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- Gooroom Cloud OS v2.0 RC1 Is Released With Focus Server-Side "Apps"The latest version of the Debian-based South Korean Gooroom operating system is even more like Google's ChromeOS than the previous versions were. All the regular software packages from Debian can be installed on Gooroom but that's not where it's focus is. This is foremost a "cloud"-based OS where closed-source proprietary "apps" are used from it's own re-branded Chromium web browser.
- Linux Kernel 5.5 "Kleptomaniac Octopus" RC1 Is Released With Live Patching, Reworked Fair Scheduler And MoreLinux Torvalds has slammed the merge window for version 5.5 of the Linux Kernel shut with the first release-candidate leading up to the next major version. A close-up inspection of the changed source files reveals that 5.5 will support live patching, parallel CPU microcode updates, NVMe temperature support and much more. There appears to be a unusually large array of new features coming to Linux Kernel 5.5 which is, apparently, named "Kleptomaniac Octopus".
- Firefox 71 Released With Built-In MP3 Decoding, 12 Security Fixes and Some BreakageIt's been a while since the patents on the long-outdated lossy-compressed MP3 audio file format expired. This means that free software projects based in countries where software patents is a thing can include the codec and the latest version of Firefox finally does. There's also a new re-designed about:config page where some of the configuration options who once made Firefox a great browser remain available.
- Systemd Opened Security Hole In Linux, VPNs Could Be CompromisedAttackers on the local network could discover that someone on the same network is using a VPN and they could, potentially, find out what sites are visited and even inject packets into a VPN users datastreams. This is all thanks to a change in systemd late 2018 which has now been adopted by all the major GNU/Linux distributions.
- Amazon Is Following Chinas Lead Towards a ARM Based Cloud FutureThe American Cloud provider Amazon AWS announced the availability of instances powered by a their second-generation in-house ARM processors Graviton2 this week. Their new 64-bit ARM chips are made on TSMC's 7nm process and they promise faster performance at lower latency. Instances with 1-64 vCPUs and up to 512 GB RAM will become available.
- Nvidia Could Be Changing Their Hostile Attitude Towards Free Software DriversNvidia-employed kernel developer John Hubbard is scheduled to hold a talk with the rather interesting title "Open Source, Linux Kernel, and NVIDIA" at Nvidia's "GPU Technology Conference" scheduled to be held March 23rd to 26th 2020. Its description mentions "contributions to Linux kernel" and "supporting Nouveau". This could signal a shift from outright hostility towards free software to something the Linux community could benefit from.
- Mesa 19.3.0 Will Be Released Next WeekThe GNU/Linux graphics driver stack Mesa released two new versions Wednesday: 19.2.7 and 19.3.0-rc6. The former is a bug-fix release for the stable Mesa branch and the latter is likely the last release-candidate for Mesa 19.3.0 which is filled with goodies such as new Vulkan extensions, Valve's Radeon ACO shader compiler, the faster Intel Iris graphics stack for Intel GPUs and more.
- Purism Announces US-Manufactured Librem 5 Model For $1999 USDThe Librem 5 smartphone from San Francisco based Purism is almost entirely powered by free and open source software - except for the modem which relies on binary blob firmware. It has therefore been highly praised and recommended by organizations such as the Free Software Foundation. That the hardware specifications are those of a 3 years old $100 smartphone while it's price-tag is $699 is apparently only a minor concern to those who get promotional models for free. Purism just announced that they will make a special US-made version of this phone available at a hefty price of just $1999.
- Linux Kernel Could Support Automatic Closing Of CD/DVD Drive Trays On Mount (Again)The Linux kernel would automatically close open CD/DVD drive trays on mount two decades ago. Updates to various kernel subsystems broke that functionality ages ago. This breakage was "fixed" by adding some ugly hacks to the
mountcommand and other user-space utilities from the
util-linuxpackage. Various kernel changes added over the last few years broke those hacks. The util-linux maintainer is flat out refusing to add more ugly hacks to fix it. Michal Suchanek from German Linux vendor SUSE has submitted a series of patches to the kernel mailing list which re-adds proper support to the Linux kernel - where it belongs - many times the last few years. It could finally get through to git master in time for Linux 5.5.
