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Open Source

Linus Loves GPL, But Hates GPL Lawsuits (cio.com) 139

Long-time Slashdot reader sfcrazy writes: During LinuxCon, Torvalds was full of praise for GNU GPL: "The GPL ensures that nobody is ever going to take advantage of your code. It will remain free and nobody can take that away from you. I think that's a big deal for community management... FSF [Free Software Foundation] and I don't have a loving relationship, but I love GPL v2. I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint."

And he thinks the BSD license is bad for everyone: "Over the years, I've become convinced that the BSD license is great for code you don't care about," Torvalds said.

But Linus also addressed the issue of enforcing the GPL on the Linux foundation mailing list when someone proposed a discussion of it at Linuxcon. "I think the whole GPL enforcement issue is absolutely something that should be discussed, but it should be discussed with the working title 'Lawyers: poisonous to openness, poisonous to community, poisonous to projects'... quite apart from the risk of loss in a court, the real risk is something that happens whether you win or lose, and in fact whether you go to court or just threaten: the loss of community, and in particular exactly the kind of community that can (and does) help. You lose your friends."
Media

The Slashdot Interview With VideoLAN President and Lead VLC Developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf 38

You asked, he answered!

VideoLan President and Lead Developer of VLC Jean-Baptiste Kempf has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers. Read on to find out about the upcoming VideoLAN projects; how they keep VLC sustainable; what are some mistakes they wish they hadn't made; and what security challenges they face, among others!
Software

Linus on Linux's 25th Birthday (zdnet.com) 106

The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, posted his famous message announcing Linux on August 25, 1991, claiming that it was "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu." ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols caught up with Linus Torvalds and talked about Linux's origins in a series of interviews: "SJVN: What's Linux real birthday? You're the proud papa, when do you think it was? When you sent out the newsgroup post to the Minix newsgroup on August 25, 1991? When you sent out the 0.01 release to a few friends?

LT: I think both of them are valid birthdays. The first newsgroup post is more public (August 25), and you can find it with headers giving date and time and everything. In contrast, I don't think the 0.01 release was ever announced in any public setting (only in private to a few people who had shown interest, and I don't think any of those emails survived). These days the way to find the 0.01 date (September 17) is to go and look at the dates of the files in the tar-file that still remains. So, both of them work for me. Or either. And, by the way, some people will argue for yet other days. For example, the earliest public semi-mention of Linux was July 3: that was the first time I asked for some POSIX docs publicly on the minix newsgroup and mentioned I was working on a project (but didn't name it). And at the other end, October 5 was the first time I actually publicly announced a Linux version: 'version 0.02 (+1 (very small) patch already).' So you might have to buy four cakes if you want to cover all the eventualities."
Vaughan-Nichols goes on to pick Linus' brain about what he was doing when he created Linux. In honor of Linux's 25th birthday today, let's all sing happy birthday... 1... 2... 3...
Operating Systems

Linux Turns 25, Is Bigger and More Professional Than Ever (arstechnica.com) 311

The Linux operating system kernel is 25 years old this month, ArsTechnica writes. It was August 25, 1991 when Linus Torvalds posted his famous message announcing the project, claiming that Linux was "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu." From the article: But now, Linux is far bigger and more professional than Torvalds could have imagined. Linux powers huge portions of the Internet's infrastructure, corporate data centers, websites, stock exchanges, the world's most widely used smartphone operating system, and nearly all of the world's fastest supercomputers. The successes easily outweigh Linux's failure to unseat Microsoft and Apple on PCs, but Linux has still managed to get on tens of millions of desktops and laptops and Linux software even runs on Windows.Do you use any Linux-based operating system? Share your experience with it. What changes would you want to see in it in the next five years?
Operating Systems

Linux Kernel 4.6 Has Reached End of Life, Users Urged To Move To Linux 4.7.1 67

Reader prisoninmate writes: Immediately after announcing the availability of the first point release for the Linux 4.7 kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman also informed the community about the launch of Linux kernel 4.6.7, which is the seventh maintenance update for the Linux 4.6 stable kernel branch, but it also looks like it's the last one for the series, which has now officially reached end of life. Therefore, if you're using a GNU/Linux operating system powered by a kernel from the Linux 4.6 branch, you are urged to move to Linux kernel 4.7 as soon as possible by installing the brand new Linux kernel 4.7.1 build.
Businesses

Linux Developer Loses GPL Suit Against VMware (itwire.com) 162

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes ITWire: Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig has lost his case against virtualisation company VMware, which he had sued in March 2015 for violation of version 2 of the GNU General Public Licence... The case claimed that VMware had been using Hellwig's code right from 2007 and not releasing source code as required. The Linux kernel, which is released under the GNU GPL version 2, stipulates that anyone who distributes it has to provide source code for the same...

