While Recreating CentOS as 'Rocky Linux', Gregory Kurtzer Also Launches a Sponsoring Startup

“Gregory Kurtzer, co-founder of the now-defunct CentOS Linux distribution, has founded a new startup company called Ctrl IQ, which will serve in part as a sponsoring company for the upcoming Rocky Linux distribution,” Ars Technica reports:
Kurtzer co-founded CentOS Linux in 2004 with mentor Rocky McGaugh, and it operated independently for 10 years until being acquired by Red Hat in 2014. When Red Hat killed off CentOS Linux in a highly controversial December 2020 announcement, Kurtzer immediately announced his intention to recreate CentOS with a new distribution named after his deceased mentor.

The Rocky Linux concept got immediate, positive community reaction — but there’s an awful lot of work and expense that goes into creating and maintaining a Linux distribution. The CentOS Linux project itself made that clear when it went for the Red Hat acquisition in 2014; without its own source of funding, the odds of Rocky Linux becoming a complete 1:1 replacement — serving the same massive volume of users that CentOS did — seemed dicey at best.
In a statement Ctrl IQ notes the Rocky Linux community was already “in the thousands of people driving the foundation of the organization…”

And as for Gregory Kurtzer, he was “originally basing Ctrl IQ’s stack on CentOS, but he needed to pivot, as did most of the community to something else. Due to the alignment, Greg chose Rocky, and has been asked to help support it.” Ars Technica adds:

The company describes itself in its announcement as the suppliers of a “full technology stack integrating key capabilities of enterprise, hyper-scale, cloud and high-performance computing…”

Wading through the buzzword bingo, Ctrl IQ’s real business seems to be in supplying relatively turn-key infrastructure for high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, capable of running distributed across multiple sites and/or cloud providers… Not all of Ctrl IQ’s offerings are theoretical. Warewulf, also founded by Kurtzer, is currently developed and maintained by the US Department of Energy. Anyone can freely download and use Warewulf, but it’s not difficult to imagine value added in consulting with one of its founders…

Ctrl IQ is one of three Tier 1 sponsors identified by the Rocky Linux project, along with Amazon Web Services (which provides core build infrastructure) and Mattermost, which is providing enterprise collaboration services…

Rocky Linux is generally expected to be widely available in Q2 2021, with a first-release candidate build expected on March 31.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – While Recreating CentOS as ‘Rocky Linux’, Gregory Kurtzer Also Launches a Sponsoring Startup

Automate setup and delivery for virtual machines in the cloud

If you[he]#039[/he]re a developer or hobbyist using a Fedora qcow2 image for the cloud, you always have to do a bunch of initial configuration before an image is ready to use. I know this all too well, and I was eager to find a way to make the setup process simpler. As it happens, the entire Fedora quality assurance team feels the same way, so we developed Testcloud.

Source: LXer – Automate setup and delivery for virtual machines in the cloud

Google Gave Top Spot For 'Home Depot' Searches to a Malicious Ad

“A malicious Home Depot advertising campaign is redirecting Google search visitors to tech support scams,” claims Bleeping Computer.
Slashdot reader nickwinlund77 shares their report:

BleepingComputer searched for ‘home depot’ and was shown the malicious advertisement on our first try. Even worse, the ad is the top spot in the research result, making it more likely to be clicked… [T]he ad clearly states it’s for www.homedepot.com, and hovering over it shows the site’s legitimate destination URL.

However, when visitors click on the ad, they will be redirected through various ad services until eventually they are redirected to a tech support scam. Ultimately, the visitor will land at a page showing an incredibly annoying “Windows Defender – Security Warning’ tech support scam. This scam will repeatedly open the Print dialog box, as shown below, which prevents the visitor from easily closing the page.

