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eco2geek's blog

From Karmic to Lucid: Distribution Update Screenshots

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Linux

In line with its newbie-friendly tradition of providing a way to do everything via a graphical user interface, Ubuntu provides a way to do a distribution upgrade by clicking a button at the top of the Update Manager. Since version 10.04 was released on April 29, it was once again time to see how well the upgrade went. Here are screenshots of the entire process.

Freshly Squeezed Debian: Installing from Live DVD

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Reviews

Last month, the Debian Live Project released live CD and DVD images of the next version of Debian, codenamed "Squeeze." They included an installer that uses the live filesystem rather than packages, so it has the advantages of being fast and allowing you to preview on the live media, what you eventually get on your hard drive. This may not seem like a big deal, since most modern Linux distributions use this installation method, but it's still fairly new for Debian. I downloaded and installed the 64-bit GNOME version.

Secret Future Ubuntu User Interface Plans Revealed!

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Humor

Mark Shuttleworth recently said that "moving everything to the left opens up the space on the right nicely." But what "innovative options" might he be referring to? To find out, we contacted a member of Ubuntu's design team, Drew A. Gooey-Aubergine, who gave us an exclusive look at what innovative new features Ubuntu users might see on the right-hand side of their windows in future releases.

Hitch your wagon to a lizard: dist-upgrading openSUSE

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Linux

For the first time, openSUSE now officially supports a "dist-upgrade" feature, similar to Debian's. Which is to say, if you've got openSUSE 11.1 installed, you should be able to upgrade to openSUSE 11.2 by updating your list of software repositories to point to providers of software for openSUSE 11.2, doing a distribution upgrade via the Internet, and have a reasonable chance of success.

The Ubuntu 1-click dist-upgrade (well, almost)

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Linux

I was curious to try Ubuntu's offer of a "one-click upgrade" from Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 on my HP Pavilion zd7000 laptop. I was impressed with how easy it was.

Vector Linux 5.9: Light, fast Slackware-based distro

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Reviews

Vector Linux 5.9, released in late December of last year, is a Slackware 12.0-based distribution that uses Xfce 4.4.2 as its default user interface. Generally speaking, Xfce requires less horsepower than other UIs, like GNOME and KDE, and so Vector Linux bills itself as an excellent operating system to install on older, lower-powered computers. I've been using it for the past two weeks, and like what I see.

KDE 4.0: Everything that has an end, has a beginning

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Reviews

By now, every Linux user's heard of KDE 4.0, and the controversy surrounding its release. Here's one partisan KDE user's take on it — with screenshots.

openSUSE 10.3 in review: A solid Linux desktop

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Reviews

openSUSE is a popular German Linux distribution that Distrowatch.com lists as one of the "top ten." Version 10.3 was released on October 4th. Underneath its new green artwork, the new version's improvements include cutting down the time it takes to reach the graphical login screen; speeding up and streamlining its package management utility; and making it easier for users to install software using a new "one-click install" process. There's a lot to like here.

Beta Review: Kanotix 2007 "Thorhammer" RC5B

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Reviews

The last Kanotix release (based on Debian Sid) came out in October, 2006. Shortly thereafter, a Kanotix co-developer (and many of Kanotix's other developers) left the project, mainly due to a disagreement over whether Kanotix should be based on Sid (Debian's unstable branch) or something less volatile, like Etch (Debian's current stable branch) or Ubuntu. Kanotix's founder now has a new, Etch-based version of Kanotix in development, code-named "Thorhammer."

Sidux 2007-03.1 "Gaia": A closer look

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Reviews

Unless you're able to deal with such esoteric problems as diagnosing a buggy post-install script, or figuring out how to deal with a major change in the directory structure of X.org, you might occasionally find running a Debian Sid-based system to be more than you can handle. And that's where Sidux comes in. Sidux's goal is to allow mere mortals the ability to run Debian Sid on the desktop, in order to take advantage of the latest Debian software available. Its development team helps guide its users through the occasional bumps in Sid, via IRC and its user forum. Another goal is to offer a consistent release cycle. Sidux comes with a variety of "convenience scripts" and utilities you won't find in Debian proper, that make it easier to do such things as administer your system and install proprietary software.

Slackware 12: The anti-'buntu

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Reviews

Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution; its first version came out in 1993. Version 12 was recently released. As its Wikipedia entry notes, it's got a reputation for sacrificing ease-of-use (in terms of configuration and package management tools provided by the distribution) in favor of letting the end user configure the system and its software by herself.