- Libxfce4ui 4.15.0 Is Released, Drops GTK2 SupportThe first version of the Xfce user interface library in the 4.15 series which will eventually become a stable 4.16-release late next year has 10 bug-fixes, a lot of translation updates for international users and build-requirement of GTK3 3.22. GTK2 support is, as expected, dropped as of this release.
- Memory Chips Will See "Strong Demand" (=Rising Prices) In 2020DDR4 RAM sticks are currently very affordable compared to the grossly overpriced state they were in for the entirety of 2018. RAM prices started going down at the start of 2019 and before dropping off a cliff in March. The price-slide continued from there making this a great time to pick up some DDR4 memory. Industry "experts" are predicting that the price-trend is about to change.
- Linux Kernel To Get CPU Idle Cooling SolutionCPUs and system on a chip devices heat up under load. That is a non-issue if you are cooling a desktop computer with liquid nitrogen but it is a problem in space-constrained scenarios. Daniel Lezcano from Linaro has submitted a rather interesting "cooling device" CPU governor to the Linux Kernel Mailing List. It's functionality is as simple as it is beautiful: It will inject CPU idle cycles until the temperature goes down when CPU temperature is above a set threshold.
- Steam's November Numbers Show Linux Gaming To Be StagnantThe number of Steam users playing on a PC running a GNU/Linux distribution remains less than one percent with a 0.02% decrease in November 2019. Ubuntu (18.04 0.17% + 19.10 0.06%), Arch (0.09%) and Manjaro Linux (0.09%) are the most popular distributions among Steam's GNU/Linux users.
- Virgil Griffith Arrested For Talking About The CryptoCurrency Etherium in North KoreaOne of the Etherium foundation members has been arrested in the United States after talking about the LGPL-licensed block-chain based distributed computing platform Etherium and it's crypto-currency ETH in North Korea.
- Wine 4.21 Is Released With DHCP HTTP Proxy Configuration50 bugs are fixed in the latest development release of the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows software on GNU/Linux machines. Several address memory leaks and general fixes. There's also application-specific fixes for Lego Digital Designer, LegoLand and Lego Island 2 - and fixes for Gothic 2, Everquest Classic, Nextiva and Crysis 1 for those who don't play Lego.
- Kernel 5.4.1 And 5.3.14 Are Released Making Linux Users With Intel iGPUs Finally Able To Use 5.3-Series KernelsThe Linux kernel's i915 module for Intel iGPUs has been a mess for quite some time. Reverting all the way back to kernel 5.0.21 has been one solution for low-powered Intel Goldmount "Apollo Lake" SoCs like the Pentium N4200. Kernel 5.3.14 has a patch, also included in kernel 5.4.0, which brings 5.3.x series kernels a step closer to being usable on Intel iGPUs. It makes 5.3.14 usable but 5.4 series kernels have other issues with Intel iGPUs. There's also some fixes for USB and all the Intel CPU-bug mitigations in both 5.4.1 and 5.3.14.
- Europe's Fresh Out Of IPv4 AddressesThe Regional Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia (RIPE) announced that they "ran out of IPv4 addresses" on November 25th, 2019.
- Kali Linux 2019.4 Is Released With Windows Undercover Mode And Xfce As The Default DesktopThe latest version of Offensive Security's Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution for penetration testing and other security-related tasks uses Xfce as the default desktop environment instead of Gnome. It's also got PowerShell available (not included) and a new "Kali Undercover" mode in the form of a shortcut which switches to a Windows-like Xfce theme and the well-known Windows 10 wallpaper.
- Wine 4.0.3 Released With 54 Bug-fixesWine Is Not an Emulator but it does let you run a lot of Windows software on GNU/Linux systems using native API calls. It's not always perfect. Version 4.0.3 fixes 54 bugs one could encounter when running Windows software. Most of the fixes are game or application specific. There's bug fixes for games like Fallout 4, King of Dragon Pass, Hardwood Solitaire and Warframe as well as desktop software like Quickbooks and Adobe InDesign.
- Linux Kernel v5.4 Is ReleasedThe latest kernel has a new kernel lockdown mode, a virtio file system, a new device mapper clone target and support for AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs as well as AMD Arcturus and Renoir APUs. There is also initial support for Intel Tiger Lake GPUs. Linux 5.4 finally adds support for the exFAT file system - released by Microsoft in 2006.