To make it more difficult for security professionals to diagnose these ads, it appears that they only redirect to the scam once every 24 hours to the same IP address. Once a tech support scam is shown by clicking on the ad, subsequent clicks bring visitors to the legitimate site.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Google Gave Top Spot For ‘Home Depot’ Searches to a Malicious Ad

Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator 2 Will Put "Millions" Of Characters On The Screen

Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator could do some very cool things with thousands of soldiers/ducks/zombies on the battlefield at once, but its upcoming sequel of course has only one place it can go to push the envelope.

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Source: Kotaku – Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator 2 Will Put “Millions” Of Characters On The Screen

A Volunteer-Run Website Helps You Find a Vaccine Appointment in New York City's Online Maze

It’s no secret that New York City, like many other places in the U.S., has been having a hard time with covid-19 vaccine distribution. One of the problems is its messy online sign-up website, which some city officials have denounced as “complex, burdensome, and buggy.” Officials said that this would create an obstacle…

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Source: Gizmodo – A Volunteer-Run Website Helps You Find a Vaccine Appointment in New York City’s Online Maze

A Four-Year-Old Muslim Boy Was Reported To A Terrorist Watchdog For Talking About Fortnite

The Guardian reports that the British government’s Prevent system, a community terrorism watchdog brimming with baked-in racism, once received a tip about a four-year-old boy who was overheard talking about Fortnite, which resulted in police turning up at the family’s home.

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Source: Kotaku – A Four-Year-Old Muslim Boy Was Reported To A Terrorist Watchdog For Talking About Fortnite

To Re-Enable Flash Support, South Africa's Tax Agency Released Its Own Web Browser

“The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has released this week its own custom web browser,” reports ZDNet, “for the sole purpose of re-enabling Adobe Flash Player support, rather than port its existing website from using Flash to HTML-based web forms.”

To prevent the app from continuing to be used in the real-world to the detriment of users and their security, Adobe began blocking Flash content from playing inside the app starting January 12, with the help of a time-bomb mechanism… As SARS tweeted on January 12, the agency was impacted by the time-bomb mechanism, and starting that day, the agency was unable to receive any tax filings via its web portal, where the upload forms were designed as Flash widgets. But despite having a three and a half years heads-up, SARS did not choose to port its Flash widgets to basic HTML & JS forms, a process that any web developer would describe as trivial. Instead, the South African government agency decided to take one of the most mind-blowing decisions in the history of bad IT decisions and release its own web browser.

Released on Monday on the agency’s official website, the new SARS eFiling Browser is a stripped-down version of the Chromium browser that has two features.

The first is to re-enable Flash support. The second is to let users access the SARS eFiling website.

As Chris Peterson, a software engineer at Mozilla, pointed out, the SARS browser only lets users access the official SARS website, which somewhat reduces the risk of users getting their systems infected via Flash exploits while navigating the web. But as others have also pointed out, this does nothing for accessibility, as the browser is only available for Windows users and not for other operating systems such as macOS, Linux, and mobile users, all of which are still unable to file taxes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – To Re-Enable Flash Support, South Africa’s Tax Agency Released Its Own Web Browser

Enormous Dark Souls Mod Adds Halo's Blood Gulch, Completely Changes Multiplayer

Modder InfernoPlus, the same guy who turned Mario into a battle royale game, has done wonders with Dark Souls, releasing an ambitious mod that transforms the game’s multiplayer and turns the map into something decidedly less horrific.

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Source: Kotaku – Enormous Dark Souls Mod Adds Halo’s Blood Gulch, Completely Changes Multiplayer

Biofuel-Powered Rocket Makes Historic Launch in Maine

Despite bad weather and early technical difficulties, employee-owned bluShift Aerospace “made history Sunday afternoon when it launched its prototype rocket, Stardust 1.0,” reports Maine’s Portland Press Herald:
The company became the first in Maine to launch a commercial rocket and the first in the world to launch a rocket using bio-derived fuel… It carried three payloads, two commercial and one, free of charge, from Falmouth High School… The rocket and payloads returned to the ground under a parachute shortly after launch and were retrieved by a team of snowmobilers. The rocket is intended to be reusable and environmentally friendly.

