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LWN.net Weekly Edition for February 07, 2008

LCA: Bringing X into a two-handed world

By Jonathan Corbet
February 3, 2008
Our graphical interfaces, as implemented through the X Window System, are designed around a single keyboard and a single mouse. But humans are social creatures who want to work together and share systems; they also tend to design their activities around the fact that we have two hands. Moving X out of the single-device model is not a task for the faint of heart, but Peter Hutterer is making a go of it. His LCA talk on multi-pointer X was an interesting update on where this work stands.

The X device model is based on the idea of a core keyboard and a core pointer. Even in a situation where multiple input devices are present (a second mouse plugged into a laptop, say), the application still only sees a single, core device. There is no way to tell, using these core devices, which physical device generated any given event. This, of course, will be an obstacle for any application wanting to provide multi-device support.

As it happens, the XInput extension has provided basic multiple-device support for many years. XInput events look much like core device events, except that (1) applications must register to receive them separately, and (2) they include an ID number identifying the device which generated the event. XInput does not solve the problem by itself, though, for a couple of reasons. Beyond the fact that it does not provide a way for users to specify how different devices should be handled, XInput suffers from the little difficulty that approximately 100% of X applications do not make use of it. So nobody is listening to all those nice XInput events with associated device IDs. The one exception Peter mentioned is the GIMP, which uses XInput to deal with tablets.

Of course, multiple devices work on current systems; that is because the X server also generates core events for all devices. That causes the device ID to be lost, but, since applications do not care, this is not a problem, for now. But it does mean that we are still stuck in a world where systems have a single pointer and a single keyboard.

Luckily for us, says Peter, multi-pointer X is on the horizon. MPX extends X through the creation of the concept of "master" and "slave" devices. Master devices are those which generate events seen by MPX-aware clients; they are virtual devices which can be created and destroyed by the user at will. Slave devices, instead, correspond to the physical devices attached to the system. Through the use of a modified xinput command, users can create masters and attach specific slaves to them.

In the MPX world, one of three things will happen whenever something is done with a physical (slave) device:

  1. The X server will create an XInput event from the slave device and deliver it to any applications which have asked for such events.

  2. If that event is not delivered (because nobody was interested), a core event from the associated master device is created and queued for delivery.

  3. If the event is still undelivered, the server will create an XInput event from the master device to which the slave is attached and attempt to deliver that.

The end result is a scheme where multiple devices still work as expected with non-MPX-aware applications. But when an application which does take advantage of MPX shows up, it will have access to the real information about what the user is doing.

[Peter Hutterer] Peter ran a demo of some of the things he was able to do. By default, there is still only one pointer and one keyboard. Once a new master is created, though, and slave devices attached to it, things get more interesting. Two mouse pointers exist on the screen, each of which can be used independently. It's possible to be typing into two separate windows at the same time. Or, with the right window manager, the user can move windows simultaneously, or resize a window by grabbing two corners at the same time. It was great fun to watch.

MPX brings with it an API which can be used with multi-device applications. When applications use it, says Peter, the result is "eternal happiness." That just leaves the problem of "the other 100%" of the application base which lacks this awareness. To a certain extent, things just work, even when independent pointers are used in the same application. There are some exceptions, though, which have required some workarounds in the system.

For example, applications typically respond when the pointer enters a specific window - illuminating a button within the application, for example. Things work fine when two pointers enter that button. But, likely as not, once the first pointer leave the button, it will go dark and refuse to respond to events from the other pointer. The solution is to nest enter and leave events, so that only the first entry is reported to the application, and only the final exit. Another problem results when a mouse button is pushed while another button is being held down (for a drag operation, perhaps) on a different device. Do that within Nautilus, and the application simply locks up - not the eternal happiness Peter was hoping for. So, when the application holds a grab on one device (as happens when buttons are held down), no other button events will be reported. Also problematic is what to do when the application asks where the pointer is: which pointer should be reported? In this case, the server simply assigns one pointer as the one to report on. All of this makes standard applications work - almost all the time.

Some interesting problems remain, though. How, for example, should a window manager place new windows in a multi-user, multi-device situation? Users will want their windows in their part of the display space, but the window manager has no real way of knowing where that is - or even which user the window "belongs" to. In general, the whole paradigm under which desktop applications have been developed is unprepared to deal with a multi-device world.

Things will get worse as more types of input devices enter the picture. Touch screens are bad enough; they have no persistent state, so things change every time the user touches the device. But touch screens of the future will report multiple touch points simultaneously, and each of those will have attributes like the area of the touch, the pressure being applied, etc. Perhaps the device will sense elevation - a third dimension above the device itself. All of this is going to require a massive rethinking of how our applications work. There are going to be a lot of big problems. But that, says Peter, is what happens when one explores new areas. One gets the sense that he is looking forward to the challenge.

Comments (12 posted)

LCA: Disintermediating distributions

By Jonathan Corbet
February 6, 2008
One of the mini-confs which happened ahead of linux.conf.au proper was the "distribution summit," meant to be a place where representatives and users of all distributions could talk about issues of interest to all. The highlight of this event, perhaps, was Jeff Waugh's talk on disintermediating distributions - or, as he rephrased it, "distributed distributions." If his ideas take hold, they could be the beginning of a new relationship between free software projects and their users.

It all started, says Jeff, some years ago, when he ran into Mark Shuttleworth fresh from a visit to Antarctica. Mark's pitch, says Jeff, "sounded like crack" at the time. By 2003 or so, it just didn't seem like there was a whole lot of room for a new distribution. But Mark had some interesting ideas, and Jeff signed on; the result, of course, was Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has clearly had some success, but, in some important ways, it has failed to work out - at least for Jeff. He found himself distracted by Ubuntu's lack of participation in Debian, from which it derived its product. There was a real tension between tracking Debian and tracking upstream projects more directly. Despite Jeff's insistence that Ubuntu should be tracking (and pushing updates into) Debian's unstable distribution, Ubuntu often chose to go with upstream, resulting in what is, in effect, a fork of the Debian distribution - in terms of both the technology and the community.

[Jeff
Waugh] What Ubuntu was doing was taking upstream packages, modifying them, bringing in shiny new features, and generally looking for ways to differentiate itself from the other distributors. So, for example, the first Ubuntu release contained a great deal of Project Utopia work (aimed at making hardware "just work" with Linux) which had been done by developers from other distributions; Ubuntu shipped it first, though, and got a lot of credit for it. Novell's behind-closed-doors development of Xgl was motivated primarily by the wish to keep Ubuntu from shipping it first. Meanwhile, Red Hat had slowly learned that trying to differentiate itself by diverging from upstream was a path to pain. So Red Hat's developers created AIGLX, in an open, community oriented manner; the result is that AIGLX has proved to be the winning technology.

Events like these led Jeff to wonder about just where the integration of packages should be done - upstream or downstream? From Jeff's (GNOME-based) upstream point of view, he wonders why he doesn't have a direct relationship with his users. While most projects deliver their code through middlemen (distributors), there is an example of a project which has managed to maintain a much more direct relationship: Firefox. Most Firefox users are direct clients of the project - though most of them are Windows users. The Firefox trademark has been used to ensure that, even when distributors are involved, the upstream developers get a say in what is delivered to users.

So, what happens if you take out the middleman? It's instructive to look back at what life was like before there were distributors. It was, Jeff says, much like pigs playing in mud; perhaps they enjoyed it, but it was messy. There are, in fact, a lot of good things that distributors have done for us. You can get a fully integrated stack of software from one source, and the distributor acts, in a way, as the user's advocate toward the upstream project. We don't want to lose out on all that.

But, if one were to look at facilitating a more direct relationship between development project and their users, one would want to take advantage of a number of maturing technologies. These include:

  • OpenID. Any process of distributing distributions must look at distributed identity, and OpenID is the way to do it.

  • DOAP. "Sounds terrible" but it's a useful way of describing a project with XML. With a DOAP description, a user can find a project's mailing lists, bug tracker, source repository, etc.

  • Atom. This is how projects can distribute information about what they are doing.

  • XMPP. This is a Jabber-based message queueing and presence protocol. It can be used to more active publishing of information than Atom can do.

  • Distributed revision control. Lots of functionality for integration between projects, and between upstream and downstream. Jeff sees git as a step backward, though; some of the other offerings, he thinks, have much better user interfaces.

Also important are the packaging efforts which are underway in a number of places. These include Fedora, which is "becoming competitive with Debian" as a community project. OpenSUSE has put together a build system which can create packages for a number of distributions. Debian has had a community build system for years; there is interest in Debian in going the next step, though - ideas like building packages directly from a distributed version control system. Ubuntu's Launchpad was "a spectacular vision," though the reality is "a bit of a snore"; it didn't achieve its goal of helping upstream and downstream work together.

Then there's Bugzilla, which is the "bug filing gauntlet" between projects and their users. The Debian bug tracking system has done a better job of facilitating bug reports by allowing them to be submitted by email. But most big projects are using Bugzilla. It would be much improved by using OpenID (so that users would not have to register to file bugs) and some sort of Atom-based feed which would make querying bugs easy.

If you take out the distribution, what do you replace it with? How do we achieve consistency? We need to create standards for how we interact with each other. And we can, in fact, be very good at consistency and standards when the need is clear. Good release management is a step toward that goal. GNOME once had very bad release management, but has pulled it together. Doing time-based releases was a hard sell, but few developers would want anything else now. Now GNOME release management just works.

Consistency in source management is needed. Once upon a time that was done through CVS, but CVS is no longer up to the job, and now every project is using a different distributed version control system. But, sooner or later, one of the competing projects will win out and "hopefully we'll have clarity again." Autotools and pkgconfig can also go a long way toward creating consistency between projects.

So, if we can push the available tools up into the upstream projects, those projects can get better at producing packages for distributions themselves. Once the tools (like bug trackers) can talk to each other, people will start making more use of them and network effects will take over. But, at the moment, the knowledge about integration remains at the distribution level.

