How closely did you follow the news about Linux and free and open source software this week? You can get an idea about how well informed you are (and have some fun in the process) by taking our weekly Open Source News Quiz. Once you’re done, scroll down to the comments section and let us know how you did!
Wowie-zowie! Do you know open source, or what?
Sorry. We understand McDonald’s is hiring.
#1. What long-in-the-tooth operating system that's basically been in 'maintenance mode' with no new development since 2018, this week got a shot-in-the-arm with the addition of an important new feature?
Oracle announced last week that Solaris, the proprietary Unix operating system it obtained as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010, has a new feature called the ACT Service that will be a big deal for those still running the aging OS, especially if they’re running it on Sparc servers which can have up to eight terabytes of memory.
In the case of a system panic, admins will no longer have to wait for the memory dump to be downloaded, inspected for signs of malicious activity, and then re-uploaded, a time consuming process because a 2TB memory dump can take 18 hours to upload under the the best of conditions, according to Oracle.
With ACT Service in place, what will happen instead is that the memory dump will be stored locally, with an analysis report created on the local machine.
Oracle’s Chris Beal, Hisao Tsujimura, and Lijo George have the details on the Oracle Solaris Blog.
#2. The geospatial data specialist CubeWerx was purchased last week by what database-focused company?
MariaDB said it plans to use the technology it gains to add geospatial capabilities to MariaDB SkySQL, its fully managed cloud service. The Register has the complete story.
#3. What tech giant was identified this week for making wrongful charges of child sexual abuse against two fathers in two separate instances?
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that on at least two separate occasions Google notified police of possible sexual abuse after fathers, following requests from their doctors, had taken photos of their children’s groin areas, which were then sent by texts for diagnostic purposes.
On Monday, Electronic Frontiers Foundation published a blog about the Times report, citing Google’s actions as an example of how wrongfully used artificial intelligence can endanger privacy and other rights.
#4. A class action lawsuit has been filed against what company for data collection at scale that is illegal under the California constitution, the California Unfair Competition Law, the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the Federal Wiretap Act?
Oracle, says Richi Jennings, who quotes Allison Schiff and others:
“Oracle was hit with a class-action lawsuit [that] quotes from … Ellison’s keynote presentation at the company’s 2016 OpenWorld conference, during which he boasted that there are five billion people in Oracle’s ID Graph: ‘How many people are on Earth, seven billion? Two billion to go,’ Ellison quipped from the stage. … ‘This is scaring the lawyers,’ Ellison joked.”
“The complaint comes at a time when Oracle’s advertising business hasn’t been thriving. … Even so, Oracle Advertising netted around $2 billion last year. … And, in the view of its most recent complainants at least, that was money made through unlawful privacy violations.”
#5. What privacy-focused Linux distribution released version 5.4 this week?
It was Tails, or The Amnesic Incognito Live System, a Debian-based distro that differs from other Linux distributions in that it is a live system completely focused on privacy.
#6. As reported this week, when Linux 6.1 is released it will come with the ability to detect what hardware failures?
According to an article by Michael Larabel published in Phoronix on August 25:
“Queued up now in TIP’s x86/cpu branch for the Linux 6.1 merge window in October is a patch to print the likely CPU at segmentation fault time. Printing the likely CPU core and socket when a seg fault occurs can be beneficial if routinely finding seg faults happening on the same CPU package or particular core.”
#7. What third-party software repository has warned its users about a phishing campaign targeting its users?
The answer is PyPI, the official third-party software repository for Python packages.
According a report this week in Help Net Security, the PyPI team noted:
“We have additionally determined that some maintainers of legitimate projects have been compromised, and malware published as the latest release for those projects. These releases have been removed from PyPI and the maintainer accounts have been temporarily frozen.”
#8. What currently supported architecture are GNU Compiler Collection developers planning to remove from the upcoming release of GCC 13?
The answer is CompactRISC CR16.
According to Phoronix’s Michael Larabel:
“After being marked as obsolete in GCC 12, GNU Compiler Collection developers are now preparing to remove compiler support for the CompactRISC CR16 architecture in GCC 13.”
#9. Python remains the most popular language among coders, according to the most recent survey conducted by IEEE. Skills in what language does the survey indicate is most needed by employers?
According to an article published on Wednesday in The Register, the answer is SQL:
However, the article goes on to point out that being proficient in SQL alone might not guarantee a job.
“Having looked through hundreds of job listings in the course of compiling the list, said IEEE special projects editor and report author Stephen Cass, ‘I can say that the strength of the SQL signal is not because there are a lot of employers looking for just SQL coders … They want a given language plus SQL.'”