deepin Linux is controversial because its developers are in China. You see, some people are suspicious of a Linux distribution that comes from that country. If you feel that way, that's your business. But you know what? I am personally sick and tired of such xenophobia these days. Let's not forget, many goods come from China -- including personal computers and associated components. Not to mention, the OS is largely open source.
Controversy aside, deepin is a great operating system for both Linux beginners and experts alike. Not only is it stable thanks to its Debian base, but it has a very polished and focused user experience. Today, version 15.6 becomes available, and it is loaded with improvements.
There has been something of a spate of chip vulnerability discoveries recently, and now another one has emerged. Known as Floating Point Lazy State Save/Restore, the security flaw (CVE-2018-3665) is found in Intel Core and Xeon processors and it is another speculative execution vulnerability in a similar vein to Spectre.
The security flaw takes advantage of one of the ways the Linux kernel saves and restores the state of the Floating Point Unit (FPU) when switching tasks -- specifically the Lazy FPU Restore scheme. Malware or malicious users can take advantage of the vulnerability to grab encryption keys. Linux kernel from version 4.9 and upwards, as well as modern versions of Windows and Windows Server are not affected.
Ah, Linux Mint. This operating system has its detractors, but for the most part, it is beloved by both Linux beginners and experts alike. True, most of the praise is due to its excellent Ubuntu base, but the Mint team understands what many other distribution maintainers don't -- the overall experience matters. When you install Mint, you are in for a polished treat -- it is clear that the developers truly care about the end users.
Today, Linux Mint 19 "Tara" Beta finally sees release. Three desktop environments are available -- Cinnamon (3.8), MATE (1.20), and Xfce (4.12). All of these DEs are excellent, but the shining star is Cinnamon. Tara is significant as it is based on the newest Ubuntu 18.04 and will receive updates until the year 2023. The included Linux kernel is version 4.15 and not 4.17 -- understandable, as it was only just released.
In his weekly message to the Linux community on Sunday, Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 4.17. The release comes a couple of months after the first release candidate, and in his message Torvalds also talks about version 5.0 of the Linux kernel.
Having previously said that Linux kernel v5.0 "should be meaningless", he said that this next major numerical milestone will come around "in the not too distance future". For now, though, it's version 4.17 -- or Merciless Moray, if you prefer -- that's of interest.
Just yesterday, we shared that The GNOME Project moved to GitLab. This was a major score for GitLab, but also, an important move for GNOME as well -- it should greatly improve collaboration between its contributors. GNOME is not alone in its move to that Git-repository manager, however, as GIMP (plus the babl and GEGL libraries) also made the transition. Actually, believe it or not, GNOME is hosting GIMP there.
If you aren't familiar with GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), please know that it is an open source image/graphics editor/manipulator. It is very similar to Adobe Photoshop, although GIMP is totally free. In fact, the open source Photoshop alternative is a cross-platform affair, available not just on Linux, but macOS, and Windows too. It is an extremely important program for the open source community -- right up there with LibreOffice.
GNOME is one of the most important open source projects on the planet. Even if you use an alternative desktop environment, such as KDE or Xfce, you cannot deny that GNOME's contributions have largely shaped the path of Linux on the desktop for the better. Don't forget, GNOME is much more than just a DE -- many of its apps are essential. That's probably why someone (or something) recently pledged to donate $1 million to it -- GNOME's existence and success is a must for the Linux community.
Today, The GNOME Foundation makes a very big announcement -- the project has fully transitioned to GitLab. In other words, yes, the GNOME Project is growing up a bit and becoming better organized. This move to the GitLab Git-repository manager is a breath of fresh air, quite frankly, and should really improve collaboration between GNOME Project contributors.
While Dell is mostly known as a Windows PC manufacturer, the company is also a big proponent of Linux. Its "Developer Edition" models can be configured with Ubuntu, for instance. Of course, despite this branding, non-developers can buy them too. The XPS 13 "Developer Edition" in particular is a svelte machine that should make many home Linux users very happy.
In addition to home users, Dell manufactures solid business-class mobile workstations, and the company recently announced four such Linux-powered models. These Precision "Developer Edition" laptops run Ubuntu and are RHEL certified. One of these notebooks, the Precision 3530, is available today, while the other three will be available soon.
