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Updated: 10 hours 18 min ago

Jono Bacon: New Forbes Column: From Piracy to Prosperity

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 09:49

My new Forbes column is published.

This article covers how technology has impacted how creatives, artists, and journalists create, distribute, and engage around their work.

For it I sat down with Mike Shinoda, co-founder of grammy award winning Linkin Park as well as Ali Velshi, host on Al Jazeera and former CNN Senior Business Corrospondent.

Go and read the article here.

After that you may want to see my previous article where I interviewed Chris Anderson, founder of 3DR and author of The Long Tail, where we discuss building the open drone revolution. Read that article here.

Ronnie Tucker: Issue with new theme in Chrome 43.0.2357.125 (64-bit)

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 02:58

We are aware of an issue in Chrome 43.0.2357.125 (64-bit) (from the package google-chrome-stable) that results in the page not rendering correctly.  It seems to be caused by a bug in either Chrome, or the .deb package (from Google’s homepage).

What’s affected: Only the stable 64 bit version (43.0.2357.125) (installing the 32-bit version on 64-bit Ubuntu worked for me, and the error was not present).

The Bug: Chrome returns/receives a 404 error when trying to load the style.css file for the theme.  The file exists, and is reachable in all other browsers at the correct link.

The Fix: For the time being, switching to an older version of Chrome, or to google-chrome-beta, will fix the issue.

Warning: For anyone who has an update for Google Chrome (64-bit) on Ubuntu, I would recommend holding off on said update, or just directly switching to the beta channel.

I have used Chrome’s “report an issue” function to hopefully bring this to Google’s attention.  Feel free to do the same.

tl;dr: The issue is coming from this particular version of Chrome, and as such, I can’t/won’t fix it.  I’ve brought it to Google’s attention, but using the 32-bit version of Chrome, or the Chrome Beta will fix the issue.

Alessio Treglia: How to have a successful OpenStack project

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 01:30

It’s no secret that OpenStack is becoming the de-facto standard for private cloud and a way for telecom operators to differentiate against big names such as Amazon or Google.
OpenStack has already been adopted in some specific projects, but the wide adoption in enterprises is starting now, mostly because people simply find it difficult to understand. VMWare is still something to compare to, but OpenStack and cloud is different. While cloud implies virtualization, virtualization is not cloud.

Cloud is a huge shift in your organization and will change forever your way of working in the IT projects, improving your IT dramatically and cutting down costs.

In order to get the best of OpenStack, you need to understand deeply how cloud works. Moreover, you need to understand the whole picture beyond the software itself to provide new levels of agility, flexibility, and cost savings in your business.

Giuseppe Paterno’, leading European consultant and recently awarded by HP, wrote OpenStack Explained to guide you through the OpenStack technology and reveal his secret ingredient to have a successful project. You can download the ebook for a small donation to provide emergency and reconstruction aid for the. Your donation is certified by ZEWO , the Swiss federal agency that ensures that funds go to a real charity project.

… but hurry up, the ebook is in a limited edition and it ends on July 2015.

Donate & Download here: https://life-changer.helvetas.ch/openstack

Ronnie Tucker: LibreOffice Special Edition 04

Sun, 06/14/2015 - 06:46

The LibreOffice series continues… We continue our assembly of Elmer Perry’s LibreOffice series in this, Volume 4.

English
(EPUB)

Stuart Langridge: A review of Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves

Sun, 06/14/2015 - 03:48

On Bad Voltage we review things: normally technology products, but occasionally other stuff that we like. In the most recent show I reviewed Neal Stephenson’s recently-released book Seveneves, and I thought I’d excerpt the review for here to give it a more permanent home for people who want to read it.

.oOo.

Neal Stephenson isn’t good at endings. Anyone who’s read any of his stuff knows this. He is good at ideas, and they’re what his books are about. The Diamond Age wasn’t about its plot, it was about nanotechnology. Anathem was about Platonic epistemology. And Seveneves is about orbital mechanics.

