Graphics

First Steps Towards Network Transparency For Wayland (phoronix.com) 142

munwin99 writes: For the longest time, when bringing up Wayland a recurring question was 'what about network transparency?!' Well, Samsung's Derek Foreman has today published the set of Wayland patches for providing Wayland network transparency by pushing the Wayland protocol over TCP/IP.
Debian

Raspberry Pi's Raspbian OS Finally Ships With Open-Source OpenGL Support (phoronix.com) 59

An anonymous reader writes: With this month's Raspbian OS update, the Debian-based operating system for the Raspberry Pi ships experimental OpenGL driver support. This driver has been developed over the past two years by a former Intel developer with having a completely open and mainline DRM kernel driver and Mesa Gallium driver to open up the Pi as a replacement to the proprietary GPU driver.
GNU is Not Unix

Talos Secure Workstation Is Free-Software Centric — and $3100 [Updated] 117

jones_supa writes: These days, the motivation to use open source software for many people is to avoid backdoors placed by intelligence organizations and to avoid software that has hidden privacy-intruding characteristics. For the operating system and userspace software, open choices are already available. The last remaining island has been the firmware included in various ROM chips in a computer. Libreboot has introduced an open BIOS, but it is not available for newer systems featuring the Intel ME or AMD PSP management features. Talos' Secure Workstation fills this need, providing a modern system with 8-core POWER8 CPU, 132 GB RAM, and open firmware. The product is currently in a pre-release phase where Raptor Engineering is trying to understand if it's possible to do a production run of the machine. If you are interested, it's worth visiting the official website. Adds an anonymous reader about the new system, which rings in at a steep $3100: "While the engineers found solace in the POWER8 architecture with being more open than AMD/Intel CPUs, they still are searching for a graphics card that is open enough to receive the FSF Respect Your Freedom certification." Update: 02/08 18:44 GMT by T : See also Linux hacker and IBM employee Stewart Smith's talk from the just-completed linux.conf.au on, in which he walks through "all of the firmware components and what they do, including the boot sequence from power being applied up to booting an operating system." Update: 02/08 23:30 GMT by T :FSF Licensing & Compliance Manager Joshua Gay wrote to correct the headline originally appeared with this story, which said that the Talos workstation described was "FSF Certified"; that claim was an error I introduced. "The FSF has not certified this hardware," says Gay, "nor is it currently reviewing the hardware for FSF certification." Sorry for the confusion.
Stats

The Performance of Ubuntu Linux Over the Past 10 Years (phoronix.com) 110

An anonymous reader writes: Tests were carried out at Phoronix of all Ubuntu Long-Term Support releases from the 6.06 "Dapper Drake" release to 16.04 "Xenial Xerus," looking at the long-term performance of (Ubuntu) Linux using a dual-socket AMD Opteron server. Their benchmarks of Ubuntu's LTS releases over 10 years found that the Radeon graphics performance improved substantially, the disk performance was similar while taking into account the switch from EXT3 to EXT4, and that the CPU performance had overall improved for many workloads thanks to the continued evolution of the GCC compiler.
Bug

Running "rm -rf /" Is Now Bricking Linux Systems (phoronix.com) 699

An anonymous reader writes: For newer systems utilizing UEFI, running rm -rf / is enough to permanently brick your system. While it's a trivial command to run on Linux systems, Windows and other operating systems are also prone to this issue when using UEFI. The problem comes down to UEFI variables being mounted with read/write permissions and when recursively deleting everything, the UEFI variables get wiped too. Systemd developers have rejected mounting the EFI variables as read-only, since there are valid use-cases for writing to them. Mounting them read-only can also break other applications, so for now there is no good solution to avoid potentially bricking your system, but kernel developers are investigating the issue.
Operating Systems

GNU Hurd Begins Supporting Sound, Still Working On 64-bit & USB Support (phoronix.com) 312

An anonymous reader writes: GNU developer Samuel Thibault presented at this weekend's FOSDEM conference about the current state of GNU Hurd. He shared that over the past year they've started working on experimental sound support as their big new feature. They also have x86 64-bit support to the point that the kernel can boot, but not much beyond that stage yet. USB and other functionality remains a work-in-progress. Those curious about this GNU kernel project can find more details via the presentation media.
Intel

Intel Gets Called Out Again For Their M.I.A. 3.0 X.Org Driver (phoronix.com) 110

An anonymous reader writes: The xf86-video-intel 3.0 DDX driver has been in development the past two and a half years without seeing an official release. The last development release even of xf86-video-intel 3.0 Git was 13 months ago with the xf86-video-intel 2.99.917 release. At that time it was said by Intel's lead DDX developer, "3 months have passed, we should make one more snapshot before an imminent release." Since then, there's been no communications about a stable release of this DDX driver that makes SNA the default acceleration architecture over UXA. Over on the intel-gfx mailing list users are bringing up again the state of xf86-video-intel 3.0 and why it isn't released yet, questioning if Intel is "able to maintain its own device driver in a usable way?"
Networking