Debian, Jeff thinks, is well placed to take on a project like this and push its integration knowledge upstream. While Debian has typically been ten years ahead of everybody else in its packaging and integration abilities, it currently has a "relevancy problem." Finding ways to help upstream projects support their users more directly while maintaining overall integration and consistency would be a perfect way for Debian to maintain its leadership in this area. That could change the game for everybody, bringing projects closer to their users and making us all "happy as pigs in mud."

Comments (149 posted)

linux.conf.au 2008

By Jonathan Corbet
February 6, 2008
linux.conf.au has an interesting structure which differentiates it from most other events. Every year, a completely new set of organizers takes over the event, moves it to a new city, and puts its own stamp on it. They have a great deal of freedom in how they run LCA, but there is still a group of Linux Australia members and past organizers who keep an eye on things and help ensure that the event does not run into problems. The result is a conference which has a lot of fresh energy every year, but which is also reliably interesting. Many attendees consider it to be one of the best Linux events to be found anywhere in the world.

This year, LCA was held in Melbourne, Australia; the organizing team was led by Donna Benjamin. The now-familiar LCA formula was followed, but with some small changes. The tutorial day is no more, replaced by relatively short tutorial sessions on each day. The traditional auction for charity was also gone this year; instead, a raffle (with Greg Kroah-Hartman's 2.6.22 contributor poster as the main prize) yielded some $1000 for a local penguin refuge. The raffle was [Donna Benjamin] certainly a lower-pressure, less alcohol-fueled way of raising money, but LCA without Rusty Russell as auctioneer just isn't quite the same. That quibble notwithstanding, LCA 2008 was an interesting, well-organized, and well-attended event. Ms. Benjamin and company have certainly upheld the standards for this conference.

A number of LCA talks have been covered in separate LWN articles, and a few more may yet follow. This article will quickly review a few other high points, as seen from your editor's perspective. It's worth noting that videos for almost all of the talks have been posted on the conference web site.

[Muffins] Certainly one high point came on January 30, the day that LWN celebrated its tenth anniversary. The crowd sang a rousing - if not entirely harmonious - version of "happy birthday" after Bruce Schneier's keynote. The following morning tea featured special LWN muffins; they were, much to your editor's delight, of the intense chocolate variety. It is hard to imagine a better place or time to celebrate to celebrate ten years of LWN.

While most LCA presentations are quite technical in nature, there are exceptions. Australian lawyer Kimberlee Weatherall's talk on legal issues was called "Stop in the name of law"; it covered a number of topics of interest to a global audience. Kimberlee, it's worth noting, was the recipient of the "Rusty Wrench" award for service to the free software community at last year's LCA in Sydney.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, she noted, is ten years old now. At this point, the debate on its anti-circumvention provisions is essentially done, and anti-circumvention has won; she is not expecting to see any major changes in countries which have adopted such laws. The music industry may [Kimberlee Weatherall] be moving away from use of DRM, but "they were never very good at it anyway." DRM is still going strong in other areas, such as movies and subscription television.

Similarly, the fight to end software patents is over, and we have lost. There are incredible numbers of software patents issued every year; every one of those patents represents a significant investment by its owner. The total amount of investment in these patents is huge; that amount of money is almost impossible to displace. It is also very hard to define what a software patent really is; there are thousands of them in Europe, which ostensibly does not allow software patents. No matter how the rules are written, lawyers will find a way around them.

What is happening on the patent front, instead, is a more constructive engagement with the process. Some reform is happening in the US, as a result of the KSR decision and various attempts to mitigate the costs associated with patents. So the situation might improve slowly over time.

GPLv3 is out. It now has to pass two tests: the market test (will projects use it?) and any legal tests which might be brought. Kimberlee expressed some doubts on whether GPLv3 will really hold up in court, but did not elaborate on them.

There is a new threat out there which we should not underestimate: the push to force copyright enforcement duties onto ISPs. This effort takes two forms: getting "infringers" disconnected, and requiring ISPs to filter data passing through their networks. There are a lot of problems with either approach, but that is not stopping the industry (and others, such as anti-porn crusaders) from pushing hard for ISP responsibility. This is a fight to watch.

So what should the free software community do? Not much, says Kimberlee, except to keep coding. The production of good code brings us allies with money, and that's what we're going to need. As long as we are successful, people will go out of our way to protect us. Keep doing what we do, and things should come out OK.

Anthony Baxter is the Python release manager; he was also the keynote speaker for the third day of the conference. He is, to say the least, an entertaining speaker, so this would be a good one to watch on video. The [Anthony Baxter] talk was about coming changes in Python, and Python 3.0 in particular. The 3.0 release, he says, is "the one where we break all of your code." It's the first backward-incompatible update of the language (at least, if you don't deal in C extension modules).

There are a lot of changes to the language which your editor will not repeat here; they are well documented on the Python web sites. As noted, many of these changes will cause existing code to break. This is being done, says Anthony, because the Python language is now 16 years old. Like all 16-year-olds, it has a number of annoying features. It's time to clean out a lot of accumulated cruft and get back to the minimal, "there is one way to do it" vision that has always driven the language.

Perhaps what's most interesting is what won't be done. The language will not be bloated - it will stay Python. There will be no braces; white space will still be used to mark blocks of code. The much-criticized global interpreter lock will remain. And, importantly, this will be an incremental (if big) update - there will be no overall rewrite of the interpreter. The experience of certain other projects (being Perl 6 and Mozilla) shows that total rewrites tend to be much longer, more painful affairs than anybody might envision at the outset.

There will be migration tools, of course, and warnings built into the forthcoming 2.6 release which will point out things that may cause migration difficulties. The 2.x series will be supported for some years into the future. And, says Anthony, there will be no Python 4.0 release. This is their one chance to break everything and start over, and they plan to get it right this time.

Dave Jones is the head maintainer for the Fedora kernel. At LCA 2008 he took a break from pointing out user-space problems and talked about "a day [Dave Jones] in the life of a distribution kernel maintainer." The real subject of the talk was the process that the Fedora project goes through to put together the kernels they ship.

There are currently three developers working on the Fedora kernel (Dave, Chuck Ebbert, and Kyle McMartin), and "several dozen" working on the RHEL kernels. Most of the RHEL folks are doing backports of fixes, drivers, etc. to the older kernels used by RHEL releases.

Once a kernel has been chosen for release, it's time to start adding patches. Some interesting numbers were put up at this point. Red Hat Linux 7 had 70 patches added to its 2.2.24 kernel. That number went slowly up, to the point where Fedora Core 6 had 191 patches. There are currently 63 patches added to the Fedora 8 kernel, though that may grow over the life of this release. By comparison, RHEL 5 is shipping a 2.6.18 kernel with 1628 patches added to it - a very different world.

There's all kinds of patches which go into a distributor kernel. These include security technologies (ExecShield) which have not made it into the mainline, changes to some default parameters, the silencing of certain "scary messages" which tend to provoke lots of needless bug reports, out-of-tree drivers, patches which help debug problems found in the field, stuff which has been vetoed upstream, and more. Then it's a matter of putting the package and dealing with the subsequent bug reports - lots of them.

[mascot] The closing ceremony included the traditional introduction of the organizer for next year's event. This event will go, for the first time ever, to Hobart, Tasmania; see MarchSouth.org for more information. There is some information on what this team is planning in the bid document [1.6MB PDF]; your editor is intrigued by the following: "The official Speakers' Dinner will be held at a mystery location south of Hobart following a 40 minute river cruise on a high speed luxury catamaran." It's never too soon to get that talk proposal together.

Finally, the last few LCA events have included the passing of the "Rusty Wrench" award to somebody who has performed a great service to the community. Recipients so far are Rusty Russell (after whom the award is named), Pia Waugh, and Kimberlee Weatherall. The Rusty Wrench was not awarded at LCA2008, though. It seems that, in the future, the Rusty Wrench will be part of an extensive set of awards which will be handed out at a separate "gala dinner" event held in the (Australian) winter. The awarding of the Rusty Wrench was a nice LCA feature which will be missed, but, then, there are advantages to having another excuse to visit Australia.

Comments (5 posted)

Page editor: Jake Edge

Security

Security hardening for Debian

By Jake Edge
February 6, 2008

Making the programs in a distribution more resistant to exploits—a process known as hardening—is a fairly common way to reduce the attack surface for the distribution. Many distributions have made an effort in this area, with some adding in an overall security architecture, like AppArmor for SUSE or SELinux for Red Hat and Fedora distributions. Debian is currently looking at enabling some hardening features, potentially throughout a large swath of packages that it distributes. The features being considered and the concerns raised provide an interesting look at the tradeoffs.

A posting to debian-devel-announce regarding hardening features for Lenny started the conversation. Those packages that are most susceptible—network services, packages that parse files from untrusted sources, or those that have been the subject of a security alert—should enable a set of security tools that will help deflect attacks against them. Various attacks rely upon certain characteristics of Linux binaries that allow them to be exploited. By altering the way the binaries are built, those particular threats can be mitigated.

The experimental hardening-wrapper package makes enabling the various toolchain differences as easy as setting DEB_BUILD_HARDENING=1 in the environment. This will change gcc, g++, and ld to use the desired flags when building packages. Each hardening feature can also be disabled separately by setting DEB_BUILD_HARDENING_xyzzy=0 (where xyzzy is the name of a hardening feature) if they cause build or performance problems for a particular package.

The specific features enabled are described in the original posting as well as with more detail on the Debian wiki entry for Hardening. They are:

  • using -Wformat to catch printf() family calls that do not have a string literal for the format string which can lead to problems if the argument came from an untrusted source and contains format specifiers.
  • using -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE_ to validate glibc calls such as strcpy() when the buffer sizes are known at compile time, which can help stop buffer overflow attacks.
  • using -fstack-protector to thwart most stack smashing attacks.
  • creating Position Independent Executables (PIE) which facilitates using the Address Space Layout Randomization that is available in some kernels. This makes it difficult for an attacker to have any knowledge of what the addresses for the program's sections will look like.
  • using ld -z relro to change certain sections to be read-only once ld has made its modifications while loading the program. This can thwart attacks that try to overwrite the Global Offset Table (GOT).

