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Linux Mint Dumps Ubuntu Snap
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Mint's programmers, led by lead developer, Clement "Clem" Lefebvre, has dropped support for Ubuntu's Snap software packing system. [...] So, what's not to like? Well, a lot, thinks Clem. As he wrote in July 2019, the idea is fine: "When snap was announced it was supposed to be a solution, not a problem. It was supposed to make it possible to run newer apps on top of older libraries and to let third-party editors publish their software easily towards multiple distributions, just like Flatpak and AppImage." But, he said, "What we didn't want it to be was for Canonical to control the distribution of software between distributions and third-party editors, to prevent direct distribution from editors, to make it so software worked better in Ubuntu than anywhere else and to make its store a requirement." Clem was worried then that Canonical was moving in that direction because: "Ubuntu is planning to replace the Chromium [Google's open-source browser and foundation for Chrome] repository package with an empty package, which installs the Chromium snap. In other words, as you install APT [Debian's program for installing and managing DEB files] updates, Snap becomes a requirement for you to continue to use Chromium and installs itself behind your back. This breaks one of the major worries many people had when Snap was announced and a promise from its developers that it would never replace APT. A self-installing Snap Store which overwrites part of our APT package base is a complete NO-NO. It's something we have to stop and it could mean the end of Chromium updates and access to the snap store in Linux Mint." Fast forward to now, and that's still the case with Chromium, and Clem has had enough: "In the Ubuntu 20.04 package base, the Chromium package is indeed empty and acting, without your consent, as a backdoor by connecting your computer to the Ubuntu Store. Applications in this store cannot be patched, or pinned. You can't audit them, hold them, modify them, or even point snap to a different store. You've as much empowerment with this as if you were using proprietary software, i.e. none. This is in effect similar to a commercial proprietary solution, but with two major differences: It runs as root, and it installs itself without asking you."

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IBM Releases Fully Homomorphic Encryption Toolkit For iOS and MacOS
New submitter IBMResearch shares a report from ZDNet: IBM's new toolkit aims to give developers easier access to fully homomorphic encryption (FHE), a nascent technology with significant promise for a number of security use cases. "Today, files are often encrypted in transit and at rest but decrypted while in use, creating a security vulnerability," reports ZDNet. "This often compels organizations to make trade-offs and go through long vetting processes in order to ensure they can keep their valuable data protected while still gaining some value out of it. FHE aims to resolve that issue." "While the technology holds great potential, it does require a significant shift in the security paradigm," the report adds. "Typically, inside the business logic of an application, data remains decrypted, [Flavio Bergamaschi, FHE pioneer and IBM Researcher] explained. But with the implementation of FHE, that's no longer the case -- meaning some functions and operations will change." The toolkit is available today in GitHub for MacOS and iOS, and it will soon be available for Linux and Android.

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Apple Launches Open Source Project to Let Password Management Apps Create Strong Passwords
Apple today informed developers that it has launched a new open source project that's designed to let those who develop password management apps create strong passwords compatible with popular websites. From a report: The new Password Manager Resources open source project allows password management apps to integrate website-specific requirements used by the iCloud Keychain password manager to generate strong, unique passwords. "Many password managers generate strong, unique passwords for people, so that they aren't tempted to create their own passwords by hand, which leads to easily guessed and reused passwords. Every time a password manager generates a password that isn't actually compatible with a website, a person not only has a bad experience, but a reason to be tempted to create their own password. Compiling password rule quirks helps fewer people run into issues like these while also documenting that a service's password policy is too restrictive for people using password managers, which may incentivize the services to change," the company said.

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