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GUI

Xfce Getting a New Version Soon 193

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-eye-candy dept.
jones_supa writes It looks like the release of Xfce 4.12 is finally about to materialize. It has been about two and half years since the last stable release. There is now a concerted effort underway to ship a new release of this lightweight GTK+2 desktop environment out around the end of February or early March. "As we have discussed the status and progress of core components with many of you individually, we feel confident that the state of Xfce is good enough to polish some final edges and push more translations until then," wrote Simon Steinbeiß on the xfce4-dev mailing list. The official list of showstopper bugs does not look too bad either. However, looking at the long time between releases certainly makes one think if the project could have use for some extra resources.
Ubuntu

Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-hope dept.
tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry — you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform — Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone — the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ — won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.
Debian

Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 Will Be Rolling-Release 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the rollin'-rollin'-rollin',-keep-them-penguins-rollin' dept.
jones_supa writes: Following the trend of rolling-release Linux distributions, Linux Mint brings you some news and information about Linux Mint Debian Edition 2, aka. "Betsy." As you might know, the Linux Mint team maintains two distributions: Linux Mint and LMDE. LMDE was a rolling distro for a while and eventually turned into a semi-rolling one. This was good at the time but it also presented challenges: the biggest issue in LMDE was the fact that it required a lot more maintenance than Linux Mint but that it had far less users. This hurt the frequency of updates it received but also the quality of the distribution. Now, LMDE 2 is going back to be continuously upgraded and to occasionally just receive media refresh ISO images. You can check the Roadmap to see the remaining issues. As the quality of Betsy is getting higher and higher, the project is getting closer to QA stage to iron out the bugs and perform proper testing.
Debian

CrunchBang Linux Halts Development 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-good-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Philip Newborough, the developer behind CrunchBang Linux, has put an end to work on the distro. CrunchBang was built as a layer on top of Debian using the Openbox window manager that focused on performance and customization. Newborough says the changing landscape of Linux over the past decade has obviated the need for a distro like CrunchBang. "Whilst some things have stayed exactly the same, others have changed beyond all recognition. It's called progress, and for the most part, progress is a good thing. That said, when progress happens, some things get left behind, and for me, CrunchBang is something that I need to leave behind. I'm leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don't believe that would be in the best interest of its users, who would benefit from using vanilla Debian."
Cloud

Greg KH Favors Rolling Release Distros 175

Posted by timothy
from the as-long-as-the-hill-is-gentle dept.
jones_supa writes In an interesting Google+ post, the lieutenant Linux developer Greg Kroah-Hartman mentions him fully moving to rolling-release Linux distributions: 'Finally retired my last 'traditional' Linux distro box yesterday, it's all 'rolling-release' Linux systems for me. Feels good. And to preempt the ask, it's Arch Linux almost everywhere (laptop, workstation, cloud servers), CoreOS (cloud server), and Gentoo for the remaining few (laptop, server under my desk).' What's your experience? Would in the current situation a rolling-release operating system indeed be the optimal choice?
Open Source

Systemd Getting UEFI Boot Loader 471

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-module-among-many dept.
New submitter mrons writes: Many new features are coming for systemd. This includes the ability to do a full secure boot. As Lennart Poettering mentions in a Google+ comment: "This is really just about providing the tools to implement the full trust chain from the firmware to the host OS, if SecureBoot is available. ... Of course, if you don't have EFI SecureBoot, than nothing changes. Also if you turn it off, than nothing changes either. [sic]" Phoronix notes, "Gummiboot is a simple UEFI boot manager that's been around for a few years but only receives new work from time-to-time. Lennart and Kay Sievers are looking at adding Gummiboot to systemd to complete the safety chain of the boot process with UEFI Secure Boot. Systemd will communicate with this UEFI boot loader to ensure the system didn't boot into a compromised state."
Linux Business

Dell Continues Shipping Fresh Linux Laptops 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the permanent-penguin dept.
jones_supa writes: In its latest move, Dell will be bringing Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to its top-of-the-line Precision M3800 workstation laptop and the latest model of the Dell XPS 13. Both systems will be running Ubuntu 14.04.1. According to Barton George, Dell's Director of Developer Programs, programmers had been asking for a better, officially-supported Ubuntu developer laptop. This came about from a combination of the efforts of Dell software engineer Jared Dominguez and enthusiastic feedback. Specs of M3800: 15.6" LCD @ 3840x2160, Intel i7 quad core CPU, NVIDIA Quadro GPU, up to 16 GB RAM. The bad news is, as Dominguez explained on his blog, this version of the M3800 doesn't support its built-in Thunderbolt 2 port out of the box. However, thanks to the hardware-enablement stack in Ubuntu, starting with upcoming Ubuntu 14.04.2, you will be able to upgrade your kernel to add some Thunderbolt support.
Security

Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure 375

Posted by Soulskill
from the targeted-for-improvement dept.
jones_supa writes: One thing we all remember from Windows NT is the security feature requiring the user to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to unlock the workstation (this can still be enabled with a policy setting). The motivation was to make it impossible for other programs to mimic a lock screen, as they couldn't react to the special key combination. Martin Gräßlin from the KDE team takes a look at the lock screen security on X11. On a protocol level, X11 doesn't know anything of screen lockers. Also the X server doesn't know that the screen is locked as it doesn't understand the concept. This means the screen locker can only use the core functionality available to emulate screen locking. That in turn also means that any other client can do the same and prevent the screen locker from working (for example opening a context menu on any window prevents the screen locker from activating). That's quite a bummer: any process connected to the X server can block the screen locker, and even more it could fake your screen locker.
Android

