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Telnet Passwords Leaked For More Than 500,000 Servers, Routers, and IoT Devices

Sun, 2020-01-19 18:34
ZDNet is reporting on a security breach leaking "a massive list of Telnet credentials for more than 515,000 servers, home routers, and IoT (Internet of Things) 'smart' devices." The list, which was published on a popular hacking forum, includes each device's IP address, along with a username and password for the Telnet service, a remote access protocol that can be used to control devices over the internet... Some devices were located on the networks of known internet service providers (indicating they were either home router or IoT devices), but other devices were located on the networks of major cloud service providers... According to experts to who ZDNet spoke this week, and a statement from the leaker himself, the list was compiled by scanning the entire internet for devices that were exposing their Telnet port. The hacker then tried using (1) factory-set default usernames and passwords, or (2) custom, but easy-to-guess password combinations.... To our knowledge, this marks the biggest leak of Telnet passwords known to date. As ZDNet understands, the list was published online by the maintainer of a DDoS-for-hire (DDoS booter) service... When asked why he published such a massive list of "bots," the leaker said he upgraded his DDoS service from working on top of IoT botnets to a new model that relies on renting high-output servers from cloud service providers.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Are Software Designers Ignoring The Needs of the Elderly?

Sun, 2020-01-19 17:34
"[A]t the very time that it's become increasingly difficult for anyone to conduct their day to day lives without using the Net, some categories of people are increasingly being treated badly by many software designers," argues long-time Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein: The victims of these attitudes include various special needs groups — visually and/or motor impaired are just two examples — but the elderly are a particular target. Working routinely with extremely elderly persons who are very active Internet users (including in their upper 90s!), I'm particularly sensitive to the difficulties that they face keeping their Net lifelines going. Often they're working on very old computers, without the resources (financial or human) to permit them to upgrade. They may still be running very old, admittedly risky OS versions and old browsers — Windows 7 is going to be used by many for years to come, despite hitting its official "end of life" for updates a few days ago. Yet these elderly users are increasingly dependent on the Net to pay bills (more and more firms are making alternatives increasingly difficult and in some cases expensive), to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and for many of the other routine purposes for which all of us now routinely depend on these technologies.... There's an aspect of this that is even worse. It's attitudes! It's the attitudes of many software designers that suggest they apparently really don't care about this class of users much — or at all. They design interfaces that are difficult for these users to navigate. Or in extreme cases, they simply drop support for many of these users entirely, by eliminating functionality that permits their old systems and old browsers to function. He cites the example of Discourse, the open source internet forum software, which recently announced they'd stop supporting Internet Explorer. Weinstein himself hates Microsoft's browser, "Yet what of the users who don't understand how to upgrade? Who don't have anyone to help them upgrade? Are we to tell them that they matter not at all?" So he confronted Stack Exchange co-founder Jeff Atwood (who is also one of the co-founders of Discourse) on Twitter — and eventually found himself blocked. "Far more important though than this particular case is the attitude being expressed by so many in the software community, an attitude that suggests that many highly capable software engineers don't really appreciate these users and the kinds of problems that many of these users may have, that can prevent them from making even relatively simple changes or upgrades to their systems — which they need to keep using as much as anyone — in the real world."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Is Google Facing a Backlash From Medical Record Vendors?

Sun, 2020-01-19 16:34
Two months ago the Washington Post reported that Google "has partnered with health-care provider Ascension to collect and store personal data for millions of patients, including full names, dates of birth and clinical histories, in order to make smarter recommendations to physicians." Now CNBC reports that the medical record vendor Epic Systems "has been phoning customers to tell them it will not pursue further integration with Google Cloud. The company is instead focusing on Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, citing insufficient interest from customers in Google. "The move comes as Google is facing criticism from privacy advocates about its work with Ascension, one of the largest U.S. health systems," CNBC adds. But could this start influencing which cloud provider hospitals choose for their records? "We've historically seen hospital systems make these decisions independently of their medical record provider," said Aneesh Chopra, the president of health-technology company CareJourney and the former chief technology officer of the United States. "It will be interesting to see if Epic's thumb on the scale moves cloud market share...." Epic isn't alone in its move. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Cerner decided against pursuing a data-storage relationship with Google despite being offered tens of millions of dollars in incentives. The company was on the hunt for a cloud vendor to help it store 250 million patient medical records. In the end, Cerner went with Amazon. In 2017 CNBC reported Cerner's collaboration with Amazon would initially focus on a "popular health product...which enables hospitals to gather and analyze huge volumes of clinical data to improve patients' health outcomes and lower treatment costs."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

'What's Up With Betelgeuse?'

