Wes & the Beard kick Chris out to share their top tips for starting 2018 out right, plus a holiday surprise from Linux Journal, a new device for Google’s Fuchsia & an unfortunate new flaw in a processor near you.

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Show Notes:

Happy New Year- Welcome to Linux Journal 2.0!

Talk about a Happy New Year. The reason: it turns out we’re not dead. In fact, we’re more alive than ever, thanks to a rescue by readers—specifically, by the hackers who run Private Internet Access.

This is exactly what we had hoped for in recent years, but hardly expected. Really and truly, I waited to put up our farewell post until all hope was lost. But hey, it turns out you don’t have to believe in miracles to experience one, because that’s exactly what happened here.

Second, they’re eager to support us in building Linux Journal 2.0 around the substantial core of devoted readers we had through the many years of Linux Journal 1.x. And, this means we need to hear from you!

Google’s experimental Fuchsia OS can now run on the Pixelbook

Google’s in-development operating system, Fuchsia, has a new development device: The Google Pixelbook. Google’s $1,000 laptop usually runs Chrome OS, but with the latest Fuchsia builds, you can swap out the browser-based OS for Google’s experimental operating system.

Fuchsia is still incredibly difficult to get running. Along with the Pixelbook, Fuchsia only supports two other obscure pieces of hardware: an Acer Switch Alpha 12 laptop and old Intel NUCs from 2015.

The extreme difficulty in getting Fuchsia to run reinforces the fact that Fuchsia is currently a secret, deep-in-development operating system that Google isn’t really ready to talk about or encourage people to try just yet.


‘Kernel memory leaking’ Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

A fundamental design flaw in Intel’s processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products. The effects are still being benchmarked, however we’re looking at a ballpark figure of five to 30 per cent slow down, depending on the task and the processor model.

Details of the vulnerability within Intel’s silicon are under wraps: an embargo on the specifics is due to lift early this month, perhaps in time for Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday next week. Indeed, patches for the Linux kernel are available for all to see but comments in the source code have been redacted to obfuscate the issue.

AMD processors are not subject to the types of attacks that the kernel page table isolation feature protects against.


An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative

Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices.The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more.

As such, its synchronization is designed without any hard dependency to any particular service. Most of the synchronization process is done at an abstract level, and access to external services, such as OneDrive or Dropbox, is done via lightweight drivers.

Joplin was designed as a replacement for Evernote, so it can import complete Evernote notebooks, as well as notes, tags, resources (attached files), and note metadata (such as author, geolocation, etc.) via ENEX files.

Valve: Linux Catbot VAC ban claims were hoaxed by hackers to ‘sow distrust among anti-cheat systems’

initially wrote that Valve was banning Linux users with Linux usernames that included the word ‘catbot’, but Valve has said those claims were a “tactic employed by cheaters to try and sow discord and distrust among anticheat systems”.

“Linux historically hasn’t been a problem for cheating–the base rate of cheating is significantly lower on Linux than it is on Windows. Unfortunately, a ‘healthy’ community of cheaters grew up around catbot on linux and their impact on TF became large enough that they simply could no longer be ignored. Those banned users are very annoyed that VAC has dropped the hammer on them.”

Linux Academy

2017 Best Practices

Bad predictions and plans for maintenance

All the Annoying Tech Chores You Need to Do When You Have Time

Like your car, or your kitchen, your tech devices will run best when they’re maintained properly—and that means finding time to do all those low-level maintenance tasks that aren’t much fun, but can keep everything stable and smooth, and avoid problems in the future.

  • Update your Software
  • Go through old files and free up some space
  • Monitor for problems
  • Get Organized
  • Update router and other firmware
  • Move to the cloud?

Linux resolutions for 2018

It’s always a good idea to start a new year with renewed intentions to be even better users and administrators of our Linux systems.

  • Automate the boring stuff
  • Learn a new language
  • Try a new OS
  • Focus on Security
  • Restore those backups!
  • Document, Document, Document
  • Most importantly, have some fun!

Question? Comments? Contact us here!