I helped an elderly friend set up his new PC yesterday. His
previous machine, over a decade old, was running Windows XP. I had set
up an Ubuntu dual-boot a few years back, and he liked playing the games.
But then the Linux boot stopped working--there was a message to the
effect “hd0 out of disk”, which sounded like a GRUB problem (“hd0”
being a GRUB disk name, not a Linux disk name). I booted up
SystemRescueCD, and found that disk space was ample. I did an fsck on
the Linux volume, and found no filesystem problems. I ran a badblocks
scan, and it reported several bad sectors, though oddly they only seemed
to be in the Windows partition (if I interpreted the numbers
Naturally I searched online, but the hits I found for that error
message didn’t seem very helpful. Reinstalling GRUB didn’t help, so I
concluded there were likely other hardware problems, so time for a new
He got an entry-level dual-core AMD box from PBTech--their own house
build, in a CoolerMaster case--for well under a grand. Nothing fancy,
but good enough for his needs--mainly Web browsing, e-mail, a little
bit of word processing, and those games.
The PBTech box came without an OS. He could have got Windows 10 for it,
but considering he would be facing a learning curve coming from XP
regardless, I suggested going 100% Linux for all his daily needs, to
see if that would work. He could always spend the $160-odd extra on
Windows later if need be.
So I set it up with Linux Mint, since that seems to be everybody’s
favourite :). He was already using Firefox on Windows, so moving all his
Web bookmarks across was easy. The Mint install put an icon for
Thunderbird on the desktop by default, so I decided to try that for
e-mail. Getting his address book across from Outlook Express was
fairly straightforward, once I figured out how to map the exported CSV
field names correctly. The mail messages were slightly more fiddly, but
I found this extension
which directly loads Microsoft’s .dbx files, and that seemed to work OK.
Then he wanted to play CDs. When we put in an audio CD, it came up with
options to run Banshee (media player) or Brasero (disc burner). The
Banshee media player wouldn’t play the CD directly, it insisted on
ripping it to the hard drive first. This was not really what he wanted.
I had a look round, and found KsCD, which will indeed play audio CDs
without trying to rip them to audio files first. As far as I know, this
is the only GUI Linux app that can do so.
So, day 1 ended on a reasonably successful note. He was already
noticing how much faster the new machine was. So we’ll see how it goes
The lamest vendor response award went to Systemd supremo Lennart Poettering for his controversial, and perhaps questionable, handling of the following bugs in everyone's favorite init replacement.
Awarded to the vendor who mis-handled a security vulnerability most spectacularly.
SystemD bugs 5998, 6225, 6214, 5144, 6237
Credit: Lennart Poettering
Where you are dereferencing null pointers, or writing out of bounds, or not supporting fully qualified domain names, or giving root privileges to any user whose name begins with a number, there's no chance that the CVE number will referenced in either the change log or the commit message. But CVEs aren't really our currency any more, and only the lamest of vendors gets a Pwnie!
SK Telecom has created a “quantum random number generator” chip
Seems like slapping the label “quantum” on anything is enough to make
people believe you know what you are talking about.
Random-number generators are notorious for being easily subverted. And
hearing things like “SK Telecom hasn't specified what kind [of quantum
noise source they are using]” is not exactly reassuring.
You can never be sure your random numbers are truly random. But you try
to stack the deck as much in your favour as you can. The Linux kernel
mixes in several sources of entropy to feed /dev/random (and from
there, /dev/urandom), in the hope that, as long as one of them remains
unsubverted (intentionally or otherwise), the output can be trusted.
This is also the principle behind the Fortuna PRNG
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortuna_(PRNG)>, which well-known
computer security guru Bruce Schneier had a hand in.
I keep wondering about these random names who pop up with all the
badmouthing every time somebody mentions something about systemd. I
don’t recall any faces at WLUG meetings that go with them.
Who are you and where do you come from? Do you people have any interest
in the Waikato Linux User Group at all, or are you just here to shoot
your mouths off?
'At $60, the BLU R1 HD is the top-selling phone on Amazon. Last
November, researchers caught it secretly sending private data to
China. Shanghai Adups Technology, the group behind the spying software
on the BLU R1 HD, called it a mistake. But analysts at Kryptowire
found the software provider is still making the same "mistake" on
other phones. At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on
Wednesday, researchers from Kryptowire, a security firm, revealed that
Adups' software is still sending a device's data to the company's
server in Shanghai without alerting people. But now, it's being more
secretive about it. "They replaced them with nicer versions," Ryan
Johnson, a research engineer and co-founder at Kryptowire, said. "I
have captured the network traffic of them using the Command and
Control channel when they did it." An Adups spokeswoman said that it
had resolved the issues in 2016 and that the issues "are not existing
anymore." Kryptowire said it has observed the company sending data
without telling users on at least three different phones.'
-- source: https://it.slashdot.org/story/17/07/26/187258
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174
You’ve probably heard of the Wellcome Trust: they’re a UK-based
nonprofit that funds scientific research, primarily into health.
They’ve long had an open-access policy, meaning that “all original
research articles and scholarly monographs resulting from our funding
are made freely available”. Contrast this with what more commonly
happens with scientific research, where the journal publishers get
exclusive copyright over the papers, and charge an arm and a leg to
everyone wanting a copy.
Now the Wellcome Trust is going even further, and requiring open access
in a timely manner to the raw research data (within reasonable limits,
such as privacy concerns etc), material such as cell lines, antibodies
and reagents, and also any software developed.
No actual mention of “open source” or “Free software” licences as such,
though; the news article only uses the word “freeware”, which I’m not
sure is the word they should be using.
Intel is giving up on its consumer/hobbyist-oriented Internet of Things
However, the “enterprise”-oriented efforts remain for now.
Not sure what “enterprise” means in this space: are there companies
building IoT-type devices for their own internal use? Or is this
referring to companies selling readymade IoT products?
In any case, I suspect this is the one area left where “Windows 10 IoT
Edition” can be mentioned without raising hails of derisive laughter...
Came across this link in one of the comments to The Register’s article
on Fedora 26, rife with the usual anti-systemd moaning.
“Here are some examples of how people commonly use systemd in an
egregiously wrong manner ... Don't ask me why, so far, all of
these have involved starting Java programs.
Maybe it's Oracle in general.”