Sun, 2020-01-19 15:34
"Last month, astronomers noticed Betelgeuse had faded much more than usual," writes the Steamboat Pilot & Today. "This is the faintest it has been in over a century of observations. "What's up with Betelgeuse?" The Grim Reefer quotes their report: Well, probably nothing. It is most likely experiencing a super minimum as two of its variability cycles sync up and reach minimum brightness at the same time. On the other hand, stars like Betelgeuse are well advanced in age and are destined to explode as supernovas at the end of their lives. There hasn't been a bright supernova in our Milky Way galaxy since the supernova of 1604. Sure, we've seen supernovas in galaxies far, far away, but none have been seen close to home. So, there is some excitement in the astronomical community, warranted or not, that Betelgeuse might be ready to pop. Astrophysicists theorize that a pronounced fading might presage an impending supernova explosion. If Betelgeuse continues to fade into January and beyond, then look out -- the end might be near. A Forbes science writer remains skeptical, but points out that "some astronomers now think there's a much closer star that could 'nova'..." A star called V Sagittae, 7,800 light years distant in the tiny constellation of Sagitta (just below Cygnus in the famous "Summer Triangle" asterism of stars) is barely visible even in mid-sized telescopes, but new research suggests that it could explode around the year 2083... "Around the year 2083, its accretion rate will rise catastrophically, spilling mass at incredibly high rates onto the white dwarf, with this material blazing away," says Professor Emeritus Bradley E. Schaefer, LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. "In the final days of this death-spiral, all of the mass from the companion star will fall onto the white dwarf, creating a super-massive wind from the merging star, appearing as bright as Sirius, possibly even as bright as Venus." The uncertainty of the prediction is plus or minus 16 years, so it could happen between 2067 and 2099, most likely near the middle of this range. It promises to be a wonderful sight.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Introducing JetBrains Mono, 'A Typeface for Developers'

Sun, 2020-01-19 14:34
Long-time Slashdot reader destinyland writes: JetBrains (which makes IDEs and other tools for developers and project managers) just open sourced a new "typeface for developers." JetBrains Mono offers taller lowercase letters while keeping all letters "simple and free from unnecessary details... The easier the forms, the faster the eye perceives them and the less effort the brain needs to process them." There's a dot inside zeroes (but not in O's), and distinguishing marks have also been added to the lowercase L (to distinguish it from both 1's and a capital I). Even the shape of the comma has been made more angular so it's easier to distinguish from a period. "The shape of ovals approaches that of rectangular symbols. This makes the whole pattern of the text more clear-cut," explains the font's web site. "The outer sides of ovals ensure there are no additional obstacles for your eyes as they scan the text vertically." And one optional feature even lets you merge multi-character ligatures like -> and ++ into their corresponding symbol. (138 code-specific ligatures are included with the font.)

