June 10, 2004

Cliff's List Filter - June 2 - 8

Author: Ian Palmer

G'day, everyone. Sit down around the campfire for another crackling set of updates from the Linux Kernel, GNOME, KDE and Mozilla developers circles. Up this week: more release candidates for Linux 2.4, Linux 2.6 and Mozilla 1.7; Linux gets better weapons against buffer overflows, as well as better support for Synaptics touchpads; the GNOME nettool gets a few enhancements; incremental searches for KDE's KFind; and the usual assortment of tips, tricks and patches that you may find useful.

Linux Kernel

  • NX support has been recently added to Linux. Assuming your CPU supports it this feature will allow certain areas of memory, such as those often exploited by buffer-overflows, to be marked as "no execute" making it impossible to run the injected code. This should make Linux harder to hack, and that is a good thing. This patch only applies to the Bitkeeper trees for Linux 2.6.7-rc2. Here's hoping it makes it into the mainline kernels, soon.
  • Marcelo Tosatti breathes life into Linux 2.4.27-pre5 on June 2.
  • More on the nForce2 lockups, it looks like the 2.6 series of kernels was improperly setting some config registers based on the PCI config value. Quick fixes from Bartlomiej Zolnierkiewicz should properly set the register and prevent the lockups.
  • The Linux Test Project announced the June Release of its testing suite for the Linux Kernel. If you are interested in putting Linux through boot camp to see how well it performs, then this project has some code that you may well be interested in.
  • Owners of MTD devices who are looking for a filesystem to use on their memory cards might want to look into JFFS2.
  • Missing AGP support in the 2.6.7 kernels? Try applying the following DRM change to your kernel and see if that solves the problem.
  • Touchpad users may appreciate Dmitry Torokhov's recent work on the Synaptics mouse driver, first off he's improved the button handling under load and to top it off he's added tapping support on top of his performance improvements.
  • Bernardo Innocenti announced the release of a new version of the uClinux cross-compiler, which is based on GCC v3.4.
  • kdb had an active week with updates for the v4.4 (2.6.6 kernel) debugger, followed quickly by the x86-64 updates as well.
  • Con Kolvias announced a new release of his Staircase Scheduler for kernel 2.6.7-rc2 on June 6. These changes are designed to improve system responsiveness.
  • Linus gives us Linux 2.6.7-rc3 on June 7.
  • Greg KH announced the release of udev 026 on June 7. udev is a replacement for devfs, that lives entirely in userspace and uses sysfs and the Linux Hotplug system to perform its magic. For more information on the differences between the two, read these pages about devfs vs. udev.
  • Completing the Linux Kernel news this week, Stephen Hemminger announced the 1.0.4 release of his bridge-utils package on June 8. Network administrators who oversee large network infrastructures may want to take this for a spin, if they aren't using it already.


  • GNOME nettool has been enhanced to use the network-admin code with a few enhancements from Carlos Garnacho.
  • Fresh from the software factory:
    • Glom 0.8.0, following in the footsteps of FileMaker Pro, is a visual database designer for PostgreSQL that was released on June 6.
    • gcalctool v4.4.8 was released on June 7. gcalctool is the default calculator for the GNOME desktop.



  • Mozilla 1.7-RC3 released on June 8. Please be aware that you may not be able to install XPI files on certain sites until they have been added to the XPI whitelist. This whitelist was created to cut down on the chance of malware infection by installing rogue XPI files. Hopefully a user-intuitive UI will be available to edit this whitelist by the time 1.7 is released.
  • New Sunbird builds are available as of June 2. For those who haven't heard of Sunbird, it is the codename of the Mozilla Calendar project. Right now, the Sunbird project is suffering from a lack of developers, so if you are interested in working on a Open Source project, please give this one some consideration.
  • Users interested in moving their Saved Passwords from one Mozilla profile to another should read this thread about password imports/exports. This might turn out to be a time-saver for some of you who use multiple desktops on a regular basis.
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