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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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Dropbox has announced the existence of "Pyston," a JIT-based implementation of the Python 2.7 language. "At a high level, Pyston takes parsed Python code and transforms it to the LLVM intermediate representation (IR). The IR is then run through the LLVM optimizer and passed off to the LLVM JIT engine, resulting in executable machine code. LLVM contains a large number of optimization passes and mechanisms for easily adding more, which can lead to very fast code. The problem, though, is that LLVM can’t reason about Python code, because all the low-level behavior is hidden behind the type dispatching you have to do in any dynamic language. To handle this, Pyston employs type speculation: it is typically impossible to prove that a variable will have a specific type, but Pyston can often predict with some certainty what the type of an object can be. Once a prediction is made, Pyston will verify the prediction at runtime, branching between a fast path where the prediction holds, and a slow path where it doesn’t." The code is said to be in an early state at this point. Note that Python creator Guido van Rossum works at Dropbox, though it's not clear whether he is working on this project.
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the 3.13.9, 3.10.36, and 3.4.86 stable kernels. Users of those kernel series should upgrade.
Ars Technica reports on the victory that Newegg, Geico, and others have achieved over the patent troll Macrosolve. After extracting $4M in settlements with a patent that it claims covers mobile app questionnaires, Macrosolve has dismissed all pending cases and admitted it can't go forward with a trial scheduled for June (in East Texas, of course). "'Macrosolve is now trading at a smidge above $0.01 per share,' noted [Newegg's Chief Legal Officer Lee] Cheng in his e-mail to allies, which he shared with Ars. 'Why those asshats continue to trade at ANY value, I do not know. The world would be a better place without them and their advantage-taking ways. Please continue to support efforts to bring symmetry to patent law, legislatively, administratively, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.'"
Andrew "bunnie" Huang has announced an effort to crowdfund an open laptop. They are ARM-based "hacker laptops" (and desktops) where the display opens "the wrong way" to facilitate access to the hardware inside. It runs Linux, of course, and all of the hardware design is freely available. "To be clear, this is not a machine for the faint of heart. It’s an open source project, which means part of the joy – and frustration – of the device is that it is continuously improving. This will be perhaps the only laptop that ships with a screwdriver; you’ll be required to install the battery yourself, screw on the LCD bezel of your choice, and you’ll get the speakers as a kit, so you don’t have to use our speaker box design – if you have access to a 3D printer, you can make and fine tune your own speaker box." (Thanks to Paul Wise.)
The LLVM project is starting a foundation to coordinate its activities. "In terms of structure, we expect the foundation to be lean: an oversight board of volunteers and a dedicated administrator. The expectations of this administrator will be to oversee long-overdue upgrades to our infrastructure (such as the web site design, bug database, mailing lists, etc), organize the US LLVM Developer Meeting, and drive the formation of the foundation itself. We do not expect significant change to our developer policies (i.e. licensing & copyright)."
Fedora has updated maradns (F19: denial of service).
Mageia has updated curl (three vulnerabilities), libyaml (code execution), mediawiki (cross-site request forgery), perl-YAML-LibYAML (two code execution vulnerabilities), php-ZendFramework (multiple vulnerabilities), ruby-rack-ssl (cross-site scripting), springframework (two vulnerabilities), tomcat (M4; M3: multiple vulnerabilities), and xalan-j2 (code execution).
Ubuntu has updated nss (incorrect wildcard certificate handling).
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 3, 2014 is available.
James Bottomley is perhaps best known as the maintainer of the SCSI subsystem in the kernel. But, he said in his 2014 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit talk, like most free software developers he tends to run across licensing issues frequently. Developers often respond by becoming armchair lawyers, and, by his own admission, James is no exception: armchair lawyering on the topic of contributor agreements was just what he was offering to his audience.
Click below (subscribers only) for the full report.
The Document Foundation has launched the Document Liberation Project. "The Document Liberation Project was created in the hope that it would empower individuals, organizations, and governments to recover their data from proprietary formats and provide a mechanism to transition that data into open file formats, returning effective control over the content from computer companies to the actual authors. Since the birth of LibreOffice in 2010, several community members have taken it upon themselves to improve format interoperability with proprietary applications. Encouraged by community interest, even from outside the LibreOffice project, the developers have so far provided read support for proprietary file formats including MS Visio, CorelDraw, MS Publisher, Apple Keynote, and a handful of different old Macintosh formats. In addition to LibreOffice, import libraries for these file formats are used by Abiword, Calligra, CorelDRAW File Viewer, Inkscape and Scribus."
Fedora has updated mingw-libpng (F20: denial of service), openstack-nova (F19: two vulnerabilities), rubygem-rack-ssl (F20: cross-site scripting), squid (F20: denial of service), and v8 (F19: multiple vulnerabilities).