Basically, the moon blows up. Nobody’s very sure why. Because this is sci-fi rather than a Michael Bay film, the moon isn’t instantly vapourised into nothingness; all the rock is still there, so instead of a moon you’ve got a cloud of boulders the size of the moon, drifting around where the moon was. Then a popular scientist bloke on Earth, who is called Dubois Harris but really ought to be called Duneil DeGrasse Tyson, points out that all those rocks that make up the moon are going to come out of orbit and land on the earth. Specifically, earth is going to spend five thousand years being bombarded by rocks from the sky, which will cause some problems. Specifically specifically, it will destroy everything. Everybody’s dead, everybody is dead, everybody’s dead, Dave.

So the plan is set to stick a few thousand chosen people on the international space station so they survive and humanity continues to exist, in the two years before rocks fall and everyone dies. That’s the first third of the book. There are some quite emotional scenes of people singing in St. Paul’s Cathedral as the bombardment starts; Stephenson glosses over but makes you aware of the unbelieveable Niagara of politics which is going on back on Earth to decide who gets to live and who doesn’t. The second third of the book is the story of these last remaining humans up in space, and this is where the orbital mechanics comes in; loving, pages-deep detail is devoted to how the international space station rotates its angle of perigee and moves to a higher plane of rotation or something. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but I assume it is. In American Psycho (the book, that is), Bret Easton Ellis went into huge stupid detail about the cravats and suits and pocket squares that the characters all wear, but secretly if anyone had actually worn the things he described they’d have looked stupid… because Ellis knew that everyone reading would just gloss over the actual brand names and have a picture in their heads of a bunch of jumped-up 80s yuppies. It is possible that what Stephenson describes is actually the space station doing insane loop-the-loops, as some sort of extremely erudite joke on the reader destined only for the astronauts among us. This is not helped by how the International Space Station gets re-christened “Izzy”.

Anyway, those of you who are imagining that this becomes some sort of peace-and-flowers Star Trek world where everyone comes together would probably be better off reading something else. It’s basically Lord of the Flies but in space. Now why didn’t I see that coming? Oh, wait, I did. It’s all quite believeably told, mind you, even if I just couldn’t bear to actually read a chapter or two in the middle where a venial ex-President incites a schism. And we end up with there being only seven woman left from the cast of thousands, and everybody else is dead. Dave.

The third part of the book is… five thousand years later. Humanity has recovered and built cities in space and is returning to the earth… and is divided into seven separate tribes, based on which of the seven Eves they descended from. It’s all rather Brave New World in feel, assuming that Huxley had stopped every two pages to lovingly describe how a space elevator works. And then it ends. Anathem had a proper ending, so Stephenson is getting better at this stuff, but Seveneves backslides a bit.

It’s all rather 60s sci-fi in approach. Back when the star of the story was some cool new idea you had about space, like solar sails or geosynchronous satellites or whatever, and the ridiculous lantern-jawed spacer hero was really only there to stand around and explain the cool physics. Seveneves is like that. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like this. If you like Stephenson, you’ll like this. If you like space engineering, you’ll like this.

The Bad Voltage verdict? If you like things like this, you’ll like this thing. Especially if you already know what a perihelion is.

Aaron Honeycutt: SELF Day 1: Ubuntu

Sat, 06/13/2015 - 07:35
UbuCon

The first day at SouthEast LinuxFest was UbuCon with talks from 3 different Ubuntu/Canonical employees, Mauricio Tavares
and myself. Here is the schedule:

UbuCons, LoCo Teams, and Community Presence: Michael Hall

Michael talked about how to gain more members and strengthen your LoCo Team. As well as what to do at your LoCo meetings.

Arduino Meets USB Passthrough on Planet KVM: Mauricio Tavares

Mauricio talked about using Virtual Machines for development on the Arduino.

Ubuntu in Retrospect: From NotifyOSD to Snappy: Rick Spencer

Rick went over his time with Ubuntu from when he joined back in 2008 and where we are heading to in 16.04.

