Linux Journal

Kubernetes, Four Years Later, and Amazon Redefining Container Orchestration

1 month 2 weeks ago
by Petros Koutoupis

Well, here we are. Kubernetes turns four years old this month—technically, on June 7, 2018—the very same platform that brings users and data center administrators scalable container technologies. Its popularity has skyrocketed since its initial introduction by Google. Celebrating the project’s birthday is not the only thing making the headlines today. Amazon recently announced the general availability of its Elastic Container Services for Kubernetes (EKS), accessible via Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Once upon a time, it wasn’t a simple task to orchestrate and manage containers in the cloud. Up until this recent EKS announcement, it was up to the administrator to spin up a virtual machine through an Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) service, run Kubernetes on top of a traditional Linux server installation in EC2 and rely on other AWS moving components to host the container image registry. The entire process was very involved. Not any more!

The excitement doesn’t end there. Companies like Heptio (co-founded by the folks who gave us Kubernetes, Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda) have positioned themselves to enhance the user experience around the Kubernetes technology by producing products and services to simplify and scale the Kubernetes ecosystem. The Heptio Kubernetes Subscriptions (HKS) package offerings help users run Kubernetes in AWS EKS, EC2 or on-premises.

Visit Amazon's EKS product page and Heptio's company website to learn more.

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Petros Koutoupis

Marcel Breaks Time, Converts Documents to Ebooks and More on Cooking with Linux (without a Net)

1 month 2 weeks ago

Please support Linux Journal by subscribing or becoming a patron.

Today on Cooking with Linux (without a Net), I do my best to break time, see what I can do about converting some difficult documents to ebooks, and show off another distribution you've never heard of. Hint: it's named after a lizard. Oh, and there's a super secret secret embedded somewhere in the video. Oooh! Aaah! For the record, this is a prerecorded video of a live show, the Tuesday live Linux Journal show, to be exact, where I do some live Linuxy and open-source stuff, live, on camera, and without the benefit of post video editing, therefore providing a high probability of falling flat on my face.

Cooking with Linux
Marcel Gagné

Streamlio Announces Apache Pulsar 2.0, Red Hat Launches Buildah 1.0, Firefox Experimenting with Two New Projects and More

1 month 2 weeks ago

News briefs for June 6, 2018.

Streamlio, "the intelligent platform for fast data", today announces the availability of Apache Pulsar 2.0, which is an "open-source distributed pub-sub messaging system originally created at Yahoo and now part of the Apache Software Foundation". This release "adds new capabilities to Apache Pulsar that support easy development and deployment of modern data-driven applications and demonstrate the maturity and enterprise-class capabilities of Pulsar while delivering significantly better performance, scalability and durability than older messaging platforms such as Apache Kafka, as verified in real-world OpenMessaging benchmark tests." For more info, see the Streamlio blog post. Streamlio will be demonstrating the new functionality in Pulsar 2.0 at booth S8 at the upcoming Data Works Summit in San Jose, CA, June 17–21.

Red Hat announced the launch of Buildah 1.0 today. Buildah is a command-line utility that "provides only the basic requirements needed to create or modify Linux container images making it easier to integrate into existing application build pipelines". The container images Buildah builds are "OCI-compliant and can even be built using Dockerfiles. Buildah is a distillation of container development to the bare necessities, designed to help IT teams to limit complexity on critical systems and streamline ownership and security workflows."

Mozilla's Firefox is launching two new projects, Firefox Color and Side View, through its Test Pilot program. According to the TechCrunch article, Firefox Color is basically a theme editor that lets you do things like choose colors in your browser and set textures for the background. Side View lets you "use your widescreen monitor and display two tabs side-by-side inside the browser without having to open a second Firefox window." Both are available here, if you'd like to try them.

Take LinuxGizmos' fourth annual reader survey of open-spec, Linux- or Android-ready single board computers priced less than $200 for a chance to win one of 15 prizes. See LinuxGizmos.com for more info, or go straight to the survey here. Last year, Raspberry Pi 3 was the winner.

