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LWN.net is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main LWN.net feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
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Kernel prepatch 5.1-rc3

Pon, 04/01/2019 - 14:48
The 5.1-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. Linus says: "Nothing particularly unusual going on here".

Courtès: Connecting reproducible deployment to a long-term source code archive

Pet, 03/29/2019 - 23:45
On the Guix blog, Ludovic Courtès writes about connecting reproducible builds for the Guix package manager with the Software Heritage archive. "It quickly became clear that reproducible builds had 'reproducible source code downloads', so to speak, as a prerequisite. The Software Heritage archive is the missing piece that would finally allow us to reproduce software environments years later in spite of the volatility of code hosting sites. Software Heritage’s mission is to archive essentially 'all' the source code ever published, including version control history. Its archive already periodically ingests release tarballs from the GNU servers, repositories from GitHub, packages from PyPI, and much more. We quickly settled on a scheme where Guix would fall back to the Software Heritage archive whenever it fails to download source code from its original location. That way, package definitions don’t need to be modified: they still refer to the original source code URL, but the downloading machinery transparently goes to Software Heritage when needed."

[$] Improving the performance of the BFQ I/O scheduler

Pet, 03/29/2019 - 17:49
BFQ is a proportional-share I/O scheduler available for block devices since the 4.12 kernel release. It associates each process or group of processes with a weight, and grants a fraction of the available I/O bandwidth proportional to that weight. BFQ also tries to maximize system responsiveness and to minimize latency for time-sensitive applications. Finally, BFQ aims at boosting throughput and at running efficiently. A new set of changes has improved BFQ’s performance with respect to all of these criteria. In particular, they increase the throughput that BFQ reaches while handling the most challenging workloads for this I/O scheduler. A notable example is DBENCH workloads, for which BFQ now provides 150% more throughput. These changes also improve BFQ’s I/O control — applications start about 80% more quickly under load — and BFQ itself now runs about 10% faster.

Linux Foundation Welcomes LVFS Project (Linux.com)

Pet, 03/29/2019 - 17:36
Linux.com interviews Richard Hughes about the Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS), which has recently joined the Linux Foundation as a new project. Hughes is the founder and maintainer of the project. "The short-term goal was to get 95% of updatable consumer hardware supported. With the recent addition of HP that's now a realistic target, although you have to qualify the 95% with 'new consumer non-enterprise hardware sold this year' as quite a few vendors will only support hardware no older than a few years at most, and most still charge for firmware updates for enterprise hardware. My long-term goal is for the LVFS to be seen like a boring, critical part of infrastructure in Linux, much like you’d consider an NTP server for accurate time, or a PGP keyserver for trust. With the recent Spectre and Meltdown issues hitting the industry, firmware updates are no longer seen as something that just adds support for new hardware or fixes the occasional hardware issue. Now the EFI BIOS is a fully fledged operating system with networking capabilities, companies and government agencies are realizing that firmware updates are as important as kernel updates, and many are now writing in 'must support LVFS' as part of any purchasing policy."

Security updates for Friday

Pet, 03/29/2019 - 15:58
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dovecot and imagemagick), Debian (dovecot, libraw, pdns, and ruby2.1), Fedora (mingw-podofo, openwsman, podofo, qemu, and svgsalamander), openSUSE (chromium, ffmpeg-4, firefox, libssh2_org, nodejs4, and qemu), Red Hat (libssh2), Scientific Linux (libssh2 and thunderbird), SUSE (kernel, liblouis, ntp, openssl-1_1, and tiff), and Ubuntu (firefox, freeimage, libapache2-mod-auth-mellon, and thunderbird).

[$] Working with UTF-8 in the kernel

Čet, 03/28/2019 - 18:34
In the real world, text is expressed in many languages using a wide variety of character sets; those character sets can be encoded in a lot of different ways. In the kernel, life has always been simpler; file names and other string data are just opaque streams of bytes. In the few cases where the kernel must interpret text, nothing more than ASCII is required. The proposed addition of case-insensitive file-name lookups to the ext4 filesystem changes things, though; now some kernel code must deal with the full complexity of Unicode. A look at the API being provided to handle encodings illustrates nicely just how complicated this task is.

Security updates for Thursday

Čet, 03/28/2019 - 16:04
Security updates have been issued by Debian (kernel and wpa), Fedora (firefox and pdns), Gentoo (apache, cabextract, chromium, gd, nasm, sdl2-image, and zeromq), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick and lftp), Red Hat (thunderbird), Scientific Linux (firefox), Slackware (gnutls), and SUSE (ImageMagick).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 28, 2019

Čet, 03/28/2019 - 01:28
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 28, 2019 is available.

[$] The Debian project leader election

Sre, 03/27/2019 - 23:48

While a few weeks back it looked like there might be a complete lack of Debian project leader (DPL) candidates, that situation has changed. After a one-week delay, five Debian developers have nominated themselves. We are now about halfway through the campaign phase; platforms have been posted and questions have been asked and answered. It seems a good time to have a look at the candidates and their positions.

Stable kernel updates

Sre, 03/27/2019 - 19:39
Stable kernels 5.0.5, 4.19.32, 4.14.109, and 4.9.166 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

[$] Case-insensitive ext4

Sre, 03/27/2019 - 18:02

Handling file names in a case-insensitive way for Linux filesystems has been an ongoing discussion topic for many years. It is a (dubious) feature of filesystems for other operating systems (e.g. Android, Windows, macOS), but Linux has limited support for it. Over the last year or more, Gabriel Krisman Bertazi has been working on the problem for ext4, but it is a messy one to solve. He recently posted his latest patch set, which reflects some changes made at the behest of Linus Torvalds.

Security updates for Wednesday

Sre, 03/27/2019 - 16:02
Security updates have been issued by Debian (openjdk-7), Fedora (cfitsio, firefox, librsvg2, and pdns), openSUSE (firefox), Red Hat (firefox), Scientific Linux (firefox), SUSE (gd, grub2, ImageMagick, kernel, libcaca, libmspack, ntp, ovmf, w3m, and wavpack), and Ubuntu (php7.0, php7.2, qemu, and xmltooling).