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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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[$] A new filesystem for pidfds

Sre, 03/13/2024 - 09:20
The pidfd abstraction is a Linux-specific way of referring to processes that avoids the race conditions inherent in Unix process ID numbers. Since a pidfd is a file descriptor, it needs a filesystem to implement the usual operations performed on files. As the use of pidfds has grown, they have stressed the limits of the simple filesystem that was created for them. Christian Brauner has created a new filesystem for pidfds that seems likely to debut in the 6.9 kernel, but it ran into a little bump along the way, demonstrating that things you cannot see can still hurt you.

Today's hardware vulnerability: register file data sampling

Tor, 03/12/2024 - 21:38
The mainline kernel has just received a set of commits addressing the "register file data sampling" hardware vulnerability.

RFDS may allow a malicious actor to infer data values previously used in floating point registers, vector registers, or integer registers. RFDS does not provide the ability to choose which data is inferred

Only Atom cores are affected, but those cores can be found inside a number of processors. See this documentation commit for more information.

Herb Sutter on increasing safety in C++

Tor, 03/12/2024 - 20:21

Herb Sutter, chair of the ISO C++ standards committee, writes about the current problems with writing secure C++, and his personal opinion on next steps to address this while maintaining backward compatibility.

If there were 90-98% fewer C++ type/bounds/initialization/lifetime vulnerabilities we wouldn't be having this discussion. All languages have CVEs, C++ just has more (and C still more); so far in 2024, Rust has 6 CVEs, and C and C++ combined have 61 CVEs. So zero isn't the goal; something like a 90% reduction is necessary, and a 98% reduction is sufficient, to achieve security parity with the levels of language safety provided by MSLs [memory-safe languages]… and has the strong benefit that I believe it can be achieved with perfect backward link compatibility (i.e., without changing C++'s object model, and its lifetime model which does not depend on universal tracing garbage collection and is not limited to tree-based data structures) which is essential to our being able to adopt the improvements in existing C++ projects as easily as we can adopt other new editions of C++. — After that, we can pursue additional improvements to other buckets, such as thread safety and overflow safety.

[$] Insecurity and Python pickles

Tor, 03/12/2024 - 16:35

Serialization is the process of transforming Python objects into a sequence of bytes which can be used to recreate a copy of the object later — or on another machine. pickle is Python's native serialization module. It can store complex Python objects, making it an appealing prospect for moving data without having to write custom serialization code. For example, pickle is an integral component of several file formats used for machine learning. However, using pickle to deserialize untrusted files is a major security risk, because doing so can invoke arbitrary Python functions. Consequently, the machine-learning community is working to address the security issues caused by widespread use of pickle.

Security updates for Tuesday

Tor, 03/12/2024 - 15:50
Security updates have been issued by Debian (qemu), Mageia (libtiff and thunderbird), Red Hat (kernel, kpatch-patch, postgresql, and rhc-worker-script), SUSE (compat-openssl098, openssl, openssl1, python-Django, python-Django1, and wpa_supplicant), and Ubuntu (accountsservice, libxml2, linux-bluefield, linux-raspi-5.4, linux-xilinx-zynqmp, linux-oem-6.1, openvswitch, postgresql-9.5, and ruby-rack).

Huston: KeyTrap!

Tor, 03/12/2024 - 09:46
Geoff Huston digs into the details of the KeyTrap DNS vulnerability, which was disclosed in February.

It's by no means "[devastating]" for the DNS, and the fix is much the same as the previous fix. As well as limiting the number of queries that a resolver can generate to resolve a queried name, a careful resolver will limit both the elapsed time and perhaps the amount of the resolver's processing resources that are used to resolve any single query name.

It's also not a novel discovery by the ATHENE folk. The vulnerability was described five years ago by a student at the University of Twente. I guess the issue was that the student failed to use a sufficient number of hysterical adjectives in describing this DNS vulnerability in the paper!