Red Hat has updated xalan-j2 (RHEL5&6: information disclosure/code execution).
Scientific Linux has updated xalan-j2 (SL5&6: information disclosure/code execution).
Canonical has announced the imminent shutdown of its "Ubuntu One" cloud storage service. "As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One file services will not be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, and the Ubuntu One apps in older versions of Ubuntu and in the Ubuntu, Google, and Apple stores will be updated appropriately. The current services will be unavailable from 1 June 2014; user content will remain available for download until 31 July, at which time it will be deleted."
Version 2.0.0 of the IPython system is out. The list of new features includes interactive widgets in the notebook, a new security model, directory navigation, and much more; see the announcement for details or this article from March for an overview of the system.
Ubuntu's Unity dash search has come under fire for sending search terms to Amazon (and including those results) by default. In future versions of Unity users will explicitly need to opt-in, reports OMG!Ubuntu. "In Unity 8 the search paradigm has shifted towards refinement. Gone is a central ‘home scope’ that tries to do ‘all the things’, at all times, from as many places as possible. Instead, online searches are conducted through a the (rather ridiculously named) “Scopes Scope”. When entering a query here, Unity will recommend Scopes that it thinks can deliver results pertinent to the query. This is the crucial difference: it gives you the choice of Scopes to search; it doesn’t search them for you." Unity 7 will be used in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS so Amazon searches will still be on by default when that version ships later this month. (Thanks to Paul Wise)
Mageia has updated 389-ds-base (privilege escalation), file (denial of service), iceape (multiple vulnerabilities), mutt (code execution), openssh (restriction bypass), perltidy (insecure temporary file creation), and stunnel (private key leak).
Ubuntu has updated linux-lts-raring (12.04 LTS: multiple vulnerabilities).
Software Freedom Conservancy has announced that Karen M. Sandler is the Conservancy's new Executive Director. "Bradley M. Kuhn, outgoing Executive Director, gratefully passes the torch to his long-time colleague Karen Sandler. While Kuhn's work as Conservancy's President and on its Board of Directors remain unchanged, Kuhn's new full-time staff role is titled “Distinguished Technologist”."
GNOME News announces Karen's departure as GNOME Foundation Executive Director. "Though Karen will no longer be the GNOME Foundation Executive Director, she will still be a part of the GNOME project. She has announced her intention to run for the Board of Directors, and wrote “I will stay on as pro bono counsel, and of course I’ll continue volunteering in other ways.”"
Open Build Service 2.5 has been released. "With this release you can plug OBS into your continuous integration/delivery chain thanks to the new token API that let's you trigger builds from revision control systems like github. 2.5 further merges the Web UI and API into one single Ruby on Rails app, so it is easier for you to maintain, easier for us to extend and most important way snappier to use for your packagers. This release also begins to unify the various places where you can configure things into the OBS API, introduces an integrated comment and notification system and saves your OBS servers some cycles by automatically cleaning up left over branches."
Fedora has updated curl (F20; F19: wrong re-use of connections in libcurl), httpd (F20: denial of service), k4dirstat (F20; F19: command execution), moodle (F20; F19: multiple vulnerabilities), seamonkey (F20: multiple vulnerabilities), and udisks (F20: privilege escalation).
Slackware has updated curl (multiple vulnerabilities), httpd (multiple vulnerabilities), firefox (multiple vulnerabilities), nss (incorrect wildcard certificate handling), thunderbird (multiple vulnerabilities), openssh (restriction bypass), and seamonkey (multiple vulnerabilities).
Linus has released the 3.14 kernel. "So we had a few fairly late changes that I could have done without, but the changelog from -rc8 is still pretty small, and I'm feeling pretty good about it all." Headline features in this release include user-space lock debugging, the deadline scheduler, event triggers in the tracing subsystem, the zram swap subsystem, and various networking changes including the heavy-hitter filter, the PIE packet scheduler and TCP auto corking. See the KernelNewbies 3.14 page for details.
Owners of Nexus 4 mobile phones now have yet another open source operating system that they can install: Sailfish OS, the Maemo/MeeGo descendant being developed by the team at Jolla. As a post at JollaUsers.com notes, an email went out to mailing list subscribers announcing the availability of "Early Adopter" Sailfish OS images for the Nexus 4. The builds are far from complete; as the release notes explain, voice calls are not yet enabled, nor are "Sensors, Device clock/alarms, Reset device, Bluetooth, USB control + MTP, Bluetooth, WLAN hotspot, Camera (photography, video recording), and video playback. Nevertheless, Sailfish OS is now on its way to a wider range of devices, and users have another Linux-based mobile platform to experiment with.
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