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Linus Torvalds Announces New Linux Kernel 5.6 Release Candidate

Linus Torvalds has just announced a new Linux kernel 5.6 release candidate at a time when the world is in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. Torvalds explains that Linux kernel version 5.6-rc7 is actually “pretty small,” adding that this is also likely the effect of the COVID-19 which is keeping everyone at home focusing on other stuff.

“Nothing really stands out, it’s all pretty small. I’m going to be optimistic, and say that it’s because we’re nicely on track for a normal calm release, but obviously it may be partly because everybody is distracted by virus worries. But I haven’t seen anything that looks hugely worrisome on the kernel side,” Torvalds explains.

[Source: Softpedia News]

Linux 5.7 To Improve Spreading Of Utilization, Other Scheduler Work

More improvements were queued in recent days to sched/core of CPU scheduler improvements on the table for the forthcoming Linux 5.7 kernel cycle.

One of the main patches to land was the work we talked about earlier this month for improved/faster spreading of CPU utilization. The change in the load balancing code is about ensuring there are pending tasks to pull otherwise the load balance will fail and further delay the spreading of system load. With the change now queued in sched/core, Linaro developer Vincent Guittot found that the average time for sysbench dropped slightly but the average peak time was a great deal less going from 21ms to 10ms while the absolute peak of 41ms to 21ms.

[Source: Phoronix]

Purism Says Its Linux Laptops Aren’t Affected by the Latest Intel Vulnerability

Intel vulnerabilities are slowly but surely becoming something that’s very common nowadays, with researchers recently coming across a new issue that could allow a malicious actor to extract the hardware signing keys from a computer.

Needless to say, the security flaw, which is tracked as CVE-2019-0090, is worrying for everyone whose devices might be impacted, especially as the number of exploits launched by attackers with local access could grow in the short term. But if you’re using a Librem Linux laptop launched by Purism, you’re perfectly safe, as the company says its implementation of the Intel ME doesn’t allow an attacker to exploit the flaw on its Intel-based computers.

[Source: Softpedia News]

Tracking the real US coronavirus testing numbers with open source

Want to know something scary? We really don’t even know how many people have been tested for the coronavirus, never mind how many have it. Despite the Trump administration’s promise of millions of tests and President Donald Trump’s claims that anyone can get tested for COVID-19, it’s clear there’s still not enough tests available.

Fortunately, researchers and Atlantic writers are pulling together data from numerous sources and using open-source software to give us the most accurate possible numbers on those tested, those found to be ill, and those who haven’t gotten it.

Isn’t this the job of the gutted Centers for Disease Control (CDC)? Yes. But, with insufficient resources, thanks to Trump’s CDC budget cuts, it’s no longer trying.

[Source: ZDNet]

Best Android tablet for 2020

With many tablet buyers opting for Apple iPads, the Android tablet market isn’t in the best place. Fewer and fewer manufacturers even make them now. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few good Android tablets available that try their best to rival the iPad.

While some might question the sanity of a potential Android tablet buyer, a good one can fulfill a range of tasks for any professional or casual need and, in some cases, do things an iPad or iPad Air still can’t, such as work with a touchpad or mouse. Plus, if you’re already invested in Android apps, you won’t have to buy them again for iOS. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive device for media consumption or a possible laptop substitution, there are options worth exploring. We did the research, taking into consideration everything from screen size to battery life to ease of use — basically, all the factors that go into a great tablet. Here are our picks for the best android tablet out there.

[Source: CNET]

A NES Motherboard For The Open Source Generation

As the original hardware from the golden era of 8-bit computer gaming becomes a bit long in the tooth, keeping it alive has become something of a concern for enthusiasts. There have been a succession of remanufactured parts for many of the major platforms of the day, and now thanks to [Redherring32] it’s the turn of the NES console.

The OpenTendo is a completely open-source replacement for an original front-loading Nintendo Entertainment System motherboard, using both original or after-market Nintendo CPU and PPU chips, and other still readily available components. It doesn’t incorporate Nintendo’s CIC lockout chip — Drew Littrell wrote a great article on how that security feature worked — but if you really need the authenticity there is also the NullCIC project that can simulate that component.