- Gnote 3.34.1 Is Released With Updated DocumentationThe latest release of the very simple GNOME-focused note taking application Gnote has updated documentation, more translations and it now works with lower versions of the spelling library gspell.
- Bitcoin Core Wallet 0.19.0.1 Is Released With A New Default Address FormatThe new major version of the Bitcoin Core wallet software for the digital currency Bitcoin/BTC has one very visible change in it's graphical user interface: Addresses are now shown in the bech32 format by default. There are also a few new configuration options and some new RPC calls and a whole lot of changed RPC calls in the new version. Those using it as part of their back-end may want to look over that long list of RPC changes to see if they are compatible with the rest of the deployment. Checking if everything works with bech32 addresses is also a good idea. Version 0.19.1 is, apart from BTC addresses having a completely different format, essentially the same as previous versions from an average end-users perspective.
- CoreCtrl 1.0.7 Is Now AvailableThe latest version of the GPU and CPU performance settings manager CoreCtrl fixes a bug where it in some cases wouldn't start minimized in Xorg and there's also "code cleanups". Owners of AMD GPUs who want something similar to the AMDs Windows control center "Radeon Settings" may find CoreCtrl to be a useful alternative.
- Mesa 19.2.6 And 19.3.0rc4 Are AvailableThe highlight in 19.2.6 is just as small fix for PowerPC. A backport introduced in 19.2.5 prevented the standard Mesa GNU/Linux graphics stack from compiling on that platform. There's also one glsl and a typo fixed in the Vulkan headers. The changelog for the fourth release-candidate for the upcoming Mesa 19.3.0, scheduled to be released at the start of December, is longer. Most of the changes are related to Valve's new ACO shader compiler for AMD graphics cards. There is also one llvmpipe fix.
- Serious Buffer Overflow Vulnerability In The Bitcoin Core Client DisclosedA serious vulnerability which allowed malicious SOCKS proxies to overwrite the program stack in old versions of the Bitcoin Core client was disclosed on the Bitcoin Core mailing list earlier this month. It was fixed years ago and it is only remotely interesting as a indicator of how the Bitcoin Core team works.
- China Is Number 1 In Number Of SuperComputers And All The Top 10 Systems Run LinuxTechnology leader China has the most supercomputers with a total of 228 systems on the Top 500 SuperComputer list as of November 18th, 2019. All of the top ten most powerful machines are running a Linux variant.
- Googles Stadia Gaming Service Is Launching TodayGoogle's new Stadia gaming service will change everything gaming-wise. This is the nightmarish big-brother on steroids future of computer gaming and kids will absolutely love it, demand it and expect it's always ready-to-go resume-where-you-were features to be a standard part of the gaming experience. Parents beware, it is absolutely certain that your kids will want to sign up and use Google Stadia immediately or eventually. Explaining why they should not be using it could be problematic.
- Linux Kernel Disables Coffee Lakes HPET On The Grounds That It Is "Unreliable"Linus Torvalds has pulled a "fix" which disables the High Precision Event Timer on Intel Coffee Lake systems into the git mainline kernel on the grounds that it's "unreliable". You may want to use the
nohpetkernel parameter on Coffee Lake and Ice Lake (same problem, not fixed) machines. Those platforms HPET's problems with keeping track of time in low-power states have cast light on some serious not-fixed problems with kernel's clocksource watchdog.
- Linux Distributions Running On Intel CPUs Are About To Get A Lot SlowerGNU/Linux distributions have very quietly begun rolling out a microcode update for Intel CPUs which contain "Mitigations for Jump Conditional Code Erratum". Errata is a fancy way of saying defective due to a design flaw. Intel consumer CPUs from 6th generation Skylake up to the latest 10th generation "Come Lake" CPUs as well as Xeon CPUs released in that time-frame have a design flaw which can cause "unpredictable" behavior under certain conditions. The new microcode which works around this design flaw has a 2-20% performance penalty. This comes on top of new performance-hampering security-mitigations for other Intel CPU design flaws which were added to the stable kernel branches this week.
- Thunar 1.8.11 "Emergency" Release Available, Fixes Startup Crashes on FreeBSD, Fedora and GentooLast weeks Thunar 1.8.10 release introduced a Pango version check which makes Thunar crash on startup if the machine is using an older version of the Pango library. This 1.8.11 "emergency release" addresses that particular issue.
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