NewsBits: Fresh Elasticsearch, WebGL Graphs and Redis tools


Welcome to NewsBits where you'll find the database, OS, security, and developer news from around the net for the week ending July 27th.

Now, those bits in full:

Database Bits


Although not formally announced, Elasticsearch 6.3.2 is now available. The release notes note a number of bug fixes, though its release may have been pre-empted by the need to fix a trial license upgrade bug which was disabling X-Pack security in Elastic's proprietary extensions.

Graphs and WebGL

We've all seen two dimensional renderings of graph databases, but in this article from Neo4j they show how to use WebGL to create 3D force graphs which are using 3d-force-graph. The library is database agnostic, so the techniques should work with any graph dataset.


redis-cli-tool is actually a new collection of tools for working with Redis rdb files and Redis either to extract, merge or migrate data from them. It's an interesting option with a plethora of options.

OS Bits


Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS - If you're running the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on your servers, be aware that Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS is now available. The update's change summary lists a large number of upgrade process fixes, paving the way for smoother future updates. There's also point updates for OpenStack packages, kernel updates and bug fixes (including microcode fixes for Spectre2 on some Intel processors) and much more. All these fixes and updates should have already rolled out to regularly updated systems; the 18.04.1 release gives admins new images to start from with the changes already rolled in. The new ISOs are available to download from Canonical's servers.


NetBSD 8.0 - The NetBSD project has released NetBSD 8.0, complete with a new USB stack with USB 3 support, Spectre and Meltdown mitigations, CAN bus support and many updates of the various packages used. If you use NetBSD, the developers urge you to upgrade. The project has also reworked it's future support plans reducing the number of small forks in future for better long term support.

Security Bits

Spectre on the network

NetSpectre - At 15 bits of data an hour leaked, the latest variant of Spectre attacks is not the fastest. NetSpectre does though work remotely over the network without using a covert channel - and adding a covert channel bumps that rate up to a blistering 60 bits an hour. NetSpectre is an attack that is probably of interest to owners of very high value targets but it shows the genie of speculation and caches in modern CPUs is completely out the bottle. Read the paper(pdf) or read more on Ars technica.

Developer Bits


Elixir 1.7 - Elixir, the dynamic/functional language built on the Erlang VM, has seen an update in the form of Elixir 1.7. Headline feature on this release is that the documentation for Elixir is now compatible with EEP48, an Erlang wide specification for compatible documentation metadata. That means also that the IEx shell can access that metadata and that Elixir documentation tools will use the EEP48 features to mark deprecations and versions better. Also added: Erlang/OTP 21 logger support and __STACKTRACE__ handling along with improved ExUnit testing.


GCC 8.2 - The GNU Compiler Collection has a fresh bug update. Most of the listed changes address regressions in the various compilers behaviors.

And Finally...

Japan's own Y2K is approaching in the form of the planned abdication of the Japanese Emperor, Akihito, in April 2019. The problem? The Japanese calendar counts up from the coronation of the emperor marking the start of a new era. This hits the tech business in particular, including the next revision of Unicode, tax systems and diary makers.

NewsBits. News in bits, every Friday at Compose.

Dj Walker-Morgan
Dj Walker-Morgan was Compose's resident Content Curator, and has been both a developer and writer since Apples came in II flavors and Commodores had Pets. Love this article? Head over to Dj Walker-Morgan’s author page to keep reading.

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