Purism has reaffirmed its plan to begin shipping the Librem 5 smartphone in January, Phoronix reports. The Librem 5 will be "the world's first community-owned smartphone ecosystem that gives users complete control over their mobile device".

News Apache Pulsar Big Data Red Hat Containers Mozilla Firefox Embedded Single-Board Computers Purism Mobile
Jill Franklin

FOSS Project Spotlight: WallpaperDownloader

1 month 2 weeks ago
by Eloy Garcia Almaden

Are you bored with the look of your desktop? Are the wallpapers that come with your distro enough for you? WallpaperDownloader is a graphical application that will help you customize your desktop and find wallpapers automatically.

WallpaperDownloader allows you to download, manage and change your favorite wallpapers from the internet. It is open source (GPL3) and totally free. Simply type in some keywords, enable the providers to include (up to six), select the download policy, and WallpaperDownloader does the rest.

WallpaperDownloader's main features include:

  • Users can select keywords for matching desired wallpapers across different sources.
  • Currently, six providers are implemented for searching.
  • Different download policies are implemented.
  • Preferred resolution for the search can be defined.
  • The maximum size for downloaded directories can be changed.
  • Wallpapers can be classified as favorites or not favorites.
  • Favorite wallpapers can be moved to another location with a single click. This is very nice if you have a directory for storing images (for example, a directory in Dropbox).
  • WallpaperDownloader is translated into English and Spanish so far.
  • It implements an automated "changer" for changing the wallpaper randomly every X minutes. You can define as many directories as you want.
  • A system tray icon is implemented (for desktop environments that support this feature) with quick actions.

Figure 1. Selecting Providers

Figure 2. WallpaperDownloader's Changer

Figure 3. Wallpaper Manager

Figure 4. WallpaperDownloader Info and Changelog

WallpaperDownloader supports several Desktop Environments: MATE, GNOME Shell, Cinnamon, Budgie, Pantheon, Unity, KDE Plasma 5.8 or greater and XFCE.

Installation

You can install WallpaperDownloader using different methods depending on your distribution.

Arch Linux

It is in the AUR repository. Just install it from there:

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Eloy Garcia Almaden

THRONES OF BRITANNIA Coming to Linux June 7, Google Brings Linux App Support to Samsung's Chromebook Plus, Jailhouse v. 0.9 Now Available and More

1 month 2 weeks ago

News briefs for June 5, 2018.

Feral Interactive announced this morning that Thrones of Britannia is coming to Linux on June 7, 2018. Linux system requirements are as follows: OS = Ubuntu 18.04; processor = Intel Core i3-2100 or AMD equivalent; memory = 8GB of RAM; graphics = 2GB AMD R9 285 (GCN 3rd Gen and above), 2GB Nvidia 680 or better; storage = 15GB available space; in addition, it requires Vulkan AMD graphics cards; Mesa 18.0.0 or later (Mesa 18.0.4 is recommended); and Nvidia graphics cards require driver version 390.59 or later. You can pre-order it now from the Feral Store for $39.99, and you can watch the trailer here.

Google is now bringing Linux app support to Samsung's Chromebook Plus, The Verge reports. The story notes that "You'll have to opt-in to the developer-only build of Chrome OS, enable things labeled as beta and experimental, and then use the Terminal to install Linux apps." See also the quick How-To on Reddit to get started.

The Privacy Awareness Academy announced its "sponsorship of a new social media awareness campaign that is designed to educate business owners about the European Union's new GDPR". Dale Penn, Privacy Awareness Academy President, says "Our privacy awareness insights, combined with our web-based interactive employee training content will help businesses fortify their own human firewall."

The new version of partitioning hypervisor Jailhouse, version 0.9, was released yesterday. New features include introducing unit infrastructure to the hypervisor, simplifying build-time additions of complex features and improving the Linux loader command with better control over kernel vs. initramfs distance and more. You can download it from here.

Ubuntu's new server installer soon will support RAID and LAN bonding, Phoronix reports. The next point release is expected end of July.