While the components of the biofuel remain a company secret, bluShift CEO Sascha Deri said it is solid, non-toxic and carbon neutral. “I can tell you this much, I discovered it with a friend of mine on my brothers farm here in Maine,” he said. The company describes its business model as the Uber of space, where they will target a specific customer who wishes to send their payload into a particular orbit.

“We are targeting people that want to go to a specific orbit, they want to have control of their launches, they want to be the primary payload even though their payload is very small,” Deri said.

The rocket is roughly 20 feet tall and 14 inches in diameter, the newspaper reports — noting that an earlier launch planned for January 15th had to be called off due to bad weather. “It turns out launching rockets is complicated, apparently it’s rocket science,” CEO Deri told them.
“We did learn a lot from that failed launch. We learned, first and foremost, that you can’t rely upon weather websites, you really need to use a professional meteorologist.”

The Associated Press also reports the rocket carried “a Dutch dessert called stroopwafel, in an homage to its Amsterdam-based parent company. Organizers of the launch said the items were included to demonstrate the inclusion of a small payload.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Biofuel-Powered Rocket Makes Historic Launch in Maine

CNN: Tesla's Net Profit 'Doesn't Come From Selling Cars'

“Tesla posted its first full year of net income in 2020 — but not because of sales to its customers,” reports CNN:

Eleven states require automakers sell a certain percentage of zero-emissions vehicles by 2025. If they can’t, the automakers have to buy regulatory credits from another automaker that meets those requirements — such as Tesla, which exclusively sells electric cars. It’s a lucrative business for Tesla — bringing in $3.3 billion over the course of the last five years, nearly half of that in 2020 alone. The $1.6 billion in regulatory credits it received last year far outweighed Tesla’s net income of $721 million — meaning Tesla would have otherwise posted a net loss in 2020. “These guys are losing money selling cars. They’re making money selling credits. And the credits are going away,” said Gordon Johnson of GLJ Research and one of the biggest bears on Tesla shares…

Tesla also reports other measures of profitability, as do many other companies. And by those measures, the profits are great enough that they do not depend on the sales of credits to be in the black… Its automotive gross profit, which compares total revenue from its car business to expenses directly associated with the building the cars, was $5.4 billion, even excluding the regulatory credits sales revenue… But the debate between skeptics and devotees of the company whether Tesla is truly profitable has become a “Holy War,” according to Gene Munster, managing partner of Loup Ventures and a leading tech analyst.

“They’re debating two different things. They’ll never come to a resolution,” he said. Munster believes critics focus too much on how the credits still exceed net income. He contends that automotive gross profit margin, excluding those sales of regulatory credits, is the best barometer for the company’s financial success. “It’s a leading indicator,” of that measure of Tesla’s profit, he said. “There’s no chance that GM and VW are making money on that basis on their EVs…”

Tesla shares are now worth roughly as much as those of the combined 12 largest automakers who sell more than 90% of autos globally. What Tesla has that other automakers don’t is rapid growth…
Tech analyst Gene Munster also tells CNN “Something most people can agree on… Electric vehicles are the future. I think that’s a safe assumption.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – CNN: Tesla’s Net Profit ‘Doesn’t Come From Selling Cars’

Police and Fire Departments in 48 U.S. States Are Reportedly Involved in Amazon’s Ring Program

If you have an Amazon Ring smart doorbell, there’s something you should know. A growing number of fire and police departments are interested in your doorbell—or to be frank, in its camera footage—especially if they feel it can help them in their investigations. In fact, there are now 2,014 departments in the program…

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Source: Gizmodo – Police and Fire Departments in 48 U.S. States Are Reportedly Involved in Amazon’s Ring Program

NASA's delayed Moon lander contracts cast doubt on Artemis timeline

More signs are emerging that NASA’s Artemis program might not bring people to the Moon on time. The Verge has learned that NASA quietly pushed back the award timeframe for two lunar lander contracts from late February to April 30th, including the lun…

Source: Engadget – NASA’s delayed Moon lander contracts cast doubt on Artemis timeline