In its ruling, the court said that Hellwig had failed to prove which specific lines of code VMware had used, from among those over which he claimed ownership.

In a statement, Hellwig said he plans to appeal, adding that "The ruling concerned German evidence law; the Court did not rule on the merits of the case, i.e. the question whether or not VMware has to license the kernel of its product vSphere ESXi 5.5.0 under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2." The Software Freedom Conservancy has described the lawsuit as "the regretful but necessary next step in both Hellwig and Conservancy's ongoing effort to convince VMware to comply properly with the terms of the GPLv2, the license of Linux and many other Open Source and Free Software included in VMware's ESXi products."
Operating Systems

Arch Linux Is Now Officially Powered by Linux Kernel 4.7, Update Your Systems 54

Marius Nestor, writing for Softpedia: After a few weeks from its official release, it finally happened, Linux kernel 4.7 has just landed in the stable software repositories of the popular, lightweight and highly customizable Arch Linux operating system. Linux kernel 4.7 is the most stable and advanced kernel branch, and only a few GNU/Linux distributions have adopted since its launch on July 24, 2016. It's still marked as "mainline" not "stable" or "longterm" on the kernel.org website, which means that it didn't receive a maintenance update at the moment of writing this article. As for its new features, Linux kernel 4.7 comes with an updated AMDGPU graphics driver with support for AMD Radeon RX 480 GPUs, LoadPin, a brand new security module that ensures all modules loaded by the kernel originate from the same filesystem, and support for upgrading firmware using the EFI "Capsule" mechanism. Linux kernel 4.7 also marks the sync_file fencing mechanism used in the Android mobile operating system as stable and ready for production, implements support for generating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP, supports parallel directory lookups, and introduces the "schedutil" frequency governor, which is faster and more accurate than the current ones.
Operating Systems

LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 103

prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: LibreOffice 5.2 is finally here, after it has been in development for the past four months, during which the development team behind one of the best free office suites have managed to implement dozens of new features and improvements to most of the application's components. Key features include more UI refinements to make it flexible for anyone, standards-based document classification, forecasting functions in Calc, the spreadsheet editor, as well as lots of Writer and Impress enhancements. A series of videos are provided to see what landed in the LibreOffice 5.2 office suite, which is now available for download for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Open Source

New Crowdfunding Campaign Offers Modular EOMA68 Computing Devices (crowdsupply.com) 122

A new crowdfunding campaign by Rhombus Tech "introduces the world's first devices built around the EOMA68 standard," which separates a "modular" CPU board from the rest of the system so that it can be easily used in multiple devices and upgraded more simply. Rhombus Tech is now offering a 15.6-inch laptop, a laser-cut wooden Micro-Desktop housing, and two types of computer cards, both using A20 dual-core ARM Cortex A7 processors. The cards are available with four flavors of the GNU/Linux operating system, and they're hoping to receive RYF certification from the Free Software Foundation.

"No proprietary software," explains their campaign's video. "No backdoors. No spyware. No NDAs." They envision a world where users upgrade their computers by simply popping in a new card -- reducing electronic waste -- or print new laptop casings to repair defects or swap in different colors. (And they also hope to eventually see the cards also working with cameras, phones, tablets, and gaming consoles.) Rhombus Tech CTO Luke Leighton did a Slashdot interview in 2012, and contacted Slashdot this weekend to announce: A live-streamed video from Hope2016 explains what it's about, and there is a huge range of discussions and articles online. The real burning question is: if a single Software Libre Engineer can teach themselves PCB design and bring modular computing to people on the budget available from a single company, why are there not already a huge number of companies doing modular upgradeable hardware?
Operating Systems

How (And Why) FreeDOS Keeps DOS Alive (computerworld.com.au) 211

FreeDOS was originally created in response to Microsoft's announcement that after Windows 95, DOS would no longer be developed as a standalone operating system, according to a new interview about how (and why) Jim Hall keeps FreeDOS alive. For its newest version, Hall originally imagined "what 'DOS' would be like in 2015 or 2016 if Microsoft hadn't stopped working on MS-DOS in favor of Windows" -- before he decided there's just no such thing as "modern DOS". An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: No major changes are planned in the next version. "The next version of FreeDOS won't be multitasking, it won't be 32-bit, it won't run on ARM," Hall said. "FreeDOS is still intended for Intel and Intel-compatible computers. You should still be able to run FreeDOS on your old 486 or old Pentium PC to play classic DOS games, run legacy business programs, and support embedded development."
By day, Hall is the CIO for a county in Minnesota, and he's also a member of the board of directors for GNOME (and contributes to other open source projects) -- but he still remembers using DOS's built-in BASIC system to write simple computer programs. "Many of us older computer nerds probably used DOS very early, on our first home computer..." he tells ComputerWorld. Even without John Romero's new Doom level, "The popularity of DOS games and DOS shareware applications probably contributes in a big way to FreeDOS's continued success." I'd be curious how many Slashdot readers have some fond memories about downloading DOS shareware applications.
Android