[$] Development statistics for 6.8

Pon, 03/11/2024 - 16:59
The 6.8 kernel was released on March 10 after a typical, nine-week development cycle. Over this time, 1,938 developers contributed 14,405 non-merge changesets, making 6.8 into a slower cycle than 6.7 (but busier than 6.6), with the lowest number of developers participating since the 6.5 release. Still, there was a lot going on during this cycle; read on for some of the details.

Security updates for Monday

Pon, 03/11/2024 - 15:09
Security updates have been issued by Debian (libuv1, nss, squid, tar, tiff, and wordpress), Fedora (chromium, exercism, grub2, qpdf, and wpa_supplicant), Oracle (edk2 and opencryptoki), and SUSE (cpio, openssl-1_0_0, openssl-1_1, openssl-3, sudo, tomcat, and xen).

The 6.8 kernel has been released

Ned, 03/10/2024 - 22:37
Linus has released the 6.8 kernel.

So it took a bit longer for the commit counts to come down this release than I tend to prefer, but a lot of that seemed to be about various selftest updates (networking in particular) rather than any actual real sign of problems. And the last two weeks have been pretty quiet, so I feel there's no real reason to delay 6.8.

Significant changes in this release include the deadline servers scheduling feature, support for memory-management auto-tuning in DAMON, the large anonymous folios feature, the kernel samepage merging advisor, the ability to prevent writes to block devices containing mounted filesystems, the listmount() and statmount() system calls, the first device driver written in Rust, the removal of the (never finished) bpfilter packet-filtering system, three new system calls for managing Linux security modules, support for data-type profiling in the perf tool, guest-first memory for KVM virtualization, the Intel Xe graphics driver, and a lot more. See the LWN merge-window summaries (part 1, part 2) for more information.

Huang: IRIS (Infra-Red, in situ) Project Updates

Ned, 03/10/2024 - 11:24
Andrew 'bunnie' Huang provides an update on his IRIS infrared chip-scanning project as the starting point for a detailed summary on how chip customers can detect forgeries and modifications in general.

The technique works because although silicon looks opaque at visible light, it is transparent starting at near-infrared wavelengths (roughly 1000 nm and longer). Today's commodity optics and CMOS cameras are actually capable of working with lights at this wavelength; thus, IRIS is a low-cost and effective technique for confirming the construction of chips down to block level. For example, IRIS can readily help determine if a chip has the correct amount of RAM, number of CPU cores, peripherals, bond pads, etc. This level of verification would be sufficient to deter most counterfeits or substitutions.

[$] Untangling the Open Collectives

Pet, 03/08/2024 - 21:58

Name collisions aren't just a problem for software development—organizations, projects, and software that have the same or similar names can cause serious confusion. That was certainly the case on February 28 when the Open Collective Foundation (OCF) began to notify its hosted projects that it would be shutting down by the end of 2024. The announcement surprised projects hosted with OCF, as one might expect. It also worried and confused users of the Open Collective software platform from Open Collective, Inc. (OCI), as well as organizations hosted by the Open Source Collective (OSC) and Open Collective Europe (OC Europe). There is enough confusion about the names, relationships between the organizations, and impact on projects like Flatpak, Homebrew, and htop hosted by OCF, that a deeper look is warranted.

[$] Better linked-list traversal in BPF

Pet, 03/08/2024 - 15:34
Before loading a BPF program, the kernel must verify that the program is safe to run; among other things, that verification includes ensuring that the program will terminate within a bounded time. That requirement has long made writing loops in BPF a challenging task. The situation has improved over the years for some types of loops, but others — including linked-list traversal — are still awkward in BPF programs. A new set of BPF primitives aims to make life easier for this use case through the installation of what can be seen as a sort of circuit breaker.

Security updates for Friday

Pet, 03/08/2024 - 15:10
Security updates have been issued by Debian (fontforge), Fedora (chromium, iwd, libell, and thunderbird), Oracle (buildah, kernel, skopeo, and tomcat), Red Hat (opencryptoki), Slackware (ghostscript), SUSE (go1.21, go1.22, google-oauth-java-client, jetty-minimal, openssl-1_0_0, python310, sudo, wpa_supplicant, and xmlgraphics-batik), and Ubuntu (libhtmlcleaner-java, linux, linux-azure, linux-azure-5.15, linux-azure-fde, linux-azure-fde-5.15, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.15, linux-gke, linux-gkeop, linux-gkeop-5.15, linux-hwe-5.15, linux-ibm, linux-ibm-5.15, linux-lowlatency-hwe-5.15, linux-nvidia, linux-azure, linux-azure-6.5, linux-hwe-6.5, mqtt-client, ncurses, and puma).

