23 Years Of The Open Source 'FreeDOS' Project

Jim Hall is celebrating the 23rd birthday of the FreeDOS Project, calling it “a major milestone for any free software or open-source software project,” and remembering how it all started. An anonymous reader quotes Linux Journal:

If you remember Windows 3.1 at the time, it was a pretty rough environment. I didn’t like that you could interact with Windows only via a mouse; there was no command line. I preferred working at the command line. So I was understandably distressed in 1994 when I read via various tech magazines that Microsoft planned to eliminate MS-DOS with the next version of Windows. I decided that if the next evolution of Windows was going to be anything like Windows 3.1, I wanted nothing to do with it… I decided to create my own version of DOS. And on June 29, 1994, I posted an announcement to a discussion group… Our “PD-DOS” project (for “Public Domain DOS”) quickly grew into FreeDOS. And 23 years later, FreeDOS is still going strong! Today, many people around the world install FreeDOS to play classic DOS games, run legacy business software or develop embedded systems…

FreeDOS has become a modern DOS, due to the large number of developers that continue to work on it. You can download the FreeDOS 1.2 distribution and immediately start coding in C, Assembly, Pascal, BASIC or a number of other software development languages. The standard FreeDOS editor is quite nice, or you can select from more than 15 different editors, all included in the distribution. You can browse websites with the Dillo graphical web browser, or do it “old school” via the Lynx text-mode web browser. And for those who just want to play some great DOS games, you can try adventure games like Nethack or Beyond the Titanic, arcade games like Wing and Paku Paku, flight simulators, card games and a bunch of other genres of DOS games.

On his “Open Source Software and Usability” blog, Jim says he’s been involved with open source software “since before anyone coined the term ‘open source’,” and first installed Linux on his home PC in 1993. Over on the project’s blog, he’s also sharing appreciative stories from FreeDOS users and from people involved with maintaining it (including memories of early 1980s computers like the Sinclair ZX80, the Atari 800XL and the Coleco Adam). Any Slashdot readers have their own fond memories to share?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Linux Kernel 4.12 Officially Released

prisoninmate quotes Softpedia:
After seven weeks of announcing release candidate versions, Linus Torvalds today informs the Linux community through a mailing list announcement about the general availability of the Linux 4.12 kernel series. Development on the Linux 4.12 kernel kicked off in mid-May with the first release candidate, and now, seven weeks later we can finally get our hands on the final release… A lot of great improvements, new hardware support, and new security features were added during all this time, which makes it one of the biggest releases, after Linux 4.9…

Prominent features of the Linux 4.12 kernel include initial support for AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics cards, intial Nvidia GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” accelerated support, implementation of Budget Fair Queueing (BFQ) and storage-I/O schedulers, more MD RAID enhancements, support for Raspberry Pi’s Broadcom BCM2835 thermal driver, a lot of F2FS optimizations, as well as ioctl for the GETFSMAP space mapping ioctl for both XFS and EXT4 filesystems.

Linus said in announcing the release that “I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits,” also noting that 4.9 was a Long Term Support kernel, whereas “4.12 is just plain big.”

“There’s also nothing particularly odd going on in the tree – it’s all just normal development, just more of it than usual.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Severe' Systemd Bug Allowed Remote Code Execution For Two Years

ITWire reports:
A flaw in systemd, the init system used on many Linux systems, can be exploited using a malicious DNS query to either crash a system or to run code remotely. The vulnerability resides in the daemon systemd-resolved and can be triggered using a TCP payload, according to Ubuntu developer Chris Coulson. This component can be tricked into allocating less memory than needed for a look-up. When the reply is bigger it overflows the buffer allowing an attacker to overwrite memory. This would result in the process either crashing or it could allow for code execution remotely. “A malicious DNS server can exploit this by responding with a specially crafted TCP payload to trick systemd-resolved in to allocating a buffer that’s too small, and subsequently write arbitrary data beyond the end of it,” is how Coulson put it.

Affected Linux vendors have pushed out patches — but the bug has apparently been present in systemd code since June of 2015. And long-time Slashdot reader walterbyrd also reports a recently-discovered bug where systemd unit files that contain illegal usernames get defaulted to root.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tesla Says Its Model 3 Car Will Go On Sale On Friday

Electric car maker Tesla says its keenly awaited Model 3 car for the masses will go on sale on Friday. From a AP report: CEO Elon Musk made the announcement Monday on Twitter. The car is to start around $35,000 and with a $7,500 federal electric car tax credit, could cost $27,500. Tesla says the five-seat car will be able to go 215 miles (133 kilometers) on a single charge and will be sporty, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Seattle Minimum Wage Study Has Serious Flaws

“Remember the story from last week about how the new Seattle minimum wage law was hurting workers?” writes Slashdot reader PopeRatzo. “Well, it turns out that there are some problems with the study’s methodology.” The Washington Post reports:

First, their data exclude workers at businesses that have more than one location; in other words, while workers at a standalone mom-and-pop restaurant show up in their results, workers at Starbucks and McDonald’s don’t. Almost 40 percent of workers in Washington state work at multi-location businesses, and since Seattle’s minimum wage increase has been larger at large businesses than at small ones — right now, a worker at a company with more than 500 employees is guaranteed $13.50 an hour, while a worker at a company with fewer than 500 employees is guaranteed only $11 an hour — these workers’ exclusion from the study’s results is an especially germane problem (note that low-wage workers in Seattle have had an incentive to switch from small firms to large firms since the minimum wage started rising).
In earlier work, in fact, the University of Washington team’s results were different depending on whether these workers were included in their analysis; including them made the effects of the minimum wage look more positive. Second, the University of Washington team does not present enough data for us to assess the validity of its “synthetic control” in Washington — that is, the set of areas to which they compare the results they observe in Seattle. The Seattle labor market is not necessarily comparable to other labor markets in the state, and given some of the researchers’ implausible results, it’s hard to believe the comparison group they chose is an appropriate one.
Suggesting Seattle’s booming labor market may have skewed the study’s results, two nonpartisan economists concluded it “suffers from a number of data and methodological problems that bias the study in the direction of finding job loss, even where there may have been no job loss at all.” And the Washington Post also notes the researchers findings are suspiciously “out of step with a large body of research,” including another study from U.C. Berkeley researchers [PDF] which determined Seattle’s wage increase “is having its intended effect.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.