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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Wed, 09 Apr 2014

Fedora patches the OpenSSL 'Heartbleed' bug

It happened a day later than it should have, meaning Fedora got spanked by Debian, but the Fedora 20 patch for the OpenSSL 'Heartbleed' bug did roll onto my system today.

I would have liked Fedora to be ahead of Debian rather than behind it, but a day's delay isn't a deal-breaker. And I could have installed the OpenSSL update from Koji early if this were a server installation.

Overall, the free-software community's response to the 'Heartbleed' bug shows the power of open development and how these projects and products are stronger through transparency and sharing.

Sun, 30 Mar 2014

Printing with the HP LaserJet 1020 works again with Fedora 20, and I don't know why

I was ready to give up. But what's great about Fedora is if something's broken, sometimes waiting is all you need to do.

Your problem will be resolved somewhere upstream. And Fedora gets newness from upstream faster than almost anyone (Arch notwithstanding).

So I was able to print to the HP LaserJet 1020 from Fedora 18 and 19 but not Fedora 20.

It has much, much more to do with the HP LaserJet 1020 printer than it does with any part of the Linux operating system.

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Wed, 12 Mar 2014

After four days, I go back to AMD Catalyst in Fedora 20

I lasted four days this time. After I couldn't log in one morning after rebooting Fedora 20 under AMD Catalyst, I pulled the proprietary driver, leaving the open Radeon driver to run the graphics on my HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop.

With every new kernel, Radeon gets better. I'd say the performance differences between Catalyst and Radeon on this hardware are small enough that I'd be happy to stick with Radeon and leave Catalyst upgrade trouble behind (mostly because THERE IS NO CATALYST PACKAGE FOR FEDORA 20, THOUGH NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE).

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Sat, 08 Mar 2014

After I couldn't log in AGAIN, I pulled AMD Catalyst from Fedora 20

Once again, I did some updates on my Fedora 20 system. And after happily suspending and resuming the laptop for days, I crashed in the OpenShot video editor and had to do a hard reboot.

Except that I never got to the login screen. Just like the last time this happened, I suspected that the Catalyst driver I downloaded and installed from AMD's .run package was not playing well with the latest kernel from Fedora.

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Thu, 06 Mar 2014

Fedora and OpenSUSE update GnuTLS today, Debian and Ubuntu a couple days ago

The LWN security updates posted today include the GnuTLS updates for Fedora and OpenSUSE. Debian and Ubuntu pushed out their patch a couple days earlier.

It's a pretty big bug that is being closed. Says Tomas Hoger in the bug report:

It was discovered that GnuTLS X.509 certificate verification code failed to properly handle certain errors that can occur during the certificate verification. When such errors are encountered, GnuTLS would report successful verification of the certificate, even though verification should end with failure. A specially-crafted certificate can be accepted by GnuTLS as valid even if it wasn't issued by any trusted Certificate Authority. This can be used to perform man-in-the-middle attacks against applications using GnuTLS.

This has been all over the Internet the last week or so.

Selena Larson of Readwrite.com writes:

A variety of Linux distributions are vulnerable to hacks because of a bug that allows people to bypass security protocols to intercept and disseminate encrypted information. A member of the Red Hat security team discovered a bug in the GnuTLS library that allows hackers to easily circumvent the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and secure sockets layer (SSL).

The vulnerability affects the certificate verification, meaning secure connections that are supposedly going through as secure, are not. Someone could compromise a secure connection by using a “man-in-the-middle” attack, acting as the server to intercept traffic, financial transactions or secure information.

Fri, 21 Feb 2014

Back to AMD Catalyst in Fedora 20 for the suspend/resume

As much as the open-source Radeon driver has improved in the 3.12 and 3.13 Linux kernels in Fedora 20 -- and that improvement has been significant, I returned to the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver for one reason.

Suspend/resume.

While everything else is working better in the Radeon driver, solving pretty much all of the problems I had with it in the 3.11-and-earlier days, the one thing it won't do with the 3.13 Linux kernel in Fedora 20 is allow the laptop to properly wake after it has been put to sleep. (The hardware is an HP Pavilion g6-2210us with the AMD A4-4300M APU, which includes AMD Radeon HD 7420G graphics.)

It makes me sad in a way. Radeon has come so far. And so fast. With Radeon DPM (invoked with a kernel boot parameter in 3.12 and by default in 3.13), 3D hardware acceleration works and CPU temperatures are pretty much the same as under Catalyst.

