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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Linux Resource for a Retired Windows User?

Sunday 17th of September 2023 11:34:00 AM
Slashdot reader Leading Edge Boomer wants to help "a retired friend whose personal computing has always been with Windows." But recently, they were gifted a laptop that's running "some version of Linux..." Probably he's not even aware that there are different distributions for different purposes. He seems open to learning about this different world. What recommendations might Slashdot readers have to bring him up to speed as a competent Linux user? I really don't want to hold his hand, and he's smart enough to learn on his own. "Mint is the answer," argues long-time Slashdot reader denisbergeron. "First make him use Mint, because it's easy and there a lot of documentation and the community is very strong." But long-time Slashdot reader spaceman375 thinks they can solve the problem with just three letters. "Show him the man command. When he feels confident, or breaks it pretty hard, then I'd agree — install mint and go from there. But start with man." Is that it? Is it as simple as that? Share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments — along with your learning tools for beginners. What's the best Linux resource for a retired Windows user?

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'Linux Mint Debian Edition' Begins Public Beta Testing

Saturday 16th of September 2023 10:24:00 PM
This week saw the public beta-testing release of "Linux Mint Debian Edition". Besides listing download locations, its release notes also list out the project's three goals: - Ensure Linux Mint would be able to continue to deliver the same user experience - See how much work would be involved if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. - Guarantee the software we develop is compatible outside of Ubuntu. 9to5Linux reports: Based on the Debian GNU/Linux 12 "Bookworm" operating system series, Linux Mint Debian Edition 6 is powered by the long-term supported Linux 6.1 LTS kernel series and features the latest Cinnamon 5.8 desktop environment that was introduced with the Linux Mint 21.2 "Victoria" release in July 2023⦠[T]his release comes with a new look and feel thanks to newly added folder icons with different color variants, improved consistency of tooltips to look the same across different apps and desktops, support for symbolic icons that adapt to their background, and full support for HEIF and AVIF

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KSMBD Finally Reaches 'Stable' State in Release Candidate for Linux Kernel 6.6

Saturday 16th of September 2023 05:34:00 PM
When Linus Torvalds announced Linux kernel 6.6's first release candidate, it included a newly-stable version of KSMBD, which is Samsung's in-kernel server for the SMB protocol (for sharing files/folders/printers over a network). An announcement in 2021 had said that "For many cases the current userspace server choices were suboptimal either due to memory footprint, performance or difficulty integrating well with advanced Linux features." LWN noted at the time that Linux has been using "the user-space Samba solution since shortly after the beginning." In a sense, ksmbd is not meant to compete with Samba; indeed, it has been developed in cooperation with the Samba project. It is, however, meant to be a more performant and focused solution than Samba is; at this point, Samba includes a great deal of functionality beyond simple file serving. Ksmbd claims significant performance improvements on a wide range of benchmarks...One other reason — which tends to be spoken rather more quietly — is that a new implementation can be licensed under GPLv2, while Samba is GPLv3. The Register notes that when Samba switched to GPL 3, "one result was that Apple dropped Samba from Mac OS X and replaced it with its own, in-house server called SMBX." And they also remember that a month after its debut in 2021, "Linux sysadmins got to enjoy KSMBD's first security exploit." What's changed now is that it has faced considerable security testing and as a result it is no longer marked as experimental. It's been developed with the assistance of the Samba team, which itself documents how to use it. It's compatible with existing Samba configuration files. As the team says, "It is not meant to replace the existing Samba fileserver 'smbd', but rather be an extension and will integrate with Samba in the future...." KSMBD is also important in that placing such core server functionality right inside the kernel represents a significant potential attack surface for crackers... The new bcachefs file system will not be going into kernel 6.6, and its developer is not happy. "It's taken some time to get KSMBD to a state that was considered stable," points out Linux magazine. That time has come, and KSMBD is planned for Linux kernel 6.6.: But why is KSMBD important? First off, it promises considerable performance gains and better support for modern features such as Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)... KSMBD also adds enhanced security, considerably better performance for both single and multi-thread read/write, better stability, and higher compatibility. In the end, hopefully, this KSMBD will also mean easier share setups in Linux without having to jump through the same hoops one must with the traditional Samba setup.