Many other distributions have already been down this path: Gentoo has a page describing their hardened toolchain, Mark Cox of Red Hat has a detailed look at the evolution of security features in Red Hat and Fedora releases, OpenSUSE has a page about its security features, and so on. There is a price to be paid in binary size, execution speed, and cache behavior for these techniques, but for most environments, where resources are not massively constrained, the cost is worth it. It makes new attacks against those systems more difficult to design, which will make users and administrators sleep a little better at night.

Comments (4 posted)

New vulnerabilities

gnatsweb: cross-site scripting

Package(s):gnatsweb CVE #(s):CVE-2007-2808
Created:February 6, 2008 Updated:February 6, 2008
Description: From the Debian advisory: "r0t" discovered that gnatsweb, a web interface to GNU GNATS, did not correctly sanitize the database parameter in the main CGI script. This could allow the injection of arbitrary HTML, or javascript code.
Alerts:
Debian DSA-1486-1 gnatsweb 2008-02-04

Comments (none posted)

goffice: multiple vulnerabilities

Package(s):goffice CVE #(s):
Created:January 31, 2008 Updated:February 6, 2008
Description: GOffice is vulnerable to buffer overflows and memory corruption in PCRE. If an attacker can convince a user to open specially crafted documents, it may be possible to execute arbitrary code, disclose information or cause a denial of service.
Alerts:
Gentoo 200801-19 goffice 2008-01-30

Comments (none posted)

kazehakase: multiple vulnerabilities

Package(s):kazehakase CVE #(s):
Created:January 31, 2008 Updated:April 23, 2008
Description: The kazehakase web browser is vulnerable to buffer overflows and memory corruption in PCRE. If a remote attacker can convince a user to open specially crafted bookmarks, it can lead to the execution of arbitrary code, denial of service or arbitrary information disclosure.
Alerts:
Gentoo 200801-18 kazehakase 2008-01-30

Comments (none posted)

kernel: denial of service

Package(s):kernel CVE #(s):CVE-2007-4130 CVE-2007-6694
Created:February 1, 2008 Updated:June 20, 2008
Description: From the Red Hat advisory: A flaw was found in the way the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 kernel handled page faults when a CPU used the NUMA method for accessing memory on Itanium architectures. A local unprivileged user could trigger this flaw and cause a denial of service (system panic). A possible NULL pointer dereference was found in the chrp_show_cpuinfo function when using the PowerPC architecture. This may have allowed a local unprivileged user to cause a denial of service (crash).
Alerts:
Ubuntu USN-618-1 linux-source-2.6.15/20/22 2008-06-19
Ubuntu USN-614-1 linux 2008-06-03
Debian DSA-1565-1 linux-2.6 2008-05-01
Debian DSA-1503-2 kernel-source-2.4.27 2008-03-06
Red Hat RHSA-2008:0154-01 kernel 2008-03-05
Debian DSA-1504 kernel-source-2.6.8 2008-02-22
Debian DSA-1503 kernel-source-2.4.27 2008-02-22
Red Hat RHSA-2008:0055-01 kernel 2008-01-31

Comments (none posted)

pcre: denial of service

Package(s):pcre CVE #(s):CVE-2006-7225 CVE-2006-7226
Created:February 1, 2008 Updated:February 6, 2008
Description: From the CVE entries: Perl-Compatible Regular Expression (PCRE) library before 6.7 allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (error or crash) via a regular expression that involves a "malformed POSIX character class", as demonstrated via an invalid character after a [[ sequence. Perl-Compatible Regular Expression (PCRE) library before 6.7 does not properly calculate the compiled memory allocation for regular expressions that involve a quantified "subpattern containing a named recursion or subroutine reference," which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (error or crash).
Alerts:
Mandriva MDVSA-2008:030 pcre 2008-01-31

Comments (1 posted)

rb_libtorrent: stack overflow

Package(s):rb_libtorrent CVE #(s):
Created:February 4, 2008 Updated:February 6, 2008
Description: From the Fedora advisory: A potential remote exploit was found in the bdecode_recursive routine that could trigger a stack overflow when passed malformed message data.
Alerts:
Fedora FEDORA-2008-1198 rb_libtorrent 2008-02-02

Comments (none posted)

xdg-utils: arbitrary command execution

Package(s):xdg-utils CVE #(s):CVE-2008-0386
Created:January 31, 2008 Updated:February 3, 2009
Description: From the Gentoo alert: Miroslav Lichvar discovered that the "xdg-open" and "xdg-email" shell scripts do not properly sanitize their input before processing it. A remote attacker could entice a user to open a specially crafted link with a vulnerable application using Xdg-Utils (e.g. an email client), resulting in the execution of arbitrary code with the privileges of the user running the application.
Alerts:
Slackware SSA:2009-033-01 xdg 2009-02-03
SuSE SUSE-SR:2008:004 xdg-utils, clamav, wireshark, pcre 2008-02-22
Mandriva MDVSA-2008:031 xdg-utils 2007-02-01
Gentoo 200801-21 xdg-utils 2008-01-30

Comments (1 posted)

Page editor: Jake Edge

Kernel development

Brief items

Kernel release status

The 2.6.25 merge window is still open, so there have not yet been any prepatches for this development cycle. Patches continue to flow into the mainline repository, with some 7500 changesets merged (as of this writing) for 2.6.25.

The current -mm tree is 2.6.24-mm1. Recent changes to -mm include the dropping of a number of subsystem trees due to patch conflicts and the movement of vast numbers of patches into the mainline.

For older kernels: 2.6.22.17, released on February 6, contains a significant number of fixes. It is likely to be the last release in the 2.6.22.x series.

Comments (none posted)

Kernel development news

Quotes of the week

I don't think that "developer-centric" debugging is really even remotely our problem, and that I'm personally a lot more interested in infrastructure that helps normal users give better bug-reports. And kgdb isn't even _remotely_ it.
-- Linus Torvalds, still not sold on kernel debuggers.

I used kgdb continuously for 4-5 years until it broke. I don't think I ever used it much for "debugging" as such. I used it more for general observation of what's going on in the kernel.
-- Andrew Morton

Comments (6 posted)

More stuff for 2.6.25

By Jonathan Corbet
February 6, 2008
Since last week's installment, some 3800 changesets have been merged into the mainline git repository. Some of the more interesting user-visible changes found in that patch stream include:

  • Support for new hardware, including RDC R-321x system-on-chip processors, Onkyo SE-90PCI and SE-200PCI sound devices, Xilinx ML403 AC97 controllers, TI TLV320AIC3X audio codecs, Realtek ALC889/ALC267/ALC269 codecs, VIA VT1708B HD audio codecs, SiS 7019 Audio Accelerator devices, C-Media 8788 (Oxygen) audio chipsets, Asus AV200-based sound cards, Freescale MPC8610 audio devices, Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 HiFi audio devices, Conexant 5051 audio codecs, MediaTek/TempoTec HiFier Fantasia sound cards, wireless RNDIS devices (and Broadcom 4320-based devices in particular), USB printer gadgets (intended for use in printer firmware), and NetEffect 1/10Gb ethernet adapters.

  • The nearly-unused ALSA sequencer instrument layer has been removed.

  • SELinux has a new set of checks which allow the creation of policies which control the flow of packets into and out of the system.

  • Netfilter has a more flexible "hashlimit" mechanism for limiting the number of packets to/from a given source over time.

  • There is a new "flow" classifier for the network fair queueing code which allows the more flexible creation of traffic policies.

  • The futex mechanism has a new "bitset wait" mechanism which allows for more targeted wakeups. This feature will be used by glibc to implement optimized reader-writer locks.

  • PCI hotplug is no longer an experimental feature.

  • Support for PCI Express ASPM, a power management protocol, has been added.

  • The virtio "balloon" driver (which can be used to change the amount of memory used by a KVM guest) and PCI driver have been added.

  • The CLONE_STOPPED bit (for the clone() system call) is said to be unused and is planned for removal. For 2.6.25, a warning will be printed.

  • The timerfd() system call is back, with a reworked, more capable API.

  • The page map patches, which enable much better accounting of memory use by processes, have been merged.

  • The "PM QOS" infrastructure allows both kernel and user-space code to register quality-of-service requirements (in the form of CPU DMA latency, network latency, and network throughput). These requirements will be taken into account when the kernel considers putting the system into a lower-power state.

  • Per-process capability bounding sets (which permanently remove potential capabilities from a process) are now supported. 64-bit capability mask support has also been merged.

  • The simplified mandatory access control kernel (SMACK) security module has been merged.

  • The smbfs filesystem has (finally) been deprecated in favor of CIFS. It is now scheduled for removal in 2.6.27.

  • There is a new RPC transport module allowing (client) NFS mounts using RDMA.

Changes visible to kernel developers include:

  • A large number of SUNRPC symbols (rpc_* and rpcauth_*) have been changed to GPL-only exports.

  • The x86 architecture merger continues, with quite a few files being coalesced.

  • The "flatmem" and "discontigmem" memory models have been removed on the 64-bit x86 architecture; "sparsemem" is now used for all builds.

  • The x86 spinlock implementation has been replaced with a "ticket spinlock" mechanism which provides fair FIFO behavior.

  • The fastcall function attribute didn't do anything on the x86 architecture, so it has been removed.

  • x86 has a new set of functions for easily manipulating page attributes. They are:

        set_memory_uc(unsigned long addr, int numpages); /* Uncached */
        set_memory_wb(unsigned long addr, int numpages); /* Cached */
        set_memory_x(unsigned long addr, int numpages);  /* Executable */
        set_memory_nx(unsigned long addr, int numpages); /* Non-executable */
        set_memory_ro(unsigned long addr, int numpages); /* Read-only */
        set_memory_rw(unsigned long addr, int numpages); /* Read-write */
    

    There is also a set of set_pages_* functions which take a struct page pointer rather than a beginning address.

  • Early-boot debugging of x86 systems via the FireWire port is now supported.

  • Bidirectional command support has been added to the SCSI layer.

