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Will You Be Able To Run a Modern Desktop Environment In 2016 Without Systemd? 626

New submitter yeupou writes: Early this year, David Edmundson from KDE, concluded that "In many cases [systemd] allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it [systemd] as an optional extra defeats the main benefit". A perfectly sensible explanation. But, then, one might wonder to which point KDE would remain usable without systemd?

Recently, on one Devuan box, I noticed that KDE power management (Powerdevil) no longer supported suspend and hibernate. Since pm-utils was still there, for a while, I resorted to call pm-suspend directly, hoping it would get fixed at some point. But it did not. So I wrote a report myself. I was not expecting much. But neither was I expecting it to be immediately marked as RESOLVED and DOWNSTREAM, with a comment accusing the "Debian fork" I'm using to "ripe out" systemd without "coming with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides". I searched beforehand about the issue so I knew that the problem also occurred on some other Debian-based systems and that the bug seemed entirely tied to upower, an upstream software used by Powerdevil. So if anything, at least this bug should have been marked as UPSTREAM.

While no one dares (yet) to claim to write software only for systemd based operating system, it is obvious that it is now getting quite hard to get support otherwise. At the same time, bricks that worked for years without now just get ruined, since, as pointed out by Edmunson, adding systemd as "optional extra defeats its main benefit". So, is it likely that we'll still have in 2016 a modern desktop environment, without recent regressions, running without systemd?

Steam Has Brought 1,600 Games To Linux In the Past Three Years ( 110

An anonymous reader writes: Today marks three years since Valve's Steam client went into beta on Linux. In that time over 1,600 games have become natively available for Linux. Going beyond having many new Linux games, Phoronix recaps, "we've seen Valve make significant investments into the open-source graphics stack and other areas of Linux (in part through their sponsorship of Collabora and LunarG). Valve developers are significantly pushing SDL2. We've seen more mainstream interest in Linux gaming, and Valve has been heavily involved in the creation of the Vulkan graphics API. They have given away their entire game collection to the Mesa/Ubuntu/Debian upstream developers, and much more." The three-year anniversary is coincidentally just days before the release of Steam Machines.
Operating Systems

Ask Slashdot: Innovative Operating Systems/Distros In 2015? 206

iamacat writes: Back in 90s, we used Linux not only because of open source, but also for innovative features not found in commercial operating systems — better multitasking, network power features like slirp and masquerading, free developer tools for many languages. Nowadays OSX and Windows caught up in these areas and mainstream distros like Ubuntu dumbed down in default configuration. So where to go for active innovation like 3D/VR desktop, artificial intelligence, drag and drop ability to mash up UI of multiple apps or just drastically better performance? Something maybe rough around the edges but usable and exciting enough to use as daily desktop?

22-Way SteamOS Graphics Card Comparison: NVIDIA Wins Across the Board ( 98

An anonymous reader writes: A 22-way AMD Radeon vs. NVIDIA GeForce graphics card comparison on SteamOS 2.0 "Brewmaster" was carried out with one month to go until Steam Machines begin to ship. The article looks at the OpenGL performance of this Debian-based Linux distribution as well as the power/performance efficiency, thermal efficiency, and value of the entire line-up. The results make it pretty clear why the current range of Steam Machines with SteamOS all ship with NVIDIA graphics.

Debian Dropping Linux Standard Base ( 220

basscomm writes: For years (as seen on Slashdot) the Linux Standard Base has been developed as an attempt to reduce the differences between Linux distributions in an effort significant effort. However, Debian Linux has announced that they are dropping support for the Linux Standard Base due to a lack of interest.

From the article: "If [Raboud's] initial comments about lack of interest in LSB were not evidence enough, a full three months then went by with no one offering any support for maintaining the LSB-compliance packages and two terse votes in favor of dropping them. Consequently, on September 17, Raboud announced that he had gutted the src:lsb package (leaving just lsb-base and lsb-release as described) and uploaded it to the "unstable" archive. That minimalist set of tools will allow an interested user to start up the next Debian release and query whether or not it is LSB-compliant—and the answer will be 'no.'"

GNU is Not Unix

Interviews: RMS Answers Your Questions 246

The Free Software Foundation will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on Oct. 3rd. Recently, you had a chance to ask its founder Richard Stallman about GNU/Linux, free software, and other issues of public concern. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. Learn more about how you can join the FSF here, and help fight the good fight.

Debian Working on Reproducible Builds To Make Binaries Trustable 130

An anonymous reader writes: Debian's Jérémy Bobbio, also known as Lunar, spoke at the Chaos Communication Camp about the distribution's efforts to reassert trustworthiness for open source binaries after it was brought into question by various intelligence agencies. Debian is "working to bring reproducible builds to all of its more than 22,000 software packages," and is pushing the rest of the community to do the same. Lunar said, "The idea is to get reasonable confidence that a given binary was indeed produced by the source. We want anyone to be able to produce identical binaries from a given source (PDF)."

