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July 2018

LMDE 3 “Cindy” Cinnamon – BETA Release

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LMDE is a Linux Mint project and it stands for “Linux Mint Debian Edition”. Its main goal is for the Linux Mint team to see how viable our distribution would be and how much work would be necessary if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. LMDE aims to be as similar as possible to Linux Mint, but without using Ubuntu. The package base is provided by Debian instead.

There are no point releases in LMDE. Other than bug fixes and security fixes Debian base packages stay the same, but Mint and desktop components are updated continuously. When ready, newly developed features get directly into LMDE, whereas they are staged for inclusion on the next upcoming Linux Mint point release.

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Also: Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 "Cindy" Cinnamon Enters Beta, Here's What's New

Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 Beta Released

Software: Kiwi TCMS 5.1, Editors, Fping, networkctl and some howtos

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  • Kiwi TCMS 5.1

    We're happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 5.1! This release introduces new database migrations, an experimental reporting feature, deprecated functionality and bug fixes.

    The new kiwitcms/kiwi:latest docker image has Image ID cc9b55aa664d. has also been updated!

  • GUI ways to view and edit big text files

    I do my data auditing on the command line, but it's sometimes nice to have the kind of overview of the data that you get with a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, this isn't possible with seriously large data tables. The current table size limits in Microsoft Excel are 1,048,576 rows, 16,384 columns and 32,767 characters per cell. LibreOffice Calc has the same row and character limits but tops out at 1,024 columns. Gnumeric (my favourite spreadsheet) allows 16,777,216 rows and 16,384 columns.

    These limits, however, don't mean much for big datasets. How efficiently a spreadsheet works is determined by your system's memory resources and by the nature of your data items. Not only might it take an annoyingly long time for a big table to open as a spreadsheet, but operations like searching, moving around, global editing and file saving can then be annoyingly slo-o-o-o-o-ow.

    GUI spreadsheets are impractical, in my experience, for viewing or editing tables with more than about 50,000 rows and 100 columns. Four viewing/editing alternatives for Linux are noted below; in the screenshots I've reduced their GUI window sizes to suit this blog's column width. Missing from the list is UltraEdit for Linux, a very capable GUI text editor which (last time I checked) cost USD$100 per copy.

  • Fping – A High Performance Ping Tool for Linux

    fping is a small command line tool to send ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) echo request to network hosts, similar to ping, but much higher performing when pinging multiple hosts. fping totally differs from ping in that you can define any number of hosts on the command line or specify a file with the list of IP addresses or hosts to ping.

  • networkctl – Query the Status of Network Links in Linux

    Networkctl is a command line utility for viewing a summary of network devices and their connection status. It allows you to query and control the Linux networking subsystem. It is one of the new commands in the new release of systemd which is present in Ubuntu 18.04. It displays the state of the network links as seen by systemd-networkd.

  • How To Find WWN, WWNN and WWPN Number Of HBA Card In Linux
  • How to Configure Nginx Server Blocks on Ubuntu 18.04
  • A sysadmin's guide to Bash
  • How to Attack Windows 10 Machine with Metasploit on Kali Linux
  • How to Improve Online Gaming Experience using VPNs

Kernel: EROFS (Extendable Read-Only File System) and Wayland Protocols 1.16

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  • Huawei’s EROFS to be Merged Into Linux 4.19 Kernel

    Back in January 2018, Huawei announced that the company is developing an open-source filesystem called EROFS (Extendable Read-Only File System), which would feature an improved compression mode that focuses on performance and speed.

    It now appears that EROFS is being introduced to Linux 4.19, as the initial EROFS kernel code has been merged into Greg Kroah-Hartman’s staging-next branch. This staging-next code is what will follow in a week or so following Linux 4.18, which should be released within the next week.

  • Wayland Protocols 1.16 Released With Few Updates

    Jonas Ådahl announced the release earlier today of Wayland Protocols 1.16 , the newest feature update to this collection of Wayland protocols, both stable and unstable.

    Wayland-Protocols 1.16 features an updated version of the unstable text input protocol, clarifications to the existing stable XDG-Shell protocol, clarifications to XDG-Output, and some test suite improvements.

  • [ANNOUNCE] wayland-protocols 1.16

    This version includes a new version of the unstable text-input protocol. The new version is not compatible with the old version. Please check the commit adding the new protocols for more details about the introduced changes.

    The stable xdg-shell protocol got some clarifications about expectations regarding state requested by the client and what is configured by the compositor.

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

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  • Free software log (June 2018)

    Well, this is embarassingly late, but not a full month late. That's what counts, right?