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Categories: Linux fréttir

What Linus Torvalds Gets Wrong About ZFS

Sun, 2020-01-19 08:34
Ars Technica recently ran a rebuttal by author, podcaster, coder, and "mercenary sysadmin" Jim Salter to some comments Linus Torvalds made last week about ZFS. While its reasonable for Torvalds to oppose integrating the CDDL-licensed ZFS into the kernel, Salter argues, he believes Torvalds' characterization of the filesystem was "inaccurate and damaging." Torvalds dips into his own impressions of ZFS itself, both as a project and a filesystem. This is where things go badly off the rails, as Torvalds states, "Don't use ZFS. It's that simple. It was always more of a buzzword than anything else, I feel... [the] benchmarks I've seen do not make ZFS look all that great. And as far as I can tell, it has no real maintenance behind it any more..." This jaw-dropping statement makes me wonder whether Torvalds has ever actually used or seriously investigated ZFS. Keep in mind, he's not merely making this statement about ZFS now, he's making it about ZFS for the last 15 years -- and is relegating everything from atomic snapshots to rapid replication to on-disk compression to per-block checksumming to automatic data repair and more to the status of "just buzzwords." [The 2,300-word article goes on to describe ZFS features like per-block checksumming, automatic data repair, rapid replication and atomic snapshots -- as well as "performance wins" including its Adaptive Replacement caching algorithm and its inline compression (which allows datasets to be live-compressed with algorithms.] The TL;DR here is that it's not really accurate to make blanket statements about ZFS performance, absent a very particular, well-understood workload to measure that performance on. But more importantly, quibbling about the fastest possible benchmark rather loses the main point of ZFS. This filesystem is meant to provide an eminently scalable filesystem that's extremely resistant to data loss; those are points Torvalds notably never so much as touches on.... Meanwhile, OpenZFS is actively consumed, developed, and in some cases commercially supported by organizations ranging from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (where OpenZFS is the underpinning of some of the world's largest supercomputers) through Datto, Delphix, Joyent, ixSystems, Proxmox, Canonical, and more... It's possible to not have a personal need for ZFS. But to write it off as "more of a buzzword than anything else" seems to expose massive ignorance on the subject... Torvalds' status within the Linux community grants his words an impact that can be entirely out of proportion to Torvalds' own knowledge of a given topic -- and this was clearly one of those topics.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Another Project Goes Private: Amara Stops Being Developed As Open Source

Sun, 2020-01-19 04:34
Slashdot reader northar writes: Subtitling project Amara closes its repository as focus is shifting... Amara was AGPL up until going private. While future improvements to the code base from the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) will not be public, a copy of the last public code base has been preserved at Gitlab, should anyone be interested in the work done up until now. Note that no support is given from PCF for this code From Amara's official statement on the move: The Participatory Culture Foundation began as a nonprofit in 2006 with a focus on creating open source software to ensure that emerging video technologies were accessible to all.... For an organization like PCF, which relies on revenue generated from sustainability initiatives to fund social impact work, we believe the risk to these initiatives outweighs the potential or perceived public benefit from maintaining open code. Releasing software as open source unfortunately does not provide protection against well-funded technology firms that are driven by profit... Without the proper market position and resources, a smaller organization that relies on revenue from software they build can be outmaneuvered or overpowered with the very technology they created (assuming their code is open source). This is not only a threat to smaller organizations, but has also become a bigger debate that much larger companies are also hashing out. For venture-funded or publicly traded firms, the open source approach can be a calculated risk that makes business sense. But for less-capitalized organizations or nonprofits, like PCF, who lack significant market power, making software open source puts other more well-resourced players in position to leverage the technology in ways that may undermine the sustainability and/or the values of the original developer. With these shifts in the computing landscape, PCF has not seen individuals or communities as the primary beneficiary of releasing Amara code as open source. Instead, we have unfortunately had firsthand experience with a venture-funded organization deploying code we created and using it in ways that we did not think aligned well with our values.... As we undertake this shift in 2020, we are aware that the computing landscape will continue to change and thus we remain open to newer and better strategies for making source code available in the long-term. Future strategies might include data trusts and/or new licenses that better align with our sustainability initiatives and mission.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Red Hat and IBM Jointly File Another Amicus Brief In Google v. Oracle, Arguing APIs Are Not Copyrightable

Sun, 2020-01-19 02:03
Monday Red Hat and IBM jointly filed their own amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the "Google vs. Oracle" case, arguing that APIs cannot be copyrighted. "That simple, yet powerful principle has been a cornerstone of technological and economic growth for over sixty years. When published (as has been common industry practice for over three decades) or lawfully reverse engineered, they have spurred innovation through competition, increased productivity and economic efficiency, and connected the world in a way that has benefited commercial enterprises and consumers alike." An anonymous reader quotes Red Hat's announcement of the brief: "The Federal Circuit's unduly narrow construction of 17 U.S.C. 102(b) is harmful to progress, competition, and innovation in the field of software development," Red Hat stated in the brief. "IBM and Red Hat urge the Court to reverse the decision below on the basis that 17 U.S.C. 102(b) excludes software interfaces from copyright protection...." The lower court incorrectly extended copyright protection to software interfaces. If left uncorrected, the lower court rulings could harm software compatibility and interoperability and have a chilling effect on the innovation represented by the open source community... Red Hat's significant involvement with Java development over the last 20 years has included extensive contributions to OpenJDK, an open source implementation of the Java platform, and the development of Red Hat Middleware, a suite of Java-based middleware solutions to build, integrate, automate and deploy enterprise applications. As an open source leader, Red Hat has a stake in the consistent and correct determination of the scope of copyright protection that applies to interfaces of computer programs, including the Java platform interface at stake in this case. Open source software development relies on the availability of and unencumbered access to software interfaces, including products that are compatible with or interoperate with other computer products, platforms, and services...

