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Programming/Development: Minicoin, GNU Gengetop and Python

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  • Building and testing on multiple platforms – introducing minicoin

    While working with large-scale (thousands of hosts), distributed (globally) systems, one of my favourite, albeit somewhat gruesome, metaphors was that of “servers as cattle” vs “servers as pets”. Pet-servers are those we groom manually, we keep them alive, and we give them nice names by which to remember and call (ie ssh into) them. However, once you are dealing with hundreds of machines, manually managing their configuration is no longer an option. And once you have thousands of machines, something will break all the time, and you need to be able to provision new machines quickly, and automatically, without having to manually follow a list of complicated instructions.

    When working with such systems, we use configuration management systems such as CFEngine, Chef, Puppet, or Ansible, to automate the provisioning and configuration of machines. When working in the cloud, the entire machine definition becomes “infrastructure as code”. With these tools, servers become cattle which – so the rather unvegetarian idea – is simply “taken behind the barn and shot” when it doesn’t behave like it should. We can simply bring a new machine, or an entire environment, up by running the code that defines it. We can use the same code to bring production, development, and testing environments up, and we can look at the code to see exactly what the differences between those environments are. The tooling in this space is fairly complex, but even so there is little focus on developers writing native code targeting multiple platforms.

    For us as developers, the machine we write our code on is most likely a pet. Our primary workstation dying is the stuff for nightmares, and setting up a new machine will probably keep us busy for many days. But this amount of love and care is perhaps not required for those machines that we only need for checking whether our code builds and runs correctly. We don’t need our test machines to be around for a long time, and we want to know exactly how they are set up so that we can compare things. Applying the concepts from cloud computing and systems engineering to this problem lead me (back) to Vagrant, which is a popular tool to manage virtual machines locally and to share development environments.

  • GNU Gengetopt - News: 2.23 released

    New version (2.23) was released. Main changes were in build system, so please report any issues you notice.

  • Abolishing SyntaxError: invalid syntax ...

    Do you remember when you first started programming (possibly with Python) and encountered an error message that completely baffled you? For some reason, perhaps because you were required to complete a formal course or because you were naturally persistent, you didn't let such messages discourage you entirely and you persevered. And now, whenever you see such cryptic error messages, you can almost immediately decipher them and figure out what causes them and fix the problem.

  • Sending email with EZGmail and Python
  • Creating and Importing Modules in Python

Programming/Development: GNU Releases, Bash, Python and JavaScript

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GNU

Programming: VIM, Python, Knative, Glibc and GCC

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Learn Linux Kernel Device Drivers With Linux Foundation Instructor Bill Kerr

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Linux

Bill Kerr has taught Linux Foundation courses in Linux Kernel internals, debugging, device drivers and application development for many years. He helped write the original Linux Foundation Training course materials and has been working with UNIX kernels for 35 years.

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8 Ways to Write a Better Linux SysAdmin Job Posting

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GNU
Linux

Linux system administrators are in high demand these days and many hiring managers say they're having a hard time finding talent to fill their open positions. It's critical, then, for companies seeking skilled admins to hone their recruiting process in order to stay competitive – and this starts with writing an effective job posting.

Unfortunately, many companies aren't hitting the mark. Job postings for sysadmin positions are largely similar; they’re boring and generic, according to New York City-based recruiter Steve Levy.

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Sourceforge Hijacks the Nmap Sourceforge Account

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Development

Hi Folks! You may have already read the recent news about Sourceforge.net
hijacking the GIMP project account to distribute adware/malware.
Previously GIMP used this Sourceforge account to distribute their Windows
installer, but they quit after Sourceforge started tricking users with fake
download buttons which lead to malware rather than GIMP. Then Sourceforge
took over GIMP's account and began distributing a trojan installer which
tries to trick users into installing various malware and adware before
actually installing GIMP.

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Slashdot Burying Stories About Slashdot Media Owned SourceForge

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Development

If you’ve followed any tech news aggregator in the past week, you’ve probably seen the story about how SourceForge is taking over admin accounts for existing projects and injecting adware in installers for packages like GIMP. For anyone not following the story, SourceForge has a long history of adware laden installers, but they used to be opt-in. It appears that the process is now mandatory for many projects.

People have been wary of SourceForge ever since they added a feature to allow projects to opt-in to adware bundling, but you could at least claim that projects are doing it by choice. But now that SourceForge is clearly being malicious, they’ve wiped out all of the user trust that was built up over sixteen years of operating. No clueful person is going to ever download something from SourceForge again. If search engines start penalizing SourceForge for distributing adware, they won’t even get traffic from people who haven’t seen this story, wiping out basically all of their value.