FreeBSD-Powered Firewall Distro OPNsense 16.1 Released (phoronix.com) 64

An anonymous reader writes: OPNsense, the open-source firewall project powered by FreeBSD that began as a fork of pfSense, is out with a new release. OPNsense 16.1 was developed over the past half-year and is a big update. OPNsense 16.1 has upgraded to using a FreeBSD 10.2 base, support for a high-speed IPS mode, a redesigned captive portal, firewall improvements, and a wide range of other work.
Open Source

Linux 4.5 Adds Raspberry Pi 2 Support, AMD GPU Re-Clocking, Intel Kaby Lake (phoronix.com) 147

The Linux 4.5 merge window has been open for the last two weeks; that means that the 4.5-rc1 kernel is expected to emerge, with the official kernel following in about eight weeks. An anonymous reader writes with this top-level list of changes to look for, from Phoronix: Linux 4.5 is set to bring many new features across the kernel's 20 million line code-base. Among the new/improved features are Raspberry Pi 2 support, open-source Raspberry Pi 3D support, NVIDIA Tegra X1 / Jetson TX1 support, an open-source Vivante graphics driver, AMDGPU PowerPlay/re-clocking support, Intel Kaby Lake enablement, a Logitech racing wheel driver, improvements for handling suspended USB devices, new F2FS file-system features, and better Xbox One controller handling.
GNU is Not Unix

GNU Emacs Now Has Native Support For GTK Widgets (phoronix.com) 133

An anonymous reader writes: The GNU Emacs text editor now has merged the X Widgets branch. What this work allows is for embedding GTK+ user interface widgets within Emacs for features like landing MPlayer or a full web browser in Emacs. This allows now for more endless opportunities for the 40 year old GNU text editor. The X/GTK widgets support will come with GNU Emacs 25.1.
Graphics

How OpenGL Graphics Card Performance Has Evolved Over 10 Years (phoronix.com) 115

An anonymous reader writes: A new report at Phoronix looks at the OpenGL performance of 27 graphics cards from the GeForce 8 through GeForce 900 series. Various Ubuntu OpenGL games were tested on these graphics cards dating back to 2006, focusing on raw performance and power efficiency. From oldest to newest, there was a 72x increase in performance-per-Watt, and a 100x increase in raw performance. The NVIDIA Linux results arrive after doing a similar AMD comparison from R600 graphics cards through the R9 Fury. However, that analysis found that for many of the older graphics cards, their open-source driver support regressed into an unworkable state. For the cards that did work, the performance gains were not nearly as significant over time.
Open Source

Open Source Could Help Bring Vulkan To More AMD GPUs (phoronix.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has confirmed that their Vulkan Linux driver will only work with the new AMDGPU kernel driver, meaning that for right now on the desktop, Vulkan will just work on the Radeon R9 285, R9 380, R9 380X and R9 Fury series — not even the other Rx 200/300 series graphics cards. This limitation exists because the AMDGPU driver only works with GCN 1.2 and newer. In time, AMD may allow the driver to work on older GCN GPUs going back to the HD 7000 series. But wait: AMDGPU is open-source. AMD is welcoming community support to help bring AMDGPU (and thereby Vulkan) to these older GPUs. The work involved would be porting GCN 1.0/1.1 support from the existing open-source Radeon DRM driver over to the new AMDGPU DRM driver. The Vulkan code itself is said to already be compatible with all GCN GPUs going back to the HD 7xxx series.
GNOME

GNOME Settings Area Getting a Refurbishment (gnome.org) 151

jones_supa writes: Allan Day has written a blog post today about some of the improvements that are being worked on for GNOME's settings area. The new GNOME Settings area is working toward a model that uses a list sidebar for navigation. The window is now resizable, and overall should be a nice upgrade. The new GNOME settings area certainly bears some resemblance to the Windows 10 settings app. Work is also ongoing specifically around improving GNOME's network settings, redesigned sound settings, experiments around improved display support, and various other enhancements to GNOME's settings area. For now, this work is considered experimental and all may not be completed in time for the GNOME 3.20 release in March.
Intel

Intel's Clear Linux Distribution Offers Fast Out-Of-The-Box Performance (phoronix.com) 137