News gaming Google Chromebook Ubuntu Hypervisor Servers Privacy GDPR
Jill Franklin

Data Privacy: Why It Matters and How to Protect Yourself

1 month 2 weeks ago
by Petros Koutoupis

When it comes to privacy on the internet, the safest approach is to cut your Ethernet cable or power down your device. But, because you can't really do that and remain somewhat productive, you need other options. This article provides a general overview of the situation, steps you can take to mitigate risks and finishes with a tutorial on setting up a virtual private network.

Sometimes when you're not too careful, you increase your risk of exposing more information than you should, and often to the wrong recipients—Facebook is a prime example. The company providing the social-media product of the same name has been under scrutiny recently and for good reason. The point wasn't that Facebook directly committed the atrocity, but more that a company linked to the previous US presidential election was able to access and inappropriately store a large trove of user data from the social-media site. This data then was used to target specific individuals. How did it happen though? And what does that mean for Facebook (and other social-media) users?

In the case of Facebook, a data analysis firm called Cambridge Analytica was given permission by the social-media site to collect user data from a downloaded application. This data included users' locations, friends and even the content the users "liked". The application supposedly was developed to act as a personality test, although the data it mined from users was used for so much more and in what can be considered not-so-legal methods.

At a high level, what does this all mean? Users allowed a third party to access their data without fully comprehending the implications. That data, in turn, was sold to other agencies or campaigns, where it was used to target those same users and their peer networks. Through ignorance, it becomes increasingly easy to "share" data and do so without fully understanding the consequences.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

For some, deleting your social-media account may not be an option. Think about it. By deleting your Facebook account, for example, you may essentially be deleting the platform that your family and friends choose to share some of the greatest events in their lives. And although I continue to throw Facebook in the spotlight, it isn't the real problem. Facebook merely is taking advantage of a system with zero to no regulations on how user privacy should be handled. Honestly, we, as a society, are making up these rules as we go along.

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Petros Koutoupis

Back Up GitHub and GitLab Repositories Using Golang

1 month 2 weeks ago
by Amit Saha

Want to learn Golang and build something useful? Learn how to write a tool to back up your GitHub and GitLab repositories.

GitHub and GitLab are two popular Git repository hosting services that are used to host and manage open-source projects. They also have become an easy way for content creators to be able to invite others to share and collaborate without needing to have their own infrastructure setup.

Using hosted services that you don't manage yourself, however, comes with a downside. Systems fail, services go down and disks crash. Content hosted on remote services can simply vanish. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have an easy way to back up your git repositories periodically into a place you control?

If you follow along with this article, you will write a Golang program to back up git repositories from GitHub and GitLab (including custom GitLab installations). Being familiar with Golang basics will be helpful, but not required. Let's get started!

Hello Golang

The latest stable release of Golang at the time of this writing is 1.8. The package name is usually golang, but if your Linux distro doesn't have this release, you can download the Golang compiler and other tools for Linux. Once downloaded, extract it to /usr/local:

$ sudo tar -C /usr/local -xzf $ export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/go/bin

Opening a new terminal and typing $ go version should show the following:

$ go version go version go1.8 linux/amd64

Let's write your first program. Listing 1 shows a program that expects a -name flag (or argument) when run and prints a greeting using the specified name. Compile and run the program as follows:

$ go build listing1.go $ ./listing1 -name "Amit" Hello Amit $ ./listing1 ./listing1 2017/02/18 22:48:25 Please specify your name using -name $ echo $? 1

If you don't specify the -name argument, it exits printing a message with a non-zero exit code. You can combine both compiling and running the program using go run:

$ go run listing1.go -name Amit 2017/03/04 23:08:11 Hello Amit

Listing 1. Example Program listing1.go

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Amit Saha

Linux Mint 19 "Tara" Cinnamon Beta Released, GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu Kernel Now Available, NVIDIA Isaac Launches and More

1 month 2 weeks ago

News briefs for June 4, 2018.