    It's quite late partly because I haven't had the right combination of time and energy to do much free software work since the beginning of June. I did get a couple of releases out then, though. wallet 1.4 incorporated better Active Directory support and fixed a bunch of build system and configuration issues. And rra-c-util 7.2 includes a bunch of fixes to M4 macros and cleans up some test issues.

  • The State of Gaming On Debian In 2018

    Happening now in Hsinchu, Taiwan is Debian's DebConf 18. Of the many interesting talks at this multi-day event is X11 veteran Keith Packard talking about gaming on Debian.

    Keith Packard talked on Monday about Debian gaming, the state of the open-source graphics drivers, his recent work on improving the Linux stack for Steam VR / VR HMDs, work being done to help reduce micro-stuttering, the state of these components in Debian unstable, and other related topics.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 538
  • GCHQ subsidiary publishes Ubuntu 18.04 security guide

    The National Cyber Security Centre, a department of the UK spy agency, GCHQ, has published a new security guidance document for Ubuntu 18.04 which can help administrators set up and Ubuntu systems securely. The recommendations provided are in accordance with the NCSC’s best security practices and are intended for the public and private sectors who want to set up new systems, home users can also learn from it.

  • NCSC Publishes Full Guideline Documentation on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Security Configuring

    Just recently, the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) in the UK published an advisory on configuring the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in accordance with their security best practices. The NCSC generally publishes many similar guidelines for a variety of devices and internet topics, including Multi Factor authentication, and security reviews of various platforms such as Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365.

Chromebook Marketing Badmouths Windows, MacOS

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EA Kills "Open Source" Version Of SimCity 2000

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  • Electronic Arts shuts down the open source SimCity 2000 fan remake

    Electronic Arts has taken down the open source fan remake of SimCity 2000, OpenSC2K. According to the DMCA notice, OpenSC2K uses assets from SimCity 2000 and since these assets are under copyrights, they should not be used in free remakes or projects.

  • EA Takes Down ‘Open Source’ SimCity 2000 Remake

    Electronic Arts has asked GitHub to remove a fan-created remake of the classic SimCity 2000 release. While the original game is a quarter-century old, the publisher points out that the assets are not free to use, adding that a copy of the game can still be purchased legally.

  • EA Kills "Open Source" Version Of SimCity 2000

    Earlier this year, a game called OpenSC2K was released on GitHub, claiming to be a free, open source version of Maxis’ classic. Turns out it wasn’t as open source as it could have been, though, because EA have had the game removed from the platform.

    As TorrentFreak report, the art assets used in OpenSC2K were lifted straight from the 1993 original, so EA have filed a DMCA request against the project that led to its removal (remember that SimCity 2000 is still commercially available on Origin).

Security: Symantec TLS Certificates, Automating Kernel Exploitation, Initial SpectreRSB Support

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  • Update on the Distrust of Symantec TLS Certificates

    Firefox 60 (the current release) displays an “untrusted connection” error for any website using a TLS/SSL certificate issued before June 1, 2016 that chains up to a Symantec root certificate. This is part of the consensus proposal for removing trust in Symantec TLS certificates that Mozilla adopted in 2017. This proposal was also adopted by the Google Chrome team, and more recently Apple announced their plan to distrust Symantec TLS certificates. As previously stated, DigiCert’s acquisition of Symantec’s Certification Authority has not changed these plans.

    In early March when we last blogged on this topic, roughly 1% of websites were broken in Firefox 60 due to the change described above. Just before the release of Firefox 60 on May 9, 2018, less than 0.15% of websites were impacted – a major improvement in just a few months’ time.

  • Automating Kernel Exploitation for Better Flaw Remediation

    Black Hat researchers plan on open sourcing a new framework they say can help organizations get a better rein on vulnerability fixes for kernel bugs.

    The explosive disclosure of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were like a detonator on the already incendiary field of kernel vulnerabilities this year. Security researchers had previously been ramping up their exploration of kernel bugs, but this year the discoveries have mushroomed considerably.

  • Initial SpectreRSB Support Queued For Merging Into The Mainline Linux Kernel

    Last week "SpectreRSB" was detailed as a new Spectre Variant Two like attack affecting modern processors. A Linux kernel patch was quick to materialize and now it's been staged for merging soon into the mainline Linux kernel.

    Spectre Return Stack Buffer is just one of the newest speculative execution vulnerabilities affecting at least Intel CPUs. Researchers at the University of California were able to exploit SpectreRSB into leaking private data protected by Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions) and that these return stack buffer attacks could be process-process or even inter-VM.

Thunderbolt Runtime Power Management Staged For Linux 4.19

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Adding to the list of notable changes for the Linux 4.19 kernel is run-time power management for Thunderbolt controllers.

