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Security

Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure 375

jones_supa writes: One thing we all remember from Windows NT is the security feature requiring the user to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to unlock the workstation (this can still be enabled with a policy setting). The motivation was to make it impossible for other programs to mimic a lock screen, as they couldn't react to the special key combination. Martin Gräßlin from the KDE team takes a look at the lock screen security on X11. On a protocol level, X11 doesn't know anything of screen lockers. Also the X server doesn't know that the screen is locked as it doesn't understand the concept. This means the screen locker can only use the core functionality available to emulate screen locking. That in turn also means that any other client can do the same and prevent the screen locker from working (for example opening a context menu on any window prevents the screen locker from activating). That's quite a bummer: any process connected to the X server can block the screen locker, and even more it could fake your screen locker.
X

X Window System Turns 30 Years Old 204

An anonymous reader writes "One of the oldest pieces of the Linux desktop stack still widely in use today is the X Window System that today is commonly referred to as X11 or in recent years the X.Org Server. The X Window System predates the Linux kernel, the Free Software Foundation, GCC, and other key pieces of the Linux infrastructure — or most software widely-used in general. Today marks 30 years since the announcement of X at MIT when it was introduced to Project Athena." X wasn't new when I first saw it, on Sun workstations the summer before I started college. When did you first encounter it?
X

23-Year-Old X11 Server Security Vulnerability Discovered 213

An anonymous reader writes "The recent report of X11/X.Org security in bad shape rings more truth today. The X.Org Foundation announced today that they've found a X11 security issue that dates back to 1991. The issue is a possible stack buffer overflow that could lead to privilege escalation to root and affects all versions of the X Server back to X11R5. After the vulnerability being in the code-base for 23 years, it was finally uncovered via the automated cppcheck static analysis utility." There's a scanf used when loading BDF fonts that can overflow using a carefully crafted font. Watch out for those obsolete early-90s bitmap fonts.
Software

Gate One Will Support X11: Fast Enough To Run VLC In Your Browser 164

Riskable writes "Ever seen a remote desktop tool that's fast/efficient enough to play back video? Gate One will soon have that capability via the forthcoming X11 support (as demonstrated in the video). I am posting this to Slashdot looking for suggestions and feedback as to how I should move forward with it before I solidify the architecture, API, and even the business end of it (making money). I'll be watching the thread and replying to comments (as I have time). Also, if you're interested you can sign up to be notified when it's available." We've posted a few stories about Gate One previously.
Chromium

Chromium To Support Wayland 61

sfcrazy writes "Chromium developers have started porting Chromium to X11 alternatives such as Wayland. Tiago Vignatti sent a message to the freedesktop mailing list, 'Today we are launching publicly Ozone-Wayland, which is the implementation of Chromium's Ozone for supporting Wayland graphics system. Different projects based on Chromium/Blink like the Chrome browser, ChromeOS, among others can be enabled now using Wayland.'"
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 13.10 Will Not Ship Mir By Default 165

An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu 13.10 is due for release later this month, and the Ubuntu developers were planning to replace the native X Server with Mir/XMir as Canonical's next-generation Ubuntu display server. However, they have now decided Mir will not be the Ubuntu 13.10 default on the desktop over the XMir X11 compatibility layer suffering multi-monitor issues and other problems. Canonical still says they will use Mir for Ubuntu Touch 13.10 images and remain committed to the Mir project."
Graphics

Canonical To Ship Mir Display Server In Ubuntu 13.10 122

An anonymous reader writes "Canonical has announced today that they intend to ship the Mir Display Server by default in Ubuntu 13.10, rather than Ubuntu 14.04 as originally planned. They moved ahead their Mir adoption since the code is materializing and they want Mir/XMir widely tested prior to the Ubuntu 14.04 Long-Term Support release. Mir in Ubuntu 13.10 will be using the XMir X11 compatibility layer to run the Unity 7 desktop and there will be fallback support for running an X.Org Server if the graphics drivers don't support Mir."
Graphics