[Source: Hackaday]

Postgres is Open Source Software at its Best

Contributed By Bruce Momjian, co-founder of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group and senior database architect

Ubiquity and Democracy are the two words that best describe the open source PostgreSQL (Postgres) database management system. And, much like Linux, both are great examples of “open source at its best”.

In terms of its ubiquity, Postgres has been around more than 30 years and today is seemingly everywhere running on-premise or available as a hosted service (cloud) worldwide from dozens of providers. We often hear it is the “go-to” API most often selected by developers. Ask developers which database technologies they most love, and Postgres comes in second only to Redis, according to the Stack Overflow survey.

And, in terms of democracy, the software project is governed by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group who are developers and volunteers from around the world. The software project has more than 500 contributors. No one company is responsible, dominates or has control of the project and software development, so there is no danger of dependence on any one individual or entity. Furthermore, it’s not possible for anyone to “take over” Postgres. The PostgreSQL Global Development Group remains committed to making PostgreSQL available as free and open source software in perpetuity. There are no plans to change the PostgreSQL License or release PostgreSQL under a different license.

In 2018 and 2017, Postgres was named “Database of the Year” by DB-Engines for gaining more popularity than any of the other 343 monitored systems. DB-Engines wrote: Postgres is at the peak of its popularity, showing no signs of aging with a very active community. PostgreSQL serves modern DBMS requirements very well in various ways. Based on its solid RDBMS implementation, it extended its scope by supporting JSON data types and operators, thus providing an attractive choice for projects that would otherwise have turned to a document store. More recently, in its latest release, it focused on further improving performance.

Ubiquity and Democracy = Freedom

There has been a lot of debate about open source, especially data management technologies, and adoption by cloud providers – especially Amazon Web Services (AWS). To defend their turf, companies like MongoDB have changed their licensing terms to ward off the likes of AWS.

In the case of Postgres, that wouldn’t be possible given the open democracy that governs the project. The democracy that governs Postgres and its ubiquity amounts to Freedom for everyone involved. Users can choose the open source PostgreSQL, or an enterprise version of Postgres to run either in their data center or with whatever cloud provider they choose. There are no limits – and that is what makes Postgres different from just about everything else.

Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect Has Been Postponed Indefinitely

Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc for businesses all over the world! After scrapping its Cloud Next event (its largest annual conference with around 30,000 attendees) in favor of an online version, Google has now indefinitely postponed even the digital-version Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Originally, Google’s Cloud Next conference was scheduled to take place from April 6th to April 8th in San Francisco. Like many other companies, Google later announced plans to make it into a “digital-first” event citing coronavirus concerns.

[Source: TFiR]

Top 11 beautiful Linux Distros with best UI (User interface)

Linux is the open platform, and you can choose the best distro by considering every single element of the distribution. Furthermore, you can also change a number of useful elements within your Linux distribution, which is yet another cool aspect of using a Linux distro. But, if your first priority of getting a Linux distribution with best and beautiful UI (user interface), there are a handful of Linux distributions that you can choose from.

At the core, every single distribution is running the Linux kernel, and thus, even if you switch from one distro to the other, you will always feel at home, as everything else, other than the user interface is the same. Instead of switching to a new distro altogether, you can also install another desktop environment and start enjoying a different flavour of Linux. But, I will talk about the top Linux distributions with the best user interfaces that you can start using now.

[Source: H2S Media]

Engineers share designs for DIY ventilators online as coronavirus pandemic spreads

With ventilators in dangerously short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of DIY groups have begun working on open source designs that could be made at home. Julian Botta, a third year resident in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins, created a Google Doc listing some of the basic specifications for a ventilator and how a do-it-yourself version might be assembled.

The doc, called ‘Specifications for simple open source mechanical ventilator,’ is not affiliated in any way with Johns Hopkins, and is instead a purely personal pursuit for Botta. The idea came to him after he saw several similar projects spread across Github but was concerned that many of the designs were closer to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines than ventilators, according to a report in Vice.

[Source: Daily Mail]