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Open Source

Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons 261

Posted by timothy
from the year-of-the-hurr-durr dept.
An anonymous reader writes Following polling on Linus Torvald's Google+ page, he's decided to make the next kernel version Linux 4.0 rather than Linux 3.20. Linux 4.0 is going to bring many big improvements besides the version bump with there being live kernel patching, pNFS block server support, VirtIO 1.0, IBM z13 mainframe support, new ARM SoC support, and many new hardware drivers and general improvements. Linux 4.0 is codenamed "Hurr durr I'ma sheep."
Media

VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: Two weekends ago an update for VLC media player was shared during a presentation in Brussels at FOSDEM. Lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf covered VLC's continued vibrant development, as well as features that are coming for VLC 2.2 and VLC 3.0. VLC 2.2.0 will feature automatic, GPU-accelerated video rotation support, extension improvements, resume handling, support for new codecs/formats and rewrites to some of the existing formats, VDPAU GPU zero-copy support, x265 encoder support, etc. Further out is VLC 3.0.0, which is planned to have Wayland support, GPU zero-copy support for OpenMAX IL, ARIB subtitle support, HEVC / VP9 hardware decoding on Android, a rework of the MP4 and TS demuxers, and browsing improvements. The VLC FOSDEM 2015 presentation is available in PDF form. The VLC Git shortlog can be used to follow the development of the project.
Bug

RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el 551

Posted by timothy
from the purity-in-body-mind-and-spirit dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the news that Richard Stallman is upset over the prospect of GNU Emacs's Grand Unified Debugger (Gud.el) supporting LLVM's LLDB debugger. Stallman says it looks like there is a systematic effort to attack GNU packages and calls for the GNU Project to respond strategically. He wrote his concerns to the mailing list after a patch emerged that would optionally support LLDB alongside GDB as an alternative debugger for Emacs. Other Emacs developers discounted RMS' claims by saying Emacs supports Windows and OS X, so why not support a BSD-licensed compiler/debugger? The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.
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.
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."
Oracle

VirtualBox Development At a Standstill 288

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-with-a-virtual-bang,-but-a-virtual-whimper dept.
jones_supa writes: Phoronix notes how it has been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox, the virtual machine software managed by Oracle. This comes while VMware is improving its products on all platforms, and KVM, Xen, Virt-Manager, and related Linux virtualization technologies continue to advance as well. Is there any hope left for a revitalized VirtualBox? It has been said that there are only four paid developers left on the VirtualBox team at the company, which is not enough manpower to significantly advance such a complex piece of software. The v4.3 series has been receiving some maintenance updates during the last two years, but that's about it.
AMD

AMD Catalyst Is the Broken Wheel For Linux Gaming 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the didn't-squeek-enough-to-get-the-grease dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Tests of the AMD Catalyst driver with the latest AAA Linux games/engines have shown what poor shape the proprietary Radeon driver currently is in for Linux gamers. Phoronix, which traditionally benchmarks with open-source OpenGL games and other long-standing tests, recently has taken specially interest in adapting some newer Steam-based titles for automated benchmarking. With last month's Linux release of Metro Last Light Redux and Metro 2033 Redux, NVIDIA's driver did great while AMD Catalyst was miserable. Catalyst 14.12 delivered extremely low performance and some major bottleneck with the Radeon R9 290 and other GPUs running slower than NVIDIA's midrange hardware. In Unreal Engine 4 Linux tests, the NVIDIA driver again was flawless but the same couldn't be said for AMD. Catalyst 14.12 wouldn't even run the Unreal Engine 4 demos on Linux with their latest generation hardware but only with the HD 6000 series. Tests last month also showed AMD's performance to be crippling for NVIDIA vs. AMD Civilization: Beyond Earth Linux benchmarks with the newest drivers.
Debian

SystemD Gains New Networking Features 553

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-things-better dept.
jones_supa writes A lot of development work is happening on systemd with just the recent couple of weeks seeing over 200 commits. With the most recent work that has landed, the networkd component has been improved with new features. Among the additions are IP forwarding and masquerading support (patch). This is the minimal support needed and these settings get turned on by default for container network interfaces. Also added was minimal firewall manipulation helpers for systemd's networkd. The firewall manipulation helpers (patch) are used for establishing NAT rules. This support in systemd is provided by libiptc, the library used for communicating with the Linux kernel's Netfilter and changing iptables firewall rulesets. Those wishing to follow systemd development on a daily basis and see what is actually happening under the hood, can keep tabs via the systemd Git viewer.
Open Source