Linux Mint 19 "Tara" Cinnamon BETA released today. Version 19 is a long-term release with support until 2023. New features include Timeshift, a new welcome screen and a revamped software manager. See the Release Notes for more info about the release and important links. And remember, this is a BETA release, so use it only for testing and be sure to report bugs to the Linux Mint team.

GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel, which removes all non-free components from Linux, is now available. See the announcement for all the details.

NVIDIA today announced the availability of NVIDIA Isaac. Isaac is "a new platform to power the next generation of autonomous machines, bringing artificial intelligence capabilities to robots for manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, construction and many other industries." At the heart of Isaac is NVIDIA Jetson Xavier, "an AI computer for autonomous machines, delivering the performance of a GPU workstation in an embedded module under 30W."

Helm became its own standalone project last week, TechCrunch reports. Previously, it was a subproject of Kubernetes, but it's now a separate program as it doesn't always follow the same release schedule as Kubernetes. Helm allows you to package up a set of requirements into "charts", so you can repeat the installation process in a consistent way, this helps developers "benefit from the community, who could build Charts for common installation scenarios".

FreeBSD 11.2-RC1 is now available. This is the first RC build of the 11.2 release cycle, it includes a "fix to flush caches before initiating a microcode update on Intel CPUs", "Wake On LAN features for Ice Lake and Cannon Lake devices has been activated" and more.

News Distributions Linux Mint GNU Linux NVIDIA AI Kubernetes Cloud FreeBSD
Jill Franklin

Loading Arbitrary Executables as Kernel Modules

1 month 2 weeks ago
by Zack Brown

Alexei Starovoitov posted some patches to allow the kernel to load regular ELF binaries (aka plain executables) as kernel modules. These modules would be able to run user-mode helper routines instead of being absolutely confined to kernel space.

Alexei listed a variety of benefits for this. For one thing, as a user process, an ELF-based module could crash without bringing down the rest of the kernel. And although the ELF modules would run with root privileges, he said that a security breach would not lead directly into accessing the kernel's inner workings, but at least initially would be confined to userspace. The ELF module also could be terminated by the out-of-memory (OOM) killer, in case of need, or ended directly by a human administrator. It additionally would be feasible to subject ELF-based modules to regular userspace debugging and profiling, using the vast array of tools available for that.

Initially there were various technical questions and criticisms, but no one spoke out immediately against it. Linus Torvalds said he liked the feature, but he wanted one change: to make the type of module visible in the system logs. He said:

When we load a regular module, at least it shows in lsmod afterwards, although I have a few times wanted to really see module load as an event in the logs too. When we load a module that just executes a user program, and there is no sign of it in the module list, I think we *really* need to make that event show to the admin some way.

And he said specifically, "I do *not* want this to be a magical way to hide things."

Andy Lutomirski raised a pertinent question: why not just retool the modprobe program to handle ELF binaries as desired, rather than doing anything with kernel code at all? In other words, why couldn't this feature be implemented entirely outside the kernel?

But Linus replied:

The less we have to mess with user-mode tooling, the better.

We've been *so* much better off moving most of the module loading logic to the kernel, we should not go back in the old broken direction.

I do *not* want the kmod project that is then taken over by systemd, and breaks it the same way they broke firmware loading.

Keep modprobe doing one thing, and one thing only: track dependencies and mindlessly just load the modules. Do *not* ask for it to do anything else.

Right now kmod is a nice simple project. Lots of testsuite stuff, and a very clear goal. Let's keep kmod doing one thing, and not even have to care about internal kernel decisions like "oh, this module might not be a module, but an executable".

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Zack Brown

Microsoft Reportedly Acquires GitHub

1 month 2 weeks ago
Image

Today Bloomberg reports GitHub was acquired by Microsoft, the announcement being made as early as Monday. "GitHub preferred selling the company to going public and chose Microsoft partially because it was impressed by Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information." Bloomberg goes on to say, "Terms of the agreement weren’t known on Sunday. GitHub was last valued at $2 billion in 2015."

