Mat Enders and Tony Bemus
Intro Sound bite by Mike Tanner
Kernel News: Mat
The latest rc release 3.2-rc6 was announced by Linus at almost ten PM EST on 12/16/2011
There were quite a few file system updates in this release, btrfs and cifs had rather large updates, along with several small updates to ext4. With all of the FS updates this time the bulk of the commits are still drivers with swim3, i915, and eDP leading the pack. There where also some arm and x86 updates as well. This release was smaller than previous ones and Linus says that it does appear to be “calming down”. He also says that will definetly be an rc7 but most likely not an rc8. Linus was also a little miffed at some of the other developers and had this to say:
“Now, I’ll be somewhat generous and just say “ok, people left it to Friday before the holidays to push me stuff”, and maybe it’s not gaming the -rc cycle, but in general I *hate* it when it seems like people leave their requests to the last moment. So if you did it consciously, please just stop. It would be much nicer to just spread things out, and have developers that track current -git give reactions to things as they come in, rather than having things clump just before the -rc release.”
Kernel Quote of The Week:
“ Last week I took Linus to task for the late RC releases. Then he makes this statement this week about the other developers waiting until the last minute. So this week I am apologizing to Linus and taking the other developers to task. So if you are one of those developers Linus was talking about, knock it off and get this stuff in earlier.”
First version of kmod released
There is a new library and set of tools for handling kernel modules. The intent of this library is to provide early boot tools, installers, and udev among others an easier method for querying and controlling kernel modules, as opposed to the current method of using modprobe a half a million times. Here is a quote from the project:
“In a recent Linux Desktop (and also several embedded systems) when computer is booting up, udev is responsible for checking available hardware, creating device nodes under /dev (or at least configuring their permissions) and loading kernel modules for the available hardware. In a kernel from a distribution it’s pretty common to put most of the things as modules. Udev reads the /sys filesystem to check the available hardware and tries to load the necessary modules. This translates in hundreds of calls to the modprobe binary, and in several of them just to know the module is already loaded, or it’s in-kernel. With libkmod it’s possible for udev with a few lines of code to do all the job, benefiting from the configurations and indexes already opened and parsed.”
Along with the new library they also provide some work alike programs for insmod, lsmod, rmmod, and modprobe that uses the libkmod. This sounds very exciting and will definitely be a benefit as modprobe will no longer need to be called about a trillion times during boot.
Distro News: Tony
- 12-18 – Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.12 – a KDE-centric desktop distribution originally forked from Arch Linux: “The Chakra development team is proud to announce the third and final release of ‘Edn’
- 12-16 – Kororaa Linux 16 – a Fedora-based distribution with separate KDE and GNOME editions
- 12-15 – GParted LiveCD 0.11.0-2 –
- 12-14 – Pear OS 3.0 – Ubuntu-based desktop distribution with a Mac OS X-like look and feel (as well as slogan)
- 12-14 – Untangle Gateway 9.1 – Debian-based distribution for firewalls and gateways
- 12-13 – Puppy Linux 5.3.1 “Slacko” – Slacko Puppy Linux 5.3.1 is a bug-fix release of the recent 5.3.
Distro of the Week: Tony
- Fedora – 1390
- Puppy – 1427
- Ubuntu – 1658
- Pear – 2312
- Mint – 3808
Universal Music Claims Deal Allows Them To Remove Videos Regardless Of Ownership
Universal Music has been waging war on the “Mega Song”, a song and video recorded by some major artists to show support for MegaUpload. Universal Music, through their support of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), is trying to censor MegaUpload in the US. A majority of net watchers where confused by Universals continued requests to YouTube to remove the video, even though it was clear they did not hold copyright. Which was reinforced by artists such as will.i.am issuing statements to the effect that they had not authorized Universal to issue the take down requests.
Universal has now made public a court filing explaining that the take down requests where not because of copyright, but instead they are due an agreement with Google that says they can have any content they disagree with taken down. Even when it is clear that Universal is not the copyright holder. Universal had this to say in a press release:
“UMG’s rights in this regard are not limited to copyright infringement, as set forth more completely in the March 31, 2009 Video License Agreement for UGC Video Service Providers, including without limitation Paragraphs 1(b) and 1(g) thereof.”
Nobody except Google and Universal know the contents of “Paragraphs 1(b) and 1(g) are. It does however appear that Universal is claiming some special deal with Google allowing them to censor content. Now as I said I do not know if this is the case, as we do not know the content of the agreement or the particular paragraphs mentioned, but I personally do not think this is the case and Universal has misinterpreted the agreement. Only time will tell.
Canonical Makes Decision To Remove Suns’ JDK From Users Machines
In Ubuntu you currently can install Oracle’s Sun Java JDK (sun-java6)from the partner repository. However as of August 24th 2011 new versions and patches are not distributable as Oracle rescinded the non-free “Operating System Distributor License For Java.” This has been the plan since they open sourced Java. openJDK is the official implementation of Java, and all future builds will use it as the reference implementation. If you want the official Sun Binaries you can still download them from Suns’ website like users of other operating systems have had to do for a long time. Or you could just switch to using the openJDK implementation supplied by your distribution.
