Stats

Phoronix Announces '2017 Linux Laptop Survey' (google.com) 61

Phoronix is hosting a 2017 Linux Laptop Survey. From their site: While Linux laptop compatibility is much better than where it was years ago, it's still not too uncommon to run into display/hybrid issues, shorter battery life under Linux than Windows or macOS, touchpad problems, and other occasional compatibility/performance shortcomings. So we've established this Linux Laptop Survey in conjunction with Linux stakeholders to hopefully gather more feedback that will be useful to many different parties...
The survey will be online until July 6th, after which the results will be publicly available, and will determine the most popular brands, distros, screen sizes, and GPUs, as well as common pain points and popular price points. And one particularly interestng question asks respondents what they'd like to see in a "dream Linux laptop."
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Touch Mobile OS Now Maintained By UBports (phoronix.com) 22

An anonymous reader quotes Phoronix: UBports continues to be the leading community project for trying to let Ubuntu Touch live on and evolve under their direction... Among their recent achievements were acquiring more sponsors, all devices that were sold with Ubuntu Touch can now run with UBports' builds, they are working on their own version of Mozilla's AGPS Location Service to replace Canonical's GPS system, the Halium OS platform continues evolving, the Dekko email client is back under development, installation improvements are being worked on, they are still striving for Wayland support, and more.
The UBports Patreon page has even raised enough to allow UBports founder Marius Gripsgard to work full-time on what they're calling "a beautiful, free and open-source mobile OS." Their recent community update announced that "we are seeing more activity on Ubuntu Touch than for a very long time, and that is really encouraging."
Debian

Debian Update: Stretch Frozen, Bug-Squashing Parties Planned (phoronix.com) 55

"Debian project leader Mehdi Dogguy has written a status update concerning the work going on for the first two months of 2017," reports Phoronix. An anonymous reader quotes their report: So far this year Debian 9.0 Stretch has entered its freeze, bug squashing parties are getting underway for Stretch, the DebConf Committee is now an official team within Debian, a broad Debian Project roadmap is in the early stages of talk, and more.
Bug-Squashing Parties have been scheduled this week in Germany and Brazil, with at least two more happening in May in Paris and Zurich, and for current Debian contributors, "Debian is willing to reimburse up to $100 (or equivalent in your local currency) for your travel and accommodation expenses for participating in Bug Squashing Parties..." writes Dogguy, adding "If there are no Bug Squashing Parties next to your city, can you organize one?"
Operating Systems

OPNsense 17.1 Released, Based On FreeBSD 11 (phoronix.com) 39

An anonymous reader quotes Phoronix: OPNsense 17.1 is now available as the newest release of this network-focused FreeBSD-based operating system forked from pfSense. It's now been two years since the first official release of OPNsense and to celebrate they have out a big update. OPNsense 17.1 re-bases to using FreeBSD 11.0, there's now a SSH remote installer, new language support, more hardening features used from HardenedBSD, new plugins, integrated authentication via PAM, and many other improvements. Some of the new plug-ins include FTP Proxy, Tinc VPN, and Let's Encrypt support.
This version has been named "Eclectic Eagle".
Operating Systems

Richard Stallman Acknowledges Libreboot Is No Longer A Part of GNU (gnu.org) 397

Libreboot became an official GNU project in May. Now an anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Richard Stallman has officially announced that Libreboot is no longer a GNU package. The maintainer of Libreboot had tried to leave the GNU project in September 2016, but the departure was not acknowledged until January 2017. Libreboot is a replacement for proprietary BIOS systems, effectively a distribution of coreboot without any binary blobs and adding an automated build/install process.
In the post titled "Goodbye to GNU Libreboot," Stallman wrote that "When a package's maintainer steps down, that doesn't by itself break the relationship between GNU and the package. If it is left without a maintainer but is still useful, the GNU Project will usually look for new maintainers to work on it. However, we can instead drop ties with the package, if that seems the right thing to do.

"A few months ago, the maintainer of GNU Libreboot decided not to work on Libreboot for the GNU Project any more. That was her decision to make. She also asserted that Libreboot was no longer a GNU package -- something she could not unilaterally do. The GNU Project had to decide what to do in regard to Libreboot. We have decided to go along with the former GNU maintainer's wishes in this case, for a combination of reasons: (1) it had not been a GNU package for very long, (2) she was the developer who had originally made it a GNU package, and (3) there were no major developers who wanted to continue developing Libreboot under GNU auspices."
Open Source

Linus Torvalds Officially Announces the Release of Linux Kernel 4.8 (softpedia.com) 95

Slashdot reader prisoninmate brings news from Softpedia: Today, Linus Torvalds proudly announced the release and availability for download of the Linux 4.8 kernel branch, which is now the latest stable and most advanced one. Linux kernel 4.8 has been in development for the past two months, during which it received no less than eight Release Candidate testing versions that early adopters were able to compile and install on their GNU/Linux operating system to test various hardware components or simply report bugs...

A lot of things have been fixed since last week's RC8 milestone, among which we can mention lots of updated drivers, in particular for GPU, networking, and Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module (NVDIMM), a bunch of improvements to the ARM, MIPS, SPARC, and x86 hardware architectures, updates to the networking stack, as well as to a few filesystem, and some minor changes to cgroup and vm.

The kernel now supports the Raspberry Pi 3 SoC as well as the Microsoft Surface 3 touchscreen.
Debian

Systemd Rolls Out Its Own Mount Tool (phoronix.com) 541

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: I'm surprised this hasn't surfaced on Slashdot already, but yesterday Phoronix reported that systemd will soon be handling file system mounts, along with all the other stuff that systemd has encompassed. The report generated the usual systemd arguments over on Reddit.com/r/linux with Lennart Poettering, systemd developer and architect, chiming in with a few clarifications.
Lennart argued it will greatly improve the handling of removable media like USB sticks.
GUI

Fedora 25 To Run Wayland By Default Instead Of X.Org Server (phoronix.com) 151

An anonymous reader writes: Fedora 25 will finally be the first release for this Linux distribution -- and the first tier-one desktop Linux OS at large -- that is going ahead and using Wayland by default. Wayland has been talked about for years as a replacement to the xorg-server and finally with the upcoming Fedora 25 release this is expected to become a reality. The X.Org Server will still be present on Fedora systems for those running into driver problems or other common issues.
Fedora's steering committee agreed to the change provided the release notes "are clear about how to switch back to X11 if needed." In addition, according to the Fedora Project's wiki, "The code will automatically fall back to Xorg in cases where Wayland is unavailable (like NVIDIA)."
Open Source

New FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Tested By Phoronix (phoronix.com) 61

"The first release candidate for the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 is ready for testing," reports Distrowatch, noting various changes. ("A NULL pointer dereference in IPSEC has been fixed; support for SSH protocol 1 has been removed; OpenSSH DSA keys have been disabled by default...") Now an anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Sunday Phoronix performed some early benchmark testing, comparing FreeBSD 10.3 to FreeBSD 11.0 as well as DragonFlyBSD, Ubuntu, Intel Clear Linux and