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Full Circle Magazine #121

Onwards, into year 11!

This month:
* Command & Conquer
* How-To : Python (Arduino), Intro To FreeCAD Pt.1 and Installing Ubuntu with No External Media
* Graphics : Inkscape & Kdenlive
* ChromeCult
* Linux Labs: Windows Subsystem Linux
* Review: Porteus Kiosk
* Book Review: Mint 18
* Ubuntu Games: Total War: Warhammer
plus: News, Q&A, My Desktop, and soooo much more.
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Get it while it’s hot!

Redefining the Developer Event

By Randall Ross, Ubuntu Evangelist

We’ve all been to “those other” developer events: Sitting in a room watching a succession of never-ending slide presentations. Engagement with the audience, if any, is minimal. We leave with some tips and tools that we might be able to put into practice, but frankly, we attended because we were supposed to. The highlight was actually the opportunity to connect with industry contacts.

Key members of the OpenPOWER Foundation envisioned something completely different in their quest to create the perfect developer event, something that has never been done before: What if developers at a developer event actually spent their time developing?

The OpenPOWER Foundation is an open technical membership organization that enables its member companies to provide customized, innovative solutions based on POWER CPU processors and system platforms that encourage data centers to rethink their approach to technology. The Foundation found that ISVs needed support and encouragement to develop OpenPOWER-based solutions and take advantage of other OpenPOWER Ready components. The demand for OpenPOWER solutions has been growing, and ISVs needed a place to get started.

To solve this challenge, The OpenPOWER Foundation created the first ever Developer Congress, a hands-on event that will take place May 22-25 in San Francisco. The Congress will focus on all aspects of full stack solutions — software, hardware, infrastructure, and tooling — and developers will have the opportunity to learn and develop solutions amongst peers in a collaborative and supportive environment.

The Developer Congress will provide ISVs with development, porting, and optimization tools and techniques necessary to utilize multiple technologies, for example: PowerAI, TensorFlow, Chainer, Anaconda, GPU, FPGA, CAPI, POWER, and OpenBMC. Experts in the latest hot technologies such as deep learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence, databases and analytics, and cloud will be on hand to provide one-on-one advice as needed.

As Event Co-Chair, I had an idea for a different type of event. One where developers are treated as “heroes” (because they are — they are the creators of solutions). My Event Co-Chair Greg Phillips, OpenPOWER Content Marketing Manager at IBM, envisioned an event where developers will bring their laptops and get their hands dirty, working under the tutelage of technical experts to create accelerated solutions.

The OpenPOWER Developer Congress is designed to provide a forum that encourages learning from peers and networking with industry thought leaders. Its format emphasises collaboration with partners to find complementary technologies, and provides on-site mentoring through liaisons assigned to help developers get the most out of their experience.

Support from the OpenPOWER Foundation doesn’t end with the Developer Congress. The OpenPOWER Foundation is dedicated to providing its members with ongoing support in the form of information, access to developer tools and software labs across the globe, and assets for developing on OpenPOWER.

The OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to making an investment in the Developer Congress to provide an expert-rich environment that allows attendees to walk away three days later with new skills, new tools, and new relationships. As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” So developers, come get your hands dirty.

Learn more about the OpenPOWER Developer Congress.

About the author

Randall Ross leads the OpenPOWER Ambassadors, and is a prominent Ubuntu community member. He hails from Vancouver BC, where he leads one of the largest groups of Ubuntu enthusiasts and contributors in the world.

Parsix GNU/Linux Is Closing Its Doors, All Users Will Be Migrated to Debian 9

We believe that we were among the very few GNU/Linux news websites to cover regular news about new stable or development Parsix GNU/Linux releases, and the only one to inform Parsix GNU/Linux users when a new set of security patches and kernels were published so that they can quickly update their installations.
However, as all good things must come to an end, the Parsix GNU/Linux development team has published a brief announcement on the distro’s homepage to inform users that the project is going to shut down later this year, specifically about six months after the release of Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch.”
Parsix GNU/Linux always used the software repositories of the current stable Debian GNU/Linux release, providing users with security updates even after a certain Parsix GNU/Linux release reached end of life and was no longer supported. At the moment, the current stable release is Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15r1 “Nev.”
The team promises that they will provide support for Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” until its end of life, and, after that, they’ll do anything in their power to safely move all existing users to the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system, whose release date is not yet known, but it shouldn’t be long until it’s ready to go.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/parsix-gnu-linux-is-closing-its-doors-all-users-will-be-migrated-to-debian-9-515968.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

How does Rakos malware attack embedded Linux systems?