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Password-Stealing Linux Malware Served For 3 Years and No One Noticed

Thursday 14th of September 2023 01:00:00 AM
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A download site surreptitiously served Linux users malware that stole passwords and other sensitive information for more than three years until it finally went quiet, researchers said on Tuesday. The site, freedownloadmanager[.]org, offered a benign version of a Linux offering known as the Free Download Manager. Starting in 2020, the same domain at times redirected users to the domain deb.fdmpkg[.]org, which served a malicious version of the app. The version available on the malicious domain contained a script that downloaded two executable files to the /var/tmp/crond and /var/tmp/bs file paths. The script then used the cron job scheduler to cause the file at /var/tmp/crond to launch every 10 minutes. With that, devices that had installed the booby-trapped version of Free Download Manager were permanently backdoored. After accessing an IP address for the malicious domain, the backdoor launched a reverse shell that allowed the attackers to remotely control the infected device. Researchers from Kaspersky, the security firm that discovered the malware, then ran the backdoor on a lab device to observe how it behaved. "This stealer collects data such as system information, browsing history, saved passwords, cryptocurrency wallet files, as well as credentials for cloud services (AWS, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Azure)," the researchers wrote in a report on Tuesday. "After collecting information from the infected machine, the stealer downloads an uploader binary from the C2 server, saving it to /var/tmp/atd. It then uses this binary to upload stealer execution results to the attackers' infrastructure."

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Meet the Guy Preserving the New History of PC Games, One Linux Port At a Time

Saturday 9th of September 2023 03:30:00 AM
An anonymous reader quotes a report from 404 Media: Historically, video game preservation efforts usually cover two types of games. The most common are very old or "retro" games from the 16-bit era or earlier, which are trapped on cartridges until they're liberated via downloadable ROMs. The other are games that rely on a live service, like Enter the Matrix's now unplugged servers or whatever games you can only get by downloading them via Nintendo's Wii Shop Channel, which shut down in 2019. But time keeps marching on and a more recent era of games now needs to be attended to if we still want those games to be accessible: indies from the late aughts to mid twenty-teens. That's right. Fez, an icon of the era and indie games scene, is now more than a decade old. And while we don't think of this type of work until we need it, Fez, which most PC players booted on Windows 7 when it first came out, is not going to magically run on your Windows 11 machine today without some maintenance. The person doing that maintenance, as well as making sure that about 70 of the best known indie games from the same era keep running, is Ethan Lee. He's not as well known as Fez's developer Phil Fish, who was also the subject of the documentary Indie Game: The Movie, but this week Lee started publicly marketing the service he's been quietly providing for over 11 years: maintenance of older games. "The way that I've been pitching it is more of like, the boring infrastructure," he said. "Let's make sure the current build works, whereas a lot of times, people feel like the only way to bring a game into a new generation is to do a big remaster. That's cool, but wouldn't have been cool if Quake II just continued to work between 1997 and now without all the weird stuff in between? That's sort of why I've been very particular about the word maintenance, because it's a continuous process that starts pretty much from the moment that you ship it." As he explains in his pitch to game developers: "the PC catalog alone has grown very large within the last 15 years, and even small independent studios now have an extensive back catalog of titles that players can technically still buy and play today! This does come at a cost, however: The longer a studio exists, the larger their catalog grows, and as a result, the maintenance burden also grows." Just a few of the other indie games Lee ported include Super Hexagon, Proteus, Rogue Legacy, Dust: An Elysian Tail, TowerFall Ascension, VVVVVV, Transistor, Wizorb, Mercenary Kings, Hacknet, Shenzhen I/O, and Bastion. [...] With the PC, people assume that once a game is on Windows, it can live on forever with future versions of Windows. "In reality, what makes a PC so weird is that there's this big stack of stuff. You have an x86 processor, the current-ish era of like modern graphics processors, and then you have the operating system running on top of that and its various drivers," Lee said. A change to any one of those layers can make a game run badly, or not at all.