Developing Apps and Scopes for Ubuntu: Michael Hall

Michael discussed App development, where to start, and the whole platform. He also talked about how the process to approve applications for the Phone have gone from manual to automatic, which greatly decreased the time it took to get an application into the Ubuntu Store

Ubuntu Documentation: A Unified Approach: Aaron Honeycutt

I went over how all the Documentation Teams can use similar languages when writing documentation. Using a markdown language such as ReStructuredText (RST) that is much easier to learn for new users and could gain more contributors.

Application Security in Ubuntu: Why You Should Care: Ken VanDine

Ken VanDine went over the limits and strengths that are gained from how Ubuntu Touch handles installing applications and how it will be and is in Snappy Core.

Ubuntu Open Q&A Panel

A few people with Michael, Ken and I talked about the history of Ubuntu and Unity. As well as problems with hardware over the years like sound cards, bluetooth and more.


Ronnie Tucker: Announcing Apache: Big Data and ApacheCon: Core

Sat, 06/13/2015 - 06:27

A year and a half ago, we forged a partnership with the Apache Software Foundation to become the producer of their official ASF events. The ASF has long blazed a trail of innovation in open source and our work with them has yielded results in successful developer collaboration and events. It’s been a great partnership, in our opinion, led on our side by my colleague Angela Brown.

After extensive research and discussions with the Apache Software Foundation community, ApacheCon will now consist of two co-located events, called Apache: Big Data, and ApacheCon: Core. Starting this autumn in Budapest, we will now offer Apache: Big Data alongside ApacheCon: Core. Apache: Big Data will focus on Apache’s wide range of Big Data-focused projects, including Bigtop, Crunch, Falcon, Flink, Hadoop, Kafka, Parquet, Phoenix, Samza, Spark, Storm, Tajo, and more.

 

Source: http://www.linux.com/news/featured-blogs/167-amanda-mcpherson/834560-announcing-apache-big-data-and-apachecon-core

Submitted by: Amanda McPherson

Jorge Castro: Mine and Mingle during the Spark Summit

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 12:13

If you’re attending the Spark Summit next week in San Francisco, make sure you check out the [Big Data Mine and Mingle(http://insights.ubuntu.com/event/big-data-mine-and-mingle/) we’re throwing at the Thirsty Bear, 16 June @ 8pm. Beer shall be had on us!

Registration/Space is limited, so click through the register button on that spot to reserve your space.

And remember that our Conducting systems and services: an evening about orchestration is happening the week after during DockerCon; space is filling up on that one too, so get in early!

Canonical Design Team: SDK Convergence Sprint 2015

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 07:30

Last week the SDK team gathered in London for a sprint that focused on convergence, which consisted of pulling apart each component and discussing ways in which each would adapt to different form factors.

The SDK provides off-the-shelf UI components that make up our Ubuntu apps; however now we’re entering the world of Unity 8 convergence, some tweaking is needed to help them function and look visually pleasing on different screen sizes, such as desktop, tablet and other larger screens.

To help with converging your app, the Design Team have created a set of predefined grid layouts screen targets: 40, 50, 90 GU (grid units), which makes life a lot easier to visualize where to place components in different screen sizes.

Scheduled across the week were various sessions focusing on different components from the SDK such as list items, date and time pickers; together with patterns like the Bottom Edge and PageStack. Each session gathered developers, visual and UX designers, where they ran through how a component might look (visual), the usability (UX) and how it will be implemented (developer) on different form factors.

Here’s the mess they made…

Main topics covered:

– Multi-column layouts, panel behaviors and pagestack

– Header, Bottom Edge and edit mode

– Focus handling

– List item layouts

– Date and time pickers

– Drop-down menus

– Scrollbars

– Application menu

– Tooltips

 

Here are some of the highlights:

 