[$] Vale: enforcing style guidelines for text

Čet, 03/07/2024 - 16:46
While programmers are used to having tools to check their code for stylistic problems, writers often limit automatic checks of their texts to spelling and, sometimes, grammar, because there are not a lot of options for further checking. If that is the case, Vale, an open-source, command-line tool to enforce editorial-style guidelines, would make a useful addition to their toolbox. The recent release of Vale 3.0 warrants a look at this versatile tool, which assists writers by identifying common errors and helping them maintain a consistent voice in their prose.

Security updates for Thursday

Čet, 03/07/2024 - 16:05
Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium and yard), Fedora (cpp-jwt, golang-github-tdewolff-argp, golang-github-tdewolff-minify, golang-github-tdewolff-parse, and suricata), Mageia (wpa_supplicant), Oracle (curl, edk2, golang, haproxy, keylime, mysql, openssh, and rear), Red Hat (kernel and postgresql:12), SUSE (containerd, giflib, go1.21, gstreamer-plugins-bad, java-1_8_0-openjdk, python3, python311, python39, sudo, and vim), and Ubuntu (frr, linux, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.4, linux-gkeop, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-iot, linux-kvm, linux-raspi, and linux, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-6.5, linux-laptop, linux-lowlatency, linux-lowlatency-hwe-6.5, linux-oem-6.5, linux-oracle, linux-raspi, linux-starfive, linux-starfive-6.5).

[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 7, 2024

Čet, 03/07/2024 - 01:07
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 7, 2024 is available.

[$] MySQL and MariaDB changes coming in Fedora 40

Sre, 03/06/2024 - 22:02

The Fedora Project switched to MariaDB as the default implementation of MySQL in Fedora 19 in 2013. Once a drop-in replacement for MySQL, MariaDB has diverged enough that this is no longer the case—and, despite concerns about Oracle and optimism that MariaDB would supplant MySQL, the reality is that MySQL and MariaDB seem to be here to stay. With that in mind, Fedora developer Michal Schorm proposed that the project revise the way MySQL and MariaDB are packaged in Fedora starting with Fedora 40.

Adding systemd to postmarketOS

Sre, 03/06/2024 - 21:11

The postmarketOS project, which produces a Linux distribution for phones and mobile devices, has announced that it is in the early stages of adding systemd to make it easier to support GNOME and KDE.

Users who prefer the OpenRC init system are assured they will still have that option when building their own images "as long as OpenRC is in Alpine Linux (on which postmarketOS is based)":

As with text editors, some people are really passionate about their favorite init systems. When discussing this announcement, please keep a friendly tone. Remember that we all share the love for free and open source software, and that our communities work best if we focus on shared values instead of fighting over what implementations to use.

Proof-of-concept images are available now for a limited set of devices. Users are warned these images are "buggy, unreliable, and NOT suitable for use on a device you rely on". Those interested in helping with testing and development are encouraged to follow along and report bugs on the systemd issue at GitLab.

[$] Not so quickly extending QUIC

Sre, 03/06/2024 - 19:30

QUIC is a UDP-based transport protocol that forms the foundation of HTTP/3. It was initially developed at Google in 2012, and became an IETF standard in 2021. Work on the protocol did not stop with its standardization, however. The QUIC Working Group published several follow-up standards. Now, it is working on four more extensions to QUIC intended to patch over various shortcomings in the current protocol — although progress has not been quick.

Wednesday's stable kernel updates

Sre, 03/06/2024 - 18:44
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced another round of stable kernel updates: 6.7.9, 6.6.21, 6.1.81, 5.15.151, 5.10.212, 5.4.271, and 4.19.309 have all been released. Each contains a set of important fixes.
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