question you wanted. We sent him a dozen of the highest rated and below you'll see what he has to say about computers, programming, books, and copyrights. He also talks about what he would have done differently with Linux if he had to do it all over again. Hint: it rhymes with nothing.
JamieKitson writes "The latest Webconverger 15 release is the first Linux distribution to be automagically updatable from a Github repository. The chroot of the OS is kept natively in git's format and fuse mounted with git-fs. Webconverger fulfills the Web kiosk use case, using Firefox and competes indirectly with Google Chrome OS. Chrome OS also has an autoupdate feature, however not as powerful, unified & transparent as when simply using git."
An anonymous reader writes "The Mesa developers released Mesa 9.0 with open-source OpenGL 3.1 driver support. This de facto OpenGL Linux implementation now supports the several year old OpenGL 3.1 specification for Intel hardware while the other drivers are still at OpenGL 3.0 or worse. Other features to Mesa 9.0 include completing MPEG1/MPEG2 video acceleration, early OpenCL support, bug-fixes, and new hardware support." OpenGL 3.1 support is limited to Intel hardware, but at least ATI/AMD hardware supports some of OpenGL 3.1. A few features from OpenGL 4 were also added.
Linus Torvalds was (and still is) the primary force behind the development of the Linux kernel, and since you are reading Slashdot, you already knew that. Mr. Torvalds has agreed to answer any questions you may have about the direction of software, his thoughts on politics, winning the Millenial Technology Prize, or anything else. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post. We'll send the best to Linus, and post his answers when we get them back. Remember to keep an eye out for the rest of our upcoming special interviews this month.
sfcrazy writes "Samsung has created a new Linux file system called F2FS. Jaegeuk Kim of Samsung writes on the Linux Kernel Mailing List: F2FS is a new file system carefully designed for the NAND flash memory-based storage devices. We chose a log structure file system approach, but we tried to adapt it to the new form of storage. Also we remedy some known issues of the very old log structured file system, such as snowball effect of wandering tree and high cleaning overhead."
hypnosec writes with news that the Linux 3.7 kernel will support multiple ARM-based System on Chip platforms (Git commit page), writing "Up until now there has been a separate Linux kernel build for each of the ARM platforms or SoCs, which is one of the several problems when it comes to ARM based Linux. The merging of ARM multi-platform support into Linux 3.7 will put an end to this problem, enabling the new kernel to not only target multiple platforms but also be more in line with its x86 counterpart."
diegocg writes "Linux 3.6 has been released. It includes new features in Btrfs: subvolume quotas, quota groups and snapshot diffs (aka 'send/receive'). It also includes support for suspending to disk and memory at the same time, a TCP 'Fast Open' mode, a 'TCP small queues' feature to fight bufferbloat; support for safe swapping over NFS/NBD, better Ext4 quota support, support for the PCIe D3cold power state; and VFIO, which allows safe access from guest drivers to bare-metal host devices. Here's the full changelog."
First time accepted submitter SgtKeeling writes "After 5 release candidates, a new version of Slackware has been released. From the website: 'Yes, it is that time again! After well over a year of planning, development, and testing, the Slackware Linux Project is proud to announce the latest stable release of the longest running distribution of the Linux operating system, Slackware version 14.0! We are sure you'll enjoy the many improvements. We've done our best to bring the latest technology to Slackware while still maintaining the stability and security that you have come to expect. Slackware is well known for its simplicity and the fact that we try to bring software to you in the condition that the authors intended. We will be setting up BitTorrent downloads for the official ISO images. Stay tuned to http://slackware.com/ for the latest updates.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The free software FFmpeg multi-media library that's used by VLC, MPlayer, Chrome, and many other software projects has reached version 1.0 after being in development since 2000. The 1.0 release incorporates new filters/decoders and other A/V enhancements. The code is available from FFmpeg.org."
