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Linux Kernel 5.1 Is Out, Red Hat Announces Winners of the 2019 Women in Open Source Awards, GNU Linux-libre 5.1-gnu Is Now Available, Lockheed Martin Worked with Red Hat to Improve F022 Raptor Fighter Jets, and Firefox 66.0.4 Released

2 weeks 5 days ago

News briefs for May 6, 2019.

Linux kernel 5.1 is out. Linus Torvalds writes, "The past week has been pretty calm, and the final patch from rc6 is not all that big. The shortlog is appended, but it's small changes all over. Networking, filesystem code, drivers, tooling, arch updates. Nothing particularly odd stands out. Of course, the shortlog below is just for that final calm week. On the whole, 5.1 looks very normal with just over 13k commits (plus another 1k+ if you count merges)." He also mentions the timing of the 5.2 merge window might be an issue for him: "I just happen to have the college graduation of my oldest happen right smack dab in the middle of the upcoming merge window, so I might be effectively offline for a few days there. If worst comes to worst, I'll extend it to make it all work, but I don't think it will be needed."

Red Hat announced the winners of the 2019 Women in Open Source Awards. The two winners are Limor Fried, founder and lead engineer at Adafruit Industries, and Saloni Garg, a student at LNM Institute of Information Technology pursing A bachelor's degree in computer science. From the announcement: "Their contributions are innovative examples of how open source is being used to make a difference in people's lives and is well positioned to inspire future generations."

The Free Software Foundation Latin America team announced the release of GNU Linux-libre 5.1-gnu. Phoronix reports that "With Linux 5.1 besides re-basing all their existing patches, there were a few more drivers that required adjustments. Alexandre Oliva mentioned in the release announcement, 'Besides the usual assortment of firmware name updates, new drivers for mt7603 and goya required disabling of blob requests, wilc1000 had some files renamed which required adjusting the deblobbing logic, and a driver that we used to deblob (lantiq xrx200 firmware loader) was removed, so its cleaning up code is now gone.'" You can download it from FSFLA.org.

Lockheed Martin worked with Red Hat to "modernize the application development process used to bring new capabilities to the U.S. Air Force's fleet of F-22 Raptor fighter jets". From Red Hat's press release: "Through an eight-week Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residency, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics replaced the waterfall development process it used for F-22 Raptor upgrades with an agile methodology and DevSecOps practices that are more adaptive to the needs of the U.S. Air Force. Together, Lockheed Martin and Red Hat created an open architecture based on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform that has enabled the F-22 team to accelerate application development and delivery."

Firefox 66.0.4 was released yesterday. ZDNet reports that this release "fixes the issue with an expired signing certificate that disabled add-ons for the vast majority of its userbase". You can download Firefox here.

News kernel Red Hat FSF GNU Linux-libre Firefox
Jill Franklin

Open Source--It's in the Genes

2 weeks 5 days ago
by Glyn Moody

What happens when you release 500,000 human genomes as open source? This.

DNA is digital. The three billion chemical bases that make up the human genome encode data not in binary, but in a quaternary system, using four compounds—adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine—to represent four genetic "digits": A, C, G and T. Although this came as something of a surprise in 1953, when Watson and Crick proposed an A–T and C–G pairing as a "copying mechanism for genetic material" in their famous double helix paper, it's hard to see how hereditary information could have been transmitted efficiently from generation to generation in any other way. As anyone who has made photocopies of photocopies is aware, analog systems are bad at loss-free transmission, unlike digital encodings. Evolution of progressively more complex structures over millions of years would have been much harder, perhaps impossible, had our genetic material been stored in a purely analog form.

Although the digital nature of DNA was known more than half a century ago, it was only after many years of further work that quaternary data could be extracted at scale. The Human Genome Project, where laboratories around the world pieced together the three billion bases found in a single human genome, was completed in 2003, after 13 years of work, for a cost of around $750 million. However, since then, the cost of sequencing genomes has fallen—in fact, it has plummeted even faster than Moore's Law for semiconductors. A complete human genome now can be sequenced for a few hundred dollars, with sub-$100 services expected soon.

As costs have fallen, new services have sprung up offering to sequence—at least partially—anyone's genome. Millions have sent samples of their saliva to companies like 23andMe in order to learn things about their "ancestry, health, wellness and more". It's exciting stuff, but there are big downsides to using these companies. You may be giving a company the right to use your DNA for other purposes. That is, you are losing control of the most personal code there is—the one that created you in the boot-up process we call gestation. Deleting sequenced DNA can be hard.

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Glyn Moody

Linux 5.1 Released

2 weeks 6 days ago

Linus Torvalds: So it's a bit later in the day than I usually do this, just because I was waffling about the release.