  • There is a new process state called TASK_KILLABLE. It is a blocked state similar to TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE, with the difference that a wakeup will happen upon delivery of a fatal signal. The idea is to allow (almost) uninterruptible sleeps, but to still allow the process to be killed outright - thus ending the problem of unkillable processes stuck in the "D" state. There is a new set of functions for using this state: wait_event_killable(), schedule_timeout_killable(), mutex_lock_killable(), etc.

  • add_disk_randomness() has been unexported as there are no more in-tree users.

  • pci_enable_device_bars() has been replaced by two more-specific functions: pci_enable_device_io() and pci_enable_device_mem().

  • The high-resolution timer API has been augmented with:

        unsigned long hrtimer_forward_now(struct hrtimer *timer,
                                          ktime_t interval);
    

    It will move the given timer's expiration forward past the current time as determined by the associated clock.

  • The device structure now holds a pointer to a device_dma_parameters structure:

        struct device_dma_parameters {
    	unsigned int max_segment_size;
    	unsigned long segment_boundary_mask;
        };
    

    These parameters are used by the DMA mapping layer (and the IOMMU mapping code in particular) to ensure that I/O operations are set up within the device's constraints. The PCI layer supports this feature with two new functions:

        int pci_set_dma_max_seg_size(struct pci_dev *dev, unsigned int size);
        int pci_set_dma_seg_boundary(struct pci_dev *dev, unsigned long mask);
    

    Drivers for devices with unusually strict DMA limitations should probably use these functions to ensure that those restrictions are respected.

One thing which has not made it into 2.6.25 is the KGDB debugger for the x86 architecture. Amusingly, a linux.conf.au kernel mini-conf discussion of "sneaking" KGDB past Linus proceeded for some time before the participants noticed him standing in the back of the room listening to the whole thing. His current position is that he won't pull it as part of the x86 tree, and he's still not much interested in the idea in general.

As of this writing, the merge window is still open and could stay that way for as much as a week. So more interesting code could still find its way in through this merge window; stay tuned.

Comments (3 posted)

CRFS and POHMELFS

By Jake Edge
February 6, 2008

Performance, or lack thereof, has often been a knock against the venerable Network File System (NFS), but no real competition has emerged. NFS also has some serious flaws for programmers and users, with behavior that is markedly different from that of local filesystems. Both of these problems are spurring the creation of new network filesystems; two of which were announced in the last week.

The Coherent Remote File System (CRFS) was introduced last week at linux.conf.au by Zach Brown of Oracle. It uses BTRFS—pronounced "butter-f-s"—as its storage on the server, rather than layering atop any POSIX filesystem as NFS does. According to Brown, BTRFS has a number of important features that outweigh the inconvenience for users of getting their data into a BTRFS volume. The biggest is the ability to do compound operations (creating or unlinking a file for example) in an atomic and idempotent manner.

CRFS has a userspace daemon (crfsd) that talks to the BTRFS volume as well as multiple clients. The clients use the kernel VFS caching infrastructure extensively, thus are implemented as kernel modules. A user wishing to access the underlying BTRFS volume on the server, must mount it as a CRFS volume; crfsd must have exclusive access to the BTRFS. This is also different from NFS which will cooperate with local mounts of the underlying filesystem.

The basic idea behind CRFS is to have clients cache as much of the filesystem data as they can while using cache coherency protocols to reduce the amount of network traffic that gets generated. Clients keep track of the cache state for each object they have stored, while the server tracks the cache state of all objects that any client has. The messages between server and client consist of cache state transitions and the data being transferred.

Data transfer in both directions is done using CRFS "item ranges". CRFS objects use the BTRFS key scheme to represent objects (file data, directories, directory entries, inodes, etc.) in the filesystem. An item range is a contiguous section of the key space, specified by a minimum and maximum key value as part of the message. When the client is filling its cache, it can request a particular key but also offer to take other surrounding keys as part of the response; if the server sees those keys in the BTRFS leaf node, it can send them along as well.

Something on the order of a 3x speedup over asynchronous NFS mounts is the current performance of CRFS for a simple untar. Comparing to synchronous NFS mounts (where each write has to actually hit the remote disk) is not a sensible comparison; there is a roughly 10x speed difference between the two types of NFS mounts. Brown has been working on CRFS for "about a year" and is planning to release the code eventually. Until that happens, the slides [PDF] and video [Theora] from his talk—as well as a few postings to his weblog—are the only sources of information about CRFS.

Another filesystem, that aims to have a broader reach than CRFS, is the Parallel Optimized Host Message Exchange Layered File System (POHMELFS), announced in linux-kernel posting by Evgeniy Polyakov. POHMELFS is meant to be a building block for a distributed filesystem that would offer a multi-server architecture and allow for disconnected filesystem operations. Polyakov has only been working on it for a month, so it is, at best, the start of a proof of concept.

The POHMELFS vision is in some ways similar to CRFS in that the clients will handle as much as possible locally, with minimal server interaction. Like CRFS, client kernel modules talk to a server userspace daemon, using cache coherency protocols to keep the data and metadata in sync. For CRFS, the coherency is not yet implemented, but is fleshed out to some extent, while POHMELFS has quite a bit of fleshing out to do. Unlike CRFS, POHMELFS supports POSIX filesystems on the server side and the code is available now.

There are some rather large hurdles to overcome in the POHMELFS vision, not least of which is handling file IDs in separate client-side filesystems such that they can be synchronized with the server. The current code implements a write-through cache version that creates objects on the server before they are used in the client side cache. There is also an additional patch that implements a hack to disable the writeback cache and use only the client side caching. The latter is, not surprisingly, very fast, but not terribly usable for multiple mounts of the filesystem. Essentially Polyakov is showing the benefits of client-side caching, but in the context of a broader scheme.

It will be a long time, if ever, that we see some descendant of either of these filesystems in the kernel. There is much work to be done, but they are worth looking at to see where networking and distributed filesystems may be headed. For them to be useful outside of just the Linux world—like the ubiquity of NFS—there would have to be some kind of standardization followed by adoption by the major players. That will take a very long time.

Comments (11 posted)

Ticket spinlocks

By Jonathan Corbet
February 6, 2008
Spinlocks are the lowest-level mutual exclusion mechanism in the Linux kernel. As such, they have a great deal of influence over the safety and performance of the kernel, so it is not surprising that a great deal of optimization effort has gone into the various (architecture-specific) spinlock implementations. That does not mean that all of the work has been done, though; a patch merged for 2.6.25 shows that there is always more which can be done.

On the x86 architecture, in the 2.6.24 kernel, a spinlock is represented by an integer value. A value of one indicates that the lock is available. The spin_lock() code works by decrementing the value (in a system-wide atomic manner), then looking to see whether the result is zero; if so, the lock has been successfully obtained. Should, instead, the result of the decrement option be negative, the spin_lock() code knows that the lock is owned by somebody else. So it busy-waits ("spins") in a tight loop until the value of the lock becomes positive; then it goes back to the beginning and tries again.

Once the critical section has been executed, the owner of the lock releases it by setting it to 1.

This implementation is very fast, especially in the uncontended case (which is how things should be most of the time). It also makes it easy to see how bad the contention for a lock is - the more negative the value of the lock gets, the more processors are trying to acquire it. But there is one shortcoming with this approach: it is unfair. Once the lock is released, the first processor which is able to decrement it will be the new owner. There is no way to ensure that the processor which has been waiting the longest gets the lock first; in fact, the processor which just released the lock may, by virtue of owning that cache line, have an advantage should it decide to reacquire the lock quickly.

One would hope that spinlock unfairness would not be a problem; usually, if there is serious contention for locks, that contention is a performance issue even before fairness is taken into account. Nick Piggin recently revisited this issue, though, after noticing:

On an 8 core (2 socket) Opteron, spinlock unfairness is extremely noticable, with a userspace test having a difference of up to 2x runtime per thread, and some threads are starved or "unfairly" granted the lock up to 1 000 000 (!) times.

This sort of runtime difference is certainly undesirable. But lock unfairness can also create latency issues; it is hard to give latency guarantees when the wait time for a spinlock can be arbitrarily long.

Nick's response was a new spinlock implementation which he calls "ticket spinlocks." Under the initial version of this patch, a spinlock became a 16-bit quantity, split into two bytes:

[ticket spinlock]

Each byte can be thought of as a ticket number. If you have ever been to a store where customers take paper tickets to ensure that they are served in the order of arrival, you can think of the "next" field as being the number on the next ticket in the dispenser, while "owner" is the number appearing in the "now serving" display over the counter.

So, in the new scheme, the value of a lock is initialized (both fields) to zero. spin_lock() starts by noting the value of the lock, then incrementing the "next" field - all in a single, atomic operation. If the value of "next" (before the increment) is equal to "owner," the lock has been obtained and work can continue. Otherwise the processor will spin, waiting until "owner" is incremented to the right value. In this scheme, releasing a lock is a simple matter of incrementing "owner."

The implementation described above does have one small disadvantage in that it limits the number of processors to 256 - any more than that, and a heavily-contended lock could lead to multiple processors thinking they had the same ticket number. Needless to say, the resulting potential for mayhem is not something which can be tolerated. But the 256-processor limit is an unwelcome constraint for those working on large systems, which already have rather more processors than that. So the add-on "big ticket" patch - also merged for 2.6.25 - uses 16-bit values when the configured maximum number of processors exceeds 256. That raises the maximum system size to 65536 processors - who could ever want more than that?

With the older spinlock implementation, all processors contending for a lock fought to see who could grab it first. Now they wait nicely in line and grab the lock in the order of arrival. Multi-thread run times even out, and maximum latencies are reduced (and, more to the point, made deterministic). There is a slight cost to the new implementation, says Nick, but that gets very small on contemporary processors and is essentially zero relative to the cost of a cache miss - which is a common event when dealing with contended locks. The x86 maintainers clearly thought that the benefits of eliminating the unseemly scramble for spinlocks exceeded this small cost; it seems unlikely that others will disagree.