Microsoft, who was once generally opposed to open-source development, is now one of the biggest contributors to GitHub. 

Story developing.

Updated 4:48am GMT June 3, 2018

For those interested, we're compiling a list of some open-source GitHub alternatives. Please write others in the comment section. We'll update the story as verified alternatives come in.

Updated 3:37pm GMT June 4, 2018

Microsoft Acquires GitHub For $7.5 Billion.

 

 

Microsoft GitHub
Carlie Fairchild

Weekend Reading: Cloud

1 month 3 weeks ago
by Carlie Fairchild

The cloud has become synonymous with all things data storage. It additionally equates to the many web-centric services accessing that same back-end data storage, but the term also has evolved to mean so much more.

 

Everything You Need to Know about the Cloud and Cloud Computing, Part I

by Petros Koutoupis

An in-depth breakdown of the technologies involved in making up the cloud and a survey of cloud-service providers.

 

Everything You Need to Know about the Cloud and Cloud Computing, Part II: Using the Cloud

by Petros Koutoupis

How to get started with AWS, install Apache, create an EFS volume and much more.

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Cloud Billing

by Corey Quinn

Cloud billing is inherently complex; it's not just you.

 

Nextcloud 13: How to Get Started and Why You Should

by Marco Fioretti

In its simplest form, the Nextcloud server is "just" a personal, free software alternative to services like Dropbox or iCloud. You can set it up so your files are always accessible via the internet, from wherever you are, and share them with your friends. However, Nextcloud can do so much more.

 

Simple Cloud Hardening

by Kyle Rankin

Apply a few basic hardening principles to secure your cloud environment.

 

Vendor Lock-in: Now in the Cloud!

by Kyle Rankin

Vendor lock-in has moved from corporate infrastructure into the cloud, only this time many are all too happy to embrace it.

 

FOSS Project Spotlight: CloudMapper, an AWS Visualization Tool

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Carlie Fairchild

Linux Lite 4.0 Released, Linux Foundation's Acumos AI Challenge, Fedora 29 Bootloader Debate and More

1 month 3 weeks ago

News briefs June 1, 2018.

Linux Lite 4.0 "Diamond", is now available. This release is the first to drop 32-bit support, and it features "major design changes that include new system theme (Adapta) and icon sets (Papirus)", Softpedia News reports. In addition, Linux Lite 4.0 "adopts the swap file implementation from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, as well as full disk encryption in the installer to replace home encryption". You can download it from here.

The Linux Foundation yesterday announced the Acumos AI Challenge, sponsored by AT&T and Tech Mahindra. The challenge "is an open source developer competition seeking innovative, ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) solutions from students, developers, and data scientists". The challenge is accepting submissions May 31 to August 5, 2018. The 1st place team will win $50,000, and the 2nd and 3rd place teams each will receive $25,000.

Fedora 29 may make the GRUB bootloader hidden by default, and this possibility is stirring up a bit of a debate. According to Phoronix, the pros are for a "faster boot experience", and the cons worry new users won't know how to revert to an older kernel if necessary. See the thread for the whole discussion.

Jolla Sailfish 2.2.0 "Mouhijoki" has been released. This update "introduces a new simpler single item view in Gallery and Camera app, adds fingerprint unlock support and emoji keyboard layout", as well as more robust VPN and MDM, and updated support for Xperia X and Jolla C devices among other things.

Phoronix turns 14 next week. Find out how you can help them celebrate.

Samuel F. Dabney, co-founder of Atari and one of the creators of Pong passed away May 26, 2018, The New York Times reports. He was 81. RIP Mr Dabney.

News Distributions AI Fedora Mobile gaming
Jill Franklin

Linux Journal June Issue: Do-It-Yourself

1 month 3 weeks ago
by Carlie Fairchild

As tech editor Kyle Ranklin so aptly put it, June's Do-It-Yourself issue is "like an extra-geeky episode of Cribs featuring single-board computers".

