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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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[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 21, 2022

Čet, 04/21/2022 - 01:30
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 21, 2022 is available.

[$] Fedora considers deprecating legacy BIOS

Sre, 04/20/2022 - 22:35
A proposal to "deprecate" support for BIOS-only systems for Fedora, by no longer supporting new installations on those systems, led to a predictably long discussion on the Fedora devel mailing list. There are, it seems, quite a few users who still have BIOS-based systems; many do not want to have to switch away from Fedora simply to keep their systems up to date. But, sometime in the future, getting rid of BIOS support seems inevitable since the burden on those maintaining the tools for installing and booting those systems is non-trivial and likely to grow over time. To head that off, a special interest group (SIG) may form to help keep BIOS support alive until it really is no longer needed.

Tromey: Faster GDB Startup

Sre, 04/20/2022 - 20:38
On his blog, Tom Tromey writes about speeding up the startup of the GDB debugger. He sees 7x improvements in startup time (e.g. 2.2 to 0.3 seconds) for C++ code. GDB, essentially, had two DWARF readers. They actually shared a surprisingly small amount of code (which was an occasional source of bugs). For example, while abbrev lookup and name generation (more on that later) was shared, the actual DIE [debugging information entry] data structures were not.

The first DWARF reader created “partial symbols”, which held a name and some associated, easy-to-compute data, like the kind of symbol (variable, function, struct tag, etc). The second DWARF reader (which is still there now) is called when more information was needed about a particular symbol — say, its type. This reader reads all the DIEs in a DWARF compilation unit and expands them into gdb’s symbol table, block, and type data structures.

Both of these scans were slow, but for the time being I’ve only rewritten the first scan, as it was the one that was first encountered and most obviously painful. (I’ve got a plan to fix up the CU expansion as well, but that’s a lengthy project of its own.)

Security updates for Wednesday

Sre, 04/20/2022 - 10:51
Security updates have been issued by Debian (condor), Red Hat (389-ds:1.4, container-tools:2.0, kernel, kernel-rt, and kpatch-patch), SUSE (chrony, containerd, expat, git, icedtea-web, jsoup, jsr-305, kernel, libeconf, shadow and util-linux, protobuf, python-libxml2-python, python3, slirp4netns, sssd, vim, and wpa_supplicant), and Ubuntu (bash).

A pile of stable kernel updates

Sre, 04/20/2022 - 08:53
The 5.17.4, 5.15.35, 5.10.112, 5.4.190, 4.19.239, 4.14.276, and 4.9.311 stable kernel updates have all been released; each contains another relatively large set of important fixes.

The More You Know, The More You Know You Don’t Know (Project Zero)

Sre, 04/20/2022 - 07:19
The Google Project Zero blog is carrying a report on zero-day vulnerabilities found to be exploited during 2021.

5 of the 7 [Android] 0-days from 2021 targeted GPU drivers. This is actually not that surprising when we consider the evolution of the Android ecosystem as well as recent public security research into Android. The Android ecosystem is quite fragmented: many different kernel versions, different manufacturer customizations, etc. If an attacker wants a capability against "Android devices", they generally need to maintain many different exploits to have a decent percentage of the Android ecosystem covered. However, if the attacker chooses to target the GPU kernel driver instead of another component, they will only need to have two exploits since most Android devices use 1 of 2 GPUs: either the Qualcomm Adreno GPU or the ARM Mali GPU.

[$] Super Python (part 1)

Tor, 04/19/2022 - 16:01
A mega-thread in the python-ideas mailing list is hardly surprising, of course; we have covered quite a few of them over the years. A recent example helps shine a light into a dark—or at least dim—corner of the Python language: the super() built-in function for use by methods in class hierarchies. There are some, perhaps surprising, aspects to super() along with wrinkles in how to properly use it. But it has been part of the language for a long time, so changes to its behavior, as was suggested in the thread, are pretty unlikely.

Mourning Pedro Francisco

Tor, 04/19/2022 - 15:51
Luis Falcon brings the sad news that Pedro Francisco has passed on. "Pedro created and managed MasGNULinux, a Spanish blog with news about Free Software and GNU/Linux. MasGNULinux was the best reference in the latest Free Software projects for the Spanish speaking community."

Security updates for Tuesday

Tor, 04/19/2022 - 11:46
Security updates have been issued by Debian (gzip and xz-utils), Fedora (dhcp and rsync), Mageia (chromium-browser-stable), openSUSE (chromium), SUSE (gzip, openjpeg2, and zabbix), and Ubuntu (klibc).

McIntyre: Firmware - what are we going to do about it?

Tor, 04/19/2022 - 07:48
Steve McIntyre argues that Debian needs to rethink its approach to non-free firmware.

