Madwand writes "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 6.1, the first feature update of the NetBSD 6 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. NetBSD is a free, fast, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system. It is available for a wide range of platforms, from large-scale servers and powerful desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent for use in both production and research environments, and the source code is freely available under a business-friendly license. NetBSD is developed and supported by a large and vibrant international community. Many applications are readily available through pkgsrc, the NetBSD Packages Collection."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Despite the fact that I am fairly young at twenty-four years old, people see me as rather 'old school.' I regularly use Lynx, IRC, Pine, have many consoles open, and am currently typing this on an older plain black laptop that has a matte 4:3 display and no chiclet keys. As the days progress, I am coming to the realization that the 'old school' computing world that I grew up in is slowly fading away and a new world of Windows 8, Web 3.0, tablets, smart televisions, and social networking is starting to become fairly common. If there is anything I have learned, it is that most humans have a desire to throw out the old and accept the new without any sort of hesitation. Like many Slashdot users (I am sure you know who you are), I do not accept the new as easily as I probably should. How have you learned to adapt and accept things that are new and different in the world of technology and computers? If not, what are some effective strategies to utilize to keep these kids off my lawn?"
Founded just to cover the SCO/Caldera UNIX lawsuits back in 2003, Groklaw has proven itself a great place to read and discuss many of the major tech trials since. And today, it turns ten: "We made it. A decade of Groklaw as of today. Who'd a thunk it? Not I. When I started, I thought I'd do a little fiddling around for a couple of months to learn how to blog. But then all you guys showed up and taught me some important things that I didn't know, and vice versa I hope, and here we are, on our 10th anniversary, still going strong, together on a very different path than I originally imagined. The important moment for me was when I realized the potential we had as a group and decided to try to surf this incredible wave all of you created by contributing your skills and time. I saw we could work as a group, explain technology to the legal world so lawyers and judges could make better decisions, and explain the legal process to techies, so they could avoid troubles and also could be enabled to work effectively to defend Free and Open Source Software from cynical 'Intellectual Property' attacks from the proprietary world." This despite a smear campaign by SCO and nearly shutting down in 2009. And it's archived in the Library of Congress.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, OpenBSD 5.3 has been released. It has many improvements, updates, and new stuff. Also, OpenSMTPD 5.3 is included. This is the first version of OpenSMTPD considered to be ready for production. Many pre-built packages are available for many architectures. OpenBSD 5.3 ships with various Desktop Environments, including Gnome 3.6, KDE 3.5, and XFCE 4.10." And don't forget the release song, "Blade Swimmer."
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly one year after Linux creator Linux Torvalds publicly bashed NVIDIA and several years after their multi-GPU mobile technology premiered, the graphics vendor has finally delivered an Optimus-supported Linux driver. NVIDIA released the 319.12 Beta Linux driver that brings support for 'RandR 1.4 GPU provider objects' that basically allows for Optimus-like functionality when using the latest X Server, Linux kernel, and XRandR. The 319.12 beta also has many other features including better UEFI support, installer improvements, new pages on their settings panel, and new GPU support."
Rambo Tribble writes "This new, third edition of Sobell's book brings enhancements that add to the text's value as both a learning tool and a reference. This has always been a foundation book for those wanting a professional level of familiarity with Linux. The addition of chapters to introduce the Python language and MySQL database serves to offer the reader practical insights into additional Linux-related technologies." Read below for the rest of Rambo's review.