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Linux's Marketshare on Steam Still Higher Than Apple macOS

Sunday 3rd of September 2023 02:34:00 PM
The (Arch Linux-powered) Steam Deck was released in February of 2022 — and Phoronix reports that's helping Linux's market share on Steam. "While July was at 1.96% for Linux, the August numbers [from] show a 0.14% dip to 1.82%. Interestingly, macOS dipped by 0.27% to 1.57% while Windows rose by 0.4% to 96.61%. For those wondering why the Steam Linux numbers dropped while the Steam Deck continues to be very popular, it's possibly again another month impacted by large swings in Chinese traffic... SteamOS Holo that powers the Steam Deck gained another 2% marketshare to now commanding around 44% of the reported Linux gamers. Among Linux gamers, AMD CPUs power around 71% of the systems. In part due to the Steam Deck being powered by an AMD APU. Meanwhile Steam on Windows has the AMD CPU marketshare at around 33%.

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Linux 6.5 Kernel Released

Tuesday 29th of August 2023 11:20:00 PM
ZDNet's Steven Vaughan-Nichols shares what's new in the release of Linux 6.5: The biggest news for servers -- and cloud Linux users -- is AMD Ryzen processors' P-State support. This support should mean better performance and power use across CPU cores. Intel Alder Lake CPUs have also received improved load balancing in a related development. RISC-V architecture fans will be pleased to find Linux now has Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support. ACPI is used in Linux and other operating systems for power management. It's vital for laptops and other battery-powered systems. For better security, people using virtual machines or sandboxes based on Usermode Linux for testing, or running multiple versions of Linux at once, now have Landlock support. Landock is a Linux Security Module that enables applications to sandbox themselves by selecting access rights to directories. It's designed to be used by unprivileged processes while following the system security policy. To make talking with the rest of the world easier, Linux 6.5 now supports USB 4v2. This new USB-C standard will support up to an eye-watering 120Gbps. And while we're still getting used to Wi-Fi 6E, the Wi-Fi Alliance is already working on bringing us Wi-Fi 7. When Wi-Fi 7 arrives, with its theoretical maximum speed of 46Gbps, Linux will be ready. As usual, the new Linux has many more built-in audio and graphics drivers. The Bcachefs filesystem didn't make it into Linux 6.5, notes Vaughan-Nichols. "While the Bcachefs filesystem looks good, there's been a lot of developers fighting about the development process. These personal arguments have led Torvalds to decide not to incorporate Bcachefs into Linux 6.5." Linus Torvalds announced Linux 6.5's delivery in a brief post on August 27.

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Amazon Linux 2023 Virtual Machine Images Still MIA

Monday 28th of August 2023 10:01:00 PM
When Amazon Linux 2023 was released on March 15, it was supposed to be offered as a virtual machine image that organizations could run on their own servers. From a report: "When Amazon Linux 2023 becomes generally available, it will be provided as a virtual machine image for on-premises use, enabling you to easily develop, test, and certify applications from a local development environment," the web titan's FAQs stated at the time. "This option is not available during the preview." But that commitment has since vanished from the FAQ: it's not there right now nor in this capture of the page on June 2. And it's not clear whether Amazon intends to enable on-premises usage of its Linux distribution. Those who use Linux in their businesses have been asking Amazon to clarify the situation for eighteen months, starting with a GitHub Issues feature request opened on March 15, 2022, and a similar inquiry posted a year later. In late June, Rotan Hanrahan, a technology consultant based in Dublin, Ireland, chided Amazon for failing to explain what's going on. "I see no evidence of any outreach to the community to explain this, nor any requests for technical assistance (assuming the issue is technical)," he wrote. "If the issue is bureaucratic in nature, we might never see the promised VM image. Some clarification from Amazon is overdue."

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Nautilus File Manager Gets New Features in Upcoming GNOME 45

Monday 28th of August 2023 11:34:00 AM
The upcoming release of GNOME 45 — expected September 20th — will bring new features to the Nautilus file manager (now in public beta testing). An anonymous reader shared this report from 9to5Linux: Nautilus in GNOME 45 already received a search performance boost, support for dropping images directly from web pages, an improved Grid View that now indicates starred files too, the ability to display bytes size as a tooltip for folder properties, and a more adaptive design for the sidebar. It also got an improved file opening experience while sandboxed (think Flatpak, Snap, etc.), a more consistent date and time format, a more simplistic definition of the Keyboard Shortcuts window, the ability to refocus the search bar using the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut, and a better archiving experience. But there's room for more new features as Nautilus now received new "Search Everywhere" buttons to expand the search scope and a modern full-height sidebar layout, along with refined sidebar sizing and folding threshold. This is what Nautilus looks like in GNOME 45. The article includes some screenshots, adding that Nautilus "also received some performance improvements to more quickly generate multiple thumbnails, provide users with flickerless transition into and from search, and avoid DBus-activating other apps when it starts."

