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Multiple Linux Distributions Affected By Crippling Bug In Systemd ( 508

An anonymous reader writes: System administrator Andrew Ayer has discovered a potentially critical bug in systemd which can bring a vulnerable Linux server to its knees with one command. "After running this command, PID 1 is hung in the pause system call. You can no longer start and stop daemons. inetd-style services no longer accept connections. You cannot cleanly reboot the system." According to the bug report, Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS are among the distros susceptible to various levels of resource exhaustion. The bug, which has existed for more than two years, does not require root access to exploit.
Operating Systems

Raspberry Pi Foundation Unveils New LXDE-Based Desktop For Raspbian Called PIXEL ( 47

Raspberry Pi Foundation's Simon Long has unveiled a new desktop environment for the Debian-based Raspbian GNU/Linux operating system for Raspberry Pi devices. From a Softpedia report (submitted by an anonymous reader):Until today, Raspbian shipped with the well-known and lightweight LXDE desktop environment, which looks pretty much the same as on any other Linux-based distribution out there that is built around LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). But Simon Long, a UX engineer working for Raspberry Pi Foundation, was hired to make it better, transform it into something that's more appealing to users. So after two years of work, he managed to create a whole new desktop environment for Raspbian, the flagship operating system for Raspberry Pi single-board computers developed and distributed by Raspberry Pi Foundation. Called PIXEL, the new Raspbian desktop offers a more eye-candy design with the panel on top (not on the bottom like on a default LXDE setup), new icons, new Applications Menu, and new theme. "It's actually surprisingly easy to hack about with the LXDE desktop once you get your head around what all the bits do, and since then I've been slowly chipping away at the bits that I felt would most benefit from tweaking," reveals Simon Long. "Stuff has slowly been becoming more and more like my original concept for the desktop; with the latest changes, I think the desktop has reached the point where it's a complete product in its own right and should have its own name."
Debian Closes. All Screenshot Tours Released For Downloading ( 46

A new announcement on their web site reads: is closed. An archive of all screenshot tours from this site has been made freely available to the community, which consists of 2300 releases from 580 distributions. You may download this archive for fun, or to start your own Linux screenshots website. Please help seed torrents. I contacted the site's owner, who confirmed the news, saying their goal is to let the community take control of the screenshots. The archives are available on Dropbox and BitTorrent.

Penetration-Testing Distro Kali Linux 2016.2 Released ( 54

prisoninmate writes: What's Kali Linux 2016.2? Well, it's an updated Live ISO image of the popular GNU/Linux distribution designed for ethical hackers and security professionals who want to harden the security of their networks, which contains the latest software versions and enhancements for those who want to deploy the OS on new systems. It's been quite some time since the last update to the official Kali Linux Live ISOs and new software releases are announced each day, which means that the packages included in the previous Kali Linux images are very old, and bugs and improvements are always implemented in the most recent versions of the respective security tools. Best of all, the new Kali Linux 2016.2 release comes in KDE, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, and Enlightenment E17 flavors.
Their blog also points out that Kali recently appeared in an episode of Mr. Robot.

Systemd Rolls Out Its Own Mount Tool ( 541

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: I'm surprised this hasn't surfaced on Slashdot already, but yesterday Phoronix reported that systemd will soon be handling file system mounts, along with all the other stuff that systemd has encompassed. The report generated the usual systemd arguments over on with Lennart Poettering, systemd developer and architect, chiming in with a few clarifications.
Lennart argued it will greatly improve the handling of removable media like USB sticks.

Researchers Warn Linux Vendors About Cloud-Memory Hacking Trick ( 73

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Hacking researchers have uncovered a new attack technique which can alter the memory of virtual machines in the cloud. The team, based at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, introduced the attack, dubbed Flip Feng Shui (FFS)...and explained that hackers could use the technique to crack the keys of secured VMs or install malicious code without it being noticed...

Using FFS, the attacker rents a VM on the same host as their chosen victim. They then write a memory page which they know exists on the vulnerable memory location and let it de-duplicate. The identical pages, with the same information, will merge in order to save capacity and be stored in the same part of memory of the physical computer. This allows the hacker to change information in the general memory of the computer.

The researchers demonstrated two attacks on Debian and Ubuntu systems -- flipping a bit to change a victim's RSA public key, and installing a software package infected with malware by altering a URL used by apt-get. "Debian, Ubuntu and other companies involved in the research were notified before the paper was published, and have all responded to the issue."