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Slate Announces List of The 30 Most Evil Tech Companies

Sun, 2020-01-19 00:34
An anonymous reader quotes Slate: Separating out the meaningful threats from the noise is hard. Is Facebook really the danger to democracy it looks like? Is Uber really worse than the system it replaced? Isn't Amazon's same-day delivery worth it? Which harms are real and which are hypothetical? Has the techlash gotten it right? And which of these companies is really the worst? Which ones might be, well, evil? We don't mean evil in the mustache-twirling, burn-the-world-from-a-secret-lair sense -- well, we mostly don't mean that -- but rather in the way Googlers once swore to avoid mission drift, respect their users, and spurn short-term profiteering, even though the company now regularly faces scandals in which it has violated its users' or workers' trust. We mean ills that outweigh conveniences. We mean temptations and poison pills and unanticipated outcomes. Slate sent ballots to "a wide range of journalists, scholars, advocates, and others who have been thinking critically about technology for years," and reported that while America's big tech companies topped the list, "our respondents are deeply concerned about foreign companies dabbling in surveillance and A.I., as well as the domestic gunners that power the data-broker business." But while there were some disagreements, Palantir still rose to #4 on the list because "almost everyone distrusts Peter Thiel." Interestingly, their list ranks SpaceX at #17 (for potentially disrupting astronomy by clogging the sky with satellites) and ranks Tesla at #14 for "its troubled record of worker safety and its dubious claims that it will soon offer 'full self-driving' to customers who have already paid $7,000 for the promised add-on... Our respondents say the very real social good that Tesla has done by creating safe, zero-emission vehicles does not justify misdeeds, like apparent 'stealth recalls' of defects that appear to violate safety laws or the 19 unresolved Clean Air Act violations at its paint shop." Slate's article includes its comprehensive list of the 30 most dangerous tech companies. But here's the top 10: Amazon Facebook Alphabet Palantir Technologies Uber Apple Microsoft Twitter ByteDance Exxon MobilThere's also lots of familiar names higher up on the list, including both 8chan (#20) and Cloudflare (#21). 23andMe came in at #18, while Huawei was #11. Netflix does not appear anywhere on the list, but Disney ranks #15. And Oracle was #19. "It takes a lot to make me feel like Google is being victimized by a bully," wrote Cory Doctorow, "but Oracle managed it."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Microsoft's New Windows Terminal Preview Offers a Retro CRT Screen Effect

Sat, 2020-01-18 23:34
"The release of the Windows Terminal preview v0.8 has arrived!" announces a post on Microsoft's Command Line blog: Search functionality has been added to the Terminal! The default key binding to invoke the search dropdown is {"command": "find", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+f"]}. Feel free to customize this key binding in your profiles.json if you prefer different key presses! The dropdown allows you to search up and down through the buffer as well as with letter case matching. You can search through multiple tabs, reports the Verge -- and those tabs can also be resized "so you can fit more tabs into View." But they also note that Microsoft added some interesting retro-style CRT effects: If you're old enough to be a fan of CRT monitors then this one is for you. A new experimental feature will be enabled that includes the classic scan lines that you might have seen before the world switched to flat monitors and LCD technology. To enable it just add the following code snippet to any of your profiles: "experimental.retroTerminalEffect": true

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Exploit Fully Breaks SHA-1, Lowers the Attack Bar