Researchers found a new type of malware, known as Rakos, attacking embedded Linux systems with the goal of assembling a large botnet. The attack method used by Rakos is similar to that of the Mirai internet of things botnet. How does Rakos attack these embedded Linux systems? What can enterprises do to secure them?
Embedded security has been a growing problem over the last ten years, and it is getting exponentially worse with internet of things (IoT) malware like the Mirai and Hajime worms, and now, Rakos Linux malware.
Rakos attacks embedded Linux systems using methods similar to those used by the Moose worm, where it tries to brute force the login credentials via SSH on vulnerable devices. When a vulnerable device is found, the malware transfers the malicious binary to the target system and downloads the configuration file that lists the command-and-control (C&C) servers. The malicious binary starts a web server to accept commands from remote systems. The C&C connection can be used to update the malicious binary and the configuration file.
To remove the malware, the running process needs to be killed or the device rebooted, as the malware doesn’t have functionality for persistence.

Source: http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/answer/How-does-Rakos-malware-attack-embedded-Linux-systems
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

SteamOS Now Based on Debian 8.8 with Linux 4.11, Uses Mesa Instead of AMDGPU-PRO

As expected, the SteamOS 2.115 update is based on the software repositories of the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 8.8 “Jessie” operating system, which means that it’s been patched with all the latest security fixes. Support for the Linux 4.11 kernel series is implemented as well in this new version of SteamOS, you should check out the release notes for details on all the updated components.
Besides shipping with Linux kernel 4.11 and up-to-date packages from Debian GNU/Linux 8.8, SteamOS 2.115 switches to the open-source Mesa 3D Graphics Library for AMD Radeon GPUs. In other words, it drops the AMDGPU-PRO proprietary graphics driver from AMD. Additionally, it implements AMD Vulkan support, which works only if you’re using the Steam Beta Client.
Other than that, SteamOS 2.115 comes with better game controller support, various Wi-Fi and graphics improvements, and dozens of small, yet important changes that promise to make this the biggest SteamOS update ever.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/steamos-now-based-on-debian-8-8-with-linux-4-11-uses-mesa-instead-of-amdgpu-pro-515937.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Privacy-focused Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ Linux-based operating system Tails 3.0 reaches RC status

If you want to keep the government and other people out of your business when surfing the web, Tails is an excellent choice. The Linux-based operating system exists solely for privacy purposes. It is designed to run from read-only media such as a DVD, so that there are limited possibilities of leaving a trail. Of course, even though it isn’t ideal, you can run it from a USB flash drive too, as optical drives have largely fallen out of favor with consumers.
Today, Tails achieves an important milestone. Version 3.0 reaches RC status — meaning the first release candidate (RC1). In other words, it may soon be ready for a stable release — if testing confirms as much. If you want to test it and provide feedback, you can download the ISO now.
This is quite the significant upgrade, as the operating system is moving to a new base — Debian 9 “Stretch.” The Debian kernel gets upgraded to 4.9.0-3, which is based on Linux kernel 4.9.25. As previously reported back in February, Tails 3.0 will drop 32-bit processor support too.
Using Tor is a huge part of the privacy aspect of Tails, and the tor web browser sees an update to 7.0a4. Tor itself is updated to 0.3.0.7-1. Less important is the move from Icedove to Thunderbird for email. This is really in name only, as Debian has begun using the “Thunderbird” branding again. From a feature perspective, it is inconsequential.