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SourceForge commits reputational suicide

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Development

Despite seeming reformed last year, SourceForge has been caught red-handed abusing the reputations of open source projects

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SourceForge locked in projects of fleeing users, cashed in on malvertising [Updated]

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Development

The takeover of the SourceForge account for the Windows version of the open-source GIMP image editing tool reported by Ars last week is hardly the first case of the once-pioneering software repository attempting to cash in on open-source projects that have gone inactive or have actually attempted to shut down their SourceForge accounts. Over the past few years, SourceForge (launched by VA Linux Systems in 1999 and now owned by the tech job site company previously known as Dice) has made it a business practice to turn abandoned or inactive projects into platforms for distribution of "bundle-ware" installers.

Despite promises to avoid deceptive advertisements that trick site visitors into downloading unwanted software and malware onto their computers, these malicious ads are legion on projects that have been taken over by SourceForge's anonymous editorial staff. SourceForge's search engine ranking for these projects often makes the site the first link provided to people seeking downloads for code on Google and Bing search results.

And because of SourceForge's policies, it's nearly impossible for open-source projects to get their code removed from the site. SourceForge is, in essence, the Hotel California of code repositories: you can check your project out any time you want, but you can never leave.

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[Ed: Why am I not surprised?]

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today's howtos

Elementary OS is the latest group to ditch Medium for their own blog

Elementary OS – a Linux distribution (distro) built on top of the large, company-backed giant Ubuntu – is a mom-and-pop store by comparison. But it's also one that's managed to capture the attention of even some seasoned Linux users thanks to its focus on user interface (UI) and even user experience (UX) – something often lacking from the more spartan distros. With their focus on icon and UI themes sometimes suspiciously reminiscent of Apple's interfaces – the Elementary OS team have also earned themselves something of a label of “hipsters” in the community. Hence, their decision some years ago to communicate news about the project by hosting their blog on another largely “hipster” online venue – Medium – was little surprise. What's somewhat surprising is the about-face that the project is now making in leaving Medium for the sake of building their own blog hosted on GitHub Pages – using the static generator Jekyll. Read more

Linux Foundation and Intel: Confidential Computing Consortium, OpenGL 4.6 Support For Mesa 19.2 and More

  • New Cross-Industry Effort to Advance Computational Trust and Security for Next-Generation Cloud and Edge Computing

    The Linux Foundation today announced the intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium, a community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. Companies committed to this work include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent. Across industries computing is moving to span multiple environments, from on premises to public cloud to edge. As companies move these workloads to different environments, they need protection controls for sensitive IP and workload data and are increasingly seeking greater assurances and more transparency of these controls. Current approaches in cloud computing address data at rest and in transit but encrypting data in use is considered the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data. Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users.

  • The Linux Foundation, Intel & Co Form The Confidential Computing Consortium

    In kicking off the Open Source Summit that has returned to San Diego, the Linux Foundation has announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium in collaboration with Intel and other companies. The initial batch of companies forming the Confidential Computing Consortium include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent. This consortium will focus on providing greater transparency and control over user data, reduce exposure to sensitive data, and other protections by means of open-source tooling and hardware advancements around trusted execution environments.

  • Intel's OpenGL Linux Driver Now Has OpenGL 4.6 Support For Mesa 19.2

    Two years after the OpenGL 4.6 specification was announced, Intel's open-source OpenGL Linux driver is now officially advertising the support after today landing the remaining SPIR-V enablement work. For the better part of the past two years the Intel OpenGL Linux drivers were held up from having GL 4.6 due to the ARB_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions extensions for better interoperability with Vulkan. But today those extensions are now crossed off the list and OpenGL 4.6 is finally in Mesa core with Intel's i965/Iris drivers being the first.

  • Intel Launches 10th Gen "Comet Lake" Laptop CPUs For Laptops & 2-in-1s

    Earlier this month Intel announced 11 Icelake CPUs for laptops and 2-in1s under their 10th Gen CPU line-up. Today the company announced the 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs also for 2-in-1s and laptops.

