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LWN.net is a comprehensive source of news and opinions from and about the Linux community. This is the main LWN.net feed, listing all articles which are posted to the site front page.
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[$] Counting corporate beans

금, 2019/04/12 - 11:47오전
Some things simply take time. When your editor restarted the search for a free accounting system, he had truly hoped to be done by now. But life gets busy, and accounting systems are remarkably prone to falling off the list of things one wants to deal with in any given day. On the other hand, accounting can return to that list quickly whenever LWN's proprietary accounting software does something particularly obnoxious. This turns out to be one of those times, so your editor set out to determine whether beancount could do the job.
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Security updates for Thursday

금, 2019/04/12 - 12:33오전
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (apache, evolution, gnutls, and thunderbird), Debian (wpa), Gentoo (git), Mageia (dovecot, flash-player-plugin, gpac, gpsd, imagemagick, koji, libssh2, libvirt, mariadb, ming, mumble, ntp, python, python3, squirrelmail, and wget), openSUSE (apache2), Red Hat (httpd24-httpd and httpd24-mod_auth_mellon), SUSE (libqt5-qtbase, openldap2, tar, and xmltooling), and Ubuntu (ruby1.9.1, ruby2.0, ruby2.3, ruby2.5 and wpa).
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[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 11, 2019

목, 2019/04/11 - 8:51오전
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 11, 2019 is available.
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[$] A backdoor in a popular Ruby gem

목, 2019/04/11 - 2:56오전

Finding ways to put backdoors into various programming-language package repositories (e.g. npm, PyPI, and now RubyGems) seems like it is becoming a new Olympic sport or something. Every time you turn around, there is a report of a new backdoor. It is now apparently Ruby's turn, with a new report of a remote-execution backdoor being inserted, briefly, into a popular gem that is installed by some sites using the Ruby on Rails web-application framework.

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Security updates for Wednesday

목, 2019/04/11 - 12:01오전
Security updates have been issued by Debian (samba and spip), openSUSE (samba), Red Hat (flash-plugin), Scientific Linux (kernel and openssh), SUSE (clamav and xen), and Ubuntu (apache2).
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Microsoft research: A fork() in the road

수, 2019/04/10 - 9:39오후
Here's a research paper from Andrew Baumann, Jonathan Appavoo, Orran Krieger, and Timothy Roscoe at Microsoft Research arguing that the fork() system call is a fundamental design mistake. "As the designers and implementers of operating systems, we should acknowledge that fork’s continued existence as a first-class OS primitive holds back systems research, and deprecate it. As educators, we should teach fork as a historical artifact, and not the first process creation mechanism students encounter." The discussion of better alternatives is limited, though.

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[$] Positional-only parameters for Python

수, 2019/04/10 - 2:05오후

Arguments can be passed to Python functions by position or by keyword—generally both. There are times when API designers may wish to restrict some function parameters to only be passed by position, which is harder than some think it should be in pure Python. That has led to a PEP that is meant to make the situation better, but opponents say it doesn't really do that; it simply replaces one obscure mechanism with another. The PEP was assigned a fairly well-known "BDFL delegate" (former BDFL Guido van Rossum), who has accepted it, presumably for Python 3.8.

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[$] Managing sysctl knobs with BPF

수, 2019/04/10 - 2:50오전
"Sysctl" is the kernel's mechanism for exposing tunable parameters to user space. Every sysctl knob is presented as a virtual file in a hierarchy under /proc/sys; current values can be queried by reading those files, and a suitably privileged user can change a value by writing to its associated file. What happens, though, when a system administrator would like to limit access to sysctl, even for privileged users? Currently there is no solution to this problem other than blocking access to /proc entirely. That may change, though, if this patch set from Andrey Ignatov makes its way into the mainline.
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Security updates for Tuesday

화, 2019/04/09 - 11:31오후
Security updates have been issued by Debian (poppler, proftpd-dfsg, suricata, and systemd), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, and wget), Gentoo (clamav, emerge-delta-webrsync, and mailman), openSUSE (bash), Red Hat (kernel and openssh), Scientific Linux (python), SUSE (gnuplot, libtcnative-1-0, and sqlite3), and Ubuntu (clamav, lua5.3, openjdk-7, samba, systemd, and wget).
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[$] Making slab-allocated objects movable

화, 2019/04/09 - 12:06오전
Memory fragmentation is a constant problem for memory-management subsystems. Over the years, considerable effort has been put into reducing fragmentation in the Linux kernel, but almost all of that work has been focused on memory management at the page level. The slab allocators, which (mostly) manage memory in chunks of less than the page size, have seen less attention, but fragmentation at this level can create problems throughout the system. The slab movable objects patch set posted by Tobin Harding is an attempt to improve this situation by making it possible for the kernel to actively defragment slab pages by moving objects around.
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Security updates for Monday