Alternative GUIs: GoblinX

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Linux

GoblinX is a live Linux distribution based on Slackware 11, written by a Brazillian developer who goes by the pseudonym Grobsch. It comes with five different window managers/GUIs, and uses custom artwork for each of them that's quite unlike anything you've seen before.

Alternative GUIs: SymphonyOS

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Linux

We're all familiar with the "big two" desktops for Linux -- KDE and GNOME. Of course, there are many more to choose from. If you asked a group of Linux users, "Which one is best?", the ensuing debate would likely take on religious overtones. Some would even argue that a desktop like KDE is too hard for newbies to use. Still, it's a safe bet that most Linux users don't stray too far away from those "big two," KDE and GNOME. So it's especially interesting to look at some innovative alternatives.

Fedora 7 "Moonshine": Freedom vs. Ease-of-Use (Part 2)

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Reviews

Part 2 of the Fedora 7 "Moonshine" review.

Fedora 7 "Moonshine": Freedom vs. Ease-of-Use (Part 1)

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Reviews

Fedora 7, a.k.a. "Moonshine," released on May 31, is an odd duck. On the one hand, it's hugely popular. On the other hand, these days, there seems to be an emphasis on being user-friendly (think "Ubuntu"). But Fedora's creators have consciously limited what it can do out of the box.

Blue Belle: Running PCLinuxOS Test 4

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Reviews

PCLinuxOS is an up-and-coming distribution that recently made it into Distrowatch.com's list of Top Ten Distributions. I installed PCLinuxOS Test 4 on a 10 GB partition (with a separate 1 GB /home partition) on an AMD Athlon 2600+ with 640 MB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 6200 LE graphics card. This hardware is no great shakes nowadays, but it's plenty fast enough to run PCLinuxOS with all the bells and whistles.

Linux Mint "Bianca" KDE Edition Beta 020: A Small Review

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Reviews

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro whose goal in life, per its website, "is to produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution." The developers have released both GNOME-based and KDE-based versions in the past, and their latest version, v2.2 "Bianca," is already final in its GNOME incarnation.

The Lazy Guide to Installing Knoppix on a USB Key

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Howtos

Knoppix, the famous live Linux CD that practically started the live CD trend, needs no introduction to most people. One of the things that's so great about it is that you can take it with you and boot to a familiar Linux environment on almost any modern computer, without touching the OS that's already installed on it.

Installing openSUSE 10.2 on a Compaq laptop (Part 2)

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Reviews

In part 1, openSUSE got installed and configured on a Compaq Presario V2000 with an ATI Radeon Xpress 200M PCIE graphics chipset and a 32-bit CPU. Now it's time to go for the bling.

Installing openSUSE 10.2 on a Compaq laptop (Part 1)

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Reviews

My favorite distro faces an uncertain future, so I decided to install openSUSE 10.2 over it on my Compac Presario V2000. Also because... OK, I'll come clean: the real reason was for the eye candy. I wanted Beryl, with the cube, the wobbly windows, the "magic lantern" window minimizing effects, rain, snow -- you know, Eye Candy.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Bring your ideas to the world with kubectl plugins

    kubectl is the most critical tool to interact with Kubernetes and has to address multiple user personas, each with their own needs and opinions. One way to make kubectl do what you need is to build new functionality into kubectl. Challenges with building commands into kubectl However, that’s easier said than done. Being such an important cornerstone of Kubernetes, any meaningful change to kubectl needs to undergo a Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal (KEP) where the intended change is discussed beforehand. When it comes to implementation, you’ll find that kubectl is an ingenious and complex piece of engineering. It might take a long time to get used to the processes and style of the codebase to get done what you want to achieve. Next comes the review process which may go through several rounds until it meets all the requirements of the Kubernetes maintainers – after all, they need to take over ownership of this feature and maintain it from the day it’s merged. When everything goes well, you can finally rejoice. Your code will be shipped with the next Kubernetes release. Well, that could mean you need to wait another 3 months to ship your idea in kubectl if you are unlucky. So this was the happy path where everything goes well. But there are good reasons why your new functionality may never make it into kubectl. For one, kubectl has a particular look and feel and violating that style will not be acceptable by the maintainers. For example, an interactive command that produces output with colors would be inconsistent with the rest of kubectl. Also, when it comes to tools or commands useful only to a minuscule proportion of users, the maintainers may simply reject your proposal as kubectl needs to address common needs. But this doesn’t mean you can’t ship your ideas to kubectl users.

  • Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 Released With More Features For Open-Source, Cross-Platform Automated Benchmarking

    Phoronix Test Suite 9.4-Vestby is now available as one of our largest updates in recent years for our open-source, cross-platform automated benchmarking framework. Almost wanting to rebrand it as Phoronix Test Suite 10, sticking to conventional versioning the Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 release brings numerous result viewer improvements, a lot of polishing to the PDF result exporting, various Microsoft Windows support improvements, new statistics capabilities, some useful new sub-commands, and much more as the latest quarterly feature release.

  • Linux 5.6 Tests On AMD EPYC 7742 vs. Intel Xeon 8280 2P With 100+ Benchmarks

    The latest benchmarks for your viewing pleasure are looking at the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 performance up against the dual AMD EPYC 7742 CPUs while using the in-development Linux 5.6 kernel as the first time trying out these highest-end server processors on this new kernel debuting as stable in about one month's time.

  • PyIDM – An Open Source Alternative to IDM (Internet Download Manager)

    pyIDM is a free, open-source alternative to IDM (Internet Download Manager), used to download general files and videos from youtube as well as other streaming websites. It is developed using Python (requires Python 3.6+) and relies only on open source tools and libraries such as pycurl, youtube_dl, FFmpeg, and pysimplegui. It features multiple-connections, a speed engine (and it offers high download speeds based on libcurl); resume uncompleted downloads, support for fragmented video streams, support for encrypted/non-encrypted HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) media streams. Besides, it also supports scheduling downloads, re-using an existing connection to a remote server, and HTTP proxy support. And it allows users to control options such as selecting a theme (there are 140 themes available), set proxy, selecting segment size, speed limit, maximum concurrent downloads and maximum connections per download.

  • DRM Plugin crashes after openSUSE Tumbleweed update

    A few days ago openSUSE users started complaining about DRM Plugin crashes in Firefox after running a Tumbleweed update. Netflix requires the DRM plugin in Firefox to be able to play encrypted videos. The plugin would crash due to a bug in Firefox 73. While this bug affected not just openSUSE users, but everyone using Firefox 73, it became apparent to TW users as v73 landed in the Tumbleweed repo.

  • How Melissa Di Donato Is Going To Reinvent SUSE

    SUSE is one of the oldest open source companies and the first to market Linux for the enterprise. Even though it has undergone several acquisitions and a merger, it remains a strong player in the business. It has maintained its integrity and core values around open source. It continues to rely on its tried-and-tested Linux business and European markets, and generally shies away from making big moves taking big risks. Until now. SUSE appointed Melissa Di Donato as its first female CEO. She is making some serious changes to the company, from building a diverse and inclusive culture to betting on emerging technologies and taking risks. Soon after taking the helm last year, Di Donato spent the first few months traveling around the globe to meet SUSE teams and customers and get a better sense of the perception of the market about the company. Just like Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, Di Donato didn’t come to the company from an open source background. She had spent the last 25 years of her career as a SUSE customer, so she did have an outsider’s perspective of the company. “I am not interested in what SUSE was when I joined. I am more interested in what we want to become,” she said.

  • Experimental feature: snap refresh awareness and update inhibition

    We’d like to follow up on last week’s article about parallel installs for classic snaps with another bleeding-edge topic. Today, we will discuss snap refreshes. By design, snaps come with automatic updates, and by default, the update (refresh) frequency check is four times a day. Whenever new application versions are published, they soon become available and propagate to all end-user systems. Normally, the process is transparent and seamless, but there could be exceptions. For instance, if you have an app open and running, an update could be disruptive in the middle of your work. Some developers have asked for an option to inhibit refreshes of snaps while they are running, and this is now a new, experimental feature that you can enable and test on your system. [...] The app refresh capability offers snaps users another level of control in the overall user experience. Automatic updates are geared toward security, but users can defer updates for up to 60 days, and now, they also have the ability to gracefully update applications with minimal disruption to their normal usage patterns and workflows. We very much welcome your feedback and suggestions, especially with new and upcoming features. The refresh awareness option is a good example of where the developer feedback has been valuable and useful in making the snap ecosystem even friendlier and more robust. If you have any ideas on this topic – or any other, please join our forum for a discussion.