There have been video editing apps available for Linux for years, from ones meant to be friendly enough to compete on the UI front with iMovie (like the moribund Kino, last released in 2009, and the actively developed PiTiVi and Kdenlive) to editors that can apparently do nearly anything, provided the user is a thick-skinned genius — I'm thinking of Broadcast 2000/Cinelerra. Then there's VJ-tool-cum-non-linear editor LiVES, which balances a dense interface with real-time effects for using video as a performance tool, and can run on various flavors of UNIX, including Mac OS X. Dallas-based developer Jonathan Thomas has been working for the last few years on a Free (GPL3 or later), open-source editor called OpenShot, which aims for a happy medium of both usability and power. OpenShot is Linux-only, though, and Thomas is now trying to kickstart (as in, using a Kickstarter project) a cross-platform release for OS X and Windows, too. I've been tempted by dozens of KickStarter projects before, but this is the first one that I've actually pledged to support, and for what may sound like a backwards reason: I like the interface, and am impressed by the feature set, but OpenShot crashes on me a lot. (To be fair, this is mostly to blame on my hardware, none of which is really high-end enough by video-editing standards, or even middle-of-the-road. One day!) So while I like the idea of having a cross-platform, open-source video editor, I have no plans to migrate to Windows; I'm mostly interested in the promised features and stability improvements.
XWWT writes "A few weeks ago Make offered to send us a sample of its Raspberry Pi Starter Kit to see if we would do a review of the product. Samzenpus asked around the engineering team to see if there was someone who would be willing to do an on-camera review of the device. With all of the buzz about Raspberry Pi, I was very excited to get hands-on time with the device so I could more closely examine the platform. At first we wanted to do this piece as a video but quickly realized that a) it would probably be boring to see some blinky lights and push buttons working on a sample project, and b) the amount of audio that would need to be bleeped to cover my frustration with parts of the kit would be annoying. On a personal note, I also wanted to document all of my experience here as I thought it would be beneficial for newcomers to the maker technology and sometimes having someone else’s experience documented can help you avoid pitfalls and mistakes. (Full Disclosure: I am the Director of Engineering for Slashdot Media. We were given a review copy of the Make: Raspberry Pi Starter Kit. We were not paid for this review but had fun doing it.)" Keep reading for the rest of Wes's review.
An anonymous reader writes "After running uninterrupted for 3737 days, this humble Sun 280R server running Solaris 9 was shut down. At the time of making the video it was idle, the last service it had was removed sometime last year. A tribute video was made with some feelings about Sun, Solaris, the walk to the data center and freeing a machine from internet-slavery."
jjoelc writes "Being one of those 'suffering' through the time change last night, the optimist in me reminded me that it could be much worse. That's when I started wondering how many different time/date standards there really are. Wikipedia is a good starting point, but is sorely lacking in the various formats used by e.g. Unix, Windows, TRS-80, etc. And that is without even getting into the various calendars that have been in and out of use throughout the ages. So how about it? How many different time/date 'standards' can we come up with? I'm betting there are more than a few horror stories of having to translate between them..."
An anonymous reader writes "NetBSD developer Julian Djamil Fagir provides a nice briefing on what the big three BSD projects have been working on, and explains/reminds us of their cultural differences. Stick a fork in them? Yes, Djamil Fagir mentions a couple of those, too. The recent releases from FreeBSD and NetBSD were covered by Slashdot."
Michael Ross writes "Web designers, graphics artists, and others who create and edit digital images, have a number of commercial image-manipulation packages from which they can choose — such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Fireworks (originally developed by Macromedia). Yet there are also many alternatives in the open-source world, the most well-known being GNU Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is available for all major operating systems, and supports all commonly-used image formats. This powerful application is loaded with features, including plug-ins and scripting. Yet detractors criticize it as being complicated (as if Photoshop is intuitively obvious). Admittedly, anyone hoping to learn it could benefit from a comprehensive guide, such as The Book of GIMP." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
PatrickRIot writes "Aeon Magazine ran a longform critique of Open Source politics last week titled 'Open Sesame: "Openness" is the new magic word in politics – but should governments really be run like Wikipedia?' It referenced Tim O'Reilly and the man himself has stepped in at the bottom of the page for a detailed and lengthy rejoinder. 'I'm a bit surprised to learn that my ideas of "government as a platform" are descended from Eric Raymond's ideas about Linux, since: a) Eric is a noted libertarian with disdain for government b) Eric's focus on Linux was on its software development methodology. From the start, I was the open source activist focused on the power of platforms, arguing the role for the architecture of Unix and the Internet in powering the open source movement. ... One thing that distresses me about this discussion is the notion that somehow, if open government doesn't solve every problem, or creates new problems as it solves others, it is a failed movement. The world doesn't go forward in a straight line! The "open" democracy experiment of 1776 is still ongoing; we're trying to figure out how to use technology to adapt it to the 21st century and a country with a hundredfold greater population.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In a February 2013 ACM Queue / Communications of the ACM article, A decade of OS access-control extensibility, Robert Watson at the University of Cambridge credits 2000s-era DARPA security research, distributed via FreeBSD, for the success of sandboxing in desktop, mobile, and embedded systems such as Mac OS X, iOS, and Juniper's Junos router OS. His blog post about the article argues that OS security extensibility is just as important as more traditional file system (VFS) and device driver extensibility features in kernels — especially in embedded environments where UNIX multi-user security makes little sense, and where tradeoffs between performance, power use, functionality, and security are very different. This seems to fly in the face of NSA's recent argument argument that one-size-fits-all SELinux-style Type Enforcement is the solution for Android security problems. He also suggests that military and academic security researchers overlooked the importance of app-store style security models, in which signed application identity is just as important as 'end users' in access control."