An anonymous reader writes: In a 10-way Linux distribution battle including OpenSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and others, one of the fastest out-of-the-box performers was a surprising contender: Intel's Clear Linux Project that's still in its infancy. Clear Linux ships in an optimized form for delivering best performance on x86 hardware with enabling many compiler optimizations by default, highly-tuned software bundles, function multi-versioning for the most performant code functions based upon CPU, AutoFDO for automated feedback-direct optimizations and other performance-driven features. Clear Linux is a rolling-release-inspired distribution that issues new versions a few times a day and is up to version 5700.
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS Officially Released 132

prisoninmate writes: January 10, 2016, will enter in the Linux history books as the day when the Linux kernel 4.4 LTS (Long-Term Support) has been officially released by Linus Torvalds and his team of hard working kernel developers. Prominent features of Linux kernel 4.4 LTS include 3D support in the virtual GPU driver, allowing for 3D hardware-accelerated graphics in virtualization guests, a leaner and faster loop device that supports Asynchronous I/O and Direct I/O, thus increasing the system's performance and saving memory, and support for Open-Channel Solid State Drives (SSDs) through LightNVM. Phoronix also took a look during the newest kernel's development cycle, and has an overview of 4.4's new features.
Graphics

After Years of Serving X11, X.Org Stands To Lose Its One-Letter Domain (phoronix.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes: The X.Org domain predates the X.Org Foundation. It was used in the '90s as a destination by The Open Group around the X Window System. While many are expecting Mir and Wayland to eventually succeed the X.Org Server, it seems the X.Org/X11 Server may outlive the valuable domain. Thanks to poor management by the X.Org Foundation, they risk losing access to their one-letter domain. Procrastination, paired with not transferring the domain when forming the non-profit foundation, has led to a last-minute mess. They left the domain registered for years to a person who is no longer involved with X.Org — and doesn't want to relinquish it. In the few days until the domain expires, they are hoping for a "Hail Mary." Let this be a lesson for open-source projects to better manage their assets.
GUI

KDE Plasma 5.5 Has Matured Past the Point of Plasma 4 (phoronix.com) 111

An anonymous reader writes: KDE's Plasma 5 desktop received a lot of early heat for being unstable, missing functionality compared to the older Plasma 4, and other changes that irritated Linux desktop users. Fortunately, with the recent release of Plasma 5.5, they have hit a stage where there's fairly wide agreement that Plasma 5 has now matured past the point of Plasma 4. Ken Vermette looked meticulously at the KDE stack for 2016, including how it's working on Wayland, the setup, widgets, various new features, and more.
Bug

List of Major Linux Desktop Problems Updated For 2016 (narod.ru) 349

An anonymous reader writes: Phoronix reports that Artem S. Tashkinov's Major Linux Problems on the Desktop has been updated for 2016. It is a comprehensive list of various papercut issues and other inconveniences of Linux on the PC desktop. Among the issues cited for Linux not being ready for the desktop include graphics driver issues, audio problems, hardware compatibility problems, X11 troubles, a few issues with Wayland, and font problems. At the project management side, there is also cited a lack of cooperation among open source developers and fragmentation of desktops. Let's discuss.
Graphics

Mesa's Highlights Reel: An Impressive Year For Open Source 3-D Drivers 27

Michael Larabel at Phoronix has been assiduously reporting on some of the small advancements in open source 3-D graphics; in aggregate, those small advancements make for big improvements in hardware (and platform) support, as well as higher performance. Phoronix published today a year-end wrap-up highlighting some of the ways that Mesa has developed; it's quite a list. An excerpt: This time last year core Mesa and the drivers were still limited to OpenGL 3.3 compliance while in 2015 we've seen core Mesa reach up to OpenGL 4.2 support. The AMD RadeonSI and R600g drivers have raised up through OpenGL 4.1 (though R600g is limited in what supports GL4) and the Nouveau NVC0 driver is at OpenGL 4.1 as well. The Intel Mesa driver is still at OpenGL 3.3, but they are extremely close to OpenGL 4.2 and should hit that milestone in early 2016 after having been recently focusing up on OpenGL ES 3.1 support, which they did achieve this year. Besides tackling more GL4 support, Mesa this year has seen the new VirtIO GPU driver for 3D support in guest VMs, continued work on the new Raspberry Pi 3D driver (VC4), video encode/decode improvements, and other Gallium3D state tracker highlights.
Debian

APT Speed For Incremental Updates Gets a Massive Performance Boost 162

jones_supa writes: Developer Julian Andres Klode has this week made some improvements to significantly increase the speed of incremental updates with Debian GNU/Linux's APT update system. His optimizations have yielded the apt-get program to suddenly yield 10x performance when compared to the old code. These improvements also make APT with PDiff now faster than the default, non-incremental behavior. Beyond the improvements that landed this week, Julian is still exploring other areas for improving APT update performance. More details via his blog post.

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