An anonymous reader writes "In the third post to the new Valve Linux Blog, the Linux team has announced that starting next week they will begin their internal beta, with an external beta of 1000 users to begin mid 'some time in October.' There will be an external beta sign up page made available 'soon' according to the blog."
netbuzz writes "Last night Linux creator Linus Torvalds took to his Google+ page and called Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 'a f***ing moron.' Torvalds' stated reason? Romney's much-ridiculed suggestion that air passengers would be safer in emergencies if aircraft windows could be opened (a suggestion which some, including Snopes.com, have taken as a joke). Torvalds also recently called Mormonism, Romney's religion, 'bats**t crazy.' Is this just Linus being Linus? Or does such outspokenness on non-technical matters reflect poorly on the Linux community that Torvalds leads?"
colinneagle writes "Linux dude Bryan Lunduke blogged here about the top three approaches he thinks are the easiest for new users to pick up Linux. Lunduke's, for example, went Ubuntu -> Arch -> openSUSE. It raises a question that Slashdot could answer well in the comments: what's your distro use order from beginning to now? Maybe we could spot some trends."
fermion writes with news of Windows computers being forcefully liberated: "The campaign headquarters of Michael Grimm, a U.S. House of Representatives member from New York, were vandalized. What has not been reported everywhere is that Linux was installed on one of his computers, erasing data in the process. Is this a new attack on democracy by the open source radicals, or it is just a random occurrence?" From the article: "'In fact, one officer said to me today they see this as a crime against the government, because I am a sitting United States congressman and they take it very seriously. You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we're not in the world today where we can shrug things off,' Grimm said. ... [GNU/]Linux, an open-source operating system, was installed on Grimm's computers, erasing the hard drive contents, which included polling and voter identification data. But staff had backed up the hard drive contents hours beforehand. Grimm and his staffers said the vandalism — cement blocks were thrown through the office's windows — is a cover-up for the attacks on the computers."
An anonymous reader writes "In a blog post responding to the latest controversy over Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth says 'integrating online scope results' are 'not putting ads in Ubuntu' because the shopping results 'are not paid placement', but 'straightforward search results'. He goes on to explain his plans to make the Home Lens of the Dash a place to find 'anything anywhere'. Like a cross between Chrome OS's new app launcher, Siri and Google Now 'it will get smarter and smarter' so you can 'ask for whatever you want' it 'just works'."
An anonymous reader writes "Scheduled to be released next month, Ubuntu 12.10 now includes both Amazon ads in the user's dash and by default an Amazon store in the user's launcher. The reason for these 'features'? Affiliate revenue. Despite previous controversies with Banshee and Yahoo, Canonical is 'confident it will be an interesting and useful feature for our 12.10 users.' But are the 'users' becoming products?" Update: 09/22 19:35 GMT by T : Reader bkerensa scoffs, calling the Amazon integration unobtrusive, and says objections to its inclusion in the OS should be ignored, "because in reality ads will not be found in 12.10 unless you are seeing them on a third party website you go to in a web browser." He's got screenshots.
An anonymous reader writes "It was revealed today during the annual X.Org Developers' Conference in Germany that NVIDIA will be publicly releasing Tegra graphics programming documentation. Initially this will cover their Tegra 2D engine but it's thought they might also be providing 3D engine documentation too. A slide shown at the conference says NVIDIA is committed to open-source. NVIDIA also allegedly has supplied documentation under NDA to one Nouveau developer and taken other covertly supportive steps. These actions come after NVIDIA has been notoriously unfriendly to open-source and months after Linus Torvalds pubilcly slammed the NVIDIA Linux support."
jones_supa writes "The current long-term support version of Ubuntu (12.04) has been experiencing a remarkably tough-to-crack and widely affecting bug related to laptops using an Intel graphics solution. When the lid is closed, every now and then the desktop freezes and only the mouse cursor can be moved. Compiz is usually found hung in the process, switching to a VT afterwards works. The Freedesktop guys are also informed. Have Slashdotters been bitten by this bug and possibly could offer some detective work to help the OSS community find and apply the correct fix?"
An anonymous reader writes "I've been working on reverse engineering the D-Link DPH-128MS VOIP phone. It's an end of life product for D-Link but a neat little desktop phone that runs Linux. I've figured out a way to exploit the tftp server running on it to get root access. I'm at the point now of trying to figure out how to update the phone with more files. Check out the writeups I have and the scripts on the link above."