Today, a user with a new laptop from most vendors will struggle to use it at all with our firmware-free Debian installation media. Modern laptops normally don't come with wired ethernet now. There won't be any usable graphics on the laptop's screen. A visually-impaired user won't get any audio prompts. These experiences are not acceptable, by any measure.

10 years of stories behind Guix (Guix blog)

Pon, 04/18/2022 - 23:41
Over on the blog for the GNU Guix project, which is a "transactional package manager and an advanced distribution of the GNU system that respects user freedom", the project reflects on its ten-year journey. The post consists of personal accounts from around two dozen contributors about the project, its history, and its community. It’s been ten years today since the very first commit to what was already called Guix—the unimaginative name is a homage to Guile and Nix, which Guix started by blending together. On April 18th, 2012, there was very little to see and no actual "project". The project formed in the following months and became a collective adventure around a shared vision.

Ten years later, it’s amazing to see what more than 600 people achieved, with 94K commits, countless hours of translation, system administration, web design work, and no less than 175 blog posts to share our enthusiasm at each major milestone. It’s been quite a ride!

Git 2.36.0 released

Pon, 04/18/2022 - 18:48
Version 2.36.0 of the Git source-code management system is out. As usual, the list of new features is long; this GitHub blog post covers some of the highlights:

But this [merge conflict] output can be understandably difficult to interpret. In Git 2.36, --remerge-diff takes a different approach. Instead of showing you the diffs between the merge resolution and each parent simultaneously, --remerge-diff shows you the diff between the file with merge conflicts, and the resolution.

[$] User events — but not quite yet

Pon, 04/18/2022 - 18:25
The ftrace and perf subsystems provide visibility into the workings of the kernel; by activating existing tracepoints, interested developers can see what is happening at specific points in the code. As much as kernel developers may resist the notion, though, not all events of interest on a system happen within the kernel. Administrators will often want to look inside user-space processes as well; they would be even happier with a mechanism that allows the simultaneous tracing of events in both the kernel and user space. The user-events subsystem, developed by Beau Belgrave and added during the 5.18 merge window, promises that capability, but users will almost certainly have to wait another cycle to gain access to it.

Security updates for Monday

Pon, 04/18/2022 - 14:09
Security updates have been issued by Debian (abcm2ps and chromium), Fedora (cacti, cacti-spine, and fribidi), and Mageia (crun, docker-containerd, libarchive, mediawiki, and ruby).

Kernel prepatch 5.18-rc3

Pon, 04/18/2022 - 07:33
The 5.18-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "It's Sunday afternoon, and you all know what that means. It's time for another release candidate. (Yes, yes, it's also Easter Sunday, but priorities, people!)"

Garrett: The Freedom Phone is not great at privacy

Ned, 04/17/2022 - 09:25
Anybody who might be considering acquiring a "Freedom Phone" might want to have a look at Matthew Garrett's analysis first.

Anyway. We have a company that seems to be combining blockchain and MLM [multi-level marketing], has some opinions about Quantum Entanglement, bases the security of its platform on a set of novel cryptographic primitives that seem to have had no external review, has implemented an API that just hands out personal information without any authentication and an app that appears more than happy to upload all your contact details without telling you first, has failed to update this app to keep up with upstream security updates, and is violating the upstream license.

GNU coreutils 9.1 released

Sob, 04/16/2022 - 15:42
Version 9.1 of the GNU coreutils package has been released with lots of small tweaks and improvements. "ls no longer colors files with capabilities by default, as file-based capabilities are very rarely used, and lookup increases processing per file by about 30%. It's best to use getcap [-r] to identify files with capabilities."

[$] KOReader: a free electronic-book reader for e-ink devices

Pet, 04/15/2022 - 16:41
Your editor has a certain tendency to accumulate books, to the point that they crowd everything else out of the house. There is a lot to be said for books: a physical book has a user interface that has been optimized over centuries, and one can have a reasonably high degree of certainty that any given book will still work a few decades from now. Neither of those can be said for electronic books, but they do have the advantages of taking less shelf space and being more portable. So electronic books are part of the reading menu, which naturally leads to the search for a free reader for those books; KOReader turns out to be an interesting alternative.

Stable kernels 5.4.189 and 4.19.238

Pet, 04/15/2022 - 15:25
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the 5.4.189 and 4.19.238 stable kernels. As usual, they contain important fixes throughout the tree and users should upgrade.

Security updates for Friday

Pet, 04/15/2022 - 13:03
Security updates have been issued by Debian (fribidi and python-django), Fedora (postgresql-jdbc, stargz-snapshotter, and thunderbird), Slackware (git, gzip, and xz), and SUSE (kernel, SDL2, and tomcat).
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