  • Experiments and explorations were discussed around how the Bottom Edge will look in a multi-column view, and how the content will appear when it is revealed in the Bottom Edge view. Also, design animations were explored around the ‘Hint’ and how they will appear on each panel in a multi-column layout.
  • Explorations on how each panel will behave, look and breakpoints of implementing on different grid units (40,50,90).
  • A lot of discussion was had around the Header; looking at how it will transform from a phone  layout to a multi-column view in a tablet or desktop. Currently the header holds up to four actions placed on the right, a title, and navigational functions on the left, with a separate header section underneath that acts as a navigation to different views within the app. The Design Team had created wireframes that explored how many headers would appear in a multi-column layout, together with how the actions and header section would fit in.
  • Different list item layouts were explored, looking at how many actions, titles and summaries can be placed in different scenarios. Together with a potentially new context/popover menu to accompany the leading, trailing and default options.
  • The Design Team experimented with a new animation that happens during a focused state on the desktop.
  • The new system exposes all the features of a components, so developers are able to customize and style it more conveniently.

Overall the convergence sprint was a success, with both the SDK and Design Team working in unison to reach decisions and listing priorities for the coming months. Each agreed that this method of working was very beneficial, as it brought together the designers and developers to really focus on the user and developer needs.

 

They enjoyed some downtime too…

Arrival dinner at Byron Burgers

 

Out in Soho

Wine tasting in the office (not a regular occurrence)

 

Ronnie Tucker: BQ Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition Is Now Available for Sale

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 06:27

The latest Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition from the Spanish company BQ is now available for purchase on the official website. This latest Ubuntu phone was announced just a couple of weeks ago and it’s finally here.

BQ has been quick to release yet another Ubuntu phone after the previous e4.5 Aquaris Edition, which proved to be a very successful model. The first flash sales went very well and it looks like a lot of people have ordered this particular more. Now the company is looking to expand its grip on the Ubuntu market, at least in Europe, with a new slightly improved model that comes with a bigger screen and a better camera.

If you were hoping to get your BQ Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition in your mail soon, you will probably be a little bit disappointed because it might take a while until shipping starts. In any case, you can now preorder it.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/BQ-Aquaris-E5-HD-Ubuntu-Edition-Is-Now-Available-for-Sale-483773.shtml

Submitted by: Silviu Stahie

Arthur Schiwon: ownCloud: removing data from deleted LDAP users

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 04:36

Once upon a time, ownCloud left all data in place when an account was deleted. It was a the result of a choice between keeping the data just in case, or being consistent and making it possible to remove data unintentionally by deleting the wrong user account. Of course, you have a backup. So in the course of time, things changed. When an account is deleted, ownCloud will clean up after it. This is what happens:

  • (Local) group memberships are cleared
  • User preferences are deleted
  • User's home folder will be removed
  • Hooks are sent so that other apps can take similar actions

However, an LDAP user cannot be deleted, since we do not write to the LDAP directory. Of course, a user can be deleted on the LDAP server. Unfortunately, we are not being informed about this. Since the change of behaviour related to deleting data from local users (and potentially other user backends, always depends on their capabilities), data from LDAP users was being kept. And that had to be fixed.

The LDAP User Cleanup

So we needed to think of a way to provide the functionality to get rid of unwanted remains. And we did, and we implemented it, an this is how it works.

First, since ownCloud is not notified about a deleted user on LDAP, we have to detect it. And we also have the handy mappings table where we assign the LDAP DN and a UUID to a name that we use internally in ownCloud (which defaults to the UUID too). This is not only used to keep track of LDAP users (e.g. with changing DNs) but also to avoid user name collisions and data takeovers by users of other backends.

Therefore we introduced a background job that regularly looks through the table and asks the LDAP server whether our known users still exist. Never the whole table at once, but always in batches of 50. If a user account is not found it will be flagged as deleted.

The removal of data however needs to be confirmed by the admin. For now, this happens on the command line only. Our console tool "occ" got three commands to handle this.

  • ldap:show-remnants: shows all accounts flagged as deleted
  • ldap:check-user: checks a specified account out of the background job. In case you want to handle it manually and now, not later.
  • user:delete: Deletes a user, and in LDAP terms executes all the cleanup work.

That said, the background job does the checks only, but deleting always need manual action. Have a backup. This is supposed to work nicely with the open-sourced Provisioning API. And actually, I was thinking about automating this step. I did not because it must be totally stable and fail proof to not delete wrong users and data. Automation might come in the future, if there is demand.