In this issue:

  • Make Your Own RV Offsite Backup and Media Server
  • Create a Custom Minimal Linux Distribution from Source
  • Build a Voice-Controlled Front End for IoT Devices
  • Introducing PyInstaller
  • Shell Scripting a Password Generating Tool
  • OpenStreetMap Should Be a Priority to the Open Source Community
  • The Current State of Linux and Music
  • Open Hardware and IoT
  • A Programmer's Look at Jakarta EE
  • JaxoDraw for Physics
  • FOSS Project Spotlights: Codelobster and WallPaperDownloader

Subscribers, you can download your June issue now.

Not a subscriber? It’s not too late. Subscribe today and receive instant access to this and ALL back issues since 1994!

Want to buy a single issue? Buy the June magazine or other single back issues in the LJ store.

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Carlie Fairchild

A Brand Advertising Restoration Project

1 month 3 weeks ago
by Doc Searls

The GDPR is breaking advertising apart. 

Never mind the specifics of the regulation. Just look at the effects. Among those, two are obvious and everywhere: 1) opt-back-in emails and 2) "consent walls" in front of websites. Both of those misdirect attention away from how an entire branch of advertising ignored a simple moral principle that has long applied in the offline world: tracking people without their knowledge, approval or a court order is just flat-out wrong.

That branch of advertising is adtech. As I put it here a year ago: 

Let's be clear about all the differences between adtech and real advertising. It's adtech that spies on people and violates their privacy. It's adtech that's full of fraud and a vector for malware. It's adtech that incentivizes publications to prioritize “content generation” over journalism. It's adtech that gives fake news a business model, because fake news is easier to produce than the real kind, and adtech will pay anybody a bounty for hauling in eyeballs.

Real advertising doesn't do any of those things, because it's not personal. It is aimed at populations selected by the media they choose to watch, listen to or read. To reach those people with real ads, you buy space or time on those media. You sponsor those media because those media also have brand value.

The GDPR won't make adtech go away, but it will separate the advertising wheat from the adtech chaff.

The question then is whether advertisers and publishers can recover their lost taste for wheat. Lots of brands still like to advertise on the broadcast and print media that operate in the physical world. In fact, advertising there is still how most brands are made and sustained. In the online world, however, advertisers' appetite for data far outweighs their interest in branding there—with the exception of podcasting. Advertising on podcasts is growing rapidly. While there is data to be gained there, the main reason brands advertise on podcasts are old-fashioned sponsorship ones: brands supporting brands. 

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Doc Searls

Atari VCS Finally on Indiegogo, Free Software Directory Meet-up Tomorrow, Minifree Libreboot X200 Tablet Has Been FSF-Certified and More

1 month 3 weeks ago

News briefs for May 31, 2018.

The Atari VCS finally appeared on Indiegogo this week and already has $2,083,244 USD at the time of this writing (the goal was $100,000). The user interface is proprietary, but it's "built on an open source Linux OS so you can add your own software and apps to customize your own platform". The Indiegogo page also mentions that "a planned line of Atari VCS peripherals and accessories will let you build your own Game and Entertainment-Powered 'Connected Home' experience." It will include classic arcade games as well as modern titles and is expected to begin shipping in July 2019.

Join the Friday Free Software Directory IRC meet-up tomorrow, June 1, 12pm EDT to 3pm EDT. This week's theme is health software, and the meeting is on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

There's a new open-source framework for government projects: the Louisville Metro Government recently made its traffic data infrastructure available in the cloud and open-sourced the code, allowing other cities to build upon it, Route 50 reports. Louisville had won an Amazon Web Services grant last year to "merge its traffic data with Waze's and then run predictive analytics in the cloud to better time traffic signals to manage flow." More than 80 local, state and federal governments are now part of the Waze Connected Citizens Program, and the network is expanding to other open-source projects and is called the Open Government Coalition.

Redis 5.0 RC1 is out for testing this week, Phoronix reports. The biggest new feature is the Streams data type implementation, but 5.0 also offers new APIs, better memory reporting and more. See the Redis 5.0 RC1 announcement for all the details.