Despite being the default desktop environment for the two most important Linux distributions in the world -- Fedora and Ubuntu -- GNOME is not a money-making project. Actually, it is run by a non-profit called The GNOME Foundation that relies heavily on donations from both organizations and individuals. That's what makes GNOME so extraordinary -- the high quality desktop environment and apps are largely a labor of love.
Today, The GNOME Foundation makes a shocking revelation -- a mystery donor has pledged $1 million dollars! We don't know who is promising the money -- it could be a rich man or woman, but more likely -- and this is pure speculation -- it is probably a company that benefits from GNOME, such as Red Hat or Canonical.
As news of yet another chip vulnerability creeps out, computer users, businesses and organizations around the world are trying to assess how the latest bug affects them. To help its users and others to understand what the Speculative Store Bypass/Variant 4 vulnerability means, Red Hat has issued advisories and an explanatory video.
The company also reveals exactly which of its Linux builds are affected by the security flaw and what steps can be taken as mitigation. In addition to this, Red Hat has put together a number of resources that help to "provide more context around this vulnerability from an open source technology perspective".
Linux isn't just a hobby -- the kernel largely powers the web, for instance. Not only is Linux on many web servers, but it is also found on the most popular consumer operating system in the world -- Android. Why is this? Well, the open source kernel scales very well, making it ideal for many projects. True, Linux's share of the desktop is still minuscule, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race -- watch out, Windows!
A good example of Linux's scalability is a new robot powered by Linux which was recently featured on the official Ubuntu Blog. Called "Tennibot," the Ubuntu-powered bot seeks out and collects tennis balls. Not only does it offer convenience, but it can save the buyer a lot of money too -- potentially thousands of dollars per year as this calculator shows. So yeah, a not world-changing product, but still very neat nonetheless. In fact, it highlights that Linux isn't just behind boring nerdy stuff, but fun things too.
Fedora is a great Linux distribution, but it is not always a wise choice for beginners. Since the distro focuses on truly free and open source software, it can be hard to get non-free packages, proprietary drivers, fonts, and codecs installed. Fedora 28 makes this easier thanks to an update to the Software app, but it is still not as easy as say, Ubuntu.
That's why Korora is such a cool operating system -- it uses Fedora as a base, but comes pre-installed with useful apps and repositories. True, that sort of deviates from the Fedora ideology, but at least it gives users choice. Sadly for some, Korora development is ending -- at least for the time being -- as the developer no longer has the resources to continue.
There are now two versions of Ubuntu available to download from the Microsoft Store. Adding to the existing Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04 has also now arrived.
The addition comes just weeks after the official launch of Ubuntu 18.04, and it gives Windows 10 users the option of working with the new LTS (long term support) build of Ubuntu. The older version remains supported for the time being as well.
Over the weekend, we reported on an Ubuntu Snap Store app that had a hidden cryptocurrency miner. This was a disappointing discovery, as users' machines were being hijacked to earn money for the developer.
With that said, it wasn't necessarily malware, as it did not cause harm to the computer, nor did it steal data or install a backdoor. Nevertheless, Canonical pulled the offending app and the developer's other submissions. The apps will eventually be re-listed without the mining code. Today, the company breaks its silence, finally commenting officially on this fiasco.
Just yesterday, we shared the news that System76 had refreshed its popular Oryx Pro laptop. The Linux community was abuzz with excitement over the thinner and faster notebook. After all, it offers a lot of horsepower at a very affordable price. Heck, the battery life has even doubled compared to its predecessor!
The computer seller is apparently not ready to slow down, however, as today it also refreshes its affordable and svelte Galago Pro Linux ultrabook. What's particularly exciting about the new model is that it has two screen sizes -- 13 inch HiDPI or 14 inch 1080p (in matte). Regardless of which you choose, the overall dimensions stay the same. How can that be, you ask? Well, for the 14 inch model, the bezels are just thinner.
Last week, System76 started to share details about its refreshed Linux-powered Oryx Pro laptop. It would be thinner and more powerful, while adding twice the battery life of its predecessor. Unfortunately, we did not yet know exactly what the laptop looked like. Today, we finally have official images.
This new Oryx Pro is quite breathtaking, as it is a true Pro machine -- with the USB Type-A, Ethernet, and HDMI ports you expect -- while being just 19mm thin. It has the horsepower that power-users need, thanks to its 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-Series GPU. Hey, Apple, this is what a "Pro" laptop should be...