Comments (29 posted)

Patches and updates

Kernel trees

Architecture-specific

Development tools

Device drivers

Documentation

Filesystems and block I/O

Memory management

Networking

Security-related

Virtualization and containers

  • sukadev-r/Jw6+rmf7HQT0dZR+AlfA@public.gmane.org: Devpts namespace. (February 6, 2008)

Miscellaneous

  • Eric Leblond: ulogd. (February 5, 2008)

Page editor: Jake Edge

Distributions

News and Editorials

An interview with the new openSUSE community manager

By Rebecca Sobol
February 5, 2008
Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier has joined the openSUSE project as the openSUSE community manager. We were pleased to have the opportunity to ask Zonker a few questions about his new job.

Many LWN readers will remember that you were a regular contributor to LWN. Any comments on what you have been up to between there and here?

Sure -- I stopped contributing to LWN when I took a full-time job with OSTG/Linux.com (now the company known as SourceForge), and had to stop freelancing. I was editorial director there for two years, and then joined Linux Magazine as Editor-in-Chief. I've missed contributing to LWN, but I still read LWN religiously.

As community manager will you be employed by Novell?

Yes.

Will you report to the openSUSE board?

I will be working with the board, but I report to Justin Steinman at Novell. It's an unusual position, though, because my job is in large part to be an advocate/ombudsman for the community.

openSUSE has adopted a Code of Conduct for mailing lists and IRC. As community manager, will policing this traffic be a part of your job?

No -- we don't plan to have anyone actively policing the lists looking for violations. Instead, the board is working on a policy to allow community members to bring violations of the Code to the board to decide whether disciplinary action should be needed. I hope that it's something that won't be needed often, or at all -- and I don't think it will be needed often.

How much control does Novell hold over openSUSE development? Should there be more or less control? Is Novell allowing the community to make its own decisions?

Right now, I'd say Novell is still guiding development pretty closely, but would like the community to have a more prominent voice in the direction of the development of openSUSE. I think the Fedora Project is a pretty good model here, and I really think Max Spevack did a great job in terms of helping Fedora come into its own.

The openSUSE Board appointed last November is a step towards giving the community more control over governance of the project.

This is a new position. How much latitude will you have to define what the community manager is/does?

Well, certain aspects of the job are already well-defined. For example, a big part of the job will be traveling to conferences to speak about openSUSE and also to organize an openSUSE conference. But there's definitely some room to define the role as well.

OpenSUSE has a weekly news letter which has come out almost weekly since its inception last November. Do you have any plans to get involved with that? Is it useful?

Yes, I do plan to contribute and help out with that where needed. I think it's very useful -- communication is vital to the health of a project like openSUSE. There are a lot of people contributing to openSUSE, and without something like the weekly news, it would be easy for contributors to lose track of what their colleagues are doing. It's also important to spreading the news outside of the openSUSE community so that other open source projects know what we're up to and possibly find ways to collaborate and help reduce duplication of effort between projects. Finally, I think it's a good way to show what various contributors are doing and help recognize the contributors that are having an impact on openSUSE.

What are your plans for the openSUSE community?

Over the long term, I'd like to help foster increased adoption of openSUSE by a significant amount -- which means doing a better job of promoting the distro, as well as communicating with potential users and finding out what it is they need/want from openSUSE and working on delivering that. (I'd encourage LWN readers to check out the alpha builds for openSUSE 11.0 and give us feedback as we're working on the final 11.0 release that should be done in July.)

I also want to work on developing a recognition system so that contributors are acknowledged for their work, which we're doing more on already -- we just announced our membership program for contributors to be recognized. I also want to make sure we're providing a "roadmap" so that potential contributors have a clear path into the project and know where to get started -- whether that's development, artwork, documentation, quality assurance, advocating openSUSE, or supporting other users.

Also, organize the first openSUSE conference, make sure openSUSE is better represented at other conferences, and help provide potential contributors with a roadmap to becoming contributors. I'd like to make it as easy as possible for people to participate.

Finally, but not least -- I want to do what I can to help coordinate increased cooperation between Linux distros and reduce duplication of effort. While a lot of folks might like to portray the situation as openSUSE vs. Fedora, Ubuntu, or any other distro, I don't see it that way -- if someone is already happily using another distro, then I consider that a win. I want to focus on attracting people who aren't running Linux at all yet. There's plenty of work left to do, and I hope we can do a better job of pooling our resources to attract those people.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Just that I'd like to encourage LWN readers to visit zonker.opensuse.org and news.opensuse.org for updates on the openSUSE project, and to feel free to contact me (zonker@opensuse.org) with any questions, suggestions, and comments related to openSUSE.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Comments (8 posted)

New Releases

Terra Soft Releases YDL v6.0

Terra Soft has released Yellow Dog Linux v6.0 for Sony PS3, Apple G4/G5, and IBM System p. YDL v6.0 is built on CentOS and includes select Fedora 7 components and the E17 desktop.

Full Story (comments: none)

Announcing Fedora 9 Alpha

The first alpha release of Fedora 9 is available for testing. "The Alpha release provides the first opportunity for the wider community to become involved with the testing of Rawhide: representing a sanitised snapshot of Fedora's development branch, which sees rapid changes and will become the next major release, it should boot on the majority of systems, providing both an opportunity to get a look at what new features will be included in the next release and also an opportunity to provide feedback and bug reports to help ensure that the next release is as good as possible."

Full Story (comments: 3)

Hardy Alpha 4 released

The fourth alpha of the Hardy Heron, which will become Ubuntu 8.04, is available for testing. In addition to the Ubuntu flavor this alpha is also available in the form of Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu JeOS, Gobuntu and UbuntuStudio.

Full Story (comments: none)

Indiana - test image for Preview 2

Indiana is the codename for Sun's project aimed at turning OpenSolaris into a friendly desktop. An early preview ISO is available for testing.

Comments (none posted)

Distribution News

Debian GNU/Linux

An update from the Debian release team

The Debian release team has sent out an update with quite a bit of information about the upcoming "Lenny" release. Said release is planned for this September. "As we are progressing in our release preparations; we have reviewed the original schedule for lenny to check for any imminent problems, and at the moment are quite content with the current state. We are, as always, concerned about the large number of release critical issues still unfixed in testing, so please help do something about it."

Full Story (comments: none)

Slackware Linux

Slackware thanks the KDE team

The January 30, 2008 Slackware current changelog entry has a thank you "to the KDE team, not only for their tremendous accomplishments over the years, but for the gracious reception they gave to the members of the Slackware team who traveled to the release event." The next Slackware release will contain KDE 3.5.9, but KDE 4.1.x is targeted for the one after that.

Full Story (comments: none)

SUSE Linux and openSUSE

OpenSUSE code of conduct adopted

The openSUSE project has announced the adoption of a new code of conduct. "The idea is to follow some common-sense rules of politeness when communicating in the various openSUSE forums: mailing lists, IRC channels, web forums, Bugzilla, etc. These places have seen very rude behavior in the past; what we want to do is to make openSUSE actually a nice project in which to participate."

Full Story (comments: 1)

openSUSE Welcomes Zonker - The New Community Manager

The openSUSE project welcomes Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier as the first openSUSE community manager.

Full Story (comments: none)

Distribution Newsletters

Debian Misc development news (#4)

Raphael Hertzog has put together some Debian developer news with a look at Debian Enhancement Proposals, the packages that need some work, debcheckout, Bits from DEHS (Debian External Health Status), and several other topics.

Full Story (comments: none)

Fedora Weekly News Issue 118

The Fedora Weekly News for January 28, 2008 looks at Planet Fedora articles "Updates to anaconda", "linux.conf.au day 1", "Fedora win32 livecd-iso-to-usb tool" and "Video: Simple layer blending in Gimp"; Fedora Marketing articles "Tasks set by Marketing Meeting on IRC", "RPM Fusion interview", "2008 Readers' Choice Survey" and "FUDCon Video Torrent"; and more.

Full Story (comments: none)

OpenSUSE Weekly News #7

The openSUSE Weekly News for January 31, 2008 covers openSUSE Build Service Expands Support to Red Hat and CentOS, Sax2 ported to Qt4, Open Source Meets Business, with openSUSE attendees, kicks off, openSUSE 10.3 PromoDVDs Now Available for Order, and several other topics.

Comments (none posted)

OpenSUSE Weekly News #8

The OpenSUSE Weekly News for the week starting the January 28, 2008 looks at KDE 4.0.1, openSUSE Live CD, New KDE Repo Layout, openSUSE Welcomes Zonker, Applications for openSUSE Membership Now Open, Alpha 2 Released this Week, and several other topics.

Comments (none posted)

Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #76

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter for February 2, 2008 covers the release of Hardy Alpha 4, Server Team focuses on KVM, new Ubuntu banners for your website or blog, new MOTU and Council elections results, Hug Day 5 February 2008, a new Ubuntu based distro, and much more.

Full Story (comments: none)

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 238

The DistroWatch Weekly for February 4, 2008 is out. "It's tough to be a developer of a desktop operating system these days. Not only are we seeing increasing usability and user-friendliness from the major Linux distributions, the BSD world now also wants its share of the market, while there are those who believe that even Solaris can be a viable desktop alternative to the more established operating systems. But how far has Sun Microsystems' flagship product progressed since the opening up of the source code in the form of OpenSolaris? Our featured story looks at Nexenta, Indiana, BeleniX and other OpenSolaris-based distribution and asks whether they can compete on the desktop. In the news section, Debian edges closer to "Lenny", Slackware announces plans to move to KDE 4, François Bancilhon defends the code-sharing agreement with Turbolinux, and Ars Technica investigates the latest release of NetBSD. Finally, we are proud to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch January 2008 donation is the VideoLAN VLC project. Enjoy the read and happy Chinese New Year to all our readers!"

Comments (none posted)

Distribution meetings

DebConf8: registration and call for papers

DebConf8 is open for registration. Proposals for papers, presentations, discussion sessions and tutorials will be accepted until March 31, 2008. DebConf8 will take place in Mar del Plata, Argentina from August 10 to August 16, 2008. As usual the conference will be preceded by DebCamp.