But the convenience of being able to shut the laptop lid to put the machine to sleep, then open it and have it wake up -- it's just too much to give up. I can't help it. It's a feature that's important to me.

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Wed, 12 Feb 2014

How I fixed my Fedora 20 system when it stalled before the display manager appeared

This is a rewrite of My Fedora 20 system dies for a day, but I find the culprit. I started the original entry before I figured out the solution, and I wanted to tell it chronologically. And so I do:

Ever since I got suspend/resume working in Fedora 20, I've been rebooting maybe once a week. That's because I love suspend/resume.

I love being able to close to laptop lid to put the machine to sleep and open the lid to wake it up.

But since the battery was running low a few nights ago, I decided to do a full shutdown.

I turned the laptop on the next day, and it wouldn't boot into Fedora proper. I couldn't get to the login screen.

I was able to boot into rescue mode. All my files were there. They looked fine. That's the good news.

But when trying a normal boot, sometime during the process the machine just stalled. There was nothing I can do to get it to finish booting and give me either a console or desktop.

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Tue, 11 Feb 2014

The 3.13.2 Linux kernel is being built right now for Fedora 20

Keeping an eye on Koji, especially for the Linux kernel, is a great way to see when an update is imminent for Fedora.

Today I see that a 3.13.2 kernel is being built for Fedora 20. That means F20 users will start seeing it in their updates sometime in the near future.

You could always grab it early (though the build isn't completed at this particular moment). I'll wait. I just got 3.12.10, and I already invoked Radeon DPM (which will be turned on by default in 3.13.x), so there's no hurry.

Mon, 10 Feb 2014

My Fedora 20 system dies for a day, but I find the culprit

This entry has been rewritten as How I fixed my Fedora 20 system when it stalled before the display manager appeared. I recommend reading that version.

Update: After booting into runlevel 3 (putting the number 3 into the GRUB boot line), I had no trouble logging into a console. Then I attempted to start X, and the system stalled. It was fglrx/Catalyst that was keeping me from getting to the display manager.

I removed AMD Catalyst. The system started working again. But back under the open-source Radeon driver, the laptop was running 20 to 50 degrees hotter than with the proprietary Catalyst driver.

Rather than reinstall Catalyst right away, I decided to try implementing Radeon DPM (Dynamic Power Management). DPM is a feature of Catalyst that is just coming to the open-source Radeon driver.

I'm running kernel 3.12.10, and Radeon DPM won't be implemented by default until 3.13. For now it has to be switched on with a kernel boot parameter.

The last time I tried forcing DPM in GRUB, I didn't get good results. This time it worked great.

I tested it by adding radeon.dpm=1 to the GRUB the boot line. The CPU temperatures and fan speeds were comparable to what they were under Catalyst (cooler and slower, respectively), and 3D hardware acceleration was working.

I did get something else from running Radeon instead of Catalyst: The screen dimming/brightening when running on battery power works (unlike with Catalyst). That means the screen dims when the laptop is not being used but brightens up when you start using it again. With Catalyst you had to manually increase brightness after returning to the machine.

So I modified GRUB to take radeon.dpm=1 permanently (instructions forthcoming).

The Linux gods give. And take. With Radeon (and not Catalyst) I lost suspend/resume. I'm not happy about it.

But having a working system again -- and having it without the bother of an unpackaged, closed-source Catalyst driver -- is a fair tradeoff. For now.

The original, before-I-fixed-it post starts below:

Ever since I got suspend/resume working in Fedora 20, I've been rebooting maybe once a week. That's because I love suspend/resume.

I love being able to close to laptop lid to put the machine to sleep and open the lid to wake it up.

But since the battery was running low last night, I decided to do a full shutdown.

I turned the laptop on today, and it wouldn't boot into Fedora proper.

I can boot into rescue mode, and all my files are there and look fine (that's the good news). But sometime during the boot process it just stalls. And there's nothing I can do to get it to finish booting and give me either a console or desktop.

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Wed, 05 Feb 2014

Fedora 20 is looking kind of mature these days

With the release of Fedora 21 delayed by at least three months due to the ramping up of the Fedora.Next initiative, the project's current release, Fedora 20, is likely to be the closest thing users will ever get to a "long-term support" release from the Red Hat-sponsored community project.

And I plan to enjoy it.

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