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What's New in Linux 6.5?

Sunday 27th of August 2023 11:19:00 PM
An anonymous reader shared this report from 9to5Linux: Just a couple of days after celebrating its 32nd anniversary , Linus Torvalds announced today the final release of the Linux 6.5 kernel series as a major update that introduces several new features, updated and new drivers for better hardware support, and other changes. After seven weeks of RCs, Linux kernel 6.5 is here with new features like MIDI 2.0 support in ALSA, ACPI support for the RISC-V architecture, Landlock support for UML (User-Mode Linux), better support for AMD "Zen" systems, as well as user-space support for the ARMv8.8 memcpy/memset instructions. Also new in Linux 6.5 is Intel TPMI (Topology Aware Register and PM Capsule Interface) support for the power capping subsystem and a TPMI interface driver for Intel RAPL, and the "runnable boosting" feature in the EAS balancer to improve CPU utilization for specific workloads. This release also improves SMP scheduling's load balancer to recognize SMT cores with more than one busy sibling and allows lower-priority CPUs to pull tasks to avoid superfluous migrations, and improves EXT4 file system's journalling, block allocator subsystems, and performance for parallel DIO overwrites.

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Can You Run Linux On a Commodore 64?

Sunday 27th of August 2023 06:41:00 PM
llvm-mos adapts the popular LLVM compiler to target the MOS 6502 processor (the 1980s microprocessor used in early home computing devices like the Apple II and the Commodore 64). So developer Onno Kortman used it to cross-compile semu, a "minimalist RISC-V system emulator capable of running Linux the kernel and corresponding userland." And by the end of the day, Kortman has Linux running on a Commodore 64. Long-time Slashdot reader johnwbyrd shared the link to Kortman's repository. Some quotes: "But does it run Linux?" can now be finally and affirmatively answered for the Commodore C64...! It runs extremely slowly and it needs a RAM Expansion Unit (REU), as there is no chance to fit it all into just 64KiB. It even emulates virtual memory with an MMU.... The screenshots took VICE a couple hours in "warp mode" (activate it with Alt-W) to generate. So, as is, a real C64 should be able to boot Linux within a week or so. The compiled 6502 code is not really optimized yet, and it might be realistic to squeeze a factor 10x of performance out of this. Maybe even a simple form of JIT compilation? It should also be possible to implement starting a checkpointed VM (quickly precomputed on x86-64) to avoid the lengthy boot process... I also tested a minimal micropython port (I can clean it up and post it on github if there is interest), that one does not use the MMU and is almost barely remotely usable with lots of optimism at 100% speed. A key passage: I have not tested it on real hardware yet, that's the next challenge .. for you. So please send me a link to a timelapse video of an original unit with REU booting Linux :D Its GitHub repository has build and run instructions...

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AlmaLinux Leader Says Red Hat's Code Crackdown Isn't a Threat

Sunday 20th of August 2023 07:34:00 AM
Yes, Red Hat Enterprise Linux changed its licensing last month — but how will that affect AlmaLinux? The chair of the nonprofit AlmaLinux OS Foundation, benny Vasquez, tells SiliconANGLE that "For typical users, there's very, very little difference. Overall, we're still exactly the same way we were, except for kernel updates." Updates may no longer be available the day a new version of RHEL comes out, but developers still have access to Red Hat's planned enhancements and bug fixes via CentOS Stream, a version of RHEL that Red Hat uses as essentially a test bed for new features that might later be incorporated into its flagship product. From a practical perspective, that's nearly as good as having access to the production source code, Vasquez said. "While there is a generally accepted understanding that not everything in CentOS Stream will end up in RHEL, that's not how it works in practice," she said. "I can't think of anything they have shipped in RHEL that wasn't in Stream first." That's still no guarantee, but the workarounds AlmaLinux has put in place over the past month should address all but the most outlier cases, Vasquez said. The strategy has shifted from bug-for-bug compatibility to being application binary interface-compatible... ABI compatibility doesn't guarantee that problems will never occur, but glitches should be rare and can usually be resolved by recompiling the source code. "It is sufficient for us to be ABI-compatible with RHEL," Vasquez said. "The most important thing is that this allows our community to feel stability." In fact, Red Hat's change of direction has been a blessing in disguise for AlmaLinux, she said... "We view this as a release from our bonds of being one-to-one." Patches can be applied without waiting for a cue from Red Hat and "we get to engage with our community in a completely new and exciting way." AlmaLinux has also seen a modest financial windfall from Red Hat's decision. "The outpouring of support has been pretty impressive," Vasquez said. "People have shown up for event staffing and website maintenance and infrastructure management and we've gotten more financial backing from corporations." Vasquez also told the site that "the number of everyday people throwing in $5 has more than quadrupled."