All this is available with ownCloud 8.0 and also since 7.0.5! Yay!

Not the end of the road

As said, currently the clean up action can only be triggered from command line. In future, there should be a possibility to do it in the GUI as well, on the users page to be more precise.

Zombies are not dealt with, yet. I mean, LDAP users that appear dead, are flagged as deleted, and suddenly turn up again. They should be unflagged, but such a user need to be discovered first. We could have another background job that works like that one describe above, but only checks users flagged as deleted. Or do the check totally passively on logins. This will be handled in a future update.

More information

This is a brief overview and introduction to LDAP user account cleanup. For requirements, restrictions, configuration options and more check out the documentation page on LDAP user cleanup.

Other useful stuff to know in this regard is the ownCloud command line tool, and configuring background jobs (you want to use cron of you are half-way serious). I was also referring to some LDAP backend internals.

Tags: ownCloudPlanetOwnCloudPlanetUbuntu

Forums Council: New Ubuntu Members via forums contributions

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 09:59

Please welcome our newest Members :

sammiev – http://ubuntuforums.org/member.php?u=628319 ; application thread : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2275859

ajgreeny – http://ubuntuforums.org/member.php?u=27747 ; application thread : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2281652

Both have shown sustained and helpful contributions to the forums.

If you have been a contributor to the forums and wish to apply to Ubuntu Membership, please follow the process outlined here. For information, 7 forums users got their membership over the last year or so.

Congratulations from the UF Staff team !


Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S08E14 – The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? - Ubuntu Podcast

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 09:12

It’s Episode Fourteen of Season Eight of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and guest presenter Joe Ressington is/are back and is/are connected and speaking to your brain.

In this week’s show:

That’s all for this week, please send your comments and suggestions to: show@ubuntupodcast.org
Join us on IRC in #ubuntu-podcast on Freenode
Follow us on Twitter
Find our Facebook Fan Page
Follow us on Google+

Svetlana Belkin: Membership Board Member Interviews: Chris Wayne

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 07:00

The Ubuntu Membership Board is responsible for approving new Ubuntu members.   I interviewed our board members in order for the Community to get to know them better and get over the fear of applying to Membership.

The first interview is with Chirs Wayne:

I work for Canonical, in the Phone Delivery Team.

What was your first computing experience?

My father got me a desktop as soon as I learned how to read

How long have you been involved with Ubuntu?

Since around 2009, when I joined Canonical

Since you are all fairly new to the Board, why did you join?

As cliche as it sounds, I just wanted to be more involved in the community

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on in Ubuntu over the years?

Preinstalled Ubuntu on Dell machines, Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu phone (tech lead for the scopes on the phone)

What is your focus in Ubuntu today?

Scopes!

Do you contribute to other free/open source projects? Which ones?

Contributed several apps/scopes to Ubuntu, contributed to Galileo (syncing Fitbits on linux), libfitbit, Xpresser (GUI automation tool)

If you were to give a newcomer some advice about getting involved with Ubuntu, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, everybody has to start somewhere

Ronnie Tucker: Apple’s Decision to Open Source Swift Met with Developer Applause

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 06:26

Apple this week made an announcement worthy of applause and, indeed, the news received the loudest applause of opening day at WWDC. The company said it will open source its programming language Swift and allow developers to compile programs on Linux.

This is a smart move for Apple and a big win for the developer community. Apple has long valued developers, but this week adopted a key strategy that has become the de facto approach to programming languages: open source.

Source: http://www.linux.com/news/featured-blogs/158-jim-zemlin/834610-apples-decision-to-open-source-swift-met-with-developer-applause

Submitted by: Jim Zemlin

Dustin Kirkland: LXD Challenge: How many containers can you run on your machine?

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 05:29
652 Linux containers running on a Laptop?  Are you kidding me???
A couple of weeks ago, at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canonical released the results of some scalability testing of Linux containers (LXC) managed by LXD.