Source: https://betanews.com/2017/05/21/tails-debian-stretch-privacy-rc/
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Hacking Through Machine Learning at the OpenPOWER Developer Congress

By Sumit Gupta, Vice President, IBM Cognitive Systems

10 years ago, every CEO leaned over to his or her CIO and CTO and said, “we got to figure out big data.” Five years ago, they leaned over and said, “we got to figure out cloud.” This year, every CEO is asking their team to figure out “AI” or artificial intelligence.

IBM laid out an accelerated computing future several years ago as part of our OpenPOWER initiative. This accelerated computing architecture has now become the foundation of modern AI and machine learning workloads such as deep learning. Deep learning is so compute intensive that despite using several GPUs in a single server, one computation run of deep learning software can take days, if not weeks, to run.

The OpenPOWER architecture thrives on this kind of compute intensity. The POWER processor has much higher compute density than x86 CPUs (there are up to 192 virtual cores per CPU socket in Power8). This density per core, combined with high-speed accelerator interfaces like NVLINK and CAPI that optimize GPU pairing, provides an exponential performance benefit. And the broad OpenPOWER Linux ecosystem, with 300+ members, means that you can run these high-performance POWER-based systems in your existing data center either on-prem or from your favorite POWER cloud provider at costs that are comparable to legacy x86 architectures.

Take a Hack at the Machine Learning Work Group

The recently formed OpenPOWER Machine Learning Work Group gathers experts in the field to focus on the challenges that machine learning developers are continuously facing. Participants identify use cases, define requirements, and collaborate on solution architecture optimisations. By gathering in a workgroup with a laser focus, people from diverse organisations can better understand and engineer solutions that address similar needs and pain points.

The OpenPOWER Foundation pursues technical solutions using POWER architecture from a variety of member-run work groups. The Machine Learning Work Group is a great example of how hardware and software can be leveraged and optimized across solutions that span the OpenPOWER ecosystem.

Accelerate Your Machine Learning Solution at the Developer Congress

This spring, the OpenPOWER Foundation will host the OpenPOWER Developer Congress, a “get your hands dirty” event on May 22-25 in San Francisco. This unique event provides developers the opportunity to create and advance OpenPOWER-based solutions by taking advantage of on-site mentoring, learning from peers, and networking with developers, technical experts, and industry thought leaders. If you are a developer working on Machine Learning solutions that employ the POWER architecture, this event is for you.

The Congress is focused full stack solutions — software, firmware, hardware infrastructure, and tooling. It’s a hands-on opportunity to ideate, learn, and develop solutions in a collaborative and supportive environment. At the end of the Congress, you will have a significant head start on developing new solutions that utilize OpenPOWER technologies and incorporate OpenPOWER Ready products.

There has never been another event like this one. It’s a developer conference devoted to developing, not sitting through slideware presentations or sales pitches. Industry experts from the top companies that are innovating in deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will be on hand for networking, mentoring, and providing advice.

A Developer Congress Agenda Specific to Machine Learning

The OpenPOWER Developer Congress agenda addresses a variety of Machine Learning topics. For example, you can participate in hands-on VisionBrain training, learning a new model and generating the API for image classification, using your own family pictures to train the model. The current agenda includes:

• VisionBrain: Deep Learning Development Platform for Computer Vision
• GPU Programming Training, including OpenACC and CUDA
• Inference System for Deep Learning
• Intro to Machine Learning / Deep Learning
• Develop / Port / Optimize on Power Systems and GPUs
• Advanced Optimization
• Spark on Power for Data Science
• Openstack and Database as a Service
• OpenBMC

Bring Your Laptop and Your Best Ideas

The OpenPOWER Developer Congress will take place May 22-25 in San Francisco. The event will provide ISVs with development, porting, and optimization tools and techniques necessary to utilize multiple technologies, for example: PowerAI, TensorFlow, Chainer, Anaconda, GPU, FPGA, CAPI, POWER, and OpenBMC. So bring your laptop and preferred development tools and prepare to get your hands dirty!

About the author

Sumit Gupta is Vice President, IBM Cognitive Systems, where he leads the product and business strategy for HPC, AI, and Analytics. Sumit joined IBM two years ago from NVIDIA, where he led the GPU accelerator business.