  • How Domotz streamlined provisioning of IoT devices

    Learn how Ubuntu Core and snaps gives Domotz a competitive advantage As the number of IoT devices scale, the challenges of provisioning and keeping them up to date in the field increases. Domotz, who manufacture an all-in-one, network monitoring and management device for enterprise IoT networks, found themselves with this challenge that was further compounded by their rapid software release cadence. One of the most crucial and difficult aspects for Domotz to solve was the delivery of automatic updates to the tens of thousands of devices deployed. Domotz turned to snaps and Ubuntu Core to meet their exacting requirements. I absolutely believe that Ubuntu Core and snaps give us a competitive advantage. We are the only company in the IoT network management space that can guarantee a secure, always-up-to-date device for our customers’ on-premises deployments.

  • A birthday gift: 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 now only $35

    TL;DR: it’s our eighth birthday, and falling RAM prices have allowed us to cut the price of the 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 to $35. You can buy one here.

  • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2020 [Ed: Redmonk uses to assess programming languages use only projects that Microsoft (a Redmonk client) controls. Some 'research', eh?]
  • Announcing Rust 1.41.1

    The Rust team has published a new point release of Rust, 1.41.1. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software. If you have a previous version of Rust installed via rustup, getting Rust 1.41.1 is as easy as: rustup update stable If you don't have it already, you can get rustup from the appropriate page on our website.

  • This Week in Rust 327
  • Zip Files: History, Explanation and Implementation

    I have been curious about data compression and the Zip file format in particular for a long time. At some point I decided to address that by learning how it works and writing my own Zip program. The implementation turned into an exciting programming exercise; there is great pleasure to be had from creating a well oiled machine that takes data apart, jumbles its bits into a more efficient representation, and puts it all back together again. Hopefully it is interesting to read about too.

    This article explains how the Zip file format and its compression scheme work in great detail: LZ77 compression, Huffman coding, Deflate and all. It tells some of the history, and provides a reasonably efficient example implementation written from scratch in C. The source code is available in hwzip-1.0.zip.

    I am very grateful to Ange Albertini, Gynvael Coldwind, Fabian Giesen, Jonas Skeppstedt (web), Primiano Tucci, and Nico Weber who provided valuable feedback on draft versions of this material.

Netrunner Linux Still Goes Its Own Way at 'Twenty'

The Netrunner distro used to be a bleeding-edge choice among KDE options. With little that's new and must-have, this release takes the edge off the bleeding. I wasn't nudged away from my preferred competing KDE distro -- the new Feren OS Plasma edition. While Netrunner 20.01 provides a fairly solid integration of classic KDE desktop performance, this release is a departure, in that it is not a step or two ahead of most other KDE-integrated Linux OSes. I Netrunner attracts two types of typical users. One fancies a more friendly desktop environment. The second wants the freedom to tweak more extensively than other desktop environments allow. Hardware requirements include a minimum CPU of 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 or greater and at least 1 GB of RAM with at least 10 GB hard drive space. Also, the computer should have Intel GMA 945 graphics card support with 128+ MB of video memory. Netrunner is a unique distro with its own spin on the K Plasma desktop environment. Seasoned Linux users who like to fiddle and tweak an OS into their own platform will love how this distro integrates the KDE Plasma desktop. Newcomers can be quite content using the out-of-the-box settings. Read more

Wind River launches dev site with TensorFlow for Linux and a free VxWorks download

A new “Wind River Labs” developer site hosts projects including TensorFlow for Wind River Linux, the first free VxWorks SDK, and VxWorks BSPs for the Raspberry Pi and UP Squared. One would think that when Wind River decided to launch a public-facing developer site, it would showcase the Yocto Project based Wind River Linux, which is available in a GPL-licensed release on GitHub in addition to the standard commercial version and new continuous integration version. Yet when Wind River announced its new Wind River Labs site this week, its proprietary VxWorks was the star of the show — but with a twist. There’s a new free VxWorks SDK for evaluating the RTOS for non-commercial purposes, as well as open source VxWorks BSPs for the Raspberry Pi and UP Squared boards. Read more

Security, Proprietary Software and Openwashing

  • Linux 4.4.215 / 4.9.215 / 4.14.172 / 5.5.7 Kernels Bringing Intel KVM Security Fix

    A few days back we reported on a security vulnerability within Intel's KVM virtualization code for the Linux kernel. That vulnerability stems from unfinished kernel code and was fixed for Linux 5.6 Git and is now being back-ported to the 4.4 / 4.9 / 4.14 / 5.5 supported kernels. Back on Monday when the CVE-2020-2732 patches first came to light, little was publicly known about the issue but that it stemmed from incomplete code in the vmx_check_intercept functionality in not checking all possible intercepts and in turn could end up emulating instructions that should be disabled by the hypervisor.

