Linux Installshield and MS LinkedIn, World Gone Mad
The top story today must be the announcement by Canonical that other distributions will support Ubuntu snap packages. In stranger news, Microsoft has arranged to purchase LinkedIn, doom and gloom to follow. Elsewhere, Slackware-current got a slew of updates and GTK is moving to a two-branch development model. And finally, Bruce Byfield authored an interesting article on the history of Open Source fonts.
Canonical announced the launch of "Snap" packages that are virtually universal, work on other distributions. "Snaps now work natively on Arch, Debian, Fedora, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Unity, and Xubuntu." CentOS, Elementary, Gentoo, Mint, OpenSUSE, OpenWrt and RHEL support is on the way. Further, Shuttleworth said snaps can actually work on any distro - just requires snapd to be installed. Canonical said Snap packages are easy to create and "offer significant security benefits, greatly simplifying third-party Linux app distribution." Updates are said to arrive faster and delivered automatically and those updates can be reverted if necessary as well. Canonical quoted several declaring software nirvana, but it wasn't so long ago that Matthew Garrett warned snaps could be used with X11 to steal keystrokes and "inject fake key events." Canonical doesn't seem too worried about Garrett's concerns for now as X11 will be phased out in the coming years. In fact, they quote a Debian developer saying, "Snaps meet that [security] challenge with robust confinement, neatly addressing many of the risks of apps in sensitive environments.” Snaps are designed to run beside native applications without changing or interfering with anything. They are to bring all the libraries and dependencies with them, much like Microsoft packages; but instead of a graphical installer one clicks, clicks, clicks through, Snaps are currently managed at the commandline.
Microsoft made headlines today by announcing the purchase of LinkedIn, a career networking site. The Register's Trevor Pott said once completed it will herald "the END of DAYS." He said, "Now Microsoft, a convicted monopolist that distributes product marketing nagware as security updates and who has proven serially untrustworthy will own the gateway to your career. Fan-frakking-tastic." His list of possible outcomes reads like The Terminator meets 1984. He's probably not too far off. Dries Buytaert posted, "By acquiring the world's largest professional social network, Microsoft gets immediate access to data from more than 433 million LinkedIn members." His predictions are a little less dire, but nonetheless in the same vein. It's all about the data. Christine Hall predicts "many free tech advocates will begin abandoning LinkedIn as much as possible as soon as the site begins to push users to take advantage of features requiring the use of Microsoft products, if not before." As Dedoimedo said, "You don't need a Linkedin account."
Slackware 14.2 is still simmering. Patrick Volkerding recorded changes for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Some of these include upgraded wget to address security concerns, fixed bugs in Network Manager and pkgtools, and Pidgin rebuilt to use wider cache of SSL certs. GRUB was rebuilt to fix a bug as was mkinitrd, sysvinit-scripts, and Samba.
In other news: