Distribution Release: Absolute Linux 14.12

Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 14.12. Absolute Linux is a Slackware-based distribution featuring the lightweight IceWM window manager as the default desktop. This release is based on Slackware’s latest development tree: “Absolute 14.12 released. This release is based upon Slackware Current (prior to 14.2….

m23 Rock 15.2 Linux Deployment Tool Supports Debian 8, Linux Mint 17.2, and systemd

Maren Hachmann from the m23 project, an open-source deployment and management system for Linux, has sent us an email to inform our readers about the immediate availability for download of m23 Rock 15.2.

From the looks of it, m32 Rock 15.2 is a major release, bringing support for the latest Debian GNU/Linux 8 (Jessie), Linux Mint 17.2 (Rafaela), and Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca) Linux kernel-based operating systems, support for the systemd init system, replacing the old SysVinit… (read more)

Treasure Hunter | Time to Train

Starts 00:00 UTC on 24th September – get prepped for Double XP Weekend!

Distribution Release: Tails 1.6

The developers of Tails, a privacy oriented live distribution based on Debian, have released Tails 1.6. The new release mostly contains minor software upgrades and security fixes. “Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.6, is out. This release fixes numerous security issues and all users must upgrade….

Big Data Contest at Strata + Hadoop World


Strata + Hadoop World New York City is going to be a big week for big data. Canonical are proud to be exabyte sponsors for the upcoming event.

If you’re coming to Strata + Hadoop World, don’t forget to visit our booth and discover the wonders of Juju. Juju is our service modelling tool that will let you build entire cloud environments in just a couple of clicks. In fact, you can see how easy it is to use by testing the demo in your web browser.


Juju opens endless potential for configurations. To demonstrate this, we’ll be hosting a Big Data Contest during Strata + Hadoop World. Come to our designated pod at our booth and create a solution for Big Data Architectures using the Juju GUI. Once you’ve submitted it as a bundle and outlined the documentation, you’ll be entered into the competition. We’ll be judging the solutions based on complexity, problem solving, and real use application. If your solution is chosen, we have some exciting rewards for the winners.

If you’re in top 3, you’ll get to pick between a Bose Soundlink Speaker, a Parrot Rolling Spider, or an Intel Compute Stick Ubuntu Edition. And the 3 next will each get a Xiaomi Mi Band.

We hope to see you at Strata + Hadoop World, and we can’t wait to see what creative solutions you can imagine. When it comes to big data, think big!

Marketplace Updates to Highlight Contributing Organizations

We are excited to announce some big changes to the Drupal.org Marketplace. In Dries’ Amsterdam Keynote, he made a compelling case for showing the contributions of organizations that are helping build Drupal. By highlighting organizations that give their employees time to give back, we make it possible for more people to give time to making the project better.

In March, we took steps to begin collecting this information by allowing individuals that were contributing in the issue queues to attribute their contributions to organization that they are employed by or customers that funded the work. When a maintainer of a project (module, theme, distribution or Drupal Core) closes an issue as fixed, they have an opportunity to pass on credit to the individuals who helped contribute to fixing the issue—and not just code contributions, but any kind of feedback, review, designs, etc.

We called this system issue credits and it has been a huge success. We now show the last 90 days of issue credits awarded to an individual or organization on their profile.

Today, after months of collecting this data, we are taking how we highlight contributing organizations to a new level.

With this launch, we are removing the distinction of “featured service providers” versus “all service providers”. By using data about these organizations contributions, we can provide a single list of all organizations ordered by their contributions.

For now, we are using issue credits as the primary sort. The secondary sort highlights organizations that are giving back by supporting Drupal.org through the supporting partner program or organization membership. Soon, we plan to incorporate case studies submitted, DrupalCon sponsorships, and camp sponsorships to help make a more complete picture of how organizations are contributing to our community.

Give it a look and give us your feedback.

Front page news: 

Before Debugging PHP That’s Not Working, Consult This List of 10 Common Mistakes

PHP makes it relatively easy to build a web-based system, which is much of the reason for its popularity. But its ease of use notwithstanding, PHP has evolved into quite a sophisticated language with many frameworks, nuances, and subtleties that can bite developers, leading to hours of hair-pulling debugging. This article highlights ten of the more common mistakes that PHP developers need to beware of.

Common Mistake #1: Leaving dangling array references after foreach loops

Not sure how to use foreach loops in PHP? Using references in foreach loops can be useful if you want to operate on each element in the array that you are iterating over. For example:

$arr = array(1, 2, 3, 4);
foreach ($arr as &$value) {
    $value = $value * 2;
// $arr is now array(2, 4, 6, 8)

The problem is that, if you’re not careful, this can also have some undesirable side effects and consequences. Specifically, in the above example, after the code is executed, $value will remain in scope and will hold a reference to the last element in the array. Subsequent operations involving $value could therefore unintentionally end up modifying the last element in the array.

Read more at toptal.com

Development Release: Fedora 23 Beta

Dennis Gilmore has announced the release of Fedora 23 Beta. This new test release showcases a number of important changes to the Red Hat sponsored distribution. Fedora’s new beta release features security hardened packages to protect against memory corruption, GNOME 3.18 is included in the project’s Workstation edition….

Updates to Firefox Accounts and Firefox Hello Beta

The latest Firefox update is now available. This release includes minor updates to personalize your Firefox Account and adds a new functionality to Firefox Hello Beta.

Firefox Accounts provides access to services like Firefox Sync to let you take browsing data such as passwords, bookmarks, history and open tabs across your desktop and mobile devices. The latest update to Firefox Accounts allows you to personalize your Firefox Account profile in Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android by adding a photo.

Firefox Hello Beta, developed with our partner Telefónica, is the global communications system built directly into a browser and it will now let you send and receive instant messages when you’re in a video call in Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux.

More information:

Fedora 23 Beta released!

The Fedora 23 Beta is here, right on schedule for our planned October final release! Want to help make Fedora 23 be the best release ever, or just want to get a sneak peek? Download the prerelease from our Get Fedora site and give it a whirl:

What is the Beta release?

The Beta release contains all the exciting features of Fedora 23’s editions in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 23 is expected in October.

We need your help to make Fedora 23 the best yet, so please take some time to download and try out the Beta and make sure the things that are important to you are working. If you find a bug, please report it – every bug you uncover is a chance to improve the experience for millions of Fedora users worldwide.

Together, we can make Fedora rock-solid. We have a culture of coordinating new features and pushing fixes upstream as much as feasible, and your feedback will help improve not only Fedora but Linux and free software on the whole.

Fedora-Wide Changes

Fedora 23 includes a number of changes that will improve all of the editions. For example, Fedora 23 makes use of compiler flags to improve security by hardening the binaries against memory corruption vulnerabilities, buffer overflows, and so on. This is a “behind the scenes” change that most users won’t notice through normal use of a Fedora edition, but will help provide additional system security.

Likewise, Fedora 23 has disabled SSL3 and RC4 by default due to known vulnerabilities in the protocols. This means all applications that use GNUTLS and OpenSSL libraries have had the SSL3 protocol and RC4 cipher disabled.

Fedora 23 comes with the latest version of Mono 4. This means a big improvement because we were stuck with an ancient version of Mono (2.10) for too long. All packages within Fedora that are based on Mono have been adjusted and rebuilt, to target the 4.5 version of the .Net framework. Mono 4 does not support solutions targeting v1.0, v2.0 or v3.5 of .Net, but usually they can be easily upgraded to v4.5.

Fedora 23 Beta also includes support for Unicode 8.0, which includes new emojis, and improvements in sorting Unicode text and processing non-ASCII URLs.

Fedora Server

The Fedora Server release includes a number of interesting changes and additions.

The rolekit service now supports setting up three roles. In addition to the previously supported Domain Controller (powered by FreeIPA abd Database Server (powered by PostgreSQL) roles, Fedora Server 23 features a cache server for web applications (powered by memcached).

Rolekit can also now be used from the anaconda kickstart by passing the –deferred arguments to rolectl. For example: rolectl deploy domaincontroller –name=example.com –deferred will instruct the system to deploy the Domain Controller role on the next boot.
The Cockpit Admin Interface in Fedora Server has several big improvements as well.

  • Support for SSH key authentication
  • Support for configuring user accounts with their authorized keys.
  • Basic cluster dashboard for driving Kubernetes on Fedora Server and Fedora Atomic Host.
  • Set the timezone for your Fedora Server from the Cockpit User Interface (UI).
  • Cockpit has also been made safe to use with multipath disks.

Fedora Workstation

While there’s a lot going on under the hood, desktop users are also going to find Fedora 23 Beta pretty exciting for all the obvious goodness coming to the desktop. The easiest way to experience the preview of these technologies is to download and try the Fedora 23 Beta Workstation edition.

Naturally, GNOME is getting an upgrade, with Fedora 23 containing a preview of the upcoming GNOME 3.18 release, which is easier to use than ever. There are also many enhancements on the way, such as:

  • Improvements to next-generation graphics stack Wayland, preparing it to be the default graphical server in a future release. This includes mixed HiDPI support, to provide a better experience when moving apps between HiDPI and non-HiDPI monitors
  • Support for ambient backlight drivers, so brightness responds to the environment on laptops with the required hardware
  • The Software application is smarter about metered Internet connections, and can now update system firmware
  • Refreshed support for Google APIs to provide access to user data through GNOME apps (including Google Drive integration)

Users trying to get a little work done on Fedora will be happy to see LibreOffice 5 in Fedora 23. The new release includes a lot of new features and improvements:

  • Style previews in the sidebar
  • Microsoft Word-compatible text highlighting
  • Built-in image crop
  • UI for data bars in Calc
  • Support for Time-Stamp Protocol in PDF export
  • Support for Adobe Swatch Exchange color palettes
  • Import of Apple Pages files
  • Improved support for HiDPI screens
  • Significantly improved support for MS Office formats

Fedora Cloud

Fedora 23 Cloud Base image includes many updates and enhancements to the underlying Fedora base packages. For example, Fedora 23 now has the latest Docker release, docker 1.8. We can now verify the publisher of an image before running. This gives the users the power to identify that the image publisher published has not been tampered with. You can find many other details about the newest Docker in this announcement.

Stay tuned for news about Fedora Atomic Host in the not too distant future!

Other notable changes in Fedora


Fedora Spins are alternative desktops for Fedora that provide a different experience than the standard Fedora Workstation edition. For instance, the Fedora KDE and Fedora Xfce spins provide popular alternatives to GNOME for Fedora users who enjoy the KDE or Xfce experience.

There’s a new spin in town for Fedora 23. Want a classic take on a modern desktop? If so, the Cinnamon spin may just be what you’re hoping to find. Fedora 23 includes a spin that tries to emulate the GNOME 2 experience using GNOME Shell from GNOME 3.x. Learn more at Cinnamon.

Sugar on a Stick is a stand-alone implementation of the desktop environment originally designed for the One Laptop per Child project. Fedora’s SoaS spin has been updated to Sugar 0.106, for better performance, updated activities, and a new “social help” feature for collaborative learning.


Fedora Labs are curated software collections. You can find updated live media focused on Games, Design, Robotics, and more.

Issues and Details

This is an Beta release. As such, we expect that you may encounter bugs or missing features. To report issues encountered during testing, contact the Fedora QA team via the test mailing list or in #fedora-qa on freenode.

As testing progresses, common issues are tracked on the Common F23 Bugs page.

For tips on reporting a bug effectively, read “how to file a bug report.”

Release Schedule

The full release schedule is available on the Fedora wiki. The current schedule calls for a beta release towards the end of September, and the final release scheduled towards the end of October.

These dates are subject to change, pending any major bugs or issues found during the development process.

LibreOffice merchandising is available from Spreadshirt.Net

The Document Foundation has opened a store for LibreOffice merchandising at Spreadshirt.Net.

LibreOffice Merchandising Shop

We have a few items at the moment, mostly mugs and t-shirts, but we are open to suggestions and new designs. If you want to contribute, or if you already have a design to suggest, send an email to italo@documentfoundation.org.

The shop is managed by Spreadshirt, which is also responsible for the production of the items, the collection of the payment and the delivery of the items. The Document Foundation will get a small percentage of each item cost, to support the project.

Distribution Release: Linux Mangaka Mou

The Animesoft development team, the group behind the Ubuntu-based Linux Mangaka distribution, have announced a new release of their desktop operating system. According to the developers the new release, Linux Mangaka Mou, will work on both x86 and PowerPC 64-bit architectures. The Mou version ships with a lightly….

Introducing the extra Fedora 23 wallpapers

More then a month ago Fedora called for submissions for the supplemental wallpaper package for Fedora 23. We got a lot of submissions this time. In fact, we broke all our previous records, with 199 submissions. We had 73 different participants who submitted to the contest. Many of them were first time contributors.

To all our contributors, thank you. And remember, you’re winners even if your wallpaper was not among the top selections! You’ve made your first contribution to Fedora, so congratulations and we hope you continue to contribute.

Unfortunately, though, we also broke also the record for rejections. Most were due to a trademark logo in the image, or image manipulations without evidence of proper licensing from an original source photo. This meant we couldn’t take these images for use as free content.

We had to reject 42 submissions, and so 157 photos ended up in the pool for voting. It wasn’t an easy task for 97 voters to select 16 of these, especially since the quality overall was very high. If you want to know more about the results, Nuancier provides a page with statistics about the voting process.

And now to the winners!

We’ll have these beautiful wallpapers in Fedora 23:

Fedora23 Supplemental Wallpapers


Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat

Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability, dubbed “CVE-2015-3860,” and posted details and a video showing the how the lockscreen is bypassed on a Nexus device.

The Security Wranglers of Fedora

The deluge of software vulnerabilities creates challenges for system administrators, developers, and users. Although many vulnerabilities are corner cases that are often difficult to exploit and have limited effects, there are the occasional vulnerabilities that become front page news. Many people have heard of Heartbleed, Shellshock, and VENOM, but there are many other lesser known vulnerabilities that appear every day.

Members of the Fedora Security Team take on these challenging vulnerabilities in Fedora packages and find ways to eliminate them. We’re looking for more Fedora contributors who want to contribute to this mission.

