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Article from Issue 230/2020

In the news: Microsoft Edge Coming to Linux; Open Invention Network Backs Gnome Project Against Patent Troll; Fedora 31 Released; openSUSE OBS Can Now Build Windows WSL Images; Sudo Vulnerability; Hetzner Launches New Ryzen-Based Dedicated Root Servers; and IBM Joins the Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project.

Microsoft Edge Coming to Linux

For the longest time, any Linux user needing to work with a Microsoft browser had few options. There was always IEs4Linux, but that option tended to install out-of-date, buggy versions of the software. Users could also run a version of Windows within a virtual machine, but that meant actually running Windows.

All of that changes in 2020, when Microsoft Edge comes to Linux. In the "State of the Browser: Microsoft Edge" session at Ignite 2019, it was finally announced that Microsoft was, in fact, bringing their new browser to Linux (https://myignite.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/79341?source=sessions).

The new Microsoft browser is built around the open source Chromium browser (https://www.chromium.org/), but this won't simply be a rebuild and rebrand. Microsoft plans on being actively involved as a contributor to Chromium's open source development. That means any development work done for Edge could find its way to Chromium. So, even if users don't opt to install Edge Chromium on Linux, if they use Chromium they will benefit from Microsoft-contributed work.

Of course, one looming question remains: Will Linux users give Microsoft's browser a chance? Only time will tell. The official release of Edge Chromium for Windows and macOS is January 15. As of now, there is no definitive release date, nor any indication as to how Edge Chromium will be installed on Linux (be it official packages, snaps or flatpaks, or some other method).

Open Invention Network Backs Gnome Project Against Patent Troll

The Gnome Project was recently sued by a company called Rothschild Patent Imaging for a patent related to the Shotwell photo manager. The Gnome community has just announced that it is counter-suing Rothschild, which they refer to as a patent troll (https://www.gnome.org/news/2019/10/gnome-files-defense-against-patent-troll/).

Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO, said (https://www.zdnet.com/article/open-invention-network-comes-to-gnomes-aid-in-patent-troll-fight/) in his keynote at Open Source Summit, Europe, "Rothschild is a bad company. This is an entity that's antithetical to the goals of innovation. It will sue foundations. It will sue not for profits. It will sue individuals. It will sue corporations. Their playbook is to establish a pattern of wins through relatively modest settlements," which can get other businesses to pay up without a fight.

Gnome turned down the offer to settle for a five-figure sum in order to sue Rothschild and challenge the patent. The Gnome community has established the "Gnome Patent Troll Defense Fund" (https://secure.givelively.org/donate/gnome-foundation-inc/gnome-patent-troll-defense-fund) to raise money for this suit and similar attacks.

Fedora 31 Released

The Red-Hat-sponsored Fedora community has announced the release of Fedora 31, the latest version of Red Hat's community distribution (https://www.redhat.com/en/about/press-releases/fedora-31-now-generally-available).

Fedora comes in many different editions – each targeting a different workload. Fedora Workstation and Fedora Server are aimed at developers using Fedora for development and then testing their apps on servers. Other editions include Fedora CoreOS, Fedora IoT and Fedora Silverblue.

Fedora Workstation is among the most popular distributions and is reportedly the preferred distro of Linus Torvalds. Fedora 31 Workstation comes with Gnome 3.34 and many tools and features for general users as well as developers. Gnome 3.34 brings significant performance enhancements, which will be especially noticeable on lower-powered hardware.

Fedora 31 Workstation also expands the default uses of the Wayland graphics system, including allowing Firefox to run natively on Wayland under Gnome instead of the XWayland backend.

According to Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader, "The Fedora Project aims to bring leading-edge innovation to our users, and Fedora 31 delivers on that by bringing some of the latest advancements in open source technology to the operating system."

One of the reasons Torvalds and many other developers use Fedora is the fact that it is often one of the earliest distributions to introduce new libraries and packages, which developers can test against their own projects.

Fedora 31 comes with updated compilers and languages, including NodeJS 12, Perl 5.30, and Golang 1.13. Additionally the "python" command will now refer to Python 3.

It also comes with support for Cgroupsv2, bringing kernel-level support for the latest features and functionality around cgroups in the base packages of Fedora 31.

Fedora 31 also adds support for RPM 4.15, the latest version of the RPM Package Manager for enhanced performance and stability across all versions of Fedora.

All editions of Fedora are available for free. You can download them here (https://getfedora.org/).

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