Barcelona Opts for Breath of Open Source Fresh Air

By Jack M. Germain

Barcelona city officials have voted to shut the door on Microsoft Windows in favor of the Linux operating system and open source technology. The city hopes to save money from proprietary software license fees and to build a specialized library of open source applications targeting the needs of government workers. Its goal is to encourage specialized open source solutions throughout governmental agencies in Spain. The city last fall unveiled the Barcelona Digital City Plan to improve government-provided online services. The plan also supports urban technology and smart-city projects and promotes open data.

From: Linux Insider

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IBM, Maersk Announce Global Blockchain Shipping Venture

By David Jones

IBM and A.P. Moeller-Maersk on Tuesday announced a joint venture to create a platform based on Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, with the goal of creating huge efficiencies in the global supply chain. IBM and Maersk have teamed up to provide a more efficient method of standardizing shipping logistics using blockchain technology. “Adoption of Hyperledger Fabric by Maersk and … IBM has the potential to remake the shipping sector landscape and its use of information technology,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of The Linux Foundation.

From: Linux Insider

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FOSS Community Struggles to Patch Against Spectre, Meltdown Flaws

By David Jones

Many in the open source community worked feverishly this week to respond to heightened fears that software updates to fix the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities would put millions of computers at risk of slowdowns or even total disability. Updated kernels were released for mitigation of Meltdown variant 3, or CVE-2017-5754, for X86-64 architecture, Dean Henrichsmeyer, vice president of cloud engineering at Canonical, which provides commercial support for Ubuntu, said Friday in an online post.

From: Linux Insider

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GeckoLinux: A Polished Distro Just Got Smoother

By Jack M. Germain

GeckoLinux offers both seasoned users and new distro adopters an easy way to try an openSuse-based spin loaded with features and an ample inventory of the leading Linux desktops. The developer released a major update of GeckoLinux earlier this week. I enjoyed testing the beta version last fall, and I was even more pleased with the added embellishments packed into this final version. Among the attractions of GeckoLinux are its innovations within the openSuse community. These include non-free packages not found in openSuse’s default repositories.

From: Linux Insider

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With Linux, You Don’t Get One Kernel of Truth… You Get Many

By Jonathan Terrasi

As much as I love to poke at the inner workings of my computer, I’ll admit that until recently, I didn’t give much thought to which version of the Linux kernel my desktop system was running. For most desktop users, this isn’t odd. Compatibility of kernel modules is often critical for servers and production systems, but day-to-day desktop usage doesn’t change much from update to update. Two things motivated me to scrutinize the kernel version more closely: considerations for specific hardware; and a very scary bug recently identified in Ubuntu.

From: Linux Insider

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New Open Source Mobile OS Puts Privacy Front and Center

By David Jones

A renowned Linux innovator has developed a new mobile OS, called “Project eelo,” in an effort to provide a level of data privacy that traditional Android and iOS devices fail to offer. Eelo will allow mobile phone users to regain control over their personal information at a price they can afford, said Gael Duval, who created Mandrake Linux back in 1998. Apple has become too expensive, too boring and is “going crazy with its products,” he said, while Google has “become too big” and is capturing too much information about what we do.

From: Linux Insider

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Massive Intel Chip Security Flaw Threatens Computers

By Jack M. Germain

A design flaw in all Intel chips produced in the last decade is responsible for a vulnerability that puts Linux, Windows and macOS-powered computers at risk, according to multiple press reports. The flaw reportedly is in the kernel that controls the chip performance, allowing commonly used programs to access the contents and layout of a computer’s protected kernel memory areas. The Linux kernel community, Microsoft and Apple have been working on patches to their operating systems to prevent the vulnerability.

From: Linux Insider

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SoftMaker for Linux Is a Solid Microsoft Office Alternative

By Jack M. Germain

SoftMaker Office could be a first-class professional-strength replacement for Microsoft Office on the Linux desktop. The Linux OS has its share of lightweight word processors and a few nearly worthy standalone spreadsheet apps, but very few high-end integrated office suites exist for Linux users. Generally, Linux office suites lack a really solid slide presentation creation tool. Most Linux users opt for LibreOffice — or maybe the withering OpenOffice — or online subscriptions to Microsoft Office through Web browser apps.

From: Linux Insider

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Zealot Loads Cryptocurrency Miner on Linux, Windows Machines

By David Jones

A new Apache Struts campaign that researchers named “Zealot” has come to light in recent weeks. Zealot loads Windows or Linux-based machines by installing a miner for Monero, which has become one of the hottest cryptocurrencies used in recent malware attacks. Zealot uses NSA-linked EternalBlue and EternalSynergy exploits, according to F5 Labs, which discovered the campaign. It targets unsuspecting computer users with a multistaged attack that exploits servers vulnerable to the Jakarta Multipart Parser attack and the DotNetNuke vulnerability.

From: Linux Insider

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P2P WiFi Plan Challenges ISP Dominance

By David Jones

Open Garden has announced the launch of a new peer-to-peer service that allows users to share Internet connections and unused plan data for free, with compensation in a new Ethereum cryptocurrency as an extra incentive. The company is offering the service through an app that can be downloaded from Google Play. The system requires no hardware other than an Android phone to participate in the Internet access sharing. The typical customer will used the service for sharing a home or small business Internet service, or to connect with neighbors.

From: Linux Insider

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