The LWN.net Weekly Edition for July 2, 2020 is available.
In what may have seemed like an April Fool’s
Day joke to some, Python creator Guido van Rossum recently floated
the idea of bringing back the print statement—several months after
Python 2, which had such a statement, reached its end of life. In fact, Van
Rossum acknowledged that readers of his message to the python-ideas mailing
list might be checking the date: “No, it’s not April 1st.” He
was serious about the idea—at least if others were interested in having the
feature—but he withdrew it fairly quickly when it became clear that there
were few takers. The main reason he brought it up is interesting, though:
the new parser for CPython makes it
easy to bring back print from Python 2 (and before).
The Go programming language was first released
in 2009, with its 1.0 release made in March 2012. Even before the 1.0 release,
some developers criticized the language as being too simplistic, partly due
to its lack of user-defined generic
types and functions parameterized by type. Despite this omission, Go is
widely used, with an estimated 1-2 million
developers worldwide. Over the years there have been several proposals to
add some form of generics to the language, but the recent
proposal written by core developers Ian Lance Taylor and Robert
Griesemer looks likely to be included in a future version of Go.
The Zephyr project is an
effort to provide an
open-source realtime operating system (RTOS) that is designed to bridge the gap
full-featured operating systems like Linux and bare-metal development
been over four years since Zephyr was publicly announced and discussed here
to a bit of puzzlement). In this
article, guest authors Martí Bolívar and Carles Cufí give an update on
the project and its community as of
release in June 2020; they also make some guesses about its near future.
One quote from Douglas Adams has always stayed with me: “I love
deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by“. We
all lead busy lives and few ever see the bottom of our long to-do lists.
One of the oldest items on my list, ironically, is to find a better system
to manage all my tasks. Can task-management systems make us more productive
while, at the same time, reducing the stress caused by the sheer number of
This article, from guest author Martin Michlmayr, looks at todo.txt and Taskwarrior.
Security updates have been issued by Debian (alpine), Fedora (fwupd, microcode_ctl, mingw-libjpeg-turbo, mingw-sane-backends, suricata, and thunderbird), openSUSE (uftpd), Red Hat (nghttp2), SUSE (ceph, curl, mutt, squid, tigervnc, and unbound), and Ubuntu (linux kernel and nvidia-graphics-drivers-390, nvidia-graphics-drivers-440).
Last week, we introduced the privacy
concerns with using Google Analytics (GA) and presented two lightweight
open-source options: GoatCounter and Plausible. Those tools are useful
for site owners who need relatively basic metrics. In this second article,
we present several heavier-weight GA replacements for those who need more
detailed analytics. We also look at some tools that produce analytics data
based on web-server-access logs, GoAccess, in particular.
One of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic consists of identifying
contacts of infected people so they can be informed about the risk; that will allow them
to search for medical care, if needed. This is laborious work if it is done
manually, so a number of applications have been developed to help with
contact tracing. But they are causing debates about their effectiveness and
privacy impacts. Many of the applications were released under open-source
licenses. Here, we look at the
principles of these applications and the software frameworks used to build them;
part two will look into some applications in more detail,
along with the controversies (especially related to privacy) around these tools.
Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7), Fedora (dbus, kernel, microcode_ctl, mingw-glib-networking, moby-engine, and roundcubemail), Mageia (libjpeg), openSUSE (chromium and rmt-server), Oracle (kernel and microcode_ctl), Red Hat (rh-nodejs8-nodejs and thunderbird), Slackware (bind), and SUSE (adns, containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork, dbus-1, fwupd, gegl, gnuplot, guile, java-1_7_1-ibm, java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss, perl, and php7).
Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7 and python-django), Fedora (glib-networking, kernel, kernel-headers, and nghttp2), openSUSE (adns, chromium, file-roller, and libEMF), SUSE (java-1_7_1-ibm), and Ubuntu (bind9 and nss).
More and more web-site owners are concerned about the “all-seeing Google”
tracking users as they browse around the web. Google Analytics (GA) is a
full-featured web-analytics system that is available for free and, despite the privacy
concerns, has become the de facto analytics tool for small and large web sites
alike. However, in recent years, a growing number of alternatives are helping
break Google’s dominance. In this article we’ll look at two of the lightweight
open-source options, namely GoatCounter and Plausible. In a subsequent article,
we’ll look at a few of the larger tools.
Open-source developers put a lot of emphasis on quality and have created
many tools to improve source code, such as linters and code
formatters. Documentation, on the other hand, doesn’t receive the
attention it deserves. LWN reviewed several grammar and style-checking
tools back in 2016. It seems like a good time to evaluate progress in this
Over at TechNewsWorld, Jack M. Germain reviews the rather … different … distribution, PsychOS Linux. Just taking a peek at the home page may be enough to cause flashbacks to a misspent youth, or perhaps that of one’s parents at this point. Bucking the trend for modern distributions, PyschOS is only built for 32-bit systems; the main focus seems to be DOS-oriented: “Retro comes alive in PsychOS and is the main driving point in its development. The distro creator still uses DOS software, which is launched easily from the applications menu via emulators such as DOSBox.
Anyone with PsychOS 3.4.6 and higher who uses RetroGrab to install older software can do the same, noted the developer. The corresponding emulators must be installed first. PsychOS lets you run more than one DOS program at a time, too. Other programming influences include BASIC and BBC BASIC, due to shortcomings that helped the PsychOS developer learn more about Python. Other BASIC flavors are FreeBASIC, QB45, and QB64.”
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (tomcat), Debian (intel-microcode, libphp-phpmailer, mysql-connector-java, python-django, thunderbird, and xawtv), Fedora (kernel and thunderbird), Gentoo (perl), openSUSE (libexif and vim), Oracle (dotnet, kernel, microcode_ctl, and tomcat), Red Hat (net-snmp), Scientific Linux (libexif and tomcat), Slackware (kernel), and SUSE (adns, audiofile, ed, kvm, nodejs12, and xen).
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the 5.7.2, 5.6.18,
5.4.46, 4.19.128, 4.14.184, 4.9.227, and 4.4.227 stable kernels. These contain
for the special register buffer data
sampling (SRBDS) hardware vulnerability, as well as other fixes
elsewhere in the trees. Users of those series should upgrade.
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel and microcode_ctl), Debian (roundcube), Mageia (coturn, cups, libarchive, libvirt, libzypp, nghttp2, nrpe, openconnect, perl, python-typed-ast, ruby-rack, ruby-RubyGems, sudo, vino, wpa_supplicant, and xawtv), openSUSE (firefox, gnutls, GraphicsMagick, ucode-intel, and xawtv), Oracle (dotnet3.1 and kernel), Red Hat (curl, expat, file, gettext, kernel, kpatch-patch, libexif, pcs, python, tomcat, tomcat6, and unzip), Scientific Linux (kernel and microcode_ctl), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (intel-microcode and sqlite3).
Kees Cook has been doing some thinking about plans for new seccomp features to work on soon. There were
four separate areas that he was interested in, which he detailed in a
lengthy mid-May message on the linux-kernel mailing list. One of those
features, deep argument inspection, has been covered here before, but it would seem that we
are getting closer to a resolution on how that all will work.