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Devuan Releases Beta of Systemd-Free 'Debian Fork' Base System (devuan.org) 152

jaromil writes: Devuan beta is released today, following up the Debian fork declaration and progress made during the past two years. Devuan now provides an alternative upgrade path to Debian, and switching is easy from both Wheezy and Jessie. From The Register: "Devuan came into being after a rebellion by a self-described 'Veteran Unix Admin collective' argued that Debian had betrayed its roots and was becoming too desktop-oriented. The item to which they objected most vigorously was the inclusion of the systemd bootloader. The rebels therefore decided to fork Debian and 'preserve Init freedom.' The group renamed itself and its distribution 'Devuan' and got work, promising a fork that looked, felt, and quacked like Debian in all regards other than imposing systemd as the default Init option."

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Available To Download; Mozilla To Offer 0-Day Firefox Releases Via Snaps 74

Reader prisoninmate writes: The latest, and hopefully, the greatest version of Ubuntu is now available to download. On the sidelines, Mozilla today announced the availability of future releases of its popular Firefox web browser in the snap package format for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Earlier today, Canonical unleashed the final release of the highly anticipated Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, bringing users a great set of new features and improvements. Also today, it looks like Canonical has renewed its partnership with Mozilla to offer Firefox as the default web browser on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and upcoming releases of the Linux kernel-based operating systems. As part of the new partnership, Mozilla is committed to distributing future versions of Firefox as a snap package. Having Firefox distributed in the snap format means that you'll have 0-day releases in Ubuntu 16.04. Yes, just like Windows and Mac OS X, users are enjoying their 0-day releases of Mozilla Firefox and don't have to wait for package maintainers of a particular GNU/Linux distribution to update the software in the main repositories. For Mozilla, having Firefox as a snap package means that they'll be able to continually optimize it for Ubuntu.

Nest Reminds Customers That Ownership Isn't What It Used To Be (eff.org) 268

Alphabet-owned Nest recently announced that it will be turning off Revolv Hub next month. An anonymous reader shares an article on EFF, a privacy rights group: Nest Labs, a home automation company acquired by Google in 2014, will disable some of its customers' home automation control devices in May. This move is causing quite a stir among people who purchased the $300 Revolv Hub devices -- customers who reasonably expected that the promised "lifetime" of updates would enable the hardware they paid for to actually work, only to discover the manufacturer can turn their device into a useless brick when it so chooses. This is far from the first time that customers' software and electronics have been downgraded by manufacturers. Updates can disable features the customer paid for that have fallen out of favor with the vendor, as when Google disabled privacy settings on Android or Sony took away the ability to run GNU/Linux on a Playstation 3. Manufacturers can even render a device unusable until the customer "agrees" to new terms of use, as Nintendo did with the Wii U. Other software and devices, including some video games, are designed so they simply stop working when they can no longer dial home to a server run by the vendor.

Ubuntu Budgie Could Be The New Flavor of Ubuntu Linux (softpedia.com) 116

prisoninmate writes: Budgie-Remix maintainer David Mohammed informs Softpedia about the progress made with the upcoming operating system, whose ultimate goal is to become an official Ubuntu Linux flavor, possibly under the name of Ubuntu Budgie. Even Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said in a Google+ comment last month that it will definitely support if there is a community around the packaging. Since their initial report, it looks like the developer managed to get in contact with the Ubuntu MATE project leader Martin Wimpress, who urged him to target Ubuntu 16.10 for an official status of his soon-to-be-named Ubuntu flavor built on top of the Budgie desktop environment created by the team of developers from Solus Project.
Open Source

