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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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The Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS), an award program focused on supporting open source and free software, was launched last year. The first track provided support for software projects that Mozilla uses or relies on. This year MOSS is open "to any open source project in the world which is undertaking an activity that meaningfully furthers Mozilla’s mission." In other words, projects that help to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. "So if you think your project qualifies, we encourage you to apply. Applications for the Mission Partners track are open as of today. (Applications for Foundational Technology also remain open.) You can read more about our selection criteria and committee on the wiki. The budget for this track for 2016 is approximately US$1.25 million."
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released stable kernels 4.5.4, 4.4.10, and 3.14.69. All of them contain important fixes.
Fedora has updated glibc (F23: multiple vulnerabilities), graphite2 (F22: multiple vulnerabilities), ntp (F23: multiple vulnerabilities), openssl (F22: multiple vulnerabilities), pgpdump (F23; F22: denial of service), and thunderbird (F22: multiple vulnerabilities).
Red Hat has updated file (RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), icedtea-web (RHEL6: applet execution), java-1.8.0-ibm (RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), kernel (RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), ntp (RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), openshift (RHOSE3.1: information disclosure), openssh (RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), pcre (RHEL7: multiple vulnerabilities), and qemu-kvm-rhev (RHELOSP5 for RHEL6: code execution).
Scientific Linux has updated pcre (SL7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Slackware has updated imagemagick (multiple vulnerabilities).
SUSE has updated ImageMagick (SOSC5, SMP2.1, SM2.1, SLE11-SP4: multiple vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated openjdk-6 (12.04: multiple vulnerabilities).
Techniques for hardening the security of running systems often focus on access to memory. An attacker who can write (or even read) arbitrary memory regions will be able to take over the system in short order; even the ability to access small regions of memory can often be exploited. One possible defensive technique would be to encrypt the contents of memory so that an attacker can do nothing useful with it, even if access is somehow gained; this type of encryption clearly requires hardware support. Both Intel and AMD are introducing such support in their processors, and patches to enable that support have been posted for consideration; the two manufacturers have taken somewhat different approaches to the problem, though.
BitKeeper, the inspiration behind Git and Mercurial, has been released under the Apache 2.0 License. Larry McVoy is answering questions on Hacker News, posting as 'luckydude'. In one comment he says: "Git/Github has all the market share. Trying to compete with that just proved to be too hard. So rather than wait until we were about to turn out the lights, we decided to open source it while we still had money in the bank and see what happens. We've got about 2 years of money and we're trying to build up some additional stuff that we can charge for. We're also open to being doing work for pay to add whatever it is that some company wants to BK, that's more or less what we've been doing for the last 18 years. Will it work? No idea. We have a couple of years to find out. If nothing pans out, open sourcing it seemed like a better answer than selling it off." (Thanks to Josh Triplett)
The Future of Open Source Survey aims to examine trends in open source. It's hosted by Black Duck and North Bridge. Opensource.com looks at the results. "The 2016 Future of Open Source Survey analyzed responses from nearly 3,400 professionals. Developers made their voices heard in the survey this year, comprising roughly 70% of the participants. The group that showed exponential growth were security professionals, whose participation increased by over 450%. Their participation shows the increasing interest in ensuring that the open source community pays attention to security issues in open source software and securing new technologies as they emerge."
Ars Technica likes Ubuntu's latest release, and thinks it may be the best release Canonical has presented to date. Snap packaging is part of that appeal, but Snaps have competition. "While something like Snap packages have the potential to completely change the way distros work, it remains to be seen if Snap specifically will be what ends up reaching critical mass. It's certainly possible that Snap may prove popular enough to warrant other distros incorporating it, but it's also possible that there may end up being more than one way to handle self-contained packages. Looking at Canonical's track record does not inspire confidence. Upstart gave way to systemd, the software center gave way to GNOME Software, and even simple things like scrollbars get abandoned for upstream solutions. How Snap packages end up over the long term will be fascinating for Ubuntu users to watch, but even in the worst-case scenario, fans shouldn't have anything to worry about. If one day Ubuntu does abandon Snap in favor of another system, all the changes will likely be behind the scenes. In the shorter term, Snap packages should be a boon to Ubuntu, allowing users to stick with a stable base system while still leaving them free to try just-released software packages without fear of wrecking the system."
Red Hat has updated ImageMagick (RHEL6,7: multiple vulnerabilities), openssl (RHEL6: multiple vulnerabilities), qemu-kvm (RHEL7; RHEL6: code execution), and qemu-kvm-rhev (RHOSP8; RHELOSP7 for RHEL7; RHELOSP6 for RHEL7; RHELOSP5 for RHEL7: code execution).
Ubuntu has updated kernel (15.10; 14.04; 12.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-lts-trusty (12.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-lts-utopic (14.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-lts-vivid (14.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-lts-wily (14.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-raspi2 (15.10: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-ti-omap4 (12.04: multiple vulnerabilities), and openssh (15.10, 14.04, 12.04: multiple vulnerabilities).
The Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) has been announced. JOSS is an open source, developer-friendly journal for research software packages. "As academics, it's important for us to be able to measure the impact of our work, but available tools & metrics are woefully lacking when it comes to tracking research output that doesn't look like a paper. A 2009 survey of more than 2000 researchers found that > 90% of them consider software important or very important to their work — but even if you've followed this GitHub guide for archiving a GitHub repository with Zenodo (and acquired a DOI in the process), citations to your work probably aren't being counted by the people that matter." (Thanks to Paul Wise)
CentOS has updated openssl (C7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Debian has updated ikiwiki (cross-site scripting).
Fedora has updated firefox (F22: multiple vulnerabilities), kernel (F22: multiple vulnerabilities), libecap (F22: multiple vulnerabilities), openvas-cli (F22: cross-site scripting), openvas-gsa (F22: cross-site scripting), openvas-libraries (F22: cross-site scripting), openvas-manager (F22: cross-site scripting), openvas-scanner (F22: cross-site scripting), perl (F22: denial of service), quassel (F23; F22: denial of service), and squid (F22: multiple vulnerabilities).
openSUSE has updated ImageMagick (Leap42.1; 13.2: multiple vulnerabilities), java-1_7_0-openjdk (Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities), java-1_8_0-openjdk (Leap42.1: multiple vulnerabilities), and subversion (Leap42.1; 13.2: two vulnerabilities).
Oracle has updated openssl (OL7: multiple vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated kernel (16.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-lts-xenial (14.04: multiple vulnerabilities), linux-raspi2 (16.04: multiple vulnerabilities), and linux-snapdragon (16.04: multiple vulnerabilities).
Ars technica reports on the restart of Oracle v.Google, the fight over Google's use of the Java APIs in Android. "So now, it's back to a jury. Oracle has won its bid to be able to use copyright as a powerful legal sword. But Google can still dodge that sword by convincing a jury that Android's use of APIs constitutes fair use—in other words, relatively small and justified."
Linus has released the 4.6-rc7 kernel prepatch. "Nothing particularly scary, and the more people who test this out, the more confident we can be that the final 4.6 is all good. So please take a moment to try it out."
At his blog, Matthias Klumpp reflects on his experience writing the asgen tool for AppStream metadata generation using, of all things, the D programming language. "I started to implement the same examples in D just for fun, as I didn’t plan to use D (I was aiming at Go back then), but the language looked interesting. The D language had the huge advantage of being very familiar to me as a C/C++ programmer, while also having a rich standard library, which included great stuff like std.concurrency.Generator, std.parallelism, etc." What follows is a "huge braindump of things" Klumpp found enjoyable, including built-in unit-test support, safe functions, scope blocks, and documentation generation. After that, however, comes Klumpp's list of complaints—starting with the proprietary reference compiler and the not-quite-complete free-software compilers.
Debian-LTS has updated mplayer2 (code execution).
Mageia has updated ansible (M5: code execution), jenkins-remoting (M5: code execution), owncloud (M5: undisclosed vulnerabilities), quagga (M5: denial of service), quassel (M5: denial of service), and xstream (M5: enabled processing of external entities).
On his blog, Peter Hutterer answers an oft-asked question: "A recurring question I encounter is the question whether uinput or evdev should be the approach [to] implement some feature the user cares about. This question is unfortunately wrongly framed as uinput and evdev have no real overlap and work independent of each other. This post outlines what the differences are. Note that "evdev" here refers to the kernel API, not to the X.Org evdev driver. First, the easy flowchart: do you have to create a new virtual device that has a set of specific capabilities? Use uinput. Do you have to read and handle events from an existing device? Use evdev. Do you have to create a device and read events from that device? You (probably) need two processes, one doing the uinput bit, one doing the evdev bit."
In a blog post that likens software development to cabinetmaking, Havoc Pennington makes the case for cutting corners—but only the right corners: "Software remains a craft rather than a science, relying on the experience of the craftsperson. Like cabinetmakers, we proceed one step at a time, making judgments about what’s important and what isn’t at each step. A professional developer does thorough work when it matters, and cuts irrelevant corners that aren’t worth wasting time on. Extremely productive developers don’t have supernatural coding skills; their secret is to write only the code that matters. How can we do a better job cutting corners? I think we can learn a lot from people building tables and dressers."
On his blog, Mirko Boehm reports on a multi-day workshop where the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Peng! Collective teamed up to look at new and innovative ways to get out the message about free software. "These campaigns translate abstract, distant risks or worries into concrete, tangible calls to action. By being provocative, they break the mold and reach a wide audience online and through traditional media. They are “cat content for social change”, as our tutors put it. Campaigners are being urged to stop preaching or complaining, and to start using positive communication combined with subversive PR work instead. Such messaging needs punchlines, which requires some kind of hyperbole – dadaism, hijacking attention, or provocation." (Thanks to Paul Wise.)
Debian-LTS has updated mplayer (code execution).
Mageia has updated subversion (two vulnerabilities).
Ubuntu has updated lcms2 (14.04: denial of service from 2013), openjdk-7 (15.10, 14.04: multiple vulnerabilities), openjdk-8 (16.04: multiple vulnerabilities), and samba (regression in previous security fix).
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 5, 2016 is available.
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