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SUSE To Flip Back Into Private Ownership

Friday 18th of August 2023 09:08:00 AM
Two years after being listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the Linux-for-enterprise company SUSE is switching back to private ownership. The Register reports: On Wednesday the developer announced that its majority shareholder, an entity called Marcel LUX III SARL, intends to take it private by delisting it from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and merging it with an unlisted Luxembourg entity. Marcel is an entity controlled by EQT Private Equity, a Swedish investment firm, which acquired it from MicroFocus in 2018. The announcement offers scant detail about the rationale for the delisting, other than a canned quote from SUSE CEO Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen who said, "I believe in the strategic opportunity of taking the company private -- it gives us the right setting to grow the business and deliver on our strategy with the new leadership team in place." Van Leeuwen took the big chair at SUSE just over three months back, on May 1. The deal values SUSE at 16 euros per share -- well below the 30-euro price of the 2021 float, but above the Thursday closing price of 9.605 euros. Interestingly, Marcel is happy for shareholders not to take the money and run. "There is no obligation for shareholders to accept the Offer," explains the announcement's detail of the transaction's structure. "EQT Private Equity does not intend to pursue a squeeze-out. Therefore, shareholders who wish to stay invested in SUSE in a private setting may do so." Shareholders who stick around will therefore score their portion of a special dividend SUSE will pay out as part of this transaction. Those who sell will get the aforementioned 16-euros per share, less their portion of the interim dividend. The transaction to take SUSE private is expected to conclude in the final quarter of 2023.

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Debian Turns 30

Thursday 17th of August 2023 04:40:00 PM
Debian blog: Over 30 years ago the late Ian Murdock wrote to the comp.os.linux.development newsgroup about the completion of a brand-new Linux release which he named "The Debian Linux Release." He built the release by hand, from scratch, so to speak. Ian laid out guidelines for how this new release would work, what approach the release would take regarding its size, manner of upgrades, installation procedures; and with great care of consideration for users without Internet connection. Unaware that he had sparked a movement in the fledgling F/OSS community, Ian worked on and continued to work on Debian. The release, now aided by volunteers from the newsgroup and around the world, grew and continues to grow as one of the largest and oldest FREE operating systems that still exist today. Debian at its core is comprised of Users, Contributors, Developers, and Sponsors, but most importantly, People. Ians drive and focus remains embedded in the core of Debian, it remains in all of our work, it remains in the minds and hands of the users of The Universal Operating System. The Debian Project is proud and happy to share our anniversary not exclusively unto ourselves, instead we share this moment with everyone, as we come together in celebration of a resounding community that works together, effects change, and continues to make a difference, not just in our work but around the world. Debian is present in cluster systems, datacenters, desktop computers, embedded systems, IoT devices, laptops, servers, it may possibly be powering the web server and device you are reading this article on, and it can also be found in Spacecraft.

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Does Desktop Linux Have a Firefox Problem?