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

  • Joey Hess: releasing two haskell libraries in one day: libmodbus and git-lfs

    The first library is a libmodbus binding in haskell. There are a couple of other haskell modbus libraries, but none that support serial communication out of the box. I've been using a python library to talk to my solar charge controller, but it is not great at dealing with the slightly flakey interface. The libmodbus C library has features that make it more robust, and it also supports fast batched reads. So a haskell interface to it seemed worth starting while I was doing laundry, and then for some reason it seemed worth writing a whole bunch more FFIs that I may never use, so it covers libmodbus fairly extensively. 660 lines of code all told. Writing a good binding to a C library has art to it. I've seen ones that are so close you feel you're writing C and not haskell. On the other hand, some are so far removed from the underlying library that its documentation does not carry over at all. I tried to strike a balance. Same function names so the extensive libmodbus documentation is easy to refer to while using it, but plenty of haskell data types so you won't mix up the parity with the stop bits.

  • Misc Developer News (#49)
    The news are collected on https://wiki.debian.org/DeveloperNews
    Please contribute short news about your work/plans/subproject.
    
    In this issue:
     + Self-service buildd givebacks
     + Removal of the mips architecture
     + Superficial package testing
     + Debian Developers Reference now maintained as ReStructuredText
     + Scope of debian-mentors broadened to help with infrastructure questions
     + Hiding package tracker action items
    
    Self-service buildd givebacks
    -----------------------------
    
     Philipp Kern has created[1] an *experimental* service that allows Debian
     members to perform self-service retries of failed package builds (aka
     give-backs). This service aims to reduce the time it takes for give-back
     requests to be processed, which was done manually by the wanna-build
     admins until now. The service is authenticated using the Debian Single
     Signon[2] service. Debian members are still expected to act responsibly
     when looking at build failures; do your due diligence and try reproducing
     the issue on a porterbox first. Access to this service is logged and logs
     will be audited by the admins.
    
  • Debian Guts Support For Old MIPS CPUs

    Debian developers have decided to remove the 32-bit MIPS big-endian architecture. Debian will continue to maintain MIPSEL and MIPS64EL but the older 32-bit big-endian variant of MIPS will be no more. Debian developers decided to drop the older 32-bit BE support due to it being limited to 2GB of virtual address space and it being one of the remaining holdouts of big endian architectures for Debian. Not to mention, there hasn't been much interest in the older MIPS 32-bit BE target in a while either.

  • Alpha: Self-service buildd givebacks

    Builds on Debian's build farm sometimes fail transiently. Sometimes those failures are legitimate flakes, for instance when an in-progress build happens to exhaust its resources because of other builds on the same machine. Until now, you always needed to mail the buildd, wanna-build admins or the Release Team directly in order to get the builds re-queued. As an alpha trial I implemented self-service givebacks as a web script. As SSO for Debian developers is now a thing, it is trivial to add authentication in a way that a role account can use to act on your behalf. While at work this would all be an RPC service, I figured that a little CGI script would do the job just as well.

  • Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon Edition – Ships With Cinnamon 4.2 and Uses Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Package Base

    Linux Mint 19.2 has been released and announced by Linux Mint Project, now available to download which ship with the Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce editions both for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. It’s powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel and uses the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS package base, which will be supported for five years until 2023. Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon edition features latest version of Cinnamon desktop 4.2 with new features and updates. Although the amount of RAM consumed by Cinnamon largely depends on the video driver, Cinnamon uses significantly less RAM than before. The application menu is faster and it now identifies and distinguishes duplicates. If two applications have the same name, the menu will show more information about them. Scrollbars are now configurable and Nemo file manager support pin file and folder .

  • Jupyter looks to distro-agnostic packaging for the democratisation of installation

    When users of your application range from high school students to expert data scientists, it’s often wise to avoid any assumptions about their system configurations. The Jupyter Notebook is popular with a diverse user base, enabling the creation and sharing of documents containing live code, visualisations, and narrative text. The app uses processes (kernels) to run interactive code in different programming languages and send output back to the user. Filipe Fernandes has a key responsibility for Jupyter packaging and ease of installation. At the 2019 Snapcraft Summit in Montreal, he gave us his impressions of snaps as a tool to improve the experience for all concerned. “I’m a packager and a hacker, and I’m also a Jupyter user. I find Jupyter to be great as a teaching tool. Others use it for data cleaning and analysis, numerical simulation and modelling, or machine learning, for example. One of the strengths of Jupyter is that it is effectively language agnostic. I wanted Jupyter packaging to be similar, distro-agnostic, if you like.” Filipe had heard about snaps a while back, but only really discovered their potential after he received an invitation to the Snapcraft Summit and noticed that Microsoft Visual Studio Code had recently become available as a snap. The ease of use of snaps was a big factor for him. “I like things that just work. I often get hauled in to sort out installation problems for other users – including members of my own family! It’s great to be able to tell them just to use the snap version of an application. It’s like, I snap my fingers and the install problems disappear!”