Fluxbox 1.3.6 Released 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: After nearly two years since the previous release, the Fluxbox team has released version 1.3.6 to start off the new year. Like most Linux geeks already know, Fluxbox is the long-standing X window manager derived from Blackbox. The new version (announcement) puts emphasis on quality assurance and takes care of fixing a bunch of critical bugs: clocktool problems, rendering long text, race condition on shutdown, lost keypresses after workspace switch, corruption of fbrun-history, and resize and move problems. The two new features are an ArrangeWindowsStack action and treating Windows with a WM_CLASS as DockApp as DockApps. Translations for Bulgarian, Hebrew and Japanese also got updates. The Fluxbox project sends many thanks to all the contributors.
AMD

AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Catching Up To and Beating Windows 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the tortoise-finally-starting-to-overtake-the-hare dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Along with the open-source AMD Linux driver having a great 2014, the AMD Catalyst proprietary driver for Linux has also improved a lot. Beyond the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver closing in on Catalyst, the latest Phoronix end-of-year tests show the AMD Catalyst Linux driver is beating Catalyst on Windows for some OpenGL benchmarks. The proprietary driver tests were done with the new Catalyst "OMEGA" driver. Is AMD beginning to lead real Linux driver innovations or is OpenGL on Windows just struggling?
AMD

Phoronix Lauds AMD's Open Source Radeon Driver Progress For 2014 44

Posted by timothy
from the parity-looms dept.
Phoronix has taken an in-depth look at progress on AMD's open source Radeon driver, and declares 2014 to have been a good year. There are several pages with detailed benchmarks, but the upshot is overwhelmingly positive: Across the board there's huge performance improvements to find out of the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver when comparing the state at the end of 2013 to the current code at the end of this year. The performance improvements and new features presented (among them are OpenMAX / AMD video encode, UVD for older AMD GPUs, various new OpenGL extensions, continued work on OpenCL, power management improvements, and the start of open-source HSA) has been nothing short of incredible. Most of the new work benefits the Radeon HD 7000 series and newer (GCN) GPUs the most but these tests showed the Radeon HD 6000 series still improving too. ... Coming up before the end of the year will be a fresh comparison of these open-source Radeon driver results compared to the newest proprietary AMD Catalyst Linux graphics driver.
Open Source

Linux 3.19 Kernel To Start 2015 With Many New Features 66

Posted by timothy
from the presents-from-linus-and-friends dept.
An anonymous reader writes Linux 3.18 was recently released, thus making Linux 3.19 the version under development as the year comes to a close. Linux 3.19 as the first big kernel update of 2015 is bringing in the new year with many new features: among them are AMDKFD HSA kernel driver, Intel "Skylake" graphics support, Radeon and NVIDIA driver improvements, RAID5/6 improvements for Btrfs, LZ4 compression for SquashFS, better multi-touch support, new input drivers, x86 laptop improvements, etc.
Networking

NetworkManager 1.0 Released After Ten Years Development 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-things-come-for-those-who-wait dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After ten years of development focused on improving and simplifying Linux networking, NetworkManager 1.0 was released. NetworkManager 1.0 brings many features including an increasingly modernized client library, improved command-line support, a lightweight internal DHCP client, better Bluetooth support, VPN enhancements, WWAN IPv6 support, and other features.
Security

Just-Announced X.Org Security Flaws Affect Code Dating Back To 1987 172

Posted by timothy
from the we-have-a-history dept.
An anonymous reader writes Some of the worst X.Org security issues were just publicized in an X.Org security advisory. The vulnerabilities deal with protocol handling issues and led to 12 CVEs published and code dating back to 1987 is affected within X11. Fixes for the X Server are temporarily available via this Git repository.
Linux