Here are three ways that you can get involved:

Wrangle a bug

The Red Hat Bugzilla has plenty of security-related tickets open for various packages. As of September 10, 2015, there were 601 open bugs for various packages. Many of these vulnerabilities are medium to low severity and they are often easy to patch.

If you’d like to join the effort, take a look at the security bug workflow and look for bugs in software packages that you use regularly. After you tag the ticket with your Fedora username, try to figure out if the bug is still valid for the package. If it is, you can reach out to the maintainer to remind them about the bug or suggest a possible patch. For those of you who package software for Fedora already, you can offer to co-maintain the package if the maintainer doesn’t have time to fix it.

Updating packages to fix security bugs can be challenging, especially if the bug still exists upstream. Fortunately, the Fedora Security Team has members with a wide array of skillsets and you may find someone who can help you get a patch submitted upstream.

Get social

There are plenty of ways to talk with the team and we’d love to hear from you! We meet regularly in IRC (currently on Thursdays at 14:00 UTC) and our members hang out in #fedora-security-team on Freenode. Feel free to come by, introduce yourself, and share your interests in Fedora.

We also have a mailing list where we discuss specific bugs or more general issues affecting Fedora as a whole. Send an email to security-team@lists.fedoraproject.org to get a conversation started. (If you know about a critical security issue, please email security@fedoraproject.org directly to ensure someone gets notified immediately.)

Our membership is totally informal; there’s no need to have a deep background in computer science or information security. The most important thing is that you care about making Fedora better, especially within the realm of information security.

Think globally, act locally

One of the more nebulous roles of the Fedora Security Team is to find ways to increase awareness around security throughout the Fedora community. No matter where you contribute, keep security in mind. If you’re building a package, writing documentation, or making a design decision, try to think about the security impact from that change.

If you’re ever unsure about the potential effects of a change, reach out to our team! We’re glad to review it during our weekly meetings or on the mailing list.

Photo credit: By Wm. Notman and Son [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ubuntu MATE with the Numix Theme Looks Great, Might Get Included by Default

The main developer of Ubuntu MATE, Martin Wimpress, is experimenting with the Numix icons and themes and he seems to like the result.

The Numix team of designers produce among the best themes and icon sets that you can find for Linux systems and they are available for numerous distributions. They have been around for some time and they refined their work tremendously. It’s almost impossible to find anything that even matches their level of quality.

This is probably why M… (read more)

OpenLDAP Vulnerabilities Closes in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

A couple of OpenLDAP issues have been identified and fixed in the Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems.

The maintainers of the openldap have pushed a new version of the library in the repositories and users should get the new version. This latest version is about some security fixes that have been added and it’s a good idea to update.

“Dietrich Clauss discovered that the OpenLDAP package incorrectly shipped with a potentially unsafe defa… (read more)

OpenStreetMap Cycle Map Is a New App for Cyclists on Ubuntu Touch

The Ubuntu Touch platform is getting all kinds of useful apps and it is at the moment much easier to find something you need. For example, there is now an app for cyclists.

One of the reasons I still use Android is the fact that there are a lot of good apps for people on bicycles. They help me keep track of the distance I traveled, speed, and other useful info. This is the kind of stuff you don’t find on new operating systems and it will be a while until something as comple… (read more)

Users Are Reporting Great Battery Life for Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

One of the Ubuntu developers’ goals is to increase the battery performance of the phones powered by their operating system, and it looks like they are doing some great work with the Meizu MX4.

In a world where companies are proud to say that the battery in their phones can now last a full day without having to recharge (OnePlus is a good example), battery performance has become paramount. Just a few months ago, when the new Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition hit the market, a lot of … (read more)

Stunt Rally 2.6 and Irrlamb 0.2

Stunt Rally 2.6 has been released, with new features including pacenotes (i.e. corner speed/severity hints) and a rewritten sound system with reverberation (changelog).

Stunt Rally is a sandbox racing game with a huge number of tracks (172 in 2.6) and lots of cars. It was originally forked from VDrift and features Ogre3D as a graphics engine instead of the custom (and less sophisticated) graphics engine in VDrift.

A video is worth a thousand pictures and a picture a thousand words so, instead of me writing a million of those, I invite you to check out the gameplay in the video that accompanied the release:

Also recently updated is Irrlamb. Those with incredibly good memories will recall this physics-based game originally appearing many years ago. I originally wrote about Irrlamb over 8 years ago on Free Gamer, and the previous release (0.1.1) is over 5 years old if I’m not mistaken (it is hard to check since things have moved on since then i.e. Google Code where its development was originally hosted).

This release adds new graphical capabilities, new levels, gamepad support and various fixes – see the announcement for more details.

I’ll also write a really lengthy… wait a minute! Let’s link a video instead. 😉