Microsoft 'Patch' Blocks Linux Installs On Locked-Down Windows RT Computers (fossbytes.com) 141

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from fossBytes: Microsoft has released a security update that has patched a backdoor in Windows RT operating system [that] allowed users to install non-Redmond approved operating systems like Linux and Android on Windows RT tablets. This vulnerability in ARM-powered, locked-down Windows devices was left by Redmond programmers during the development process. Exploiting this flaw, one was able to boot operating systems of his/her choice, including Android or GNU/Linux.
The Register points out that since Windows RT is "a dead-end operating system" which Microsoft has announced they'll stop developing, "mainstream support for Surface RT tablets runs out in 2017 and Windows RT 8.1 in 2018. This is why a means to bypass its boot mechanisms is highly sought."
GNU is Not Unix

Slackware 14.2 Released, Still Systemd-Free (slackware.com) 179

sombragris writes: Slackware, the oldest GNU/Linux distribution still in active maintenance, was released just minutes ago. Slackware is noted for being the most Unix-like of all Linux distributions. While sporting kernel 4.4.14 and GCC 5.3, other goodies include Perl 5.22.2, Python 2.7.11, Ruby 2.2.5, Subversion 1.9.4, git-2.9.0, mercurial-3.8.2, KDE 4.14.21 (KDE 4.14.3 with kdelibs-4.14.21) Xfce 4.12.1... and no systemd!

According to the ChangeLog: "The long development cycle (the Linux community has lately been living in "interesting times," as they say) is finally behind us, and we're proud to announce the release of Slackware 14.2. The new release brings many updates and modern tools, has switched from udev to eudev (no systemd), and adds well over a hundred new packages to the system. Thanks to the team, the upstream developers, the dedicated Slackware community, and everyone else who pitched in to help make this release a reality." Grab the ISOs at a mirror near you. Enjoy!
The torrents page can be found here.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu-Based Peppermint 7 Released (peppermintos.com) 74

Softpedia reports on the newest version of Peppermint OS, "a lightweight, stable, elegant, and fast computer operating system based on GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes their report: It's a bit earlier than expected, but the Peppermint OS 7 GNU/Linux distribution has been officially unveiled...based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system [with] a lot of packages from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS distro, which means that it will also be a long-term support release.... "Along with the shift to the 16.04 (Xenial) code base, Peppermint 7 continues our policy of choosing the best components from other desktop environments, wherever that may be, and integrating them into a cohesive whole with our own software," reads today's announcement.
"Team Peppermint" says they're switching to Firefox as their default browser for site-specific browser functionality (similar to Chrome's -app mode) after Google dropped their 32-bit version of Chrome and moved to PPAPI plugins "which effectively ends Flash support in 32-bit Chromium"... But you can also still choose Chrome or Chromium for site-specific browsing (and the OS comes in 32-bit and 64-bit editions).
GNOME

Fedora 24 Featuring GNOME 3.20, Tons Of Improvements Released (betanews.com) 174

After several delays, the Fedora Project on Tuesday released Fedora 24 (download link), the latest version of its Linux-based operating system. Fedora 24 brings with it a number of interesting features and changes, including the GNOME 3.20 desktop environment. The latest version of GNOME comes with media-player controls in the notification panel, and improved search feature in the Files application. New GNOME will also let you easily upgrade to Fedora 25, by simply using its Software application. There's also improved font-rendering. Among other things Fedora 24 has an upgraded version of glibc, or GNU C Library, which comes with improved performance and bug fixes across the entire operating system. You can learn more about the features at TechRepublic..
Debian

Fedora QA Lead Pans Canonical 'Propaganda' On Snap Apps (happyassassin.net) 170

Long-time Slashdot reader JImbob0i0 shares a scathing article by Red Hat's Fedora QA "community monkey"/senior QA engineer on Canonical's announcement about their application delivery mechanism "snap"... ...and how it's going to unite all distributions and kill apt and rpm! This is, to put it diplomatically, a heaping pile of steaming bullshit... The press release and the stories together give you the strong impression that this thing called Snappy is going to be the cross-distribution future of application delivery, and it's all ready for use today and lots of major distributions are buying into it... The stories have headlines like "Adios apt and yum? Ubuntu's snap apps are coming to distros everywhere" and "Snap Packages Become Universal Binary Format for All GNU/Linux Distributions"...