Linux Distros Won’t Work On Windows 10 S

During Build 2017, Microsoft announced that it’s bringing Ubuntu Linux, in addition to openSUSE and Fedora, to Windows Store. This means that now Windows 10 users will be able to simply look for these Linux distros on Windows Store and install them inside their Windows installation.
The same event also became a witness of another major announcement which dealt with the unveiling of a new version of Windows, i.e., Windows 10 S. This new version is supposed to only run applications downloaded via Windows Store. People assumed that this would allow them to run Linux distros on Windows 10 S. But, the reality is a little different.
In a recent blog post, Microsoft’s Rich Turner made clear that certain applications won’t be allowed to run Windows 10 S, including all command line apps, consoles, and shells.
This means that Linux distros–Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE–won’t be allowed to run on Windows 10 S. Turner explains that these apps work outside the closed sandbox that Microsoft limits the most store apps to.

Source: https://fossbytes.com/linux-distros-wont-work-on-windows-10-s/
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Linux Kernel 4.10 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Move to Linux 4.11 Series

As it’s not an LTS (Long Term Support) branch, the Linux 4.10 kernel series was doomed to reach end of life sooner or later, and it happened this weekend with the release of the Linux kernel 4.10.17 patch, which is a major one changing a total of 103 files, with 981 insertions and 538 deletions, at least according to the appended shortlog. Therefore, users are now urged to move to the Linux 4.11 kernel series.
If you’re curious to know what was changed in the Linux 4.10.17 kernel, we can tell you that it brings various improvements to the x86, ARM64 (AArch64), ARM, and PowerPC (PPC) hardware architectures, as well as to the CIFS, F2FS, Ceph, EXT4, JBD2, OrangeFS, and OverlayFS filesystems. It also updates a bunch of drivers for USB, TTY, InfiniBand, NVDIMM, MD, crypto, and Bluetooth devices.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/linux-kernel-4-10-reached-end-of-life-users-urged-to-move-to-linux-4-11-series-515898.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Visual Studio Code is now available as a snap on Ubuntu

There is a new desktop snap in the Snap store: Visual Studio Code.

A versatile and open source code editor

Launched in 2015 by Microsoft, Visual Studio Code has imposed itself as one of the preferred code editors in the developer community. Cross-platform (powered by Electron), it features a marketplace of more than 3000 extensions where any language can find its linters, debuggers and test runners.

To install Visual Studio Code as a snap:

sudo snap install --classic vscode

How has VS Code made such a splash in the development world?

After barely two years, this editor has found a place in a lot of tool belts, on Linux too. To explain this success, here are some notable highlights:

  • smart completion based on types and functions
  • a versatile integrated debugger
  • git built-in support with an approachable user interface for git commands
  • and of course, extensions support

Git integration in Visual Studio Code features delightful commit (and reverts!) management.

To make the experience more familiar, you can emulate keyboard shortcuts of other editors by installing alternative keymaps, such as Vim, Emacs, Sublime, etc.

Available as a snap for an agile release process

It’s not the first code editor featured in this Electron snaps blog series, and if you have been reading the other entries, you already know why snaps are a good fit for Electron distribution on Linux: auto-updates, ease of installation and dependency bundling.

This snap makes the latest version of Visual Studio Code easily installable and auto-updatable on Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04 and newer supported releases, goodbye 3rd party PPAs and general package hunting!

Releases for everyone and releases for testers

Snaps allow developers to release software in different “channels”, that users subscribe to (defaulting to the stable channel), in order to receive automated updates.

Four channels are available, with names hinting at the stability users can expect:

  • edge is for QA, testers and adventurous adopters
  • beta is where versions from the edge channel are moved to when they pass some level of testing and QA
  • candidate is commonly used for freezed pre-release versions
  • stable is what users install by default (the snap install <snap name> command without any options) and is expected to only contain stable software. This is also the channel that enables snaps to appear in search results of the snap find command.

For a primer on using the snap command-line, this tutorial will show you the way.