FOSS Roundup #1 - Exploits and Drivers and Wayland, Oh My!

FOSS Roundup #1 - Exploits and Drivers and Wayland, Oh My!

Welcome to the first edition of my weekly FOSS roundup! This is the first in what I hope to be a regular weekly newsletter covering the latest, development-focused news from the free and open-source world. Join me every Sunday at 9 AM (ET) for coffee and Linux-flavored news. ☕

Polkit exploit grants root access to anybody

A “simple and universal” exploit was released this week and patched in most major Linux distributions. The exploit found for Polkit has existed for years and affects most distributions and all architectures. Update your machines and make sure you’re running a supported, not end-of-life release.

Linux system service bug gives root on all major distros, exploit released
A vulnerability in Polkit’s pkexec component identified as CVE-2021-4034 (PwnKit) is present in the default configuration of all major Linux distributions and can be exploited to gain full root privileges on the system, researchers warn today.

elementary published their 2021 UI study results

The elementary team has published the results from their 2021 UI study. Through December 2021 and January 2022, over 2,500 individuals shared their thoughts on app launchers, docks and taskbars, multitasking, and other components of the desktop experience. It’s an interesting read!

2021 UI Study Results
Digging into the dock, multitasking, and more

Writing Linux GPU drivers without hardware

Alyssa Rosenzweig shared an incredible article about her journey developing graphics drivers for the Arm Valhall GPUs without any existing hardware. Months without the hardware and a few days with proved to be enough to make these drivers a reality.

Writing an open source GPU driver - without the hardware
Until now, no Valhall devices (Mali-G57, Mali-G78) ran mainline Linux - whilst this made driver development obviously difficult, there’s no better time to write drivers than before the devices even get into the hands of end users.

Expanding Wayland support

News surrounding Wayland has been accelerating recently, with (at least) two major software updates this week. SDL 2.0.22, a key component for many games and game engines, will default to Wayland over X11.

SDL 2.0.22 will default to Wayland on Linux
Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) is one of the most important pieces of open source for Linux gamers, as it’s the tech used by various game engines and games. It’s also about to continue changing the game for the Linux desktop in the upcoming version.

And in the browser space, Firefox Nightly will now use Wayland by default for supported configurations.

What I'm working on...

I’m just starting to get back into the swing of things this week. I’ve made some solid strides in the Xubuntu documentation project in recent weeks, so I’m hoping to stay focused on that until it’s finally out the door. As commits are pushed, you can see the changes live here:

Welcome to Xubuntu Documentation!

Thanks for reading!

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