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By Usama Jawad96
Here is Linux Advisory Board's ruling on University of Minnesota's "hypocrite commits"
by Usama Jawad
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Greg Kroah-Hartman from the Linux kernel development and maintenance team had banned submissions from the University of Minnesota (UMN) due to some questionable patches that they submitted. The issue received a lot of public attention particularly due to the email exchanges between Hartman and the student researchers being made public. The latter argued that the patches come in the form of "a new static analyzer", but Hartman took issue with the fact that the clearly incorrect patches had been submitted to the kernel without any warning.
After much back and forth, the department heads for Computer Science at UMN stated that they would investigate the matter further, and soon after, the student researchers published an apology giving more context to their dubious efforts.
Now, the Linux Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has published its own findings of the matter and its recommendations for the future.
In its detailed audit, the Linux TAB has described the entire timeline of events from the time when "one member of the UMN community" began a research project in August 2020 to intentionally introduce flaws in the Linux kernel with fake identities. A research paper on this endeavor was published in November 2020 after which no patches were submitted. Questionable submissions began again in April 2021 which is when Hartman confronted the researchers and eventually banned them from contributing in the future.
Linux TAB has concluded that the researchers broke several documented rules including submitting patches with false identities. Five of these changes were publicly admitted to being invalid by the researchers in their paper, but the TAB has noted that all incorrect changes were caught or ignored by developers and maintainers, which means that its review process works correctly.
435 commits from the UMN were reviewed in total. A summary of findings can be seen below:
Commits found to be correct: 349 Commits found to be incorrect and in need of fixing: 39 Commits already fixed by later commits: 25 Commits that no longer matter: 12 Commits made before the research group existed: 9 Commits the author asked to have removed: 1 In light of the above, the Linux TAB has recommended that moving forward, UMN must improve the quality of its patches. It has also indicated that it will work with researchers to document best practices for contribution to open source projects, including the Linux kernel. It has suggested that the UMN set up its own internal review team, which should consist of at least one experienced developer who validates changes before they are submitted to the kernel. The Linux TAB has cautioned that:
The Linux TAB has emphasized that the research community and kernel developers and maintainers can work in harmony, as they have done so in the past, but the goal of the community should be to create a robust kernel for production use. If efforts like this benefit only the research community, then conflicts such as this can arise, but they can be avoided if the recommendations of the Linux TAB are followed. You can read the letter in detail here.
Edge for Linux is now available in the Beta channel
by João Carrasqueira
A Linux version of Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser has long been in the works, with the Redmond company first teasing it at Build 2019 and officially announcing it later that year. However, it wasn't until October of last year that the Dev channel of the Edge Insider program debuted on Linux. Over six months later, it's now time for the Beta channel to make its way to Linux users, Microsoft announced today.
Since its Linux debut back in October, Edge has gained some new capabilities, including the ability to sign in with a Microsoft account and enable syncing across devices. The availability of Edge Beta for Linux lines up with last week's release of Edge 91 in the Beta channel, and it includes those improvements we've seen over the past few months.
It's been a long journey for Linux users so far, and given how long it's taken for the Beta channel to become available, there's no telling when a stable release will happen. Microsoft also doesn't offer the Canary channel of Edge - which gets updated on a daily basis at the expense of stability - for Linux. Either way, a Beta release should offer more stability than what we've had so far.
Edge Beta for Linux is available as both a Debian/Ubuntu package and as an .rpm file for Fedora or openSUSE users. If you use the Windows Subsystem for Linux and you're a Windows Insider in the Dev channel, you can also try the Edge browser there, since Microsoft recently added support for Linux GUI apps in Windows 10.
By News Staff
Pay What You Want for this Complete Linux eBook Bundle
by Steven Parker
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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS moves to paid Extended Support Maintenance
by Paul Hill
Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has reached the end of its normal support lifecycle and has now been moved onto the Extended Support Maintenance track. This allows personal users to run Ubuntu 16.04 ESM on up to three machines and for enterprise customers to pay for the continued support. Extended Support Maintenance (ESM) will last until April 2024.
With Ubuntu 16.04 LTS reaching end of life status in April, it will no longer receive security updates, therefore, anyone still running it needs to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. For systems in enterprise environments, this may be easier said than done so Canonical offers ESM.
With Ubuntu 16.04 ESM, customers will be provided with security updates for high and critical CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) in the Ubuntu base OS and scale-out infrastructures such as Ceph and OpenStack. At the time of writing, only 64-bit x86 machines are supported by Canonical's ESM scheme.
Explaining ESM a bit more, Canonical said:
If you find yourself with Ubuntu 16.04 systems that can’t be upgraded to a newer release for whatever reason, head over to the Extended Security Maintenance product page to learn more about enabling ESM on your systems.
Microsoft Weekly: Actual F2P multiplayer, update trouble, and performance on Edge
by Florin Bodnarescu
Among the things that happened this week, there was the arrival of Linux GUI app support in WSL, a performance mode in Edge, and even the dropping of the Gold barrier of entry for free-to-play multiplayer games on Xbox. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of April 18 - 24.