Ryan Harper and James Page presented their results -- some 536 Linux containers on a very modest little Intel server (16GB of RAM), versus 37 KVM virtual machines.
Ryan has published the code he used for the benchmarking, and I've used to to reproduce the test on my dev laptop (Thinkpad x230, 16GB of RAM, Intel i7-3520M).
I managed to pack a whopping 652 Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty) containers on my Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid) laptop!

The system load peaked at 1056 (!!!), but I was using merely 56% of 15.4GB of system memory.  Amazingly, my Unity desktop and Byobu command line were still perfectly responsive, as were the containers that I ssh'd into.  (Aside: makes me wonder if the Linux system load average is accounting for container process correctly...)

Check out the process tree for a few hundred system containers here!

As for KVM, I managed to launch 31 virtual machines without KSM enabled, and 65 virtual machines with KSM enabled and working hard.  So that puts somewhere between 10x - 21x as many containers as virtual machines on the same laptop.

You can now repeat these tests, if you like.  Please share your results with #LXD on Google+ or Twitter!

I'd love to see someone try this in AWS, anywhere from an m3.small to an r3.8xlarge, and share your results ;-)Density test instructions## Install lxd
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-lxc/lxd-git-master
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install -y lxd bzr
$ cd /tmp
## Grab the tests, disable the tools download
$ bzr branch lp:~raharper/+junk/density-check
$ cd density-check
$ mkdir lxd_tools
## Periodically squeeze your cache
$ sudo bash -x -c 'while true; do sleep 30; \
echo 3 | sudo tee /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches; \
free; done' &
## Run the LXD test
$ ./density-check-lxd --limit=mem:512m --load=idle release=trusty arch=amd64
## Run the KVM test
$ ./density-check-kvm --limit=mem:512m --load=idle release=trusty arch=amd64

As for the speed-of-launch test, I'll cover that in a follow-up post!

Can you contain your excitement?

Cheers!
Dustin

Mattia Migliorini: Object Injection Vulnerability in WooCommerce

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 03:54

Sucuri found an Object Injection Vulnerability in WooCommerce which can be used by an attacker to download any file on the vulnerable server.

The vulnerability is only present in websites using WooCommerce previous to version 2.3.11, which contains the patch, and when the “PayPal Identity Token” option is set. Depending on the environment the website is running in, through this Object Injection Vulnerability an attacker could do various things, including downloading critical files like wp-config.php, which in turn results to full site compromise.

Details of the Vulnerability

Let’s have a look at the technical details of the WooCommerce vulnerability, starting from the classification.

Vulnerability Details Security Risk: Dangerous
Exploitation Level: Easy/Remote
DREAD Score: 8/10
Vulnerability: Object Injection
Patched Version: 2.3.11

The problem sits in the get_paypal_order() method of the WC_Gateway_Paypal_Response class, which calls the maybe_unserialize() WordPress function passing it the $custom function parameter, without sanitizing it. If this parameter contains user input, it can be used in Object Injection attacks.

The get_paypal_order() method

The get_paypal_order() method is used with variables that take value from the ‘cm’ request parameter (direct user input!), so anyone that can access the page where this code is executed (the plugin’s order-received page with some specific parameters set) can use this vector to potentially modify the application’s execution flow.

The check_reponse() method

Are you at risk?

The vulnerability is present most likely starting from version 2.0.20 up to 2.3.10. If you are in that range, it’s better for you to update the plugin to version 2.3.11 and stay safe.

The second thing you can do (if you, for some reasons, cannot update the plugin immediately) is having a look at WooCommerce > Settings > Checkout, scroll down to the Gateway Display Order option, and click the “Settings” button near the “PayPal” gateway. If the PayPal Identity Token setting is set, you are vulnerable.

Update as soon as possible!

The post Object Injection Vulnerability in WooCommerce appeared first on deshack.