Sat, 2020-01-18 22:34
ThreatPost reported on some big research last week: A proof-of-concept attack has been pioneered that "fully and practically" breaks the Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1) code-signing encryption, used by legacy computers to sign the certificates that authenticate software downloads and prevent man-in-the-middle tampering. The exploit was developed by Gaëtan Leurent and Thomas Peyrin, academic researchers at Inria France and Nanyang Technological University/Temasek Laboratories in Singapore. They noted that because the attack is much less complex and cheaper than previous PoCs, it places such attacks within the reach of ordinary attackers with ordinary resources. "This work shows once and for all that SHA-1 should not be used in any security protocol where some kind of collision resistance is to be expected from the hash function," the researchers wrote. "Continued usage of SHA-1 for certificates or for authentication of handshake messages in TLS or SSH is dangerous, and there is a concrete risk of abuse by a well-motivated adversary. SHA-1 has been broken since 2004, but it is still used in many security systems; we strongly advise users to remove SHA-1 support to avoid downgrade attacks." Given the footprint of SHA-1, Leurent and Peyrin said that users of GnuPG, OpenSSL and Git could be in immediate danger. Long-time Slashdot reader shanen writes, "I guess the main lesson is that you can never be too sure how long any form of security will remain secure."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Facial Recognition Database With 3 Billion Scraped Images 'Might End Privacy as We Know It'

Sat, 2020-01-18 21:37
One police detective bragged that photos "could be covertly taken with a telephoto lens" then input into Clearview AI's database of more than three billion scraped images to immediately identify suspects. Long-time Slashdot reader v3rgEz writes: For the past year, government transparency non-profits and Open the Government have been digging into how local police departments around the country use facial recognition. The New York Times reports on their latest discovery: That a Peter Thiel-backed startup Clearview has scraped Facebook, Venmo, and dozens of other social media sites to create a massive, unregulated tool for law enforcement to track where you were, who you were with, and more, all with just a photo. Read the Clearview docs yourself and file a request in your town to see if your police department is using it. The Times describes Clearview as "the secretive company that might end privacy as we know it," with one of the company's early investors telling the newspaper that because information technology keeps getting more powerful, he's concluded that "there's never going to be privacy." He also expresses his belief that technology can't be banned, then acknowledges "Sure, that might lead to a dystopian future or something, but you can't ban it."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Major Breakthrough In Quantum Computing Shows That MIP* = RE

Sat, 2020-01-18 20:34
Slashdot reader JoshuaZ writes: In a major breakthrough in quantum computing it was shown that MIP* equals RE. MIP* is the set of problems that can be efficiently demonstrated to a classical computer interacting with multiple quantum computers with any amount of shared entanglement between the quantum computers. RE is the set of problems which are recursive; this is essentially all problems which can be computed. This result comes through years of deep development of understanding interactive protocols, where one entity, a verifier, has much less computing power than another set of entities, provers, who wish to convince the verifier of the truth of a claim. In 1990, a major result was that a classical computer with a polynomial amount of time could be convince of any claim in PSPACE by interacting with an arbitrarily powerful classical computer. Here PSPACE is the set of problems solvable by a classical computer with a polynomial amount of space. Subsequent results showed that if one allowed a verifier able to interact with multiple provers, the verifier could be convinced of a solution of any problem in NEXPTIME, a class conjectured to be much larger than PSPACE. For a while, it was believed that in the quantum case, the set of problems might actually be smaller, since multiple quantum computers might be able to use their shared entangled qubits to "cheat" the verifier. However, this has turned out not just to not be the case, but the exact opposite: MIP* is not only large, it is about as large as a computable class can naturally be. This result while a very big deal from a theoretical standpoint is unlikely to have any immediate applications since it supposes quantum computers with arbitrarily large amounts of computational power and infinite amounts of entanglement. The paper in question is a 165 tour de force which includes incidentally showing that the The Connes embedding conjecture, a 50 year old major conjecture from the theory of operator algebras, is false.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Tuxedo's New Manjaro Linux Laptops Will Include Massive Customization