The Minifree Libreboot X200 tablet has been FSF-certified, which means "the product meets the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy". The X200 tablet is a "fully free laptop/tablet hybrid that comes with Trisquel and Libreboot pre-installed. The device is similar to the previously certified Libreboot X200 laptop, but with a built-in tablet that enables users to draw, sign documents, or make handwritten notes."

News gaming FOSS Hardware Redis FSF
Jill Franklin

Why You Should Do It Yourself

1 month 3 weeks ago
by Kyle Rankin

Bring back the DIY movement and start with your own Linux servers.

It wasn't very long ago that we lived in a society where it was a given that average people would do things themselves. There was a built-in assumption that you would perform basic repairs on household items, do general maintenance and repairs on your car, mow your lawn, cook your food and patch your clothes. The items around you reflected this assumption with visible and easy-to-access screws, spare buttons sewn on the bottom of shirts and user-replaceable parts.

Through the years though, culture has changed toward one more focused on convenience. The microeconomic idea of "opportunity cost" (an idea that you can assign value to each course of action and weigh it against alternative actions you didn't take) has resulted in many people who earn a reasonable wage concluding that they should do almost nothing themselves.

The typical thinking goes like this: if my hourly wage is higher than the hourly cost of a landscaping service, even though that landscaping service costs me money, it's still cheaper than if I mowed my own lawn, because I could somehow be earning my hourly wage doing something else. This same calculation ends up justifying oil-change and landscaping services, microwave TV dinners and replacing items when they break instead of repairing them yourself. The result has been a switch to a service-oriented economy, with the advent of cheaper, more disposable items that hide their screws and vehicles that are all but hermetically sealed under the hood.

This same convenience culture has found its way into technology, with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley wracking their brains to think of some new service they could invent to do some new task for you. Linux and the Open Source movement overall is one of the few places where you can still find this do-it-yourself ethos in place.

When referring to proprietary software, Linux users used to say "You wouldn't buy a car with the hood welded shut!" With Linux, you can poke under the hood and see exactly how the system is running. The metaphorical screws are exposed, and you can take the software apart and repair it yourself if you are so inclined. Yet to be honest, so many people these days would buy a car with the hood welded shut. They also are fine with buying computers and software that are metaphorically welded shut all justified by convenience and opportunity cost.

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Kyle Rankin

Chrome 67 Released, New Version of RaspAnd, SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics Now Available for Linux and More

1 month 3 weeks ago

News briefs for May 30, 2018.

Chrome 67 has been released, and it includes several security fixes as well as default support for WebAuthn, which provides "a way to sign up to websites using biometrics like fingerprints or facial images stored in a smartphone, or USB hardware like Yubikey's authentication device", ZDNet reports. Chrome 67 also features new APIs for augmented and virtual reality.

RaspAnd developer Arne Exton announced yesterday the new version of his Android-based OS for the Raspberry Pi. This build is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat, and Exton says "RaspAnd 7.1.2 Build 180529 can be used with the official Raspberry Pi 7 inch touchscreen and Big TV Screens." He also mentions that Bluetooth now works for the very first time and video performance in Kodi 18.0 has improved.

SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics are now available for Linux. According to GamingOnLinux, they've also added new features, including two-player online multiplayer, leaderboards, challenge modes, VR support and more. In addition, they have also lowered the price to $29.99 for the whole collection, which is available on Steam.

LWN reports a large set of stable kernel updates this morning: "4.16.13 (272 patches), 4.14.45 (496 patches), 4.9.104 (329 patches), 4.4.134 (268 patches) and 3.18.111 (185 patches)".

Plex now supports podcasts, and according to the Engadget post, "It's also free, helps contain all your media—including photos, music, news and videos—in one place, and doesn't make passive aggressive subscription requests. In fact there isn't any subscription required at all."

News Chrome Security Raspberry Pi gaming kernel multimedia
Jill Franklin

The Fight for Control: Andrew Lee on Open-Sourcing PIA

1 month 3 weeks ago
by Doc Searls

When I learned that our new sister company, Private Internet Access (PIA), was opening its source code, I immediately wanted to know the backstory, especially since privacy is the theme of this month's Linux Journal. So I contacted Andrew Lee, who founded PIA, and an interview ensued. Here it is.

DS: What made you start PIA in the first place? Did you have a particular population or use case—or set of use cases—in mind?

AL: Primarily PIA was rooted in my humble beginnings on IRC where it had quickly become important to protect one's IP from exposure using an IRC bouncer. However, due to jumping around in various industries thereafter, I learned a lot and came to an understanding that it was time for privacy to go mainstream, not in the "hide yourself" type of sense, but simply in the "don't watch me" sense.

DS: Had you wanted to open-source the code base all along? If not, why now?

AL: We always wanted to open-source the code base, and we finally got around to it. It's late, but late is better than never. We were incredibly busy, and we didn't prioritize it enough, but by analyzing our philosophies deeply, we've been able to re-prioritize things internally. Along with open-sourcing our software, there are a lot of great things to come.

DS: People always wonder if open-sourcing a code base affects a business model. Our readers have long known that it doesn't, and that open-sourcing in fact opens more possibilities than leaving code closed. But it would be good to hear your position on the topic, since I'm sure you've thought about it.

AL: Since Private Internet Access is a service, having open-source code does not affect the business' ability to generate revenue as a company aiming for sustainable activism. Instead, I do believe we're going to end up with better and stronger software as an outcome.

DS: Speaking of activism, back in March, you made a very strong statement, directly to President Trump and Congress, with a two-page ad in The New York Times, urging them to kill off SESTA-FOSTA. I'm curious to know if we'll be seeing more of that and to hear what the response was at the time.

AL: Absolutely! We ran a few newspaper campaigns, including one for the Internet Defense League. It's a very strong place to mobilize people for important issues for society. As a result of the campaign, many tweets from concerned Americans were received by President Trump. I would say it was a success, but from here it's up to our President. Let's hope he does the right thing and vetoes it. That said, if the bill is signed in its current form [which it was after this interview was conducted], the internet is routing, and the cypherpunks have the power of the crypto. We will decentralize and route around bad policy.

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Emacs 26.1 Released, Linux 4.17-rc7, GNOME Foundation Receives Anonymous Donation and More

1 month 3 weeks ago

News briefs for May 29, 2018.

Emacs 26.1 was released yesterday. New features include limited form of concurrency with Lisp threads, support for optional display of line numbers in the buffer, use of double buffering to reduce flicker on the X Window System, redesign of Flymake, support for 24-bit colors on text terminals and lots more.

Linus Torvalds had these remarks over the weekend on Linux 4.17-rc7: "This week we had the whole 'spectre v4' thing, and yes, the fallout from that shows up as part of the patch and commit log. But it's not actually dominant: the patch is pretty evenly one third arch updates, one third networking updates, and one third "rest". He also mentioned "The bulk of it is really pretty trivial one-liners, and nothing looks particularly scary. Let's see how next week looks, but if nothing really happens I suspect we can make do without an rc8."

The GNOME Foundation recently received a pledge for $1,000,000 over the next two years from an anonymous donor. The Foundation plans to use the funds "to increase staff to streamline operations and to grow its support of the GNOME Project and the surrounding ecosystem."

KDE Connect Development Sprint took place last week, and the developers worked on the ability to send SMS from the desktop, making the Run Commands interface more discoverable, improving the functionality of multimedia controls ("now it's possible to display album art from your desktop on your Android devices") and more.

A new desktop environment option has arrived. The Jade Desktop is built on Python, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript and uses GTK with WebKit2, Phoronix reports. For more info, see Sparky Linux, which is offering the new desktop to its users.

The Korora Project and BackSlash Linux are ceasing development due to time constraints and financial issues, respectively, It's FOSS reports. The Korora project is taking a sabbatical (the developers aren't saying how long that will be), and the BackSlash Linux distro is asking for donations to help get started again.

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Jill Franklin