Now, does Snappy actually have the cross-distribution buy-in that the press release claims (but never outright states) that it has? No... The sum total of communication between Canonical and Fedora before the release of this press release was that they mailed us asking about the process of packaging snappy for Fedora, and we told them about the main packaging process and COPR. They certainly did not in any way inform Fedora that they were going to send out a press release strongly implying that Fedora, along with every other distro in the world, was now a happy traveler on the Snappy bandwagon... They just decided to send out a wildly misleading press release and actively encourage the specialist press to report that Snappy was all set to take over the world and everyone was super happy with that.

GNU is Not Unix

Ubuntu 16.10 To Be Powered By Linux Kernel 4.8 (softpedia.com) 58

Reader prisoninmate shares a Softpedia report: We've been monitoring the Ubuntu 16.10 development cycle for quite some time now to see what Linux kernel version the upcoming GNU/Linux operating system will be based on, and for now, it remains powered by the same kernel packages as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus). Also, it looks like Ubuntu 16.10 has been switched to a universal local DNS resolver service. However, the Ubuntu Kernel Team published the other day a new installation of their weekly newsletter, informing the community that Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) would soon be rebased on the latest stable Linux 4.6 kernels. Then, it will move to the Release Candidate builds of Linux kernel 4.7, and after that, the operating system will finally be switched to Linux kernel 4.8.
Encryption

RSA Keys Can Be Harvested With Microphones (theregister.co.uk) 157

Researchers have now demonstrated that even with modern laptop, desktop, and server computers, an inexpensive attack can harvest 4,096-bit encryption keys using a parabolic microphone within 33 feet -- or even from 12 inches away, using a cellphone microphone. An anonymous reader quotes this article from The Register: In both cases it took an hour of listening to get the 4,096-bit RSA key... As a computer's processor churns through the encryption calculations, the machine emits a high-frequency "coil whine" from the changing electrical current flowing through its components... The team recommends encryption software writers build in "blinding" routines that insert dummy calculations into cryptographic operations. After discussions with the team, GNU Privacy Guard now does this.
Bug

Linux Kernel 4.6.1 Released; Some Users Report Boot Issue 161

Marius Nestor, reporting for Softpedia (condensed): Linux kernel 4.6.1 is already here, only two weeks after the official launch of the Linux 4.6 kernel series. For those not in the loop, Linux 4.6 branch is the latest and most advanced kernel branch available right now for GNU/Linux operating systems, but it looks like its adoption is a little slow at the moment. "I'm announcing the release of the 4.6.1 kernel. All users of the 4.6 kernel series must upgrade," says Greg Kroah-Hartman. "The updated 4.6.y git tree can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser."
Some users are apparently facing boot failure issue on the latest version. An anonymous tipster tells Slashdot: Several folks on the web have reported a regression in the latest Linux kernels, starting with 4.6.1 and including the 4.7 beta that prevents booting and drops to busybox, at least the one supplied by the Ubuntu PPA. The boot sequence ends with "address family not supported by protocol: error getting socket" and then, "error initializing udev control socket" (screenshot here).
United States

Al-Qaeda Calls For the Execution Of Bill Gates and Others To 'Damage the US Economy' (betanews.com) 486

An anonymous reader writes: Al-Qaeda's official online propaganda magazine, Inspire, contains a montage of violent images -- things like guns and blood -- next to an image of Bill Gates. The terrorist group is urging its followers to murder successful business folks, such as Gates, which is absolutely sickening. The terrorist group says that murdering high ranking people can damage the U.S. economy.
Google

Oracle V. Google Being Decided By Clueless Judge and Jury (vice.com) 436

theodp writes: The problem with Oracle v. Google," explains Motherboard's Sarah Jeong, "is that everyone actually affected by the case knows what an API is, but the whole affair is being decided by people who don't, from the normals in the jury box to the normals at the Supreme Court." Which has Google's witnesses "really, really worried that the jury does not understand nerd shit." Jeong writes, "Eric Schmidt sought to describe APIs and languages using power plugs as an analogy. Jonathan Schwartz tried his hand at explaining with 'breakfast menus,' only to have Judge William Alsup respond witheringly, 'I don't know what the witness just said. The thing about the breakfast menu makes no sense.'

"Schwartz's second attempt at the breakfast menu analogy went much better, as he explained that although two different restaurants could have hamburgers on the menu, the actual hamburgers themselves were different -- the terms on the menu were an API, and the hamburgers were implementations." And Schwarz's explanation that the acronym GNU stands for 'GNU is Not Unix' drew the following exchange: "The G part stands for GNU?" Alsup asked in disbelief. "Yes," said Schwartz on the stand. "That doesn't make any sense," said the 71-year-old Clinton appointee.

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