Ubuntu App Developer Blog: Cleaning up scopes settings

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 02:17

The scopes architecture on Unity 7, which provides the Ubuntu shell and default UX experience on current desktops, and Unity 8, which powers the phone and soon the convergent desktop, differ to a large degree when it comes to visibility of data sources. Future Unity 8 builds will be obsoleting the legacy privacy flag in favour of a clearer way for users to decide where the data is being sent to.

Scope searches and preserving privacy in Unity 7

By default, using a regular Dash search in Unity 7 will first contact Canonical's smart scopes server, which recommends the best or most promising scopes for the search term. Then, as a second step, those scopes are queried for actual results, which will finally be presented.

However, this approach means that the user doesn't necessarily know in advance which scopes are queried and that the search term will be hitting the smart scopes server. Although the data sent to server is anonymized, we understood that some users might still be concerned about data privacy. It was for that reason that privacy flag was introduced: a setting for scopes that prevents access to the smart scopes server.

Scope searches in Unity 8

The scopes architecture in Unity 8 is quite different: there is no smart scope server involved in the search lifecycle.

Instead, each query is only sent to the currently  active scope (that is, the one that is currently visible), so that the user always knows where their search data ends up.

For the case where the current scope being is aggregating multiple other scopes, its settings page will list all aggregated scopes, offering the possibility to individually disable each one if desired.

Obsoleting the privacy flag in Unity 8

With this clear visibility of what's being queried, and the possibility to easily disable sources/scopes, the privacy flag becomes redundant in Unity 8. As such, we have decided to remove this legacy setting in one of our phone/Unity 8 next snapshots.

If you have been using this flag under Unity 8, either unfavorite or disable the respective scopes from the aggregator settings to reach the same result. You can also uninstall the individual scopes.

Creating privacy in Unity 8

In the shell you can see two kind of scopes: normal scopes and aggregator scopes. Normal scopes can access either local or remote data but never both at the same time. So, if there is a scope called “My Music” then this scope will only query your phone, while a “BBC News” scope will only query bbc.co.uk. If you don’t want to use “BBC News” scope then do not invoke (via manage dash) or favor the scope (similar to not to invoke (web)apps).

Aggregator scopes in contrast can aggregate all kind of scopes whether they access local or remote data. If you’re concerned about a specific scope you can disable it via the scopes’ settings page that lists all scopes being aggregated. However, given that most scopes deal with remote data, it will be faster to just unfavorite the respective aggregator via “Manage Dash” and favorite the interesting scopes dealing with local data like “My Music” or “My Videos”. This has also the benefit of not having (almost) empty dash pages.

Colin King: Adding CPU states and CPU frequency stats to powerstat

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 02:07
During some spare moments I've added a couple of minor CPU related enhancements to powerstat.    The new -c option gathers CPU C-state activity over the run and shows a summary at the end, for example:
C-State Resident Count Latency
C7-IVB 75.239% 102315 87
C6-IVB 0.004% 60 80
C3-IVB 0.138% 2892 59
C1E-IVB 1.150% 7599 10
C1-IVB 0.948% 4611 1
POLL 0.000% 3 0
C0 22.521%
The above example shows that my Ivybridge i5-3210M spent ~75% of the time in the deepest C7 sleep state and ~22.5% of the time in the fully operating C0 state.

A new -f option gathers CPU frequency statistics across all the on-line CPUs and displays the running average.   This provides an "instantaneous" view of the current CPU frequencies rather than a running average between the last sample, so beware that just gathering statistics using powerstat can cause CPU activity which of course can change CPU frequency.

For a simple test, I ran powerstat for a short 250 second run and normalised the CPU Core Power, CPU Load and CPU Frequency stats so that the data ranges are 0..1 so I can plot all three stats and easily compare them:

One can easily see the correlation between CPU Frequency, CPU Load and CPU core power consumed just from the powerstat data.

Powerstat tries to be as lightweight and as small as possible to minimize the impact on system behaviour.  My hope is that adding these extra CPU instrumentation features adds more useful functionality without adding a larger system impact.  I've instrumented powerstat with perf and I believe that the overhead is sufficiently small to justify these changes.

These two new features will be landing in powerstat 0.01.40 in Ubuntu Wily.

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