Sunday 13th of August 2023 10:09:00 PM
OS News' managing editor calls Firefox "the single most important desktop Linux application," shipping in most distros (with some users later opting for a post-installation download of Chrome). But "I'm genuinely worried about the state of browsers on Linux, and the future of Firefox on Linux in particular..." While both GNOME and KDE nominally invest in their own two browsers, GNOME Web and Falkon, their uptake is limited and releases few and far between. For instance, none of the major Linux distributions ship GNOME Web as their default browser, and it lacks many of the features users come to expect from a browser. Falkon, meanwhile, is updated only sporadically, often going years between releases. Worse yet, Falkon uses Chromium through QtWebEngine, and GNOME Web uses WebKit (which are updated separately from the browser, so browser releases are not always a solid metric!), so both are dependent on the goodwill of two of the most ruthless corporations in the world, Google and Apple respectively. Even Firefox itself, even though it's clearly the browser of choice of distributions and Linux users alike, does not consider Linux a first-tier platform. Firefox is first and foremost a Windows browser, followed by macOS second, and Linux third. The love the Linux world has for Firefox is not reciprocated by Mozilla in the same way, and this shows in various places where issues fixed and addressed on the Windows side are ignored on the Linux side for years or longer. The best and most visible example of that is hardware video acceleration. This feature has been a default part of the Windows version since forever, but it wasn't enabled by default for Linux until Firefox 115, released only in early July 2023. Even then, the feature is only enabled by default for users of Intel graphics — AMD and Nvidia users need not apply. This lack of video acceleration was — and for AMD and Nvidia users, still is — a major contributing factor to Linux battery life on laptops taking a serious hit compared to their Windows counterparts... It's not just hardware accelerated video decoding. Gesture support has taken much longer to arrive on the Linux version than it did on the Windows version — things like using swipes to go back and forward, or pinch to zoom on images... I don't see anyone talking about this problem, or planning for the eventual possible demise of Firefox, what that would mean for the Linux desktop, and how it can be avoided or mitigated. In an ideal world, the major stakeholders of the Linux desktop — KDE, GNOME, the various major distributions — would get together and seriously consider a plan of action. The best possible solution, in my view, would be to fork one of the major browser engines (or pick one and significantly invest in it), and modify this engine and tailor it specifically for the Linux desktop. Stop living off the scraps and leftovers thrown across the fence from Windows and macOS browser makers, and focus entirely on making a browser engine that is optimised fully for Linux, its graphics stack, and its desktops. Have the major stakeholders work together on a Linux-first — or even Linux-only — browser engine, leaving the graphical front-end to the various toolkits and desktop environments.... I think it's highly irresponsible of the various prominent players in the desktop Linux community, from GNOME to KDE, from Ubuntu to Fedora, to seemingly have absolutely zero contingency plans for when Firefox enshittifies or dies...

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Should There Be an 'Official' Version of Linux?

Sunday 13th of August 2023 07:34:00 AM
Why aren't more people using Linux on the desktop? Slashdot reader technology_dude shares one solution: Jack Wallen at ZDNet says establishing an "official" version of Linux may (or may not) help Linux on the desktop increase the number of users, mostly as someplace to point new users. It makes sense to me. What does Slashdot think and what would be the challenges, other than acceptance of a particular flavor? Wallen argues this would also create a standard for hardware and software vendors to target, which "could equate to even more software and hardware being made available to Linux." (And an "official" Linux might also be more appealing to business users.) Wallen suggests it be "maintained and controlled by a collective of people from users, developers, and corporations (such as Intel and AMD) with a vested interest in the success of this project... There would also be corporate backing for things like marketing (such as TV commercials)." He also suggests basing it on Debian, and supporting both Snap and Flatpak... In comments on the original submission, long-time Slashdot reader bobbomo points instead to, arguing "There already is an official version of Linux called mainline. Everything else is backports." And jd (Slashdot user #1,658) believes that the official Linux is the Linux Standard Base. "All distributions, more-or-less, conform to the LSB, which gives you a pseudo 'official' Linux. About the one variable is the package manager. And there are ways to work around that." Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia... The LSB standard stopped being updated in 2015 and current Linux distributions do not adhere to or offer it; however, the lsb_release command is sometimes still available.[citation needed] On February 7, 2023, a former maintainer of the LSB wrote, "The LSB project is essentially abandoned." That post (on the lsb-discuss mailing list) argues the LSB approach was "partially superseded" by Snaps and Flatpaks (for application portability and stability). And of course, long-time Slashdot user menkhaura shares the obligatory XKCD comic... It's not exactly the same thing, but days after ZDNet's article, CIQ, Oracle, and SUSE announced the Open Enterprise Linux Association, a new collaborative trade association to foster "the development of distributions compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux." So where does that leave us? Share your own thoughts in the comments. And should there be an "official" version of Linux?