Embedded Linux Conference Headlined By Drones 22

Posted by Soulskill
from the penguins-can-fly dept.
DeviceGuru writes: The Linux Foundation has released the full agenda for its annual North American Embedded Linux Conference + Android Builders Summit, which takes place Mar. 23-25 in San Jose, Calif. The ELC, which this year is titled Drones, Things, and Automobiles, increasingly reflects new opportunities for Linux in areas such as drones, robots, automotive computers, IoT gizmos, 3D sensing, modular phones, and much more. For those worried that ELC is skimping on the basics as it explores the more colorful sides of Linux, worry not, as there are still plenty of sessions on booting, trace analysis, NAND support, PHY frameworks, power management, defragmenting, systemd, device tree, and toolchain.
Graphics

Ask Slashdot: GPU of Choice For OpenCL On Linux? 110

Posted by timothy
from the discriminating-tastes dept.
Bram Stolk writes So, I am running GNU/Linux on a modern Haswell CPU, with an old Radeon HD5xxx from 2009. I'm pretty happy with the open source Gallium driver for 3D acceleration. But now I want to do some GPGPU development using OpenCL on this box, and the old GPU will no longer cut it. What do my fellow technophiles from Slashdot recommend as a replacement GPU? Go NVIDIA, go AMD, or just use the integrated Intel GPU instead? Bonus points for open sourced solutions. Performance not really important, but OpenCL driver maturity is.
Bug

Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2 126

Posted by timothy
from the where-is-your-itch? dept.
jones_supa writes There has been quite a debate around the Linux version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and the fact that it wasn't really a port. A special kind of wrapper was used to make the Windows version of the game run on Linux systems, similar to Wine. The performance on Linux systems took a hit and users felt betrayed because they thought that they would get a native port. However, after the game stopped launching properly at some point, the reason was actually found to be a Linux regression. Linus quickly took care of the issue on an unofficial Witcher 2 issue tracker on GitHub: "It looks like LDT_empty is buggy on 64-bit kernels. I suspect that the behavior was inconsistent before the tightening change and that it's now broken as a result. I'll write a patch. Serves me right for not digging all the way down the mess of macros." This one goes to the bin "don't break userspace". Linus also reminds of QA: "And maybe this is an excuse for somebody in the x86 maintainer team to try a few games on steam. They *are* likely good tests of odd behavior.."
Google

Google Just Made It Easier To Run Linux On Your Chromebook 169

Posted by timothy
from the danger-in-keeping-that-little-fulcrum-in-place dept.
TechCurmudgeon writes A story in PCWorld's "World beyond Windows" column outlines coming improvements in Chrome OS that will enable easily running Linux directly from a USB stick: "Have you ever installed a full desktop Linux system on your Chromebook? It isn't all [that] hard, but it is a bit more complex than it should be. New features in the latest version of Chrome OS will make dipping into an alternative operating system easier. For example, you'll be able to easily boot a full Linux system from a USB drive and use it without any additional hassle!"
Open Source

User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux 189

Posted by timothy
from the otherwise-the-city-will-be-destroyed dept.
jones_supa writes A patch was proposed to the Linux Kernel Mailing List to drop support for the old EISA bus. However a user chimed in: "Well, I'd like to keep my x86 box up and alive, to support EISA FDDI equipment I maintain if nothing else — which in particular means the current head version of Linux, not some ancient branch." Linus Torvalds was friendly about the case: "So if we actually have a user, and it works, then no, we're not removing EISA support. It's not like it hurts us or is in some way fundamentally broken, like the old i386 code was (i386 kernel page fault semantics really were broken, and the lack of some instructions made it more painful to maintain than needed — not like EISA at all, which is just a pure add-on on the side)." In addition to Intel 80386, recent years have also seen MCA bus support being removed from the kernel. Linux generally strives to keep support even for crusty hardware if there provably is still user(s) of the particular gear.
Media

The Current State of Linux Video Editing 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-motion-tux dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The VFX industry has for most of the last 30 years been reliant on Macs and Windows machines for video editing, primarily because all of the Linux-based FOSS tools have been less than great. This is a shame, because all of the best 3D and 2D tools, other than video, are entrenched in the Linux environment and perform best there. The lack of decent video editing tools on Linux prevents every VFX studio from becoming a Linux-only shop. That being said, there are some strides being made to bridge this gap. What setup do you use? What's still missing?
GNU is Not Unix

Librem: a Laptop Custom-Made For Free/Libre Software 229

Posted by timothy
from the asymptotic-development dept.
Bunnie Huang's Novena laptop re-invents the laptop with open source (and Free software) in mind, but the hackability that it's built for requires a fair amount of tolerance on a user's part for funky design and visible guts. New submitter dopeghost writes with word of the nearly-funded (via Crowd Supply) Librem laptop, a different kind of Free-software machine using components "specifically selected so that no binary blobs are needed in the Linux kernel that ships with the laptop." Made from high quality components and featuring a MacBook-like design including a choice of HiDPI screen, the Librem might just be the first laptop to ship with a modern Intel CPU that is not locked down to require proprietary firmware.

Richard M. Stallman, president of the FSF, said, "Getting rid of the signature checking is an important step. While it doesn't give us free code for the firmware, it means that users will really have control of the firmware once we get free code for it."
Unlike some crowdfunding projects, this one is far from pie-in-the-sky, relying mostly on off-the-shelf components, with a planned shipping date in Spring of this year: "Purism is manufacturing the motherboard, and screen printing the keyboard. Purism is sourcing the case, daughter cards, memory, drives, battery, camera, and screen."