Actual F2P multiplayer
While it’s true that some other interesting news surfaced this week, perhaps one of the most noteworthy tidbits concerned Xbox Live Gold.
After a long tradition of requiring an Xbox Live Gold subscription even for free-to-play games, Microsoft has decided to adjust its strategy. As a result, you will no longer need to have a Gold sub to play free-to-play multiplayer games on console, with party chat also no longer being locked behind the paywall.
In other good news, Microsoft has announced its Agility SDK to accelerate DirectX 12 adoption, Halo: Reach is set to gain a custom server browser next week – at least in testing -, and the ever-present Deals with Gold once again make an appearance, featuring Outlast, Resident Evil, DARQ, and more.
Of course, Xbox’s bread and butter at the moment, Game Pass, has not stopped expanding, with MLB The Show 21, Fable I and Fable III, Destroy All Humans!, Second Extinction, and others now being available as part of the subscription.
The above coincides with the Xbox April update which adds achievement support on phones, enhancements to Game Pass itself, and even marks the arrival of cloud gaming on PC and iOS via the web. Keep in mind that the latter feature (on PC and iOS) is currently in limited beta and is available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
Last but not least, we should mention that 13 Electronic Arts titles have gotten the FPS Boost treatment, 12 of which – Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Battlefield 1, Titanfall, and Unravel, to name but a few – support up to 120Hz refresh rates, with Sea of Solitude (the 13th title), going up to 60Hz.
To the surprise of perhaps nobody, Microsoft released yet another Windows 10 build to the Dev channel, namely 21364. What is however surprising is the reasonably long list of fixes, the appearance of Edge process classification in Task Manager, and most interesting of all, the ability to run Linux GUI apps on Windows via WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux)’s GUI app support preview.
As we’ve seen with previous Insider build releases, the firm also put out build 21364.1000, merely to test the servicing pipeline.
There were some update hiccups this week though, as the previously released KB5001391 update began causing bugchecks. It’s worth keeping in mind that this is affecting Beta and Release Preview channels of the Insider preview, netting the now traditional Green Screen of Death - the color of choice for Insider bugchecks.
A more recent update, KB5001030, seems to be impacting game performance on certain systems, although the Redmond giant is aware of the problem and will provide a fix in a future build.
Performance on Edge
This wouldn’t be a weekly recap of Microsoft things without at least a passing mention of Edge, or rather more accurately, the Chromium-based version of Microsoft’s browser.
Let’s begin with testers in the Canary channel, some of whom have gotten a peek at the browser’s ‘Performance Mode’. According to its brief description, it optimizes “speed, responsiveness, CPU, memory, and battery usage”, while also disabling the timer for the Sleeping Tabs feature.
Whether this is roughly equivalent to the High Performance mode in the Windows Power Settings is a bit of a mystery at this point, even more so given that not all Canary users have gotten their hands on it.
Folks in the Dev channel have been given a brand-new build of their own, 91.0.864.1, which adds enhanced printing options, as well as a prompt before closing a window with multiple tabs open – among other features.
Switching to capabilities already present in the browser, but which may annoy you, we put together a short guide on disabling the Search in sidebar option, as well as highlighting EdgeDeflector 184.108.40.206, which allows you to circumvent Edge as the default News and Interests browser and instead open the links in your browser of choice. We’ll focus on News and Interests a little more in the last section of this column.
Visual Studio 2022 is now available in preview, and in a 64-bit variant. The Microsoft Store is reportedly going to receive a bit of a UI and policy overhaul. Discord has rejected Microsoft’s offer, and is reportedly set to go for an IPO instead. The Classroom Pen 2 is set to launch April 27 for $19.99. Outlook and Teams have gotten new features to protect users’ mental health, with the latter also gaining support for community mentors. Windows Package Manager 0.3 now lets you export and import package lists, as well as upgrade packages. Sony is apparently still in talks with Microsoft, but the cloud strategy will be ‘only on PlayStation’. Office LTSC and Office 2021 for Mac are now available for commercial preview. Microsoft Lists is now available on iPad, and supports Intune app configuration. Logging off
We end with a feature that seems to be a tad controversial, and that’s News and Interests.
If you don’t remember, News and Interests is that little taskbar widget which shows you the weather and news stories, and which can be opened by simply hovering over the relevant taskbar area. Luckily (or not, depending on your opinion of it), Microsoft has stated that it’ll bring this feature to Windows 10 versions 21H1, 20H2 (October 2020 Update), and 2004 (May 2020 Update).
Don’t get too excited though, since this’ll have a gradual rollout, as is the case with many such features.
In case you’re not a fan of opening those news articles from News and Interests in Edge, there’s a way to force the widget to use your default browser. Thankfully, there’s also a way to turn it off entirely if the widget just seems utterly useless to you.
Let’s just hope News and Interests doesn’t go the way of Paint 3D and the People icon in a few months’ time.
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