Sat, 2020-01-18 19:34
Tuxedo Computers "has teamed up with Manjaro to tease not one, not two, but several" Linux laptops, Forbes reports: The Tuxedo Computers InfinityBook Pro 15...can be loaded with up to 64GB of RAM, a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, and as high as a 2TB Samsung EVO Plus NVMe drive. You can also purchase up to a 5-year warranty, and user-installed upgrades will not void the warranty... Manjaro Lead Project Developer Philip Müller also teased a forthcoming AMD Ryzen laptop [on Forbes' "Linux For Everyone" podcast]. "Yes, we are currently evaluating which models we want to use because the industry is screaming for that," Müller says. "In the upcoming weeks we might get some of those for internal testing. Once they're certified and the drivers are ready, we'll see when we can launch those." Müller also tells me they're prepping what he describes as a "Dell XPS 13 killer." "It's 10th-generation Intel based, we will have it in 14-inch with a 180-degree lid, so you can lay it flat on your desk if you like," he says. The Manjaro/Tuxedo Computers partnership will also offer some intense customization options, Forbes adds. "Want your company logo laser-etched on the lid? OK. Want to swap out the Manjaro logo with your logo on the Super key? Sure, no problem. Want to show off your knowledge of fictional alien races? Why not get a 100% Klingon keyboard?"

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Why Did Red Hat Drop Its Support for Docker's Runtime Engine?

Sat, 2020-01-18 18:34
"I've grown quite fond of the docker container runtime. It's easy to install and use, and many of the technologies I write about depend upon this software," writes TechRepublic/Linux.com contributor Jack Wallen. "But Red Hat has other plans." The company decided -- seemingly out of the blue -- to drop support for the docker runtime engine. In place of docker came Podman. When trying to ascertain why Red Hat split with Docker, nothing came clear. Sure, I could easily draw the conclusion that Red Hat had grown tired of the security issues surrounding Docker and wanted to take matters in their own hands. There was also Red Hat's issue with "no big fat daemons." If that's the case, how do they justify their stance on systemd? Here's where my tinfoil hat comes into play. Understand this is pure conjecture here and I have zero facts to back these claims up... Red Hat is now owned by IBM. IBM was desperate to gain serious traction within the cloud. To do that, IBM needed Red Hat, so they purchased the company. Next, IBM had to score a bit of vendor lock-in. Using a tool like docker wouldn't give them that lock-in. However, if Red Hat developed and depended on their own container runtime, vendor lock-in was attainable.... Red Hat has jettisoned a mature, known commodity for a less-mature, relatively unknown piece of software -- without offering justification for the migration.... Until Red Hat offers up a sound justification for migrating from the docker container engine to Podman, there's going to be a lot of people sporting tinfoil hats. It comes with the territory of an always-connected world. And if it does turn out to be an IBM grab for vendor lock-in, there'll be a lot of admins migrating away from RHEL/CentOS to the likes of Ubuntu Server, SUSE/openSUSE, Debian, and more. Red Hat's product manager of containers later touted Podman's ability to deploy containers without root access privileges in an interview with eWeek. "We felt the sum total of its features, as well as the project's performance, security and stability, made it reasonable to move to 1.0. Since Podman is set to be the default container engine for the single-node use case in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, we wanted to make some pledges about its supportability." And a Red Hat spokesperson also shared their position with The New Stack. "We saw our customer base wanting the container runtime lifecycle baked-in to the OS or in delivered tandem with OpenShift."

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A Broken Computer System Is Costing F-35 Maintainers 45,000 Hours a Year

Sat, 2020-01-18 17:34
schwit1 shared this report from the defense news site Task & Purpose: The computer-based logistics system of the F-35 stealth fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin, which has been plagued by delays, will be replaced by another network made by the same company, a Pentagon official said on Tuesday. The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) was designed to underpin the F-35 fleet's daily operations, ranging from mission planning and flight scheduling to repairs and scheduled maintenance, as well as the tracking and ordering of parts... ALIS was blamed for delaying aircraft maintenance, one of the very things it was meant to facilitate. "One Air Force unit estimated that it spent the equivalent of more than 45,000 hours per year performing additional tasks and manual workarounds because ALIS was not functioning as needed," the GAO said in a November report.

