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- AMD Joins The Blockchain Game AllianceThose who sold shovels during the California gold rush made a lot of money. It is therefore not strange that AMD would join Ubisoft and a long list of startups in a "Blockchain Game Alliance".
- Wine 5.0-rc1 Is Released. This Ends Active Development, Feature-Freeze And Bug-Fixes AheadThe Wine Is Not An Emulator compatibility later (WINE) project has made its first release-candidate for its upcoming 5.0 release. This marks the end of the active development release cycle and the beginning of a weekly release cycle with small bug-fixes only until Wine 5.0 is released. 37 bugs have been fixed since the last development release.
- BSD-Licensed NGINX Webserver In Copyright Dispute, Creator Arrested and InterrogatedThe Russian Police raided NGINX, Inc's Russian offices and arrested and interrogated Igor Sysoev, author of the popular NGINX web server which powers more than a third of all websites on the Internet, on Thursday. They did so after receiving a complaint from Russian search engine Rambler which states that they own the copyright to NGINX because Sysoev was employed there when he initially wrote it in his spare time.
- TSMC Claims They Are "On Track" To Deliver 3nm Chips in 2022Current CPUs and GPUs and smartphone SOCs are mostly made on a 7nm production node at either Samsung's facilities in South Korea or TSMCs facilities in Chinese Taipei. TSMC started using a 14 nanometer node in 2014. They introduced their 7nm node in 2018, only four years later. TSMC claims they will be able to mass-produce 5nm computer chips Q2 2020 and they claim to be "on track" to deliver 3nm chips in 2022. Their American competitor Intel is still struggling with their 10nm process.
- New Stable-Series Linux Kernels 5.4.3, 5.3.16 and 4.19.89 Fixes KVM Crash VulnerabilityThe latest round of Linux kernels fixes a minor problem with KVM which allows anyone using a KVM-enabled virtual machine to to crash the host system. The problem, assigned CVE-2019-19332, was a lack of a out-of-bounds check in KVM_GET_EMULATED_CPUID. Providers of virtual machines should consider upgrading.
- Beautiful OpenBSD Root Exploit PublishedCloud provider Qualys published a beautiful Local Privilege Escalation exploit for recent versions of the OpenBSD on Wednesday the 12th of December. Any regular account can get full root access on a default installation. The OpenBSD developer team, lead by Theo de Raadt, were so embarrassed by this that they created a patch which fixes the vulnerability in less than 3 hours.
- Mesa 19.3.0 Is Released With ACO shader compiler for AMD GPUs And OpenGL 4.6 SupportThe ACO shader compiler for AMD's Vulkan graphics driver RADV, developed by Valve, is the biggest highlight in this latest release of the Mesa graphics stack for GNU/Linux desktops.
- Wasteland 2 Director's Cut Is Available For Free on GoG The Next 26 HoursThe Gog games store is having a Winter sale and they are giving away the game "Wasteland 2 Director's Cut", which is available for Linux, Windows and Mac, for the next 26 hours in order to attract new customers. Most of the other games in their catalogue are sold at discounts ranging from 10 to 70%.
- Linux Version Of Microsoft Teams Is Now AvailableMicrosoft have made a "public preview" a native Linux version of their Teams collaboration software available as .deb and .rpm packages. The announcement describes it as "the first Microsoft 365 app that is coming to Linux desktops".
- DXVK DirectX To Vulkan Translation Layer Development Halts To A GrindThe main developer of DXVK will no longer be adding features the optional DirectX 10/11 to Vulkan translation layer for WINE "because DXVK has become a fragile, unreliable and frustrating maintenance nightmare." DXVK is a crucial part of Valve's Proton layer used to run Windows games on their Steam games store.
- KDEs "Season of KDE 2020" Student Program is Open For EnrolmentThe KDE e.V. non-profit organization behind the K Desktop Environment has a student program similar to Google's Summer Of Code program. Students can participate in 40 or 80 day community projects and they do not have to be code-related. Students who want to write code can do that and get help from an experienced mentor. Those who prefer to work on other areas can choose a project related to KDEs documentation, websites, translations or other areas that are related to KDEs free software efforts.
- The American Senate Wants Secure Encryption With Government BackdoorsUS District Attorneys and Senators are convinced that Google and Apple are simply being difficult when they claim that it's a binary choice between actually secure encryption and government backdoors. You can, somehow, have your cake and eat it too. Don't worry if you see no practical way of doing this, a US senator just promised that he will figure out how to make seemingly impossible mathematics possible.
- 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.