Here is Lunar's overview of how this works: "First you need to get the build to output the same bytes for a given version. But others also must to be able to set up a close enough build environment with similar enough software to perform the build. And for them to set it up, this environment needs to be specified somehow. Finally, you need to think about how rebuilds are performed and how the results are checked."

New Release of the Trinity Desktop Environment 197

mescobal writes: A new release of the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) is out. TDE is "a computer desktop environment for Unix-like operating systems with a primary goal of retaining the function and form of traditional desktop computers" which translates into a fully functional KDE 3 style Desktop. Something is missing in the new generation of desktop environments, since some people (perhaps more than "some") feel at home with Gnome 2 or KDE i3. They have repositories for Debian and Ubuntu-based distros. I'm now using it on Ubuntu 15.04, amazed about how well-planned things were in the previous generation of DE. We may have gained some things with Gnome 3 and Plasma 5, but we lost a lot of good features too. TDE brings them back.
Open Source

LILO Bootloader Development To End 135

An anonymous reader writes: For any longtime Linux users, you probably remember the LILO bootloader from Linux distributions of many years ago. This bootloader has been in development since the 90's but development is finally ending. A homepage message reads, "I plan to finish development of LILO at 12/2015 because of some limitations (e.g. with BTFS, GPT, RAID). If someone want to develop this nice software further, please let me know ..."

Ubuntu Core Gets Support For Raspberry Pi 2 GPIO and I2C 59

An anonymous reader writes: Ubuntu Core is a tiny Ubuntu distribution aimed at the Internet of Things, using a new transactional packaging format called Snappy rather than the venerable Debian packaging format. It recently gained support for I2C and GPIO on the Raspberry Pi 2, and a quick demo is given here. Ubuntu's Core support site says that the support for Raspberry Pi 2 isn't yet official, but provides some handy tips for anyone who wants to try it out.
Open Source

Debian Founder: How I Came To Find Linux 136

An anonymous reader writes: Ian Murdock has pretty solid open source cred: in 1993 he founded Debian, he was the CTO of Progeny and the Linux Foundation, and he helped pave the way for OpenSolaris. He has published a post about how he initially joined the Linux ecosystem. Quoting: "[In 1992], I spent most evenings in the basement of the MATH building basking in the green phosphorescent glow of the Z-29 terminals, exploring every nook and cranny of the UNIX system upstairs. ... I was also accessing UNIX from home via my Intel 80286-based PC and a 2400-baud modem, which saved me the trek across campus to the computer lab on particularly cold days. Being able to get to the Sequent from home was great, but I wanted to replicate the experience of the ENAD building's X terminals, so one day, in January 1993, I set out to find an X server that would run on my PC. As I searched for such a thing on Usenet, I stumbled across something called 'Linux.'" How did you come to find Linux?
Open Source

Kali Linux 2.0 Released 109

An anonymous reader writes: Kali Linux 2.0 has been released, together which an assortment of interesting new features. Most importantly, Kali is now a rolling distribution, using Debian Testing as their upstream source. (Download page.) There are also huge changes to the UI, including a fully fledged, custom GNOME 3 environment, as well as support for myriad other Desktop Environments. The maintainers describe the release this way: "If Kali 1.0 was focused on building a solid infrastructure then Kali 2.0 is focused on overhauling the user experience and maintaining updated packages and tool repositories." I'm enjoying 2.0 so far. What are your thoughts and comments?

Largest DebConf Ever Will Hit Heidelberg In Mid-August 41

New submitter alfino writes: Less than two weeks away, DebConf15, the 16th Debian Conference, scheduled to take place 15–22 August in Heidelberg, Germany, has been officially announced. The organisers are expecting more than 550 participants from 53 countries (making it the largest DebConf so far, and the first in history that will be closing registrations early), and have presented a schedule packed with talks and events, including several prominent, invited speakers, and yet plenty of room for informal and ad-hoc collaboration. Most events will be streamed live to allow for remote participation, and archived for later consumption.

The celebrations of Debian's 22nd birthday on 16 August, the traditional "Cheese & Wine BoF", a screening of the Oscar-award-winning documentary Citizenfour (which mentions Debian in its end credits), and a day trip for all attendees top off the programme. Additionally, DebConf15 will be preceeded by DebCamp, a week of sprints, workshops and hacking sessions. It is expected that much progress will be made on Debian (gcc5 transition, planning of the next stable release "stretch", etc.), and of course Free Software in general. The conference itself begins with an Open Weekend geared to the public, and featuring a job fair.

Attendance is free of charge thanks to numerous sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor Hewlett-Packard. Registration is required nonetheless and only very few places are left.