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Microsoft Is Also Launching a New $1 Billion 'Climate Innovation Fund'

Sat, 2020-01-18 16:34
As part of Microsoft's effort to reduce more atmospheric carbon than it emits, the company has announced a $1 billion "Climate Innovation Fund," reports GeekWire: Microsoft said the new fund will leverage its balance sheet to loan money and take equity stakes in ventures to encourage the development of new environmental innovations. The money will be invested over the next four years. The company cited four criteria for investments, including sustainability initiatives, market impact, technological advances, and climate equity, addressing the tendency of climate change to disproportionately hurt people in developing countries. "We deeply understand this is just a fraction of what is needed to solve this problem," said Amy Hood, the company's chief financial officer, outlining the plan at the event Thursday morning.... Microsoft said it is signing the United Nations' 1.5-degree Business Ambition Pledge, and said it will publicly track its progress in an annual Environmental Sustainability Report. The article notes that Bill Gates "reviewed Microsoft's new initiative but wasn't involved in its creation." Gates has his own $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund and has meanwhile also invested in mini nuclear reactors to address climate change. And this spring he'll release a book titled "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need."

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Boeing Discovers Issue With 737 Max Flight Computers

Sat, 2020-01-18 15:04
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Boeing's troubled 737 Max has run into a new glitch. During a recent technical review involving the Max, Boeing observed an issue with the plane's flight computers, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source said the issue is not related to the software revisions Boeing made to address the cause of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people, and would not occur during flight. The Max has been grounded since March following the second of those crashes. The computer issue was observed when booting up the computers on a Max and involves the so-called software power up monitoring function, which checks for anomalies when turning on the computers. It's similar to the steps any computer might make when first turned on. The source said the process of turning on the computers is performed when the plane is on the ground, rather than in flight. The source said the test was intended to find any issues like this one and that Boeing would fix the problem.

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'Watch SpaceX Blow Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in a Safety Test Sunday'

Sat, 2020-01-18 13:00
"SpaceX is setting out to prove a critical safety system will be able to save astronaut lives in the event of a launch emergency during ascent," reports CNET: The Crew Dragon in-flight abort test...is a required step before NASA will allow astronauts to fly to the International Space Station in the SpaceX capsule as part of the Commercial Crew Program. [UPDATE: Though they'd originally planned to launch Saturday, SpaceX tweeted early Saturday morning that "due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area" they're now targeting Sunday, January 19, "with a six-hour test window opening at 8:00 a.m. EST, 13:00 UTC." Watch SpaceX's livestream here.] NASA will also livestream the event... Backup test opportunities are set for Sunday or Monday if Saturday doesn't work out. Crew Dragon will take a ride on a Falcon 9 rocket, which won't survive the test. The launch will take place at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, which will allow the rocket to break up over the Atlantic Ocean. It could be quite an eye-opening experience. SpaceX shared an animated video showing how the test is expected to go. If all goes well, the Crew Dragon capsule will separate from the rocket, deploy parachutes and float gently down to the water.... SpaceX successfully sent an uncrewed Crew Dragon to the International Space Station in early 2019. The ultimate goal is to make a return trip with NASA astronauts on board. If the in-flight abort test works out, then the first launch of humans from U.S. soil since the end of the space shuttle era should finally happen in 2020.

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'Watch SpaceX Blow Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in a Safety Test Saturday'

Sat, 2020-01-18 13:00
"SpaceX is setting out to prove a critical safety system will be able to save astronaut lives in the event of a launch emergency during ascent," reports CNET: The Crew Dragon in-flight abort test is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18. This is a required step before NASA will allow astronauts to fly to the International Space Station in the SpaceX capsule as part of the Commercial Crew Program. NASA will livestream the event, with coverage starting at 4:45 a.m. PT on Saturday. SpaceX and NASA are targeting 5 a.m. PT for the launch, but the test has a four-hour launch window to work with... [And SpaceX tweeted Friday night that they're targetting "toward the end of the window." Watch SpaceX's livestream here.] Backup test opportunities are set for Sunday or Monday if Saturday doesn't work out. Crew Dragon will take a ride on a Falcon 9 rocket, which won't survive the test. The launch will take place at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, which will allow the rocket to break up over the Atlantic Ocean. It could be quite an eye-opening experience. SpaceX shared an animated video showing how the test is expected to go. If all goes well, the Crew Dragon capsule will separate from the rocket, deploy parachutes and float gently down to the water.... SpaceX successfully sent an uncrewed Crew Dragon to the International Space Station in early 2019. The ultimate goal is to make a return trip with NASA astronauts on board. If the in-flight abort test works out, then the first launch of humans from U.S. soil since the end of the space shuttle era should finally happen in 2020.

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