Full Story (comments: none)

Distribution reviews

A Tour Of Sun's Project Indiana Preview 2 (Phoronix)

Phoronix has a review of Indiana Preview 2. "A week ago we reported that a second preview release of Project Indiana, Sun's attempt at creating an operating system for the desktop based upon OpenSolaris and led by Ian Murdock, was on track to be released in the near future. Thursday afternoon that became true with the test image surfacing for Developer Preview 2 of Project Indiana, or what will formally be called OpenSolaris. Officially, this new release is known as the OpenSolaris Developer Preview 1/08 edition. The general availability release of Project Indiana is expected in March, but today we have up a tour of this new Indiana release."

Comments (none posted)

Page editor: Rebecca Sobol

Development

PostgreSQL releases version 8.3

By Forrest Cook
February 6, 2008

Version 8.3 of the PostgreSQL DBMS was announced on February 4, 2008: "Today the PostgreSQL Global Development Group releases the long-awaited version 8.3 of the most advanced open source database, which cements our place as the best performing open source database."

[PostgreSQL]

Version 8.3 brings many new features. First on the list is the cleaning up of data type conversions. This improvement may impact backwards compatibility issues with older applications, but will insure better data integrity in the future.

There are four new capabilities that aim to improve the consistency of response times, these include Heap Only Tuple for speeding up access to frequently updated data, asynchronous commits, spread checkpoint autotuning and a just-in-time background writing strategy. There have been numerous speed improvements including better recovery time for the write ahead log, faster small-merge joins, faster LIKE/ILIKE comparisons, improvements to searches using LIMIT, lazy XID assignment for improving read-mostly database speed and function costing for faster query planning.

Large database support improvements include synchronized scans for multiple users, level 2 cache scan protection to prevent CPU thrashing and reductions in the size of headers for variable size fields. Windows users will benefit from new Visual C++ support and some code rewrites.

Administration improvements include output of logs to database-loadable files, SSPI and GSSAPI support for Kerberos authentication, embeddable GUC settings at function creation time, parallel autovacuum workers, the pg_standby tool for configuring warm standby servers and a new ability to specify the position of NULLs at the beginning or end of results.

Development improvements include API improvements to the full text search tool, plan invalidation for clearing cached plans and automatically dropping plans when tables are updated, and updatable cursors.

Data type enhancements include full support for the ANSI SQL:2003 XML spec, support for 128 bit UUIDs, support for arrays of compound types and support for ENUM columns with a defined ordered list of alternatives. The ENUM enhancement allows applications to be migrated from the MySQL DBMS.

The PostgreSQL stored procedure language has a simplified syntax for row-returning functions and new support for scrollable cursors, which allows procedures to perform complex row manipulations.

A number of new accessory tools are being released with PostgreSQL 8.3 including a multi-threaded connection pooler, a distributed, horizontally scaled table interface, an SNMP interface, a SELinux-based security extension, a new GUI with debugging and step-through execution capabilities, a new replicated query agent, a multi-master asynchronous replication system, an integrated clustering tools project and an improved replication system.

For more information on the new features in PostgreSQL 8.3, see the release notes. The feature matrix gives a tabular view of features added versus the version number.

In order to speed the next release up, the PostgreSQL team plans to implement a new development plan for version 8.4:

In the 8.4 development cycle we would like to try a new style of development, designed to keep the patch queue to a limited size and to provide timely feedback to developers on the work they submit. To do this we will replace the traditional 'feature freeze' with a series of 'commit fests' throughout the development cycle. The idea of commit fests was discussed last October in -hackers, and it seemed to meet with general approval. Whenever a commit fest is in progress, the focus will shift from development to review, feedback and commit of patches. Each fest will continue until all patches in the queue have either been committed to the CVS repository, returned to the author for additional work, or rejected outright, and until that has happened, no new patches will be considered.

Version 8.3 represents a major step forward for PostgreSQL, if the new development style bears fruit, the next major version will come about more quickly.

Comments (2 posted)

System Applications

Database Software

Postgres Weekly News

The February 3, 2008 edition of the Postgres Weekly News is online with the latest PostgreSQL DBMS articles and resources.

Full Story (comments: none)

Networking Tools

Open1X: XSupplicant 2.0.1 (SourceForge)

Version 2.0.1 of Open1X has been announced. "Open1X is an open source implementation of the IEEE 802.1X protocol. This project includes support for the authenticator and supplicant, while other projects (e.g., FreeRADIUS) provide support for the authentication server. XSupplicant version 2.0.1 has been released. This release fixes bugs that have been found since the 2.0.0 release. It does not contain any new features."

Comments (none posted)

Web Site Development

Apache Software Foundation makes Apache Synapse a Top-Level Project

Apache Software Foundation has announced the promotion of Apache Synapse to an independent Top-Level Project. "Apache Synapse v1.1.1 alleviates the traditionally cumbersome development and integration process; enterprises can reliably employ Open Source through Synapse's support for numerous open standards such as HTTP, SOAP, FTP, SMTP, XML, XSLT, XPath, JMS, Web Services Security (WSS), Web Services Reliable Messaging (WS-RM), and more. In addition, Synapse supports a number of useful functions out-of-the-box without programming, and can be extended using popular programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Ruby, and Groovy."

Comments (none posted)

ZK: 3.0.3 Released (SourceForge)

Version of has been announced. "ZK is Ajax framework enriching Web apps with little programming. With event-driven and markup languages, development is as simple as programming desktops and authoring HTML/XUL pages. ZK supports scripting lang including Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Groovy... Over 8 new features and 22 bugs fixed, ZK 3.0.3 focuses mainly on fixing bugs and improving performance. More languages are supported for messages, and more formats are supported to JasperReports."

Comments (none posted)

Miscellaneous

ALE Server: 1.1.3 Released (SourceForge)

Version 1.1.3 of logicAlloy ALE, an RFID-EPC compliant RFID middleware platform, has been has been announced. "This new version has minor updates addressing bugs."

Comments (none posted)

Zumastor 0.6 released

Version 0.6 of Zumastor has been announced. "For those just tuning in, Zumastor is free software that adds enterprise storage features (primarily improved snapshots and remote replication) to Linux. Zumastor's snapshots share space more effectively than LVM snapshots, and it makes snapshots easily accessible by users (e.g. via Samba's "Previous Versions" feature)."

Full Story (comments: none)

Desktop Applications

Desktop Environments

GNOME Development Release 2.21.90 announced

GNOME Development Release 2.21.90 is available for testing. "This is our sixth development release on our road towards GNOME 2.22.0, which will be released in March 2008. Your mission is simple: Go download it. Go compile it. Go test it. And go hack on it, document it, translate it, fix it."

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GARNOME 2.21.90 is available

Version 2.21.90 of GARNOME, the GNOME testing distribution, has been announced. "We are pleased to announce the release of GARNOME 2.21.90 Desktop and Developer Platform. This is the ninetieth, err... sixth development release on our road towards GNOME 2.22.0, which will be released in March 2008. This release comes with more features, more fixes, and yet more madness. Yes, *fixes*! :) It is for anyone who wants to get his hands dirty on the development branch, or who'd like to get a peek at future features."

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GNOME Software Announcements

The following new GNOME software has been announced this week: You can find more new GNOME software releases at gnomefiles.org.

Comments (1 posted)

KDE 4.0.1 Released

KDE 4.0 users are likely to be interested in the recently-announced 4.0.1 release, which contains a pile of important fixes. "Improvements in this release include, but are not limited to: Konqueror, KDE's webbrowser has seen numerous stability and performance fixes in its HTML rendering engine KHTML, in its Flash plugin loader and in KJS, the JavaScript engine. Stability problems have been addressed in components that are used all over the KDE codebase."

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Sun and Frontline Support KDE with Donation of Server (KDE.News)

KDE.News reports that Sun and Frontline have donated a new server to KDE. "During a tutorial today on-stage at linux.conf.au, Sun Microsystems and Frontline donated a server to the KDE project, available for shipment within hours. Aaron Seigo, Plasma developer and KDE e.V President, accepted a certificate from Ross Cunningham of Sun Microsystems and David Purdue of Frontline on behalf of the KDE project."

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KDE Commit-Digest (KDE.News)

The January 27, 2008 edition of the KDE Commit-Digest has been announced. The content summary says: "Heavy refactoring and work on merging translation branches in Lokalize (which is renamed from "Kaider", and moved from playground to kdesdk). Work on a question editor in KEduca. Work on real-time cloud imagery in Marble. An initial implementation of a new undo stack in KWordQuiz. The start of a KAlgebra, Rot13, KWorldClock, and Pastebin Plasma applet, with the inclusion of more functionality from KDE 3.5 (such as the multi-row taskbar panel) in Plasma..."

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KDE Software Announcements

The following new KDE software has been announced this week: You can find more new KDE software releases at kde-apps.org.

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Xorg Software Announcements

The following new Xorg software has been announced this week: More information can be found on the X.Org Foundation wiki.

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Imaging Applications

ij-plugins Toolkit v.1.2 (SourceForge)

Version of ij-plugins Toolkit has been announced, it features bug fixes and other improvements. "The 'ImageJ Plugins' project is a source of custom plugins for the Image/J software. Image/J is a public domain image processing and analysis program developed in Java".

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Interoperability

osslsigncode: Version 1.3 released (SourceForge)

Version 1.3 of osslsigncode has been announced. "Platform-independent tool for Authenticode signing of EXE/CAB files - uses OpenSSL and libcurl. It also supports timestamping. Includes padding fix and support for signing of already signed files."

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Medical Applications

WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0 available (LinuxMedNews)

Version 1.0 of WorldVistA EHR VOE has been announced. "WorldVistA announces the release and availability of WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0, the only open source EHR that meets Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHITSM) ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) criteria for 2006. WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0 is based on and compatible with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) world renowned EHR, VistA®. After completion of the VOE project, WorldVistA made additional enhancements and successfully submitted WorldVistA EHR for certification by CCHIT."