Mika Westerberg of Intel who has been leading many of the Thunderbolt improvements for Linux has worked out support for run-time power management with the Thunderbolt host controller. This supports run-time suspending until receiving a remote wake event such as a device connect/disconnect or when user-space is trying to access the hardware.

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GNOME: Shell Activities, GNOME Twitch and Games

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  • Gnome Shell YouTube Search Provider Lets You Play YouTube Videos In VLC

    YouTube Search Provider is a new extension for Gnome Shell which can be used to search for YouTube videos directly from the Gnome Shell Activities and play them using a desktop video player, like VLC.

  • Watch your favourite streamers from GNU/Linux with GNOME Twitch

    Streaming is a big deal nowadays in the gaming world; what used to be boring and weird, watching someone else play a videogame, is now something that millions of people spend their free time doing, often watching their favourite Twitch / YouTube celebrities gaming.

    While there is a Twitch application available for Windows and Mac users, there isn’t an official one for GNU/Linux users – but there is an unofficial one: GNOME Twitch.

    Linux users may watch streams on the official Twitch website using their favorite web browser, or use GNOME Twitch to do so.

  • Ruxandra Simion: Five-or-More Modernisation - Now They Move!

    These past two weeks I have worked on (probably) the most exciting part of modernising the Five or More game. After the new changes, the game is officially playable and fun! But still, there is room for more changes. So let’s jump right to the updates.

    First of all, if you remember reading my previous blog post, there were no means to interact with a shape, or otherwise move it to any desired cell. The cells inside the game board were filled up randomly on click, using the queue on the top left corner of the window, which contained the next shapes to be rendered inside the game area.

    Now, all of that changed, and the user can interact with each individual shape rendered on the game board. The pathfinding system I came up with uses the A* algorithm with a Manhattan distance heuristic to determine the shortest path from the current cell to the destination cell chosen by the player.

More in Tux Machines

Late Coverage of Confidential Computing Consortium

  • Microsoft Partners With Google, Intel, And Others To Form Data Protection Consortium

    The software maker joined Google Cloud, Intel, IBM, Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent to establish the Confidential Computing Consortium, a group committed to providing better private data protection, promoting the use of confidential computing, and advancing open source standards among members of the technology community.

  • #OSSUMMIT: Confidential Computing Consortium Takes Shape to Enable Secure Collaboration

    At the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California on August 21, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium. Confidential computing is an approach using encrypted data that enables organizations to share and collaborate, while still maintaining privacy. Among the initial backers of the effort are Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent. “The context of confidential computing is that we can actually use the data encrypted while programs are working on it,” John Gossman, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, said during a keynote presentation announcing the new effort. Initially there are three projects that are part of the Confidential Computing Consortium, with an expectation that more will be added over time. Microsoft has contributed its Open Enclave SDK, Red Hat is contributing the Enarx project for Trusted Execution Environments and Intel is contributing its Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software development kit. Lorie Wigle, general manager, platform security product management at Intel, explained that Intel has had a capability built into some of its processors called software guard which essentially provides a hardware-based capability for protecting an area of memory.

Graphics: Mesa Radeon Vulkan Driver and SPIR-V Support For OpenGL 4.6

  • Mesa Radeon Vulkan Driver Sees ~30% Performance Boost For APUs

    Mesa's RADV Radeon Vulkan driver just saw a big performance optimization land to benefit APUs like Raven Ridge and Picasso, simply systems with no dedicated video memory. The change by Feral's Alex Smith puts the uncached GTT type at a higher index than the visible vRAM type for these configurations without dedicated vRAM, namely APUs.

  • Intel Iris Gallium3D Is Close With SPIR-V Support For OpenGL 4.6

    This week saw OpenGL 4.6 support finally merged for Intel's i965 Mesa driver and will be part of the upcoming Mesa 19.2 release. Not landed yet but coming soon is the newer Intel "Iris" Gallium3D driver also seeing OpenGL 4.6 support. Iris Gallium3D has been at OpenGL 4.5 support and is quite near as well with its OpenGL 4.6 support thanks to the shared NIR support and more with the rest of the Intel open-source graphics stack. Though it's looking less likely that OpenGL 4.6 support would be back-ported to Mesa 19.2 for Iris, but we'll see.

The GPD MicroPC in 3 Minutes [Video Review]

In it I tackle the GPD MicroPC with Ubuntu MATE 19.10. I touch on the same points made in my full text review, but with the added bonus of moving images to illustrate my points, rather than words. Read more Also: WiringPi - Deprecated

today's howtos