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Oracle, SUSE, and CIQ Go After Red Hat With the Open Enterprise Linux Association

Thursday 10th of August 2023 10:40:00 PM
In a groundbreaking move, CIQ, Oracle, and SUSE have come together to announce the formation of the Open Enterprise Linux Association (OpenELA). From a report: The goal of this new collaborative trade association is to foster "the development of distributions compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) by providing open and free enterprise Linux source code." The inception of OpenELA is a direct response to Red Hat's recent alterations to RHEL source code availability. This new Delaware 501(c)(6) US nonprofit association will provide an open process for organizations to access source code. This will enable it to build RHEL-compatible distributions. The initiative underscores the importance of community-driven source code, which serves as a foundation for creating compatible distributions. Mike McGrath, Red Hat's vice president of Red Hat Core Platforms, sparked this when he announced Red Hat would be changing how users can access RHEL's source code. For the non-Hatters among you, Core Platforms is the division in charge of RHEL. McGrath wrote, "CentOS Stream will now be the sole repository for public RHEL-related source code releases. For Red Hat customers and partners, source code will remain available via the Red Hat Customer Portal." This made it much more difficult for RHEL clone vendors, such as AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux, and Oracle Linux, to create perfect RHEL variant distributions. AlmaLinux elected to try to work with Red Hat's new source code rules. Oracle restarted its old fighting ways with IBM/Red Hat; SUSE announced an RHEL-compatible distro fork plan; and Rocky Linux found new ways to obtain RHEL code. Now the last two, along with CIQ, which started Rocky Linux, have joined forces.

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Jon 'maddog' Hall Defends Red Hat's Re-Licensing of RHEL

Sunday 6th of August 2023 03:34:00 AM
In February of 1994 Jon "maddog" Hall interviewed a young Linus Torvalds (then just 24). Nearly three decades later — as Hall approaches his 73rd birthday — he's shared a long essay looking back, but also assessing today's controversy about Red Hat's licensing of RHEL. A (slightly- condensed] excerpt: [O]ver time some customers developed a pattern of purchasing a small number of RHEL systems, then using the "bug-for-bug" compatible version of Red Hat from some other distribution. This, of course, saved the customer money, however it also reduced the amount of revenue that Red Hat received for the same amount of work. This forced Red Hat to charge more for each license they sold, or lay off Red Hat employees, or not do projects they might have otherwise funded. So recently Red Hat/IBM made a business decision to limit their customers to those who would buy a license from them for every single system that would run RHEL and only distribute their source-code and the information necessary on how to build that distribution to those customers. Therefore the people who receive those binaries would receive the sources so they could fix bugs and extend the operating system as they wished.....this was, and is, the essence of the GPL. Most, if not all, of the articles I have read have said something along the lines of "IBM/Red Hat seem to be following the GPL..but...but...but... the community! " Which community? There are plenty of distributions for people who do not need the same level of engineering and support that IBM and Red Hat offer. Red Hat, and IBM, continue to send their changes for GPLed code "upstream" to flow down to all the other distributions. They continue to share ideas with the larger community. [...] I now see a lot of people coming out of the woodwork and beating their breasts and saying how they are going to protect the investment of people who want to use RHEL for free [...] So far I have seen four different distributions saying that they will continue the production of "not RHEL", generating even more distributions for the average user to say "which one should I use"? If they really want to do this, why not just work together to produce one good one? Why not make their own distributions a RHEL competitor? How long will they keep beating their breasts when they find out that they can not make any money at doing it? SuSE said that they would invest ten million dollars in developing a competitor to RHEL. Fantastic! COMPETE. Create an enterprise competitor to Red Hat with the same business channels, world-wide support team, etc. etc. You will find it is not inexpensive to do that. Ten million may get you started. My answer to all this? RHEL customers will have to decide what they want to do. I am sure that IBM and Red Hat hope that their customers will see the value of RHEL and the support that Red Hat/IBM and their channel partners provide for it. The rest of the customers who just want to buy one copy of RHEL and then run a "free" distribution on all their other systems no matter how it is created, well it seems that IBM does not want to do business with them anymore, so they will have to go to other suppliers who have enterprise capable distributions of Linux and who can tolerate that type of customer. [...] I want to make sure people know that I do not have any hate for people and companies who set business conditions as long as they do not violate the licenses they are under. Business is business. However I will point out that as "evil" as Red Hat and IBM have been portrayed in this business change there is no mention at all of all the companies that support Open Source "Permissive Licenses", which do not guarantee the sources to their end users, or offer only "Closed Source" Licenses....who do not allow and have never allowed clones to be made....these people and companies do not have any right to throw stones (and you know who you are). Red Hat and IBM are making their sources available to all those who receive their binaries under contract. That is the GPL. For all the researchers, students, hobbyists and people with little or no money, there are literally hundreds of distributions that they can choose, and many that run across other interesting architectures that RHEL does not even address. Hall answered questions from Slashdot users in 2000 and again in 2013. Further reading: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst answering questions from Slashdot readers in 2017.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Steam On Linux Spikes To Nearly 2% In July, Larger Marketshare Than Apple macOS