CowboyRobot writes "In 25 years, an odd thing will happen to some of the no doubt very large number of computing devices in our world: an old, well-known and well-understood bug will cause their calculation of time to fail. The problem springs from the use of a 32-bit signed integer to store a time value, as a number of seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on Thursday, 1 January 1970, a practice begun in early UNIX systems with the standard C library data structure time_t. On January 19, 2038, at 03:14:08 UTC that integer will overflow. It's not difficult to come up with cases where the problem could be real today. Imagine a mortgage amortization program projecting payments out into the future for a 30-year mortgage. Or imagine those phony programs politicians use to project government expenditures, or demographic software, and so on. It's too early for panic, but those of us in the early parts of their careers will be the ones who have to deal with the problem."
Rikki Endsley has been Community Manager for USENIX since September, 2011. She also edits their magazine, ;login:, writes for publications ranging from Linux.com to Network World, and is a long-distance runner to boot. But this interview concentrates on USENIX, a worthy organization that does a great job of helping its members (and the entire Unix/Linux community) stay up to date technically and, with its job board, keep USENIX members employed. Toward the end of the conversation, Rikki mentions some of the intangible but valuable benefits people get when they attend USENIX events. (Remember: If you don't have time to watch the video, can't see the video or just don't like video, you can click on the "Show/Hide Transcript" link and read a text version of the video.)
A while ago you had the chance to ask founder of the GNU Project, and free software advocate, Richard Stallman, about GNU/Linux, free software, and anything else. You can read his answers to a wide range of questions below. As usual, RMS didn't pull any punches.
tearmeapart writes "The teams at FreeBSD have reached another great achievement with FreeBSD 9.1, with improvements to the already fantastic zfs features, more VM improvements (helping bringing FreeBSD to the next generation of VMs), and improvements in speed to many parts of the network system. Support FreeBSD via the FreeBSD mall or download/upgrade FreeBSD from a mirror. Unfortunately, the torrent server is still down due to the previous security incident." And new submitter northar writes "The other day the NetBSD project released their first update to the 6.x series, 6.0.1. They also (rather discreetly) announced a fund drive targeting 60.000 USD before the end of 2012 in the release notes. They better get going if their donation page is anything like recently updated."
CowboyRobot writes "Columbia University grad student Ang Cui demonstrated how networked printers and phones can be abused by attackers. 'The attack I demonstrated is caused by the multiple vulnerabilities within the syscall interface of the CNU [Cisco Native Unix] kernel,' Cui tells Dark Reading. 'It is caused by the lack of input validation at the syscall interface, which allows arbitrary modification of kernel memory from userland, as well as arbitrary code execution within the kernel. This, in turn, allows the attacker to become root, gain control over the DSP [Digital Signal Processor], buttons, and LEDs on the phone. The attack I demonstrated patches the existing kernel and DSP in order to carry out stealthy mic exfiltration.'"