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GNOME

OpenGL Becoming a Requirement For the Linux Desktop 229

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the economic-stimulus-plan dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Modern Linux desktops like Ubuntu's Unity and the GNOME Shell have placed a requirement on OpenGL 2.0+ support for handling their compositing window managers and desktop effects. Wayland's Weston also needs OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Now with modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu 12.10, rather than falling back to a 2D unaccelerated desktop if you don't have a sufficient GPU or graphics driver, users are being forced to run LLVMpipe as a CPU-based software rasterizer. LLVMpipe works fine if you are on a new PC with a fast x86-64 CPU, but the OpenGL-based Linux desktops are causing growing pains for ARM hardware, virtual machines, servers, multi-seat computers, and of course all older hardware. LLVMpipe is a Mesa Gallium3D driver that uses LLVM for run-time code generation as an attempt at accelerating graphics faster on the CPU. So much for Linux being good for old computers?" The KMS based graphics stack is already effectively unusable on AGP systems (if you have SMP + AGP, there are race conditions somewhere leading to really hard crashes that appeared a couple of years ago and dozens of years old open bugs with no resolution other than "use PCI mode" which cuts bus bandwidth by 4 or 8 times, and still doesn't work with SMP), but for those with older PCIe/IGP systems you could always runs Window Maker, Sawfish, Enlightenment, Open Box, or one of many other window managers without a compositor. Of course then you lose compositing, and there aren't any usable external compositors for some reason. The flipside to this is that moving to OpenGL as the primary interface to the GPU means one fewer driver that has to be written, and will probably lead to an overall improved experience for those with supported hardware given the limited resources Free Software drivers authors have.
Open Source

ARM Code for Raspberry Pi Goes Open Source (Video) 91

Posted by Roblimo
from the more-open-than-ever-before dept.
"The Raspberry Pi project relies heavily on Open Source and Free Software — heck, it's targeted by more than one Linux distro. But some of the hardware stack that makes up the Pi itself needs closed-source code to run; the code that runs all kinds of low-level hardware is often closed source and closed off. I got wind from project instigator and lead Eben Upton that the system-on-a-chip at the Raspberry Pi's heart is about to get a lot more open. Says Upton: "We're about to open source all of the remaining closed source ARM code for the Pi. This will make BCM2835 the first ARM multimedia SoC with a fully-open-source ARM user and kernel implementation." I spoke for a few minutes with Alex Bradbury, who runs the Linux software work for the project, about licensing and what the new code means not only for Raspberry Pi but for users and other OS projects." (Note: the sound quality on this translantic Skype call is poor. We suggest reading the transcript.) Get the code while it's hot.
Games

Team Fortress 2 Beta Patch Adds Files Referring To Linux Support 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-the-speculation-commence dept.
New submitter spacenet writes "Valve has quietly released an update to the beta version of its popular online FPS Team Fortress 2. Among the modified files are some Linux-related files including a hardware driver compatibility list, optimal graphics settings, and a shell script launcher (previously only for OS X, now with a case for Linux as well). Valve has not updated their TF2 beta changelog, but has acknowledged the update in a forum post."
GUI

Wayland 1.0 Released, Not Yet Ready To Replace X11 455

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the adhd-induced-wheel-reinvention dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After being talked about for four years, Wayland 1.0 was released today. The Wayland 1.0 release doesn't mark it yet as being ready for Linux desktop usage but just being API/protocol stable for future expansion. Wayland will now maintain backwards compatibility going forward, but how much longer will it take to replace X11 on the Linux desktop? Quite a while seems likely."
Operating Systems

Ask Slashdot: Securing a Windows Laptop, For the Windows Newbie? 503

Posted by timothy
from the not-under-my-roof dept.
madsdyd writes "I am a long-time user of Linux (since 1997) and have not been using Windows since 1998. All PCs at home (mine, wife's, kids') run Linux. I work professionally as a software developer with Linux, but the Windows installs at my workplace are quite limited, so my current/working knowledge of Windows is almost nil. At home we have all been happy with this arrangement, and the kids have been using their Nintendos, PS2/3's and mobile phones up until now. However, my oldest kid (12) now wants to play World of Warcraft and League of Legends with his friends. I have spent more hours than I like to admit getting this to work with Wine, with limited success — seems to always fail at the last moment. I considered an Apple machine, but they seem to be quite expensive. So, I am going to bite the bullet, and install Windows 7 on a spare Lenovo T400 laptop, which I estimate will be able to run both Windows 7 and the games in question." Read on for more about the questions this raises, for someone who wants to ensure that a game-focused machine stays secure.
Open Source

Ubuntu Isn't Becoming Less Open, Says Shuttleworth 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the frantic-flamingo dept.
sfcrazy writes "While the larger Ubuntu community was busy downloading, installing and enjoying the latest edition of Ubuntu yesterday, a post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth ruffled some feathers. He gave the impression that from now on only select members of the community will be involved in some development and it will be announced publicly only after completion. There was some criticism of this move, and Shuttleworth responded that they are actually opening up projects being developed internally by Canonical employees instead of closing currently open projects. He also made a new blog post clarifying his previous comments: 'What I offered to do, yesterday, spontaneously, is to invite members of the community in to the things we are working on as personal projects, before we are ready to share them. This would mean that there was even less of Ubuntu that was NOT shaped and polished by folk other than Canonical – a move that one would think would be well received. This would make Canonical even more transparent.'"
Software

Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal Out Now; Raring Ringtail In the Works 318

Posted by timothy
from the that-alphabet-song-really-gets-in-your-head dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The six month cycle that Canonical adheres to for Ubuntu releases has come around again today. Ubuntu 12.10 'Quantal Quetzal' has been released. There's a whole range of new features and updates, but here are the most important: WebApps — treats online services as if they are desktop apps (Gmail, Twitter, Facebook); Online Services — control logins to all your services from a single window and get them integrated into search results (e.g. GDocs for file searches); Dash Preview — right click any icon, get a detailed preview of what it is; Linux kernel 3.5.4; GNOME 3.6; Nautilus 3.4; latest Unity; No more Unity 2D, fallback is the Gallium llvmpipe software rasterizer; Default apps updated (Firefox 16.01, Thunderbird 16.01, LibreOffice 3.6.2, Totem, Shotwell, Rythmbox); Full disc encryption available during install; Single, 800MB distribution for all architectures." It's now available for download. The next version, due in six months' time, will be called Raring Ringtail.
Graphics

Trans-Atlantic 8K/UHDTV Streaming With UltraGrid and Commodity PCs 58

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-push-media dept.
An anonymous reader writes "During the 12th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop in Chicago, researchers have demonstrated interactive multi-point streaming of 8K/UHDTV (i.e., 16x Full HD resolution) using commodity PC hardware running Linux and open-source UltraGrid software. The transmissions featured GPU-accelerated JPEG and DXT compressions implemented using the NVIDIA CUDA platform, which are also available as open-source software. The streams were distributed from the source to one location in the USA and to another location in the Czech Republic over 10Gbps GLIF network infrastructure."
Data Storage

Reiser4 File System Still In Development 317

Posted by timothy
from the despite-it-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Reiser4 still hasn't been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, but it's still being worked on by a small group of developers following Hans Reiser being convicted for murdering his wife. Reiser4 was updated in September on SourceForge to work with the Linux 3.5 kernel and has been benchmarked against EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and ReiserFS. Reiser4 loses out in most of the Linux file-system performance tests, has much stigma due to Hans Reiser, and Btrfs is surpassing it feature-wise, so does it have any future in Linux ahead?"
KDE

KDE Plasma Active 3 Improves Performance, Brings New Apps 70

Posted by samzenpus
from the frsh-off-the-line dept.
jrepin writes "KDE has released the 3rd stable version of Plasma Active, KDE's device-independent user experience. The Plasma Active user interface is touch-friendly and works well across a range of devices. Its Activities function gives users a natural way to organize and access their applications, files and information. Plasma Active Three noticeably improves the user experience with its enhanced and expanded set of apps, improved performance and a new virtual keyboard."
Linux

Raspberry Pi Gets 512MB Filling 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the bigger-and-better dept.
sfcrazy writes "Good (and bad) news for Raspberry Pi lovers, the Model B has been upgraded to 512MB RAM from 256MB. Bad news is for those who already got their Model B shipments because all those who have outstanding orders with either distributors will get the *upgraded* version of the device, means with 512MB RAM instead of 256MB. The upgraded devices should be arriving to customers from today onwards. Raspberry Pi team will be pushing a firmware upgrade soon so these news devices can detect and use the additional RAM."
Windows

Windows 8: Do I Really Need a Single OS? 344

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-i-really-need-seventeen-of-them dept.
gManZboy writes "If you skip Windows 8, you lose the appealing opportunity to synchronize all of your devices on a single platform — or so goes the argument. If you're skeptical, you're not alone. OS monogamy may be in Apple's interest, and Microsoft's, but ask why it's in your interest. Can Microsoft convince the skeptics? 'If the hardware and software are the same at home and at work, one can't be "better" than the other. It would help if Microsoft convinced users like me that their platform is so good, we'd be fools to go anywhere else,' writes Kevin Casey."
Intel

The Story of Nokia MeeGo 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the rise-and-fall-but-mostly-fall dept.
An anonymous reader writes "TaskuMuro, a Finnish tech news site, has anonymously interviewed various Nokia employees and pieced together an interesting timeline of the events which led to the abandonment of the Nokia MeeGo platform and to Nokia's current affiliation with Microsoft and Windows Phone. It appears the MeeGo project was rather disorganized from the get-go and fell victim to the company's internal tug-of-war, aimless management causing several UI redesigns and a none-too-wise reliance on Intel components which lacked some key features – namely, LTE support."
Security

Linux Foundation Offers Solution for UEFI Secure Boot 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the sidestep-and-ignore dept.
Ever since news broke last year that Microsoft would require Windows 8 machines to have UEFI secure boot enabled, there were concerns that it would be used to block the installation of other operating systems, such as Linux distributions. Now, reader dgharmon sends this quote from Ars Technica about a new defense against that outcome: "The Linux Foundation has announced plans to provide a general purpose solution suitable for use by Linux and other non-Microsoft operating systems. The group has produced a minimal bootloader that won't boot any operating system directly. Instead, it will transfer control to any other bootloader — signed or unsigned — so that can boot an operating system." The announcement adds, "The pre-bootloader will employ a 'present user'; test to ensure that it cannot be used as a vector for any type of UEFI malware to target secure systems. This pre-bootloader can be used either to boot a CD/DVD installer or LiveCD distribution or even boot an installed operating system in secure mode for any distribution that chooses to use it."
Linux

Alan Cox to NVIDIA: You Can't Use DMA-BUF 946

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gauntlet-has-been-thrown dept.
DMA-BUF is a recent kernel feature that allows multiple GPUs to quickly copy data into each others' framebuffers. A use case would be the NVIDIA Optimus that pairs a fast GPU with an Intel integrated GPU, where the NVIDIA GPU writes into the Intel framebuffer when it is active. But, NVIDIA won't be able to use this infrastructure because it's GPL. Alan Cox replied on LKML to a request from one of their engineers to mark the API non-GPL: "NAK. This needs at the very least the approval of all rights holders for the files concerned and all code exposed by this change. Also I'd note if you are trying to do this for the purpose of combining it with proprietary code then you are still in my view as a (and the view of many other) rights holder to the kernel likely to be in breach of the GPL requirements for a derivative work. You may consider that formal notification of my viewpoint. Your corporate legal team can explain to you why the fact you are now aware of my view is important to them." The rest of the thread is worth a read (a guy from RedHat agrees that this code is GPL and cannot become non-GPL without relicensing from a major subset of graphics system contributors). This has a ripple effect: it means that all of the ARM SoC GPU drivers can't use it either, and it may prevent any proprietary drivers for the proposed DRI version 3.

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