Torvalds' Secret Sauce For Linux: Willing To Be Wrong (ieee.org) 273

An anonymous reader writes: Linux turns 25 this year(!!). To mark the event, IEEE Spectrum has a piece on the history of Linux and why it succeeded where others failed. In an accompanying question and answer with Linus Torvalds, Torvalds explains the combination of youthful chutzpah, openness to other's ideas, and a willingness to unwind technical decisions that he thinks were critical to the OS's development: "I credit the fact that I didn't know what the hell I was setting myself up for for a lot of the success of Linux. [...] The thing about bad technical decisions is that you can always undo them. [...] I'd rather make a decision that turns out to be wrong later than waffle about possible alternatives for too long."
GNU is Not Unix

Git 2.8 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 87

prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: Git 2.8 has been released on March 28, and we have to admit that it comes as a huge surprise to us all. Prominent features of Git 2.8 include parallel fetches of submodules, which allows for the inclusion of other Git repositories in a single Git repo when using the "git submodules" command, support for turning off Git's smudge and clean filters, and support for cloning repos through the rsync protocol. The Git for Windows build received a lot of attention in Git 2.8 and it looks like it's now as comfortable to use as it is on the GNU/Linux and Mac OS X platforms. Also, it is now possible to tell Git not to guess your identity, which, instead, forces you to add a user.name and user.email before doing any commits. Check out the the full release notes for the complete list.
GNU is Not Unix

Linux 4.6 Brings NVIDIA GTX 900 Support, OrangeFS, Better Power Management (phoronix.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.6-rc1 kernel has been released. New to the Linux 4.6 kernel are a significant number of new features including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 open-source 3D support when using the closed-source firmware files, Dell XPS 13 Skylake laptop support, a fix for laptops that were limiting their own performance due to incorrectly thinking they were overheating, AHCI runtime power management support, Intel graphics power management features enabled by default, a new file-system (OrangeFS), and a range of other improvements.
GNU is Not Unix

GNOME 3.20 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 193

prisoninmate writes: After yet another six months of hard work, the highly anticipated GNOME 3.20 desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems has been officially released on March 23, 2016. Release highlights include support for operating system upgrades via GNOME Software, middle-click paste, kinetic scrolling, drag-and-drop support for Wayland, keyboard shortcuts and gestures overlay for most of the core apps, XDG-Apps technology for installing multiple versions of an app, and much more goodies.

Meet UbuntuBSD, UNIX For Human Beings 219

prisoninmate writes: What's ubuntuBSD? Well, it's not that hard to figure out yourself, but just in case you're not sure, we can tell you that ubuntuBSD promises to bring the power of the FreeBSD kernel to Ubuntu Linux. The best part of using the FreeBSD kernel is that you'll end up using the famous Z File System, or ZFS. Xfce is also included along with the popular Firefox, LibreOffice, and Ubuntu Software Center apps. ubuntuBSD is inspired by the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD project, it is hosted on SourceForge, and has been created by Jon Boden.
GNU is Not Unix

GNU Project Introduces Gneural Network AI Package (gnu.org) 95

jones_supa writes: The GNU free software project is introducing a new neural network computation package called Gneural Network. The GNU project has been impressed by the work of Google, IBM, AlphaGo and Watson on the field of artificial intelligence. However, the GNU project sees that the fact that only companies and labs have access to this technology can represent a threat: "First of all, we cannot know how money driven companies are going to use this novel technology. Second, this monopoly slows down Progress and Technology." This is why the author, Jean Michel Sellier, decided to create Gneural Network and release it under the GNU GPL license. In the current release (version number humbly set to 0.0.1), it is a very simple feedforward network which can learn very simple tasks such as curve fitting, but the development team plans to deliver more advanced features very soon. They are already spending efforts to implement a network of LSTM (long short term memory) neurons for recurrent networks and deep learning. Learning reinforcement techniques are also planned.