Onion Debian Services Are Now Available ( 40

"I just set up a lot of Onion Services for many of Debian's static websites," announced Debian sys-admin Peter "weasel" Palfrader on Friday. "You can find the entire list of services on More might come in the future." Longtime Slashdot reader alfino writes: Yay for privacy. We don't care about where you come from, and now you don't even have to tell anyone that you're using Debian. The archive at is already in the list. Support for more redundant Debian archive access is expected to come When It's Ready.

Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment can run in Windows ( 170

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "This is one of the coolest tickets I've seen on GitHub," writes Ubuntu developer Adolfo Jayme Barrientos, adding "this kind of surreal compatibility between platforms is now enabled...the fact that you can execute and use Linux window managers there, without virtual machines, is simply mind-blowing."

"The Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming in August includes an unusual feature aimed at developers: an Ubuntu sub-system that lets you run Linux software using a command-line interface," explains "Preview versions have been available since April, and while Microsoft and Canonical worked together to bring support for the Bash terminal to Windows 10, it didn't take long for some users to figure out that they could get some desktop Linux apps to run in Windows. Now it looks like you can even load Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment, making windows 10 look like Ubuntu.


Debian Founder's 2015 Death Ruled A Suicide ( 160

gosand writes: According to a story on The Register, the death of Ian Murdock in late 2015 has been ruled a suicide. This news brings some closure to the sad ending of his life. An interesting note from the article that I never knew before: "he was the Ian in Debian; his girlfriend at the time, Debra Lynn, was the Deb." Debian has truly been a cornerstone in the Linux world, and the founder will be missed. The medical report was obtained on Wednesday by CNN journalists.
Open Source

Linux Mint 18 'Sarah' Released, Supports Generic GTK X-Apps ( 98

Slashdot reader Type44Q writes: The Linux Mint team announced the immediate availability of their latest release, Mint 18 "Sarah," in Cinnamon and MATE flavors. These follow on the heels of their respective beta versions, which have been out for nearly a month.
"Linux Mint 18 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2021," the team announces on MATE's "new features" page, adding they've improved their update manager, included support for the Debian syntax of "apt", and are working on the "X-Apps" project to "produce generic applications for traditional GTK desktop replace applications which no longer integrate properly outside of a particular environment."

Fedora QA Lead Pans Canonical 'Propaganda' On Snap Apps ( 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.


Adios Apt and Yum? Ubuntu's Snap Apps Are Coming To Distros Everywhere ( 274

An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: Ubuntu's "snappy" new way of packaging applications is no longer exclusive to Ubuntu. Canonical today is announcing that snapd, the tool that allows snap packages to be installed on Ubuntu, has been ported to other Linux distributions including Debian, Arch, Fedora, and Gentoo among others. To install snap packages on non-Ubuntu distributions, Linux desktop and server users will have to first install the newly cross-platform snapd. This daemon verifies the integrity of snap packages, confines them into their own restricted space, and acts as a launcher. Instructions for creating snaps and installing snapd on a variety of distributions are available at this website. Snaps can exist on the same system as either deb or RPM packages. Snaps aren't the only new package manager for Linux distributions that aims to simplify installation of applications. There's also AppImage and OrbitalApps.

Maru OS Exits Private Beta, Lets You Use an Android Phone As a Linux Desktop ( 60

Maru OS has exited beta, and is now available to anyone who wants to give it a try. For those unaware, Maru OS offers a platform that runs Android as well as Debian Linux on a smartphone. When you connect a Maru OS-powered smartphone to an external display, you get "full-fledged Linux desktop environment." Maru OS was unveiled in February, and currently supports only one smartphone: Nexus 5. The developers behind it have also started to work on making the project open source. They hope that doing this will help them support other devices as well. Brad Linger, writes for Liliputing: Work has also begun on making Maru OS an open source project, which could allow additional developers to contribute to the project or port it to run on other phones, although the current version of the Maru OS does require phones that support HDMI via MHL or SlimPort, which means not all phones will be able to run the software unless wireless display support is added in the future.

Security Updates Released for Debian 8 and 7 ( 76

An anonymous reader writes: The Debian Project just released Debian 8.5, which adds 65 security updates to the stable release. They're also releasing the final update to Debian 7 (codenamed 'wheezy'), which includes "all other security updates released during the lifetime of 'wheezy' that have not previously been part of a point release."