  • Let's Encrypt Has Issued a Billion Certificates

    We issued our billionth certificate on February 27, 2020. We’re going to use this big round number as an opportunity to reflect on what has changed for us, and for the Internet, leading up to this event. In particular, we want to talk about what has happened since the last time we talked about a big round number of certificates - one hundred million. One thing that’s different now is that the Web is much more encrypted than it was. In June of 2017 approximately 58% of page loads used HTTPS globally, 64% in the United States. Today 81% of page loads use HTTPS globally, and we’re at 91% in the United States! This is an incredible achievement. That’s a lot more privacy and security for everybody. Another thing that’s different is that our organization has grown a bit, but not by much! In June of 2017 we were serving approximately 46M websites, and we did so with 11 full time staff and an annual budget of $2.61M. Today we serve nearly 192M websites with 13 full time staff and an annual budget of approximately $3.35M. This means we’re serving more than 4x the websites with only two additional staff and a 28% increase in budget. The additional staff and budget did more than just improve our ability to scale though - we’ve made improvements across the board to provide even more secure and reliable service. Nothing drives adoption like ease of use, and the foundation for ease of use in the certificate space is our ACME protocol. ACME allows for extensive automation, which means computers can do most of the work. It was also standardized as RFC 8555 in 2019, which allows the Web community to confidently build an even richer ecosystem of software around it. Today, thanks to our incredible community, there is an ACME client for just about every deployment environment. Certbot is one of our favorites, and they’ve been working hard to make it even easier for people to use.

  • The “Cloud Snooper” malware that sneaks into your Linux servers [Ed: Sophos citing itself, hyping up the threat is installing malicious software on one's own server]

    SophosLabs has just published a detailed report about a malware attack dubbed Cloud Snooper. The reason for the name is not so much that the attack is cloud-specific (the technique could be used against pretty much any server, wherever it’s hosted), but that it’s a sneaky way for cybercrooks to open up your server to the cloud, in ways you very definitely don’t want, “from the inside out”. The Cloud Snooper report covers a whole raft of related malware samples that our researchers found deployed in combination.

  • OpenSMTPD Email Server Vulnerability Threatens Many Linux and BSD Systems [Ed: It is this package, not the operating systems (GNU/Linux rarely uses this)]

    A critical vulnerability has been discovered in the OpenBSD email server OpenSMTPD. Exploiting the flaw could allow remote code execution attacks. The seriousness of the vulnerability poses a threat to the integrity of OpenBSD and Linux systems.

  • A billion Wi-Fi devices suffer from a newly discovered security fla

    More than a billion internet-connected devices—including Apple's iPhone and Amazon's Echo—are affected by a security vulnerability that could allow [attackers] to spy on traffic sent over Wi-Fi.

  • New ‘Haken’ Malware Found On Eight Apps In Google Play Store

    Eight apps – mostly camera utilities and children’s games – were discovered spreading a new malware strain that steals data and signs victims up for expensive premium services.

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  • What does it take to commit to 100% open source?
                                 
                                   

    While experts in the database market in particular agree that open source is becoming the norm, the question remains, just how open is this sector’s open-source software? Can software providers realistically succeed with a company that’s 100% open source? Furthermore, would a proprietary infrastructure software provider with a freemium tier be able to achieve the same benefits as those committing to open source?

                                   

    The short answer is, yes — a proprietary infrastructure software company with a freemium tier could theoretically achieve the same benefits as companies going fully open source. However, it’s important to recognize that it would take a freemium model company a significantly longer period of time for its software to mature to the same level as that of an open-source company. Also, the loss of collaborative development and slower feedback loops would likely lead to a higher probability of the software never achieving market traction and ultimately fading away into oblivion.

  • Mirantis: Balancing Open Source With Guardrails

    Mirantis, an open infrastructure company that rose to popularity with its OpenStack offering, is now moving into the Kubernetes space very aggressively. Last year, the company acquired the Docker Enterprise business from Docker. This week, it announced that they were hiring the Kubernetes experts from the Finnish company Kontena and established a Mirantis office in Finland, expanding the company’s footprint in Europe. Mirantis already has a significant presence in Europe due to large customers such as Bosch and Volkswagen.