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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: !CVE

An alternate list of (alleged) vulnerability numbers for problems that the designated CNA refuses to issue a CVE for.

https://lwn.net/ml/oss-security/c01c1617-641d-4ec2-847f-2e85ea4676f7@notcve.org/

Perhaps this is an effort to identify vulnerabilities that, for whatever reason, the Powers That Be won't recognize. It also looks like a way to circumvent efforts to combat the growing bogus-CVE problem, though.
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Jonathan Corbet

Aww...they deleted my old videobuf document:

https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git/commit/?id=2a2fffb488a3c

I'd actually forgotten that I wrote that thing at all, evidently I did it back in 2010...

https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git/commit/?id=4b586a38b04

Hopefully it was useful while it lasted.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: what is the linux-kernel mailing list for? @monsieuricon is suggesting that many or most patch postings be redirected to a separate list:

https://lwn.net/ml/ksummit-discuss/20231106-venomous-raccoon-of-wealth-acc57c@nitro/

I've not jumped into the conversation because I'm still trying to figure out what I think about it. I'm one of those people who actually reads over that list; the broad view it provides is helpful in both the LWN and documentation-maintainer roles. But it *is* painful to keep up with.

LKML has traditionally been the place you post patches to get them reviewed. If that's not its role anymore, what is it for?
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Jonathan Corbet

LWN is trying to hire a full-time writer/editor:

https://lwn.net/Articles/949461/

Please talk to us if you think you might be interested, and pass on a pointer to anybody else who might be a good fit.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: who gets on the linux-distros mailing list?

linux-distros is where vulnerabilities and fixes are discussed prior to public disclosure. Given the nature of the material discussed, it is unsurprising that membership is limited. I seriously doubt they would let me on it...

CIQ (Rocky Linux) would like to join:

https://lwn.net/ml/oss-security/20231001130223.GA6586@openwall.com/

There has been some opposition to this membership, seemingly based on the ideas that (1) Rocky Linux isn't doing much of the way of original distribution work, and (2) as a (relatively) community-oriented project, it lacks a way to keep secrets. This view is not universally held, though.

Meanwhile, openEuler also wants in:

https://lwn.net/ml/oss-security/ZSyUUSF_-3YbT14k@workstation/

The concern here is potential legal issues related to openEuler's Chinese origins.
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Jonathan Corbet

Cool...there's now a archive of all the Whole Earth Catalogs and the various magazines that descended from it:

https://wholeearth.info/
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Jonathan Corbet

I'm currently dealing with a contractor to replace the gas furnace with a heat pump and actually use all that power that the rooftop panels are generating rather than burning gas. So far so good.

Today I got an email from a third-party site I'd never heard of with an invoice. To actually pay the invoice, the thing demands my login credentials for access to my bank account.

The contractor seemed surprised that I proved unwilling to do that. I guess I understand why phishing is such a lucrative exercise.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: the ongoing, slow-burning discussion over the sched_ext scheduling class (which allows the writing of complete CPU schedulers in BPF: https://lwn.net/Articles/922405/). This thread has been ongoing since July:

https://lwn.net/ml/linux-kernel/20230726091752.GA3802077@hirez.programming.kicks-ass.net/

with a new message showing up every few weeks. Regardless of how one feels about sched_ext, it is clear that quite a bit of thought has gone into the problem on both sides of the debate.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: improved tunable handling for glibc. The recent vulnerability has drawn their attention to this aspect of library behavior, and now they are trying to make some changes to prevent the next vulnerability before it happens (or at least before somebody finds it)

https://lwn.net/ml/libc-alpha/20231010180111.561793-1-adhemerval.zanella@linaro.org
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Jonathan Corbet

So they made a movie about my dad ...

https://fullcirclefilm.co/

...and about a crazy kid named Trevor Kennison and how both recovered their lives after a devastating injury. I've seen it, it's definitely worth a watch. The site lists a lot of upcoming screenings (all just in North America, alas).
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Jonathan Corbet

So OSS Europe was an interesting experience, this year, in a way.

I did my usual talk, and started with the usual section on kernel releases. When talking about stable updates I tossed in a quick mention that six-year support from the stable team was being phased out — something I understood to be generally known for about the last year. Way at the end of the talk, as my last topic, I discussed at some length the stresses being felt by kernel maintainers.

@sjvn wrote an article about the talk (https://www.zdnet.com/article/long-term-support-for-linux-kernel-to-be-cut-as-maintainence-remains-under-strain/) and made a connection between the stable-policy change and the maintainer issue — something I had not done in the talk. It was a bit of a shift from what I said, but not a bad article overall.

Then the rest of the net filled up with other writers putting up articles that were clearly just cribbed from SJVN's piece — sometimes with credit, sometimes without. I'm getting emails about what a terrible idea this all is, as if I had anything to do with that decision or can somehow change it. I have, it seems, taken away everybody's six-year support, and they're not happy about it.

All because of a 30-second mention of a change that was made public something like a year ago. My 1.5 minutes of fame has given me a new appreciation for this old quote from Rusty Russell: "when a respected information source covers something where you have on-the-ground experience, the result is often to make you wonder how much fecal matter you've swallowed in areas outside your own expertise."
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: reconsidering the kernel's preemption models.

It all started in a discussion on optimizing string operations on x86, but that led to finding ways to allow preemption for long-running operations even in non-preempable kernels.

You see, the kernel offers a number of different models for when kernel code itself can be preempted to run something with a higher priority. All the way from PREEMPT_NONE (no preemption at all) through PREEMPT_VOLUNTARY (preemption at explicitly marked points) and plain PREEMPT (anytime not in a critical section) through to PREEMPT_RT for realtime. Linus was getting grumpy about the scattering of voluntary preemption points, and eventually came around to the idea of maybe dropping PREEMPT_NONE and PREEMPT_VOLUNTARY altogether:

https://lwn.net/ml/linux-kernel/CAHk-=whpYjm_AizQij6XEfTd7xvGjrVCx5gzHcHm=2Xijt+Kyg@mail.gmail.com/

I doubt that's going to happen, but we may see a reduction of options in favor of PREEMPT_DYNAMIC, which allows choosing between voluntary and full preemption at boot time.
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Well, vger (as of right now) no longer directly attempts to deliver to gmail/google/googlemail just to get the ridiculous backlog out of the primary mail paths. Vger (1 machine) is kicking all of that queue over to 8 other machines and letting them go try to get that delivered and queue up somewhere where it's not going to cause everyone else pain.

This should, at least for now, settle out several things, but if you are seeing mail wonkiness give postmaster@ a ping and I'll take a look.

Also if you are on Gmail and doing kernel dev, might be worth looking at other email providers.

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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: restricting access to "ALTER SYSTEM" in postgresql

Having mutually untrusting users connecting to the same postgresql server is a tricky proposition from the beginning; it's even moreso if, for some reason, some of those users are postgresql superusers. There is a proposal to chip away one piece of the problem by making it possible to disable the ALTER SYSTEM command, which affects global server parameters:

https://lwn.net/ml/pgsql-hackers/CA+VUV5rEKt2+CdC_KUaPoihMu+i5ChT4WVNTr4CD5-xXZUfuQw@mail.gmail.com/

There is disagreement over whether this is a piece of security theater or a useful option for some providers.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: advancing the Git SHA-256 work.

Moving Git away from the SHA1 hash has been a long and slow process:

https://lwn.net/Articles/898522/

Much of the basic support to use SHA-256 is there, but a lot of the finishing work is not, so it remains unused. Now Eric Biederman has surfaced with a set of patches to provide interoperability between SHA-1 and SHA-256 repositories:

https://lwn.net/ml/git/87sf7ol0z3.fsf@email.froward.int.ebiederm.org/

Someday, maybe, this transition will actually happen. Maybe.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: git replay and jj

The git community is considering a "replay" command as a variant of rebase:

https://lwn.net/ml/git/20230907092521.733746-1-christian.couder@gmail.com/

As I was reading through the description, I saw that one of the motivations for this work is "jj is slaughtering us on rebase speed". Not being familiar with jj or its murderous speed, I dug and found:

https://github.com/martinvonz/jj

Google, it seems, has put a full-time developer on creating an alternative to git.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: maintainers summit discussion about keeping old, unmaintained filesystems in the kernel:

https://lwn.net/ml/ksummit-discuss/ZO9NK0FchtYjOuIH@infradead.org/

The kernel has a "no regressions" rule, and it's hard to argue that removing a filesystem that has users is not a regression. But there are also limits to how long some of those filesystems can be carried forward.

I looked at one aspect of this back in July (https://lwn.net/Articles/939097/), but the discussion seems destined to continue for a while yet.

Still, should this topic show up at the actual maintainers summit, I'm guessing Linus would stop it short by saying "we don't remove code that people are using; next topic".
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: the 6.6 bcachefs discussion:

https://lwn.net/ml/linux-kernel/20230903032555.np6lu5mouv5tw4ff@moria.home.lan/

It turns out that if you ask to merge a big new subsystem that hasn't even been seen in linux-next, Linus gets grumpy with you.
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: replacing openSUSE Leap:

https://lwn.net/ml/opensuse-factory/c9df1be1a23ad815393acb1797d0f9bf1f007e89.camel@suse.de/

"Slowroll" for the win?
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Jonathan Corbet

On the radar: passim in Fedora

https://lwn.net/ml/fedora-devel/CAD2FfiHV5_kd72Xc1t-=V_EtqBiiKZ7=8Uke5k3FZeLcZOJ9Mw@mail.gmail.com/

Passim, it seems, is an mDNS-based system for sharing firmware updates across a local net. The idea is to help firmware distribution scale up, but it might also increase the attack surface of systems in interesting ways.
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