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Bigger than big: Linux kernel colonel Torvalds claims 5.8 is 'one of our biggest releases of all time'

'We have modified about 20 per cent of all the files'


Linus Torvalds has said that version 5.8 of the Linux kernel is "one of our biggest releases of all time".

All going well, the stable release should appear sometime in August.

Introducing the release candidate, Torvalds said it was "right up there with v4.9, which has long been our biggest release by quite a bit in number of commits." That said, the 4.9 kernel was "artificially big" because of a couple of special factors, whereas 5.8 is a "more comprehensive release."

Torvalds said: "The development is really all over the place: there's tons of fairly fundamental core work and cleanups, but there is also lots of filesystem work and obviously all the usual driver updates too. Plus documentation and architecture work." He added: "We have modified about 20 per cent of all the files in the kernel source repository. That's really a fairly big percentage, and while some of it _is_ scripted, on the whole it's really just the same pattern: 5.8 has simply seen a lot of development."

While the code for the kernel is large, only a small part of it ends up in any individual system, since the kernel source contains code for every chip architecture and hardware it supports. In early 2018, maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman said that "an average laptop uses around 2 million lines of kernel from 5,000 files to function properly." At the time, there were 25 million lines of code in the kernel, whereas now there are over 28 million.

What's in the upcoming release? Michael Larabel of Phoronix has done a summary of changes here. Highlights include new and updated drivers, initial boot support for the forthcoming IBM/OpenPOWER POWER10 processors, KVM (Kernel-based virtual machine) improvements including support for nested AMD live migration, updates to the Samsung-backed file system driver for Microsoft's exFAT, and accelerator support for the Habana Labs Gaudi AI Training Processor – this last one mentioned by Torvalds as accounting for a large chunk of new code. There is also support for Thunderbolt in Intel's Tiger Lake processors.

Torvalds claimed that "5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having any single thing that stands out."

Does lots of changes mean trouble ahead? "Famous last words. Let's see what happens during the rest of this release. But at least right now, while 5.8 looks like a very large release, I don't get the feeling that it's particularly troublesome," he said. "Knock wood." ®

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Tech spec experts seek allies to tear down ISO standards paywall

Open letter drafted against what's seen as unjustified profiteering

Many of the almost 24,000 technical standards maintained by the International Standards Organization (ISO) are subject to copyright restrictions and are not freely available.

Two weeks ago, Jon Sneyers, senior image researcher at Cloudinary and co-chair of the JPEG XL (ISO/IEC 18181) adhoc group, invited fellow technical experts to collaborate on an open letter urging the ISO to set its standards free.

In an email to The Register, Sneyers explained that paywalled, copyrighted standards inhibit education and innovation.

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Sysadmins: Why not simply verify there's no backdoor in every program you install, and thus avoid any cyber-drama?

Just 'validate third-party code before using it', says Euro body

Half of publicly reported supply chain attacks were carried out by "well known APT groups", according to an analysis by EU infosec agency ENISA, which warned such digital assaults need to drive "new protective methods."

Of the 24 supply-chain attacks studied by ENISA since January 2020, a dozen were attributed to APTs while 10 of them hadn't been attributed to anyone at all in open-source reporting, the agency said.

Juhan Lepassaar, ENISA's exec director, said in a canned statement: “Due to the cascading effect of supply chain attacks, threat actors can cause widespread damage affecting businesses and their customers all at once. With good practices and coordinated actions at EU level, Member States will be able to reach a similar level of capabilities raising the common level of cybersecurity in the EU.”

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Euro watchdog will try to extract $900m from Amazon for breaking data privacy laws

You miss every shot you don't take, we guess

Amazon says a European Union privacy watchdog has mustered the temerity to demand a $885m fine for failing to comply with data privacy rules.

"On July 16, 2021, the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) issued a decision against Amazon Europe Core S.à r.l. claiming that Amazon’s processing of personal data did not comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation," the web goliath said in a financial filing accompanying its Q2 2021 earnings report [PDF] on Thursday.

"The decision imposes a fine of €746m [$885m] and corresponding practice revisions."

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Russia says software malfunction caused Nauka module to unexpectedly fire thrusters, tilt space station

You call this a glitch?

Russia said a "software failure" caused its Nauka module to suddenly and unexpectedly fire its thrusters after docking with the International Space Station this week.

The engine burn caused the orbiting lab to tilt 45 degrees at a rate of about half a degree a second. The station automatically fired thrusters on its Russian Zvezda module and an attached Progress cargo craft to compensate, creating a brief tug of war between the module and the station.

After about an hour, officials were able to regain attitude control. Commands were sent to Nauka to not only shut off the thrusters but ensure they cannot inadvertently fire again. NASA insisted the seven astronauts onboard the ISS were not harmed nor in any real peril during the undesirable thruster burn, which started at 1634 UTC on Thursday.

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HP Inc slurps Teradici to get better at delivering remote PCs

Apparently quite a few people haven't been in the office as much lately

HP Inc has acquired remote PC specialist Teradici.

Teradici's best trick is PC-over-IP (PCoIP), software that makes PCs remotely accessible by streaming whatever would be on their screens. The company's approach means that no data moves over networks – just bitmaps.

The tech is well regarded and can point to one ringing endorsement as a presence behind Amazon Web Services' "Workstations" desktop-as-a-service product.

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'$6 in every $10' spent on cloud infrastructure is with AWS, Microsoft, or Google

Fewer and fewer orgs want to run their own data centre

Spending on cloud infrastructure services shot up by more than a third again as workload migration and cloud native applications development sped up, according to the latest research from Canalys.

After AWS filed its latest set of quarterly figures last night, analysts at the channel focused consultancy confirmed that some $47bn was forked out by biz customers on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) in calendar Q2, up 36 per cent year-on-year.

The top three cloud providers accounted for 61 per cent of this total expenditure, said Canalys, and AWS was the frontrunner with a 31 per cent share of the spoils, or $14.57bn.

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Here's 30 servers Russian intelligence uses to fling malware at the West, beams RiskIQ

Biden-Putin summit went well, then

Details of 30 servers thought to be used by Russia's SVR spy agency (aka APT29) as part of its ongoing campaigns to steal Western intellectual property were made public today by RiskIQ.

Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service "is actively serving malware (WellMess, WellMail) previously used in espionage campaigns targeting COVID-19 research in the UK, US, and Canada," according to threat intel firm.

"Team Atlas assesses with high confidence that these IP addresses and certificates are in active use by APT29 at the time of this writeup," said RiskIQ in its blog post. "We were unable to locate any malware which communicated with this infrastructure, but we suspect it is likely similar to previously identified samples."

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Google picked as yet another 'strategic partner' for SAP's RISE but Microsoft still lingers on the scene

German software giant's relationships are anything but exclusive

SAP has linked arms with Google in the latest dosey doe with the cloud infrastructure market.

Google Cloud and SAP have stepped forward claiming they would "help customers execute business transformations, migrate critical business systems to the cloud, and augment existing business systems with Google Cloud capabilities in artificial intelligence and machine learning."

It's a shame the pair couldn't have squeezed quantum computing into their commentary - The Reg could have called full house in the game of bingo buzzword.

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UK regulator waves through SK Hynix's $9bn acquisition of Intel's NAND and SSD biz

Number of 'strong remaining competitors' within the market planning expansions of their own, says CMA

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given the thumbs-up to SK Hynix's agreed $9bn purchase of Intel's NAND and SSD businesses, ruling that the buyout would have no negative impact on local purchasers.

In April, the non-ministerial government department decided to take a further look at the details of the $9bn deal between the South Korean semiconductor biz and Chipzilla that had been agreed last October.

Using its own CMA lingo, the regulator said it wanted to know if the result of the agreement would lead to a "substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services."

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Happy 60th, Sinclair Radionics: We'll remember you for your revolutionary calculators and crap watches

ZX Spectrum was pretty cool too

It is 60 years since the founding of Sinclair Radionics, a forerunner of Sinclair Research and responsible for some nifty calculators and a not-so-nifty watch.

The company was founded by Clive Sinclair, then a mere 20 years old, in July 1961. Its first product was the Sinclair Micro-amplifier for hi-fi systems, which was followed by the Sinclair Slimline radio kit.

During the course of the 1960s, the company released more amplifiers and ever smaller radios before launching its first electronic calculator in 1972, the Sinclair Executive.

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Telefónica's cloud limb slurps Cancom's UK&I biz to cash in on Brit enterprise tech market

There's a tasty NHS contract in there

Telefónica Tech – the cybersecurity and cloud wing of the Spanish-owned telecoms giant – has forked out €398m (£340m) to German outfit Cancom Group's UK and Ireland operations.

The deal is being seen as granting Telefónica a decent toehold in the UK's enterprise market.

Some 600 IT professionals from Cancom UK&I are moving over to Telefónica Tech bringing with them a digital services portfolio including professional and managed services in advanced IT, cybersecurity, and multi-cloud.

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