Comments (none posted)

Music Applications

wcnt 1.26.2 released

Version 1.26.2 of WCNT, a modular synthesis sampling sequencing audio wav file generator, is out with lots of new capabilities and bug fixes. "Second release of wcnt-1.26 after the pre releases..."

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Office Suites

OpenOffice.org Newsletter

The January, 2008 edition of the OpenOffice.org Newsletter is out with the latest OO.o office suite articles and events.

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Video Applications

MediaInfo: 0.7.5.8 released (SourceForge)

Version 0.7.5.8 of MediaInfo has been announced. "MediaInfo supplies technical and tag information about video or audio files (MKV/AVI/MOV/MPEG1, 2, 4/M4A/M4V/MP3/AAC/RM/...) There are several versions: Graphical interface, Command line, or DLL for third-party software developers (like emule). GUI is multi-language. In this release: Full parsing of DivX/XviD/H264/AVC settings (profile...) for Matroska and AVI, Better handling of OpenDML files, Musepack SV8 support, 2GiB+ files parsing under Linux and MacOS and some bug patches."

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Transform SWF: 2.2 Released (SourceForge)

Version 2.2 of Transform SWF has been announced. "The Transform SWF framework parses and encodes Flash (.swf) files. Classes for each of the tags and data structures in the Flash (SWF) File Format Specification are provided along with utility classes for a high level API for generating Flash files. This release contains new convenience classes to simplify handling and generating flash files. FSHeader for getting information on files without decoding them completely; FSFrame for grouping together all the objects associated with a frame in a move and FSLayer for creating separate time-lines when displaying objects."

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Web Browsers

Mozilla Links Newsletter

The January 31, 2008 edition of the Mozilla Links Newsletter is online, take a look for the latest news about the Mozilla browser and related projects.

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Languages and Tools

C

GCC 4.2.3 Released

Version 4.2.3 of the Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) has been released. "GCC 4.2.3 is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 4.2.2 relative to previous GCC releases"

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Caml

Caml Weekly News

The February 5, 2008 edition of the Caml Weekly News is out with new articles about the Caml language.

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Lisp

GNU CLISP 2.44 released

Version 2.44 of GNU CLISP has been announced. "This version speeds up list and sequence functions, splits off the libffcall library, and fixes many bugs."

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Python

Python-URL! - weekly Python news and links

The February 4, 2008 edition of the Python-URL! is online with a new collection of Python article links.

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Tcl/Tk

Tcl-URL! - weekly Tcl news and links

The February 1, 2008 edition of the Tcl-URL! is online with new Tcl/Tk articles and resources.

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Tcl-URL! - weekly Tcl news and links

The February 4, 2008 edition of the Tcl-URL! is online with new Tcl/Tk articles and resources.

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Libraries

image4j: 0.7 released (SourceForge)

Version 0.7 of image4j has been announced. "Read and Write ICO,BMP formats in 100% pure Java Been a long time in the making, but I've finally gotten round to the final release for 0.7 The library appears to be stable, hence my decision to finalize the current release."

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Version Control

GIT 1.5.4 released

Version 1.5.4 of GIT, a distributed version control system, has been announced. "Changes since v1.5.3: 1595 non-merge commits 165 contributors 684 files changed, 70435 insertions, 28984 deletions"

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Page editor: Forrest Cook

Linux in the news

Recommended Reading

Aaron Seigo talks life, free software and reinventing the Desktop (ComputerWorld)

ComputerWorld.com.au talks with Aaron Seigo at LCA. "What do you think of the support KDE has received from the Linux distributors, many of which have chosen GNOME as their default desktop environment? We need to get better at collaborating on the commonalities. In China, Linux has something like 15 percent of the desktop and most of that is KDE. We see people in the market making this choice. People choose KDE - look at the Asus Eee PC. They are on target for about 5 million sales by mid year. I look at that and say could it have been better. We have a lot of success to point at. What I find unfortunate is that some companies dig into technologies. Canonical did not communicate well about long-term support and therefore neglected 35 percent of their user base. A user base they routinely neglect, but at KDE we ignore a lot of this."

Comments (30 posted)

Linus Torvalds Interview, part II (Linux Foundation)

The Linux Foundation has posted the second part of its interview with Linus Torvalds; this installment covers software patents, maintainership, desktop Linux, and more. It's available in MP3 and Ogg formats; there is also a transcript. "So, I actually enjoy seeing all these other kernel trees happening. All the vendors have their own. If a vendor has drivers that I don’t have, I get really upset with the developers who decided those drivers are not good enough to send to Linus. I’m like, ‘Why is my kernel tree worse than a vendor kernel tree?’"

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Trade Shows and Conferences

The future of Linux: what it means for Wikipedia (apc)

apc covers an LCA talk by LWN's Jonathan Corbet. "Kernel release 2.6.24 came out on January 24, just before linux.conf.au began. Corbet estimates 2.6.25 will be finalised sometime around April. That rapid cycle represents an astonishing volume of new code. "We are adding about 2000 lines of code to the kernel every single day of the year, without exception," Corbet said. "Nobody can really keep up with this [on their own] any more. It's an amazing process, and it seems to be working." The project which those numbers immediately bring to mind is Wikipedia, which uses similar open source principles, along with an "anyone can contribute" ethos."

Comments (16 posted)

Companies

Asus hopes upcoming Eee desktops are Eeequally Eeenticing (ars technica)

ars technica covers Asus's announcement of new Linux-based products. A desktop, monitor all-in-one system, and TV product are planned. "Lastly, there's the E-TV. As the name suggests, Asus is merging some aspect of the Eee into its 42" LCD displays. Exactly what functionality the company is referring to is unknown. Asus could theoretically embed an Eee directly into the television and ship the device with a keyboard+mouse, but the whole 'use your TV as your web browser/computer' concept has never caught on well."

Comments (15 posted)

Asustek Unveils Lineup of Eee Devices (X-bit labs)

X-bit labs reports on the Asus Eee line. "Asustek Computer, a leading maker of personal computers and computer parts, announced on Wednesday a lineup of various devices that will be marketed under Eee trademark. The family will include a desktop, an HDTV and a monitor with build-in PC. The new products will allow Asus to enter the new markets, though, the success is hardly inevitable."

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Azingo introduces new mobile Linux platform (InfoWorld)

InfoWorld reports on Azingo's entering the Linux-based mobile phone market. "Formerly called Celunite, Azingo aims to differentiate itself from the crowd by offering phone makers an entire package, including kernel, middleware, applications, development tools, and integration services. "Mobile Linux has failed because there's a big integration problem," said Michael Mclaughlin, marketing director at Azingo. "People come with piece parts.""

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Interviews

An interview with Sebastian Kuegler (Linux Tech Daily)

Linux Tech Daily interviews KDE developer Sebastian Kuegler. "On the other hand, we seem to have lost a bit of our traction with larger Linux distributions. We hope we can address parts of that with being more predictable. I don’t think that merely a release cycle is to be blamed for that, but really, we are putting the pieces together to make living with KDE easier for our commercial partners. We have emphasised focus in UI aspects such as usability and artwork, but we’re also more actively working together with distributions and try to engage them more in our development process."

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Torvalds: Linux ready to go green (ZDNet)

ZDNet talks to Linus Torvalds about Linux power management issues. "The infrastructure and tools required to make Linux a green operating system are now in place, according to Linus Torvalds, who was in Melbourne this week attending Australia's largest Linux conference. In an interview at the linux.conf.au conference, Torvalds admitted that Linux was lagging behind on power-management and energy-diagnosis tools. "It is an area we were pretty weak in a few years ago and just building up the infrastructure took a long time, but now we are at a point where we have most of it done," said Torvalds."

Comments (none posted)

Resources

Linux Gazette #147

Linux Gazette #147 is out. This month's topics include GNU Screen, a look at technical conferences, hibernation, SVN, and more.

Comments (8 posted)

Miscellaneous

What Will Happen to Zimbra? (Groklaw)

Groklaw takes a look at the Zimbra project. "I'm worrying about Zimbra, a project I had high hopes for. You'll find it interesting how the Zimbra forum is anguishing over a proposed Microsoft hostile takeover of Yahoo! since it's obvious it won't wish to help Zimbra, a competitor to a Microsoft product, Exchange. Note how one forum member writes that the only way to protect it is if it is GPLd." Some of Zimbra's source code is currently available under a Yahoo Public License.

Comments (12 posted)

Why companies don't support Debian (LinuxWatch)

LinuxWatch investigates Debian's difficulties with corporate support. "Debian, either directly or through related Linux distributions such as Xandros, is used both by Linux enthusiasts and Fortune 500 companies. Of course, you couldn't prove that by the vast majority of Debian developers who never see a thin dime from their Debian work. Or, I should add, get access to new hardware, travel expenses to Debian developer conferences and so on. The reason for this is twofold. First, Debian, as a developer community, has never wanted any kind of "business" organization or corporate partnerships or sponsorships. It is purely a volunteer operation and woe unto any would-be developer who tries to change Debian's ways."

Comments (28 posted)

Page editor: Forrest Cook

Announcements

Non-Commercial announcements

EFF Takes Aim at Bogus Online Gaming Patent

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is challenging a patent regarding online gaming. "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging a bogus online gaming patent threatening small businesses and innovators of multi-player Internet games. Sheldon F. Goldberg was awarded the illegitimate patent for the "method and system of playing games on a network," and claims to own rights in all online gaming systems that use tournament-style play, advertising, and have real-time updates of ladder-rankings in multi-player games. Goldberg has used this bogus patent to coerce licensing fees from numerous small businesses, demanding payments that are excessive yet less than potential litigation."

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ODMG3 now hosted by ODBMS.ORG

ODBMS.ORG has announced that it will host the resources of the former ODMG.ORG consortium. "This merger gives researchers and students, as well as any software developer with interest in object oriented programming and persistence, a one-stop experience to find nearly 1,000 resources aggregated and selected by a team of more than 100 internationally renown experts on object database technology including names such as Alan Kay, Suad Alagic, Scott Ambler, Philippe Kahn, Michael Blaha, William Cook, and Carl Rosenberger."

