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website LWN.net
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.
feed text Security updates for Friday
2018-07-20T14:24:19+00:00
Security updates have been issued by Debian (dnsmasq, linux-base, and openjpeg2), Fedora (libgit2, libtomcrypt, openslp, and perl-Archive-Zip), and openSUSE (gdk-pixbuf, libopenmpt, mercurial, perl, php7, polkit, and rsyslog).
The kernel supports two different "SCSI generic" pseudo-devices, each of which allows user space to send arbitrary commands to a SCSI-attached device. Both SCSI-generic implementations have proved to have security issues in the past as a result of the way their API was designed. In the case of one of those drivers, these problems seem almost certain to lead to the removal of a significant chunk of functionality in the 4.19 development cycle.
text Stable kernel 4.4.142
2018-07-19T16:11:41+00:00
Greg Kroah-Hartman has released the 4.4.142 stable kernel. It is not an essential upgrade, "but a number of build problems with perf are now resolved, and an x86 issue that some people might have hit is now handled properly. If those were problems for you, please upgrade."
text Security updates for Thursday
2018-07-19T14:42:19+00:00
Security updates have been issued by Debian (ant, gpac, linux-4.9, linux-latest-4.9, taglib, vlc, and znc), Fedora (ceph), Red Hat (fluentd and qemu-kvm-rhev), Slackware (httpd), and SUSE (e2fsprogs, glibc, libgcrypt, mercurial, openssh, perl, rubygem-sprockets, shadow, and wireshark).
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for July 19, 2018 is available.
text [$] Deep learning and free software
2018-07-18T21:20:25+00:00

Deep-learning applications typically rely on a trained neural net to accomplish their goal (e.g. photo recognition, automatic translation, or playing go). That neural net uses what is essentially a large collection of weighting numbers that have been empirically determined as part of its training (which generally uses a huge set of training data). A free-software application could use those weights, but there are a number of barriers for users who might want to tweak them for various reasons. A discussion on the debian-devel mailing list recently looked at whether these deep-learning applications can ever truly be considered "free" (as in freedom) because of these pre-computed weights—and the difficulties inherent in changing them.

text [$] The PEP 572 endgame
2018-07-18T15:21:34+00:00

Over the last few months, it became clear that the battle over PEP 572 would be consequential; its scale and vehemence was largely unprecedented in the history of Python. The announcement by Guido van Rossum that he was stepping down from his role as benevolent dictator for life (BDFL), due in part to that battle, underscored the importance of it. While the Python project charts its course in the wake of his resignation, it makes sense to catch up on where things stand with this contentious PEP that has now been accepted for Python 3.8.

text Stable kernel 4.17.8
2018-07-18T15:01:20+00:00
Stable kernel 4.17.8 has been released. This fixes the issue with i386 systems that was present in the 4.17.7 kernel.
text Security updates for Wednesday
2018-07-18T14:55:37+00:00
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (curl, lib32-curl, lib32-libcurl-compat, lib32-libcurl-gnutls, libcurl-compat, and libcurl-gnutls), Debian (blender, ffmpeg, and wordpress), Fedora (curl), Gentoo (tqdm), Oracle (kernel), Slackware (mutt), SUSE (xen), and Ubuntu (policykit-1).
text [$] Kernel symbol namespacing
2018-07-18T11:27:10+00:00
In order to actually do anything, a kernel module must gain access to functions and data structures in the rest of the kernel. Enabling and controlling that access is the job of the symbol-export mechanism. While the enabling certainly happens, the control part is not quite so clear; many developers view the nearly 30,000 symbols in current kernels that are available to all modules as being far too many. The symbol namespaces patch set from Martijn Coenen doesn't reduce that number, but it does provide a mechanism that might help to impose some order on exported symbols in general.
text Stable kernel updates
2018-07-17T15:16:03+00:00
Stable kernels 4.17.7, 4.14.56, 4.9.113, and 4.4.141 have been released. The 4.17.7 kernel is broken for i386 systems. "I did this release anyway with this known problem as there is a fix in here for x86-64 systems that was nasty to track down and was affecting people. Given that the huge majority of systems are NOT i386, I felt this was a safe release to do at this point in time." Beyond that, these kernels all contain the usual set of important fixes.
text Security updates for Tuesday
2018-07-17T15:03:02+00:00
Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (thunderbird), Debian (ruby-rack-protection), Fedora (firefox and soundtouch), Red Hat (kernel), Scientific Linux (gnupg2), SUSE (perl and python-paramiko), and Ubuntu (policykit-1).
text [$] Python post-Guido
2018-07-17T14:38:30+00:00

The recent announcement by Guido van Rossum that he was stepping away from his "benevolent dictator for life" (BDFL) role for Python was met with some surprise, but not much shock, at least in the core-developer community. Van Rossum has been telegraphing some kind of change, at some unspecified point, for several years now, though the proximate cause (the "PEP 572 mess") is unfortunate. In the meantime, though, the project needs to figure out how to govern itself moving forward—Van Rossum did not appoint a successor and has left the governance question up to the core developers.

text Security updates for Monday
2018-07-16T14:57:43+00:00
Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, gnupg2, kernel, python, and qemu-kvm), Debian (389-ds-base, cups, imagemagick, kernel, mailman, ruby2.1, sssd, thunderbird, and znc), Fedora (glpi, hadoop, kernel, rubygem-sprockets, singularity, thunderbird, wordpress, xapian-core, and xen), Mageia (cantata and flash-player-plugin), openSUSE (exiv2, libvorbis, nodejs6, nodejs8, openslp, singularity, slurm, and tiff), and SUSE (kernel-azure and openssl).
text Kernel prepatch 4.18-rc5
2018-07-15T20:49:30+00:00
The 4.18-rc5 kernel prepatch has been released. "For some reason this week actually felt very busy, but the rc5 numbers show otherwise. It's all small and calm, and things are progressing nicely."