The conference will be tracked on various social media sites using hashtag #DebConf15. Even though Debian does not endorse proprietary services, @DebConf will have the news.
GNU is Not Unix

Video Purism Offers Free (as in Freedom) Laptops (Video) 77

Purism uses its own OS, PureOS, which is a Debian derivative by way of Ubuntu and other members of the Debian-derivative family, but with no taint of proprietary code. Now imagine all the binaries stripped out of the Linux kernel, making it closer to the FSF ideal of a 100% free operating system than the Linux kernel in use almost everywhere else.

They're still using a proprietary BIOS, but have people working on a Free one. The main thing, though, is that Purism is working to give you all the privacy and freedom they can -- with more coming as they keep working to replace proprietary bits of the OS, BIOS, and hardware drivers with Free Software. Best of all, even if you don't need a new laptop right now, you can download PureOS and run it on any compatible hardware you already own.

Debian Drops SPARC Platform Support 152

jones_supa writes: SPARC isn't exactly a highly-used architecture anymore, so the Debian operating system is dropping support for the platform, according to Joerg Jaspert last week in the "debian-sparc" mailing list. He noted that this does not block a later comeback as "sparc64." Following that announcement, a new post today tells us that SPARC support was just removed from the unstable, experimental and jessie-updates channels.

Linux Foundation's Census Project Ranks Open Source Software At Risk 47

jones_supa writes: The Core Infrastructure Initiative, a Linux Foundation effort assembled in the wake of the Heartbleed fiasco to provide development support for key Internet protocols, has opened the doors on its Census Project — an effort to figure out what software projects need support now, instead of waiting for them to break. Census assembles metrics about open source projects found in Debian's package list and on, and then scores them based on the amount of risk each presents. Risk scores are an aggregate of multiple factors: how many people are known to have contributed to the project in the last 12 months, how many CVEs have been filed for it, how widely used it is, and how much exposure it has to the network. According to the current iteration of the survey, the programs most in need of attention are not previously cited infrastructure projects, but common core Linux system utilities that have network access and little development activity around them.

Google Criticized For 'Opaque' Audio-Listening Binary In Debian Chromium 85

An anonymous reader writes: Google has fallen under criticism for including a compiled audio-monitoring binary in Chromium for Debian. A report was logged at Debian's bug register on Tuesday noting the presence of a non-auditable 'hotword' module in Chromium 43. The module facilitates Google's "OK, Google" functionality, which listens for that phrase via a Chrome user's microphone and attempts afterwards to interpret the user's instructions as a search query. Matt Giuca from the Chromium development team responded after the furore developed, disclaiming Google from any responsibility from auditing Chromium code, but promising clearer controls over the feature in release 45.

Debian GNU/Linux 8.1 (Jessie) Officially Released 128

prisoninmate writes: The Debian Project has announced the immediate availability of the first maintenance release of Debian GNU/Linux 8 (Jessie). As expected, Debian GNU/Linux 8.1 comes with a new Linux kernel, version 3.16.7-ctk11, which fixes the well-known EXT4 data corruption issue caused by delayed and unwritten extents, blacklists queued TRIM on Samsung 850 Pro SSDs, adds support for XHCI on APM Mustang USB, and updates Crucial/Micron blacklist in libata.

Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer? 271

New submitter ukrifleman writes: I've been doing UK based perl, JS, light PHP and JQUERY dev plus Centos/Debian sys admin on a freelance basis for over a decade now. Mostly maintaining older stuff but I also undertook a big, 3 year bespoke project (all written in legacy non OO perl). The trouble is, that contract has now finished and all the legacy work has dried out and I've only got about 2 months of income left! I need to get a full time job.

To most dev firms I'm going to look like a bit of a dinosaur, 40 odd years old, knows little of OO coding OR modern languages and aproaches to projects. I can write other languages and, with a bit of practice I'll pick them up pretty quickly. I really don't know where to start. What's hot, what's worth learning, I'm self-taught so have no CS degree, just 15 years of dev and sys admin experience. I've got a bit of team and project management experience too it's quite a worry going up against young whipper snappers that know all the buzz words and modern tech!

Am I better off trying to get a junior job to start so I can catch up with some tech? Would I be better off trawling the thousands of job sites or finding a bonafide IT specialist recruitment firm? Should I take the brutally honest approach to my CV/interviews or just wing it and hope I don't bite off more than I can chew? What kind of learning curve could I expect if I took on a new language I have no experience with? Are there any qualififcations that I NEED to have before firms would be willing to take me on? I've been sitting here at this desk for 10 years typing away and only now do I realise that I've stagnated to the point where I may well be obsolete!

Linux Mint Will Continue To Provide Both Systemd and Upstart 347

jones_supa writes: After Debian adopted systemd, many other Linux distributions based on that operating system made the switch as well. Ubuntu has already rolled out systemd in 15.04, but Linux Mint is providing dual options for users. The Ubuntu transition was surprisingly painless, and no one really put up a fight, but the Linux Mint team chose the middle ground. The Mint developers consider that the project needs to still wait for systemd to become more stable and mature, before it will be the default and only option.