월, 2019/04/08 - 11:35오후
Security updates have been issued by Debian (roundup, samba, tryton-server, and wget), Fedora (evolution-data-server, evolution-ews, glpi, ntp, poppler, pspp, and wget), Mageia (advancecomp, cfitsio, firefox, ghostscript, gnutls, libjpeg, libpng, ocaml, python-yaml, ruby-ox, SDL12, and thunderbird), openSUSE (adcli, sssd, go1.11, liblouis, nodejs6, openssl, ovmf, sqlite3, sysstat, thunderbird, tiff, and znc), Red Hat (chromium-browser and python), Slackware (httpd, openjpeg, and wget), SUSE (bash, clamav, dovecot22, kernel, php53, SDL, and xen), and Ubuntu (clamav and samba).
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Major Browsers to Prevent Disabling of Click Tracking Privacy Risk (BleepingComputer)

월, 2019/04/08 - 11:18오후
BleepingComputer reports that browser developers are removing the ability to disable "ping=" click tracking. "Google Chrome also enables this tracking feature by default, but in the current Chrome 73 version it includes a 'Hyperlink auditing' flag that can be used to disable it from the chrome://flags URL. In the Chrome 74 Beta and Chrome 75 Canary builds, though, this flag has been removed and there is no way to disable hyperlink auditing." Firefox still allows this "feature" to be disabled (and disables it by default).
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Kernel prepatch 5.1-rc4

월, 2019/04/08 - 9:45오전
The fourth 5.1 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "Smaller than rc3, I'm happy to say. Nothing particularly big in here, just a number of small things all over."
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Security updates for Friday

토, 2019/04/06 - 12:03오전
Security updates have been issued by Debian (pdns), Fedora (firefox, freerdp, ghostscript, gnome-boxes, gnutls, libarchive, libssh2, pidgin-sipe, poppler, and remmina), openSUSE (gd, ImageMagick, ldb, libcaca, ntp, openssl-1_1, ovmf, thunderbird, w3m, and wavpack), SUSE (apache2, firefox, and libvirt), and Ubuntu (advancecomp and apache2).
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[$] Rethinking race-free process signaling

금, 2019/04/05 - 6:59오전
One of the new features in the 5.1 kernel is the pidfd_send_signal() system call. Combined with the (also new) ability to create a file descriptor referring to a process (a "pidfd") by opening its directory in /proc, this system call allows for the sending of signals to processes in a race-free manner. An extension to this feature proposed for 5.2 has, however, sparked a discussion that has brought the whole concept into question. It may yet be that the pidfd feature will be put on hold before the final 5.1 release while the API around it is rethought.
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Schaller: Preparing for Fedora Workstation 30

금, 2019/04/05 - 12:42오전
Christian Schaller describes a long list of desktop improvements coming in the Fedora 30 release. "Screen sharing support for Chrome and Firefox under Wayland. The Wayland security model doesn’t allow any application to freely grab images or streams of the whole desktop like you could under X. This is of course a huge improvement in security, but it did cause some disruption for valid usecases like screen sharing with things like BlueJeans and Google Hangouts. We been working on resolving that with the help of PipeWire. We been at it for some time and things are now coming together. Chrome 73 ships with everything needed to make this work with Chrome."
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Security updates for Thursday

목, 2019/04/04 - 11:48오후
Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache2, golang, and putty), Gentoo (xen), and SUSE (clamav, SM3.1, and SMS3.1).
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[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 4, 2019

목, 2019/04/04 - 9:40오전
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for April 4, 2019 is available.
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[$] How to (not) fix a security flaw

목, 2019/04/04 - 6:44오전

A pair of flaws in the web interface for two small-business Cisco routers make for a prime example of the wrong way to go about security fixes. These kinds of flaws are, sadly, fairly common, but the comedy of errors that resulted here is, thankfully, rather rare. Among other things, it shows that vendors may wish to await a real fix rather than to release a small, ineffective band-aid to try to close a gaping hole.

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[$] The return of the lockdown patches

목, 2019/04/04 - 1:02오전

It's been a year since we looked in on the kernel lockdown patches; that's because things have been fairly quiet on that front since there was a loud and discordant dispute about them back then. But Matthew Garrett has been posting new versions over the last two months; it would seem that the changes that have been made might be enough to tamp down the flames and, perhaps, even allow them to be merged into the mainline.

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