More From Canonical Employee On: "Why Mir?" 337

An anonymous reader writes "Canonical Desktop and Mobile Engineer Christopher Halse Rogers explains in more detail the decision for Mir as apposed to Wayland. Although Halse Rogers 'was not involved in the original decision to create Mir,' he's had 'discussions with those who were.' 'We want something like Wayland, but different in almost all the details.' 'The upsides of doing our own thing — we can do exactly and only what we want, we can build an easily-testable codebase, we can use our own infrastructure, we don't have an additional layer of upstream review.' In a separate post Halse Rogers answer the question: Does this fragment the Linux graphics driver space?"
GUI

Wayland 1.0 Released, Not Yet Ready To Replace X11 455

An anonymous reader writes "After being talked about for four years, Wayland 1.0 was released today. The Wayland 1.0 release doesn't mark it yet as being ready for Linux desktop usage but just being API/protocol stable for future expansion. Wayland will now maintain backwards compatibility going forward, but how much longer will it take to replace X11 on the Linux desktop? Quite a while seems likely."
X

Ubuntu Dumps X For Unity On Wayland 640

An anonymous reader writes "Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu will move away from the traditional X.org display environment to Wayland — a more modern alternative. The move means there is now little reason for GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system. Shuttleworth said, 'We're confident we’ll be able to retain the ability to run X applications in a compatibility mode, so this is not a transition that needs to reset the world of desktop free software. Nor is it a transition everyone needs to make at the same time: for the same reason we'll keep investing in the 2D experience on Ubuntu despite also believing that Unity, with all its GL dependencies, is the best interface for the desktop. We'll help GNOME and KDE with the transition, there's no reason for them not to be there on day one either.'"
X

After 2 Years of Development, LTSP 5.2 Is Out 79

The Linux Terminal Server Project has for years been simplifying the task of time-sharing a Linux system by means of X terminals (including repurposed low-end PCs). Now, stgraber writes "After almost two years or work and 994 commits later made by only 14 contributors, the LTSP team is proud to announce that the Linux Terminal Server Project released LTSP 5.2 on Wednesday the 17th of February. As the LTSP team wanted this release to be some kind of a reference point in LTSP's history, LDM (LTSP Display Manager) 2.1 and LTSPfs 0.6 were released on the same day. Packages for LTSP 5.2, LDM 2.1 and LTSPfs 0.6 are already in Ubuntu Lucid and a backport for Karmic is available. For other distributions, packages should be available very soon. And the upstream code is, as always, available on Launchpad."
Displays

2 Displays and 2 Workspaces With Linux and X? 460

Borov writes "I'm planning to buy a second monitor in near future and I was searching for ways to configure it under Linux. It seems there are two main ways: 1) to have one 'big' desktop, which means I have single workspace — changing virtual desktop switches both monitors or 2) to have separate X sessions for each display — which means I have separate workspaces, but I can't move applications between them. I need something in the middle — a separate workspace for each screen, so that I can have independent virtual desktops on each screen, but still have the ability to move applications between monitors (no need to strech one app across both of them). I've read that some tiling window managers can do this kind of thing, but I'd rather go with 'classical' window managers, like Openbox/Gnome/KDE or similar."
Displays

Multiple-Display Power Tools For Linux? 410

shift writes "I've used multiple monitors for years (currently 3) and find that Linux is lacking in power tools for such setups. Even Windows 7 has added the feature to move a window from screen to screen with keyboard shortcuts. Are any of the major desktop environments adding such features? I'm still stuck on FVWM and have defined functions to swap the contents of screens as well as move windows from screen to screen and so on. But this just seems like such basic functionality people would want in multi-screen setups that I'm surprised I don't find any of these features in our latest desktop environments."
X

X11 Chrome Reportedly Outperforms Windows and Mac Versions 542

An anonymous reader writes "In a curious contrast to conventional wisdom, there are reports of X11 Chromium being faster than Windows or Mac versions. In the thread titled 'Why is Linux Chrome so fast?,' a developer speculates that it is due to the use of X11 capabilities: 'On X-windows [sic], the renderer backingstores are managed by the X server, and the transport DIBs are also managed by the X server. So, we avoid a lot of memcpy costs incurred on Windows due to keeping the backingstores in main memory there.' Has the design of X11 withstood the test of time better than people tend to give it credit for?"

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