Microsoft Releases First Public Preview of RTVS Under MIT and GPLv2 Licenses (microsoft.com) 57

shutdown -p now writes: Microsoft has released the first public preview of RTVS (R Tools for Visual Studio), an extension for Visual Studio that adds support for the R (GNU S) programming language. The product is open source, and while most of the code is under the MIT license, some components are GPLv2, in accordance with the R license. That's not the first time this week (or this year) that Microsoft's open source efforts have been front-page news; with its new role in the Eclipse Foundation, too, the company's angling toward being one of the largest open source companies around, even if that's a small part of its business model. Update: 03/09 19:03 GMT by T : Speaking of which: reader Salgak1 writes with his first submission, linking the Register's report that Microsoft has released a Debian-based Linux distro, called SONIC. "It is optimized for network switching, and apparently is a localized version of the "Azure Cloud Switch" released into the Azure cloud hosting system. Question is, is it just another Microsoft "Embrace, Extend. Extinguish" strategy in action?"
Data Storage

OwnCloud Server 9.0 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 82

prisoninmate writes: OwnCloud Server 9.0 is without any doubt the biggest release of the world's leading file sharing and sync solution, which is used by over 8 million users around the globe. It promises to bring the collaboration and federation features to new levels thanks to the addition of new, innovative tools, as well as to improve the software's scalability. One of ownCloud 9.0's new features is code signing, which promises to offer users with a safer home for all their data by verifying the integrity of their ownCloud installations during upgrades or when installing apps, which also need to follow the new code signing specifications. The community edition of ownCloud Server 9.0 is available for download right now via Softpedia as a source package that you can deploy on your Linux kernal-based server, or straight from the project's website as binary packages for various GNU/Linux operating systems. OwnCloud Server 9.0 Enterprise Edition will be released in April 2016.
Classic Games (Games)

MAME Released Under OSI-Compliant, FSF-Approved License (mamedev.org) 41

New submitter _merlin writes: MAMEdev just announced that MAME (formerly Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is now entirely available under OSI-comliant, FSF-approved licenses. The project as a whole is available under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPL-2.0), while individual source files are available under BSD-3-Clause, LGPL-2.1 or GPL-2.0 (all compatible with GPL-2.0). Over 90% of the code, including core functionality, is available under the BSD-3-Clause license.
GNU is Not Unix

Guix Gets Grafts: Timely Delivery of Security Updates 13

paroneayea writes: GNU Guix, the functional package manager (and with GuixSD, distribution) got a nice feature yesterday: timely delivery of security updates with grafts. Guix's new grafts feature recursively produces re-linked packages as dependencies without waiting for all to compile when a time-sensitive security upgrade is an issue. This came just in time for this week's OpenSSL security issues, and has been successfully tested by the community. It worked so well that it was able to reproduce the ABI break issue that other traditional distributions experienced also!

Magnitude of glibc Vulnerability Coming To Light (threatpost.com) 139

msm1267 writes: The glibc vulnerability disclosed this week has some experts on edge because of how DNS can leveraged in exploits. Dan Kaminsky said that while man-in-the-middle attacks are one vector, it would appear that it's also possible to exploit the bug and attack most Linux servers via DNS caching-only servers. 'This would be substantially worse if it went through the caching ecosystem; 99 percent of attack vectors go through that system,' Kaminsky said. Glibc, or the GNU C library, is used by most flavors of Linux and also a number of popular web services and frameworks, giving attacks potentially massive horizontal scale. The major Linux distros have patched and pushed updates to servers; source code is also available for homegrown Linux builds.

Red Hat, Google Disclose Severe Glibc DNS Vulnerability; Patched But Widespread 121