They're emphasizing that each of the new updates "does not constitute a new version...but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old...CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation to cause any out of date packages to be updated."


Systemd Starts Killing Your Background Processes By Default ( 924

New submitter nautsch writes: systemd changed a default value in logind.conf to "yes", which will kill all your processes, when you log out... There is already a bug-report over at debian: Debian bug tracker.
The new change means "user sessions will be properly cleaned up after," according to the changelog, "but additional steps are necessary to allow intentionally long-running processes to survive logout. To effectively allow users to run long-term tasks even if they are logged out, lingering must be enabled for them."

ZFS For Linux Finally Lands In Debian GNU/Linux Repos ( 150

prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: It took the Debian developers many years to finally be able to ship a working version of ZFS for Linux on Debian GNU/Linux. For those not in the known, ZFS on Linux is the official OpenZFS implementation for Linux, which promises to offer native ZFS filesystem support for any Linux kernel-based operating system, currently supporting Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, openSUSE, and now Debian. And it looks like their ZFS for Linux implementation borrows a lot of patches from Ubuntu, at least according to the changelog for zfs-linux, the version that is now available in the unstable channel for Debian users to install and test.

Debian Dropping Support For Older CPUs ( 319

An anonymous reader shares DistroWatch's report that the Debian distribution will soon be dropping support for older, 32-bit processors.
The Debian project supports a wide range of hardware architectures, including 32-bit x86 CPUs. Changes are happening in Debian's development branches which will make older versions of the 32-bit architecture obsolete. Ben Hutchings provides the details:

"Last year it was decided to increase the minimum CPU features for the i386 architecture to 686-class in the Stretch release cycle. This means dropping support for 586-class and hybrid 586/686 processors. (Support for 486-class processors was dropped, somewhat accidentally, in Squeeze.) This was implemented in the Linux kernel packages starting with Linux 4.3, which was uploaded to Unstable in December last year. In case you missed that change, GCC for i386 has recently been changed to target 686-class processors and is generating code that will crash on other processors. Any such systems still running Testing or Unstable will need to be switched to run Stable (Jessie)."
Hutching's announcement includes a list of processors which will no longer be supported after Debian "Jessie".

Devuan Releases Beta of Systemd-Free 'Debian Fork' Base System ( 293

jaromil writes: Devuan beta is released today, following up the Debian fork declaration and progress made during the past two years. Devuan now provides an alternative upgrade path to Debian, and switching is easy from both Wheezy and Jessie. From The Register: "Devuan came into being after a rebellion by a self-described 'Veteran Unix Admin collective' argued that Debian had betrayed its roots and was becoming too desktop-oriented. The item to which they objected most vigorously was the inclusion of the systemd bootloader. The rebels therefore decided to fork Debian and 'preserve Init freedom.' The group renamed itself and its distribution 'Devuan' and got work, promising a fork that looked, felt, and quacked like Debian in all regards other than imposing systemd as the default Init option."

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Final Beta Released 69

prisoninmate writes: Canonical pushed the first-ever public Beta ISO images of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), which the company calls "Final Beta" builds, and it looks like they ship with Linux kernel 4.4.6 LTS, the ability to move the Unity Launcher to the bottom of the screen, though, the option remains hidden, for now, the LibreOffice 5.1.1 office suite, GNOME Software as the default package manager, and GNOME Calendar as default calendar app, which supports Google Calendars as well. Official flavors like Ubuntu Studio, Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu GNOME, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and Unbuntu Kylin had also participate in the Beta 2 release. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and its official flavors are currently scheduled for release on April 21, 2016. (Xenial is kind of a cool word, too.)

Meet UbuntuBSD, UNIX For Human Beings 219

prisoninmate writes: What's ubuntuBSD? Well, it's not that hard to figure out yourself, but just in case you're not sure, we can tell you that ubuntuBSD promises to bring the power of the FreeBSD kernel to Ubuntu Linux. The best part of using the FreeBSD kernel is that you'll end up using the famous Z File System, or ZFS. Xfce is also included along with the popular Firefox, LibreOffice, and Ubuntu Software Center apps. ubuntuBSD is inspired by the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD project, it is hosted on SourceForge, and has been created by Jon Boden.

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