Linux 3.18 Released, Lockup Bug Still Present 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
jones_supa writes As anticipated, Linus Torvalds officially released Linux 3.18. The new version is now out there, though that nasty lockup issue has still yet to be resolved. Dave Jones is nearing the end of dissecting the issue, but since it also affects Linux 3.17 and not too many people seem to get hit by the lockups, Linus Torvalds decided to go ahead and do the 3.18 release on schedule. Linus was also concerned that dragging out the 3.18 release would then complicate the Linux 3.19 merge window due to the holidays later this month. Now the Linux 3.19 kernel merge window is open for two weeks of exciting changes.
Bug

Bad Lockup Bug Plagues Linux 257

Posted by timothy
from the therefore-it-plagues-you dept.
jones_supa (887896) writes "A hard to track system lockup bug seems to have appeared in the span of couple of most recent Linux kernel releases. Dave Jones of Red Hat was the one to first report his experience of frequent lockups with 3.18. Later he found out that the issue is present in 3.17 too. The problem was first suspected to be related to Xen. A patch dating back to 2005 was pushed for Xen to fix a vmalloc_fault() path that was similar to what was reported by Dave. The patch had a comment that read "the line below does not always work. Needs investigating!" But it looks like this issue was never properly investigated. Due to the nature of the bug and its difficulty in tracking down, testers might be finding multiple but similar bugs within the kernel. Linus even suggested taking a look in the watchdog code. He also concluded the Xen bug to be a different issue. The bug hunt continues in the Linux Kernel Mailing List."
GNOME

GTK+ Developers Call For Help To Finish Cross-Platform OpenGL Support 89

Posted by timothy
from the gears-spinning dept.
jones_supa writes OpenGL support under GTK is getting into good shape for providing a nice, out-of-the-box experience by default on key platforms for the GTK+ 3.16 / GNOME 3.16 release in March. For a few weeks now within mainline GTK+ has been native OpenGL support and as part of that a new GtkGLArea widget for allowing OpenGL drawing within GTK applications. Since that initial work landed, there's been more GTK+ OpenGL code progressing that right now primarily benefits Linux X11 and Wayland users. While good progress is being made and improvements still ongoing to the GNOME toolkit, GNOME developers are requesting help in ensuring other GTK+ backends can benefit from this OpenGL support. If you are using or planning to use GTK+ 3 on Windows or OS X, and you know how to use OpenGL on those two platforms, please consider helping out the GTK+ developers by implementing the GdkGLContext API using WGL and AppleGL.
Graphics

Major Performance Improvement Discovered For Intel's GPU Linux Driver 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the striving-for-parity dept.
An anonymous reader writes: LunarG, on contract with Valve Software, discovered a critical shortcoming with the open-source Intel Linux graphics driver that was handicapping the performance. A special bit wasn't being set by the Linux driver but was by the Windows driver, which when enabled is increasing the Linux performance in many games by now ~20%+, which should allow for a much more competitive showing between Intel OpenGL performance on Windows vs. Linux. However, the patch setting this bit isn't public yet as apparently it's breaking video acceleration in certain cases.
Graphics

Qualcomm Begins Contributing To Reverse-Engineered Freedreno Linux Driver 19

Posted by Soulskill
from the doing-it-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes: For over two years there's been a Freedreno driver project that's been reverse-engineering Qualcomm's Adreno graphics hardware. Freedreno consists of both a user-space Gallium3D driver providing OpenGL / OpenGL ES support and a DRM/KMS kernel driver to replace Qualcomm's open-source kernel driver designed just around Android's needs. The community-based, reverse-engineering Freedreno driver project is finally paying off and gaining critical momentum with Qualcomm now contributing to the driver. QuIC through the Aurora Forum provided Adreno A4xx hardware support to the Freedreno MSM kernel driver.
Open Source

OpenBSD Drops Support For Loadable Kernel Modules 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the loadable-kernel-modules-have-had-it-too-good-for-too-long dept.
jones_supa writes: The OpenBSD developers have decided to remove support for loadable kernel modules from the BSD distribution's next release. Several commits earlier this month stripped out the loadable kernel modules support. Phoronix's Michael Larabel has not yet found an official reason for the decision to drop support. He wagers that it is due to security or code quality/openness ideals.