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Posts Tagged #Software

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

If you saw a headline earlier this week about a critical security flaw in VLC media player, you may not have gotten the whole story. In fact, the issue is not nearly as serious as it originally seemed.

About a month ago, a user opened a bug report for a crash in VLC caused by a specifically crafted mp4 file. With the cause of the crash still undetermined, MITRE assigned the bug a CVE identifier and gave it a “critical” score of 9.8.

With the bug’s true cause and impact still undetermined, Germany’s CERT-Bund issued an alert of their own warning of a critical flaw in VLC. Worse, because the now several-week-old VLC bug report did not list any significant progress by the VideoLAN team, CERT-Bund announced that no patch was available. The alert kicked off a flurry of other news articles that culminated in a misguided warning from Gizmodo to completely uninstall VLC.

Not a VLC Bug

The only problem was that there was never anything wrong with VLC in the first place. The crash described in the bug report was the result of a vulnerability in libEBML, a third-party library that VLC depends on. However, according to a thread on Twitter from the VideoLAN team, a patched version of libEBML has been shipped with VLC for over a year. It appears the bug report was generated from a Linux system with an older, vulnerable version of libEBML installed.

With that in mind, the CVE score was lowered to “medium” and the report in the VLC bug tracker was closed. Ubuntu released an update for libEBML, and Gizmodo withdrew their doomsday-level announcement. In the end, no patch for VLC is currently required, though some Linux distributions may need to make an updated version of libEBML available.

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Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

Julia, the fast-moving and popular open source programming language for scientific computing, allows for the usage of multiple BLAS implementations. Pre-built Julia binaries ship with OpenBLAS due to licensing restrictions surrounding the Intel Math Kernel Library, but by building Julia from source you can replace OpenBLAS with a free copy of MKL obtained from Intel’s Yum or Apt repositories. As of the time of writing, there are instructions for this process on the Julia GitHub repository.

Determining the BLAS Vendor

Regardless of which BLAS implementation you choose, it is nice to check that Julia is actually using the one you want, especially if you are building Julia from source. In recent versions of Julia, you can run the following two commands in the Julia REPL to find your BLAS vendor:

julia> using LinearAlgebra
julia> LinearAlgebra.BLAS.vendor()

The second command should output a string indicating which BLAS implementation your Julia installation is currently built with.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

Rufus, the lightweight and portable program for creating bootable USB drives on Windows, has reached version 3.0. Rufus, primarily developed by Pete Batard of Akeo Consulting, remains one of the easiest and most powerful ways to create bootable USB drives on Windows. Its simple user interface is easy to navigate, and Rufus is able to create bootable USB drives from a wide variety of Windows and Linux ISO files. It supports MBR and GPT partitioning and can even be used to create bootable DOS disks.

Released on May 29th, the version 3.0 of Rufus brings a new user interface and many other changes (pulled directly from the changelog):

  • UI redesign to follow the flow of user operations (with thanks to Fahad Al-Riyami for the concept)
  • Drop Windows XP and Windows Vista platform support
  • Switch all downloads to SSL and use https://rufus.ie as the new base URL
  • Add ARM64 support for UEFI:NTFS
  • Fix delays when querying floppy drives during device enumeration
  • Improve support of efi.img files on Linux ISOs
  • Improve support for non-ISO9660 compliant openSUSE Leap ISOs
  • Improve translation support and remove manual positioning
  • Internal fixes and improvements

You can grab a copy of Rufus at its new website, https://rufus.ie/. Rufus can be run directly from the downloaded .exe file — no installation is necessary.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

The easiest way to perform a direct CD-to-CD or DVD-to-DVD copy in Nero 2014 is to use Nero Express. Once you’ve opened it, select “Image, Project, Copy” from the left-hand sidebar and choose “Copy Disc.”

The next screen you see should look like this:

On this screen, there are a few options you need to make sure are enabled. First, make sure that the “Source drive” and “Destination drive” are set correctly. You’ll want to pick the drive containing your original disc for the source drive and pick the drive containing the blank disc for the destination drive. Keep in mind this only works if you have at least two CD/DVD writers/burners in your computer.

Next, make sure that “Quick copy” is checked. This will allow Nero to copy the data directly from the source drive to the destination drive without having to write to your hard drive in between.

You may also want to check “Verify data on disc after burning” in the lower half of the screen. This will have Nero check if any errors occurred during the copying process.

When you’re all finished with the settings, click “Copy” in the lower right and wait for the process to finish.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

If you’re ready to move up from Notepad for editing code, give Brackets a try. It’s completely free and is offered by Adobe developers. It provides a minimal but useful environment and a beautiful interface, and is designed to integrate with Adobe Extract. If you’d prefer the non-Extract integrated version, you can grab that from the Brackets site as well.

brackets

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

(Editor’s note: Though Linux Live USB Creator still works (2016), I have a number of other lighter-weight programs I would recommend. Archived.)

Linux Live USB Creator, or LiLi, is a free program for Windows that allows the user to burn .iso files of Linux distributions to thumb drives. The program has some really neat options like the ability to create persistence files, hide files on the thumb drive, and check the integrity of the .iso file.

Pros: LiLi supports a LOT of Linux distributions (you can see them all here) and every time I have used the program, it has produced a working, bootable Linux Live thumb drive. LiLi also self-updates whenever it is opened. When selecting options for burning the thumb drive, there are traffic lights that tell you whether or not your selections will work.

Cons: The entirely transparent window background is unique but a little quirky, and I have had a few issues with the program freezing or crashing. These freezes seemed to relate more to the interface then to to the actual program.

Conclusion: LiLi is a perfectly acceptable way to create bootable Linux thumb drives in Windows. And yes, you can simply use the Linux Live thumb drive to install Linux on a computer. Unless you specifically delete the installer file, it will be there.