The reason for Canonicals’ decision is based on a security advisory from Oracle, about the version currently in the partner repository. Some of the issues mentioned in the advisory are currently being exploited in the wild. Due to the severity of these risks Canonical is releasing a security update that disables the Sun JDK browser plugin. In the near future Canonical will also issue an empty update package for the entire SUN JDK. If you have not either migrated to Open JDK or Suns’ binaries then Java will be broken on your system.
Google Apps Rollout In Los Angeles Ground To A Halt Over Security Concerns
Google Apps used by 17,000 Los Angeles employees, will not be utilized by the 13,000 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) employees. That portion of the $7.25 million contract has been a bone of contention for quite some time. The original contract had never specified the security requirements of criminal justice and legal information, from LAPD or the City Attorney’s office, moving through Google’s cloud system. The LA city council agreed with an in house staff analysis that Googles technology would be unable to meet the security requirements.
Andrew Kovacs a spokesperson for Google released a statement that included these remarks:
“They didn’t accept our plan,” he acknowledges. “We’re disappointed that the City introduced requirements for the LAPD after the contract was signed that are, in its own words, ‘currently incompatible with cloud computing.'”
Even though these requirements were not part of the original contract Google expended considerable resources in an attempt to appease the LA city council. He wouldn’t elaborate further except to say that policies related to criminal justice information security, which generally are not made public, vary by jurisdiction and are subject to interpretation — and LA had an interpretation that differed from Google’s.
This is a knock on Google and may affect future decisions by other municipalities considering cloud based computing for law enforcement. Los Angeles is not unhappy with the service as a whole however. In September they renewed the contract for the existing 17,000 city employees using the system, with an option for two more years.
The big take away from all of this is to understand what you are buying before you buy it. For municipalities that means examining requirements for criminal justice information services compliance and certification first not after.
Resurrection: sniffing tool Ettercap has returned
It has been more than six years since version 0.73 of Ettercap was released on 5/29/2005. Well now version 0.74 has been released on 12/4/2011, appropriatly named Lazarus. A complete list of the details can be found at their website http://ettercap.sourceforge.net. The original developers Alberto Ornaghi and Marco Valleri have passed the torch to new developers Emilio Escobar and Eric Milam. Alberto and Marco had this to say about that passing:
“Children are made to let them go their own way, while you look at them happy, spying how it will end. This is exactly how I feel right now. The project was born when we were at the University, it grew up for 5 years and then it was put on hold. The job and the family had not left enough free time to code like in the past. Now it’s time to let it go and grow in the hands of someone else looking at what it will become. It’s time to pass the baton. I’m sure new the developer team will keep up the project and will let it become something bigger than what it’s now. The todo i’ve seen is great, lot of new feature are coming out, stay tuned…”
For pen testers redirecting connections in a switched LAN environment, and security annalists testing manufacturers’ security claims, Ettercap has been the tool of choice for a long time. The new developers have a lot of plans for the tool including numerous new functions. If you would like to become a beta tester then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word subscribe in the subject line.
The ultimate fate of HP’s webOS mobile platform was finally revealed today. The company has announced plans to contribute its operating system to the open source software community. The move will open the door for other hardware manufacturers to adopt the operating system and ship it on their own devices.
It’s not clear yet whether HP intends to continue shipping new mobile devices with webOS. The company’s statement says unambiguously that the company will continue to invest in the platform and sees in webOS the long-term potential “to improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.” It doesn’t, however, indicate whether we can expect to see new webOS smartphones from HP in the near future.
Linux Mint Swap Banshee Affiliate Code, Take 100% of Profits
Buried within the pages of a long forum thread on German site ‘ubuntuuser.de’ is a surprising revelation: Linux Mint altered the Banshee Amazon MP3 referral code to that of its own, taking 100% of all profits made in the process.
Humble Indie Bundle 4 is now out!
Including some really awesome never before seen on Linux games (some really are awesome and I’ve been waiting for!). As usual pay what you want for some great games.
Pay more than the average of $4.91 to get Gratuitous Space Battles and Cave Story+!
sigflup says the mode line goes in the monitor line.
A few weeks ago we talked about making your lcd screen private with secret glasses. Here is a message from sigflup:
A few years ago I also did this with my lappy’s lcd. That is remove
the out-most polarizing filter and put them on my glasses. Here’s my
First of all my friend could see what I was doing despite all this. It
was very very very faint but she could make out that I was visiting
google. She couldn’t see what I was typing but she was able to
make-out the google logo. I guess how that works is anything that
filters the polarization of light between the screen and other
people’s eyes will help them see your screen. I guess the eye does
naturally filter-out some light.
Polarized-glasses work too. I found that a pair of glasses from
walgreens worked out just fine. Sure beats attaching bits from your
lcd screen to your face. It’s tricky though because I’ve found some
LCDs filter vertically last and some filter horizontally last. So some
polarized glasses filter the wrong way for you.
The biggest problem I had with this is that you can’t really look at
other LCDs while wearing your glasses, unless you want to lilt your
head differently at everything you see.
If you look at a lot of cellphones with your glasses on you’ll find
that they aren’t polarized the same throughout the screen. It’s rather
interesting and I’m not sure what’s going on there.
All in all it’s pretty cool but not worth the effort for me.
SNAKE SKIN BLUES by Dickey F
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