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Commercial announcements

Grand Opening of Big Box Linux

Big Box Linux has announced its existence. "Announcing the grand opening of Big Box Linux, the Canadian Linux hardware store. All the parts we carry are guaranteed Linux-compatible. No longer do Linux users have to spend hours researching websites and newsgroups in order to find parts that work on Linux. Everything for sale at Big Box Linux is known to work, and we even include Linux installation instructions for the components that require it."

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LiMo Foundation announces Linux-based mobile software platform

The LiMo Foundation has announced a new Linux-based mobile phone software platform. "LiMo Foundation, a global consortium of mobile leaders delivering an open handset platform for the whole industry, today announced the on-schedule availability in March 2008 of the first release of the LiMo Platform-the first globally competitive, Linux-based software platform for mobile handsets-together with the immediate public availability of the application programming interface (API) specifications."

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LinuxForce introduces new services and monitoring software

LinuxForce has made the following announcement: "LinuxForce announced today that it has released a complete array of monitoring services and software to provide round the clock protection for businesses. The collection of software, consulting and other monitoring services is called "LinuxForce Monitoring(SM)"."

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Logicworks Partners with MySQL

Logicworks, a provider of high-availability hosting solutions, has announced it has joined the MySQL Authorized Hosting Partner Program, at the Platinum Level. As the first authorized partner of the program in U.S., Logicworks will offer customers a managed MySQL Enterprise database for the delivery of mission-critical applications.

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Larry Augustin and Matt Asay join MindTouch board

Larry Augustin and Matt Asay have joined the MindTouch board of advisors. "MindTouch, the open source wiki platform company and developer of Deki Wiki, announced that open-source leaders Larry Augustin and Matt Asay have joined its Board of Advisors. Augustin invests and advises early stage technology companies, and was CEO and founder of VA Linux (now SourceForge, NASDAQ:LNUX). Asay is general manager, Americas, and VP of Business Development for Alfresco."

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NXP and Purple Labs Unveil Sub-$100 3G Linux Mobile Phone

NXP and Purple Labs have announced an inexpensive Linux mobile phone. "NXP Semiconductors, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, and Purple Labs, a leading supplier of embedded Linux solutions for mobile phones, jointly announced today the release of a 3G Linux reference feature phone offering video telephony, music playback, high-speed Internet browsing and video streaming at a transfer price below US$100. The new Purple Magic phone serves as a reference design for phone manufacturers creating entry-level 3G handsets, including those targeting mobile markets such as Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America."

Comments (6 posted)

OpenLink unleashes latest edition of Virtuoso

OpenLink Software Inc. has announced a new version of its Virtuoso product. "OpenLink Software Inc. announces the immediate availability of the latest edition of OpenLink Virtuoso, its industry-acclaimed hybrid data-server and integration platform for SQL, XML, RDF, and Web Services. This release introduces a new approach to enterprise information and data-integration, leveraging recent advances in Semantic Web technology such as SPARQL and the best practices of HTTP-based Linked Data across heterogeneous data sources. The new release provides a platform for declaratively developing and deploying conceptual views of disparate enterprise data sources such as SQL databases, XML and RDF data sources, and SOA based Web services."

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Resources

Intel releases graphics programming manuals

Intel has been following a policy of releasing free drivers for its hardware for some years now, but the company has been a little less forthcoming with its documentation. That changed at linux.conf.au, where Intel announced the release of the manuals for its 965 Express and G35 Express chipsets. "Containing over 1600 pages of text and figures, the Programmers Reference Manual includes everything from low level register definitions and discussions on how each functional hardware block works through descriptions about the hardware architecture. Each documented feature includes a discussion on how the hardware works and how the hardware designers expected the software to operate." The manuals are available under a Creative Commons license.

Comments (37 posted)

Contests and Awards

Second Annual Winner of $10,000 Pizzigati Prize Announced by Tides Foundation

Tides Foundation has announced that Barry Warsaw has been recognized for his work as the lead developer of GNU Mailman, and has been awarded the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest.

Comments (none posted)

Education and Certification

Abhisam Software announces free RFID training course

Abhisam Software is running a free online RFID technology course. "This course is made up of text, rich graphics, Flash animations and interactive exercises that make learning about RFID fun and easy. It introduces the learner to the basics of RFID technology without either being boring or over the top. The learner gets a balanced knowledge related to tags, frequencies, application areas and even issues such as privacy."

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Upcoming Events

CMP announces Interop Las Vegas 2008

CMP has announced Interop 2008. "Interop(R), the leading business technology event, produced by CMP, today announced a collocated lineup for the 2008 Las Vegas event that will create the richest variety and widest cross-section of business technology communities in one place. Computer Security Institute Security Exchange (CSISX) and the Software 2008 Conference will join forces with Interop at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, April 28-May 2, 2008."

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Pulvermedia announces Details on VON.x Europe conference

Pulvermedia has announced the VON.x Europe Spring conference. The event will take place on June 2-5, 2008 in Amsterdam. ""VON.x in Amsterdam will discuss how today's diverse networks will soon transition to IP, to create a single, unified infrastructure that produces next-generation communications services, and enables intelligent handheld devices to take over many of the tasks performed today by PCs," said Bob Emmerson, European Editor for VON Magazine, and one of the content creators for VON.x Europe, based in Amsterdam. "VON.x Europe will focus on wireless technologies, and unified communications more than any previous VON event has, and it's sure to be one of the most leading-edge events of the year.""

Comments (none posted)

Events: February 14, 2008 to April 14, 2008

The following event listing is taken from the LWN.net Calendar.

Date(s)EventLocation
February 13
February 15
German Perl-Workshop Regionales Rechenzentrum Erlangen, Germany
February 16 Frozen Perl 2008 Workshop Minneapolis, USA
February 19
February 20
Linux Developer Symposium Beijing, China
February 19
February 20
Files and Backup London, UK
February 22
February 24
freed.in/2008 Delhi, India
February 23
February 24
Free/Open Source Developers' European Meeting 2008 Brussels, Belgium
February 23
February 26
Linux World Mexico Mexico City, Mexico
February 25
February 26
2008 Linux Storage and Filesystem Workshop San Jose, CA, USA
February 25
February 29
NEW PHP 5 and PostgreSQL Bootcamp with Mark Fenoglio Atlanta, Georgia, USA
February 25
February 27
German Perl Workshop Frankfurt, Germany
February 28
March 1
Linux Audio Conference Cologne, Germany
March 1
March 2
Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2008 Chemnitz, Germany
March 3
March 6
O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference San Diego, CA, USA
March 3
March 6
Drupalcon Boston 2008 Boston, MA, USA
March 4
March 9
CeBIT Germany Hannover, Germany
March 8
March 14
Asia OSS Conference & Showcase 2008 Guangzhou, China
March 11
March 12
4th AustralAsian Cleantech Forum Melbourne, Australia
March 14
March 16
PyCon 2008 Chicago, IL, USA
March 15 FSF Associate Members Meeting Cambridge, MA, USA
March 16
March 19
BossaConference 2008 - International Conference on Open Source Software for Mobile Embedded Platforms Pernambuco, Brazil
March 16
March 21
Novell BrainShare 2008 Salt Lake City, UT, USA
March 16
March 20
Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa Dakar, Senegal
March 17
March 20
Eclipse Community Conference Santa Clara, CA, USA
March 17
March 20
Spring VON.x Conference San Jose, CA, USA
March 19
March 20
LinuxWorld Expo 2008 Brussels Brussels, Belgium
March 24 SDForum Global Open Source Conference San Francisco, CA, USA
March 26
March 28
CanSecWest 2008 Vancouver, BC, Canada
March 26 Document Freedom Day Everywhere, Worldwide
March 29
March 30
PostgreSQL Conference East 2008 College Park, MD, USA
March 31
April 2
UKUUG Spring 2008 Conference - Dynamic Languages Birmingham, England
March 31 2008 European Workshop on System Security Glasgow, Scotland
March 31
April 2
UKUUG Spring 2008 Conference Birmingham, England
March 31
April 2
Sharkfest Wireshark Network Analysis Summit Los Altos Hills, CA, USA
April 2 First meeting UKUUG PostgreSQL SIG Birmingham, England
April 3
April 4
E-Mail Systems Conference 2008 (Exim and other mail systems) Birmingham, England
April 4
April 5
openSUSE Packaging Days II IRC, Everywhere
April 7
April 9
IT360 Conference & Expo Toronto, Canada
April 7
April 11
Django Bootcamp with Juan Pablo Claude Atlanta, Georgia, USA
April 8
April 10
Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit Austin, TX, USA
April 10
April 13
Go-OO Conference 2008 Prague, Czech Republic
April 12
April 13
Open Source Developers Conference Taiwan, 2008 Taipei, Taiwan
April 12
April 13
LugRadio Live USA 2008 San Francisco, CA, USA
April 12
April 18
KDevelop Developer Meeting 2008 Munich, Germany

If your event does not appear here, please tell us about it.

Web sites

Introducing InsideRIA.com--New from O'Reilly Media

O'Reilly Media has announced the launch of insideRIA.com. "Rich Internet applications (RIAs) are shaping the Web today. Love them or hate them, if you're working on the Web, you'll want to understand them. And a new online website announced this week, InsideRIA.com, is the premiere community site for all things RIA, created specifically for web developers, architects, programmers, designers, or anyone else who makes the Web their business. "Our goal is to create an invaluable resource for information on the ever-changing state of design and development of rich Internet applications (RIAs)." explained Steve Weiss, executive editor at O'Reilly Media. "We've started with general topic areas on Design, Development, and Standards, which will feature blog posts and multimedia content.""

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Audio and Video programs

Videos from linux.conf.au

For those who were unable to attend linux.conf.au - or who were there but missed an interesting talk - the conference organizers have populated the presentations page with videos (in Theora format) for most of the talks. There is a lot of interesting stuff there; best not to check it out until you have a sizeable block of spare time.

Comments (12 posted)

Page editor: Forrest Cook


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