An anonymous reader writes: Today Google's online security team publicly disclosed a severe vulnerability in the Gnu C Library's DNS client. Due to the ubiquity of Glibc, this affects an astounding number of machines and software running on the internet, and raises questions about whether Glibc ought to still be the preferred C library when alternatives like musl are gaining maturity. As one example of the range of software affected, nearly every Bitcoin implementation is affected. Reader msm1267 adds some information about the vulnerability, discovered independently by security researchers at Red Hat as well as at Google, which has since been patched: The flaw, CVE-2015-7547, is a stack-based buffer overflow in the glibc DNS client-side resolver that puts Linux machines at risk for remote code execution. The flaw is triggered when the getaddrinfo() library function is used, Google said today in its advisory. "A back of the envelope analysis shows that it should be possible to write correctly formed DNS responses with attacker controlled payloads that will penetrate a DNS cache hierarchy and therefore allow attackers to exploit machines behind such caches," Red Hat said in an advisory. It's likely that all Linux servers and web frameworks such as Rails, PHP and Python are affected, as well as Android apps running glibc.
GNU is Not Unix

Talos Secure Workstation Is Free-Software Centric — and $3100 [Updated] 117

jones_supa writes: These days, the motivation to use open source software for many people is to avoid backdoors placed by intelligence organizations and to avoid software that has hidden privacy-intruding characteristics. For the operating system and userspace software, open choices are already available. The last remaining island has been the firmware included in various ROM chips in a computer. Libreboot has introduced an open BIOS, but it is not available for newer systems featuring the Intel ME or AMD PSP management features. Talos' Secure Workstation fills this need, providing a modern system with 8-core POWER8 CPU, 132 GB RAM, and open firmware. The product is currently in a pre-release phase where Raptor Engineering is trying to understand if it's possible to do a production run of the machine. If you are interested, it's worth visiting the official website. Adds an anonymous reader about the new system, which rings in at a steep $3100: "While the engineers found solace in the POWER8 architecture with being more open than AMD/Intel CPUs, they still are searching for a graphics card that is open enough to receive the FSF Respect Your Freedom certification." Update: 02/08 18:44 GMT by T : See also Linux hacker and IBM employee Stewart Smith's talk from the just-completed linux.conf.au on, in which he walks through "all of the firmware components and what they do, including the boot sequence from power being applied up to booting an operating system." Update: 02/08 23:30 GMT by T :FSF Licensing & Compliance Manager Joshua Gay wrote to correct the headline originally appeared with this story, which said that the Talos workstation described was "FSF Certified"; that claim was an error I introduced. "The FSF has not certified this hardware," says Gay, "nor is it currently reviewing the hardware for FSF certification." Sorry for the confusion.
Operating Systems

GNU Hurd Begins Supporting Sound, Still Working On 64-bit & USB Support (phoronix.com) 312

An anonymous reader writes: GNU developer Samuel Thibault presented at this weekend's FOSDEM conference about the current state of GNU Hurd. He shared that over the past year they've started working on experimental sound support as their big new feature. They also have x86 64-bit support to the point that the kernel can boot, but not much beyond that stage yet. USB and other functionality remains a work-in-progress. Those curious about this GNU kernel project can find more details via the presentation media.
Hardware Hacking

Collecting Private Flight Data On the World Economic Forum Attendees With RTL-SDR (qz.com) 88

An anonymous reader writes: Every year politicians and business men meet at the World Economic Forum in the small mountain town of Davos, Switzerland to discuss various topics and create business deals. This year Quartz, an online newspaper/magazine sent a journalist to the forum tasked with writing a unconventional story about the forum: he was asked to monitor the private helicopter traffic coming in and out of Davos from transponder broadcast of ADS-B data. Using an $20 RTL-SDR dongle, Raspberry Pi and ADS-B collinear antenna they monitored the flights over Davos. From the data they were able to determine the flight paths that many helicopters took, the types of helicopters used and the most popular flight times.
GNU is Not Unix

GNU Emacs Now Has Native Support For GTK Widgets (phoronix.com) 133

An anonymous reader writes: The GNU Emacs text editor now has merged the X Widgets branch. What this work allows is for embedding GTK+ user interface widgets within Emacs for features like landing MPlayer or a full web browser in Emacs. This allows now for more endless opportunities for the 40 year old GNU text editor. The X/GTK widgets support will come with GNU Emacs 25.1.

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