Thursday 3rd of August 2023 01:25:00 AM
The Steam Survey results for July 2023 were just published and it points to a large and unexpected jump in the Linux gaming marketshare. Phoronix reports; According to these new numbers from Valve, the Linux customer base is up to 1.96%, or a 0.52% jump over June! That's a huge jump with normally just moving 0.1% or so in either direction most months... It's also near an all-time high on a percentage basis going back to the early days of Steam on Linux when it had around a 2% marketshare but at that time the Steam customer size in absolute numbers was much smaller a decade ago than it is now. So if the percentage numbers are accurate, this is likely the largest in absolute terms that the Linux gaming marketshare has ever been. When looking at the Steam Linux breakdown, the SteamOS Holo that powers the Steam Deck is now accounting for around 42% of all Linux gamers on Steam. Meanwhile, AMD CPU marketshare among Linux gamers has reached 69%. The Steam Survey results for July show Windows 10 64-bit losing 1.56% marketshare and Linux gaining the healthy 0.52% of that. This is also the first time the Linux gaming marketshare outpasses Apple macOS on Steam!

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

ChromeOS Is Splitting the Browser From the OS, Getting More Like Linux

Thursday 3rd of August 2023 12:45:00 AM
Google's long-running project to split up ChromeOS and its Chrome browser is currently in beta and should be live in the stable channel later this month. The flags that turn on the feature by default were spotted by Kevin Tofel from About Chromebooks. Ars Technica reports: The project is called "Lacros" which Google says stands for "Linux And ChRome OS." This will split ChromeOS's Linux OS from the Chrome browser, allowing Google to update each one independently. Google documentation on the project says, "On Chrome OS, the system UI (ash window manager, login screen, etc.) and the web browser are the same binary. Lacros separates this functionality into two binaries, henceforth known as ash-chrome (system UI) and lacros-chrome (web browser)." Part of the project involves sprucing up the ChromeOS OS, and Google's docs say, "Lacros can be imagined as 'Linux chrome with more Wayland support.'" On the browser side, ChromeOS would stop using the bespoke Chrome browser for ChromeOS and switch to the Chrome browser for Linux. The same browser you get on Ubuntu would now ship on ChromeOS. In the past, turning on Lacros in ChromeOS would show both Chrome browsers, the outgoing ChromeOS one and the new Linux one. Lacros has been in development for around two years and can be enabled via a Chrome flag. Tofel says his 116 build no longer has that flag since it's the default now. Google hasn't officially confirmed this is happening, but so far, the code is headed that way.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

More in Tux Machines

digiKam 7.7.0 is released

After three months of active maintenance and another bug triage, the digiKam team is proud to present version 7.7.0 of its open source digital photo manager. See below the list of most important features coming with this release. Read more

Dilution and Misuse of the "Linux" Brand

Samsung, Red Hat to Work on Linux Drivers for Future Tech

The metaverse is expected to uproot system design as we know it, and Samsung is one of many hardware vendors re-imagining data center infrastructure in preparation for a parallel 3D world. Samsung is working on new memory technologies that provide faster bandwidth inside hardware for data to travel between CPUs, storage and other computing resources. The company also announced it was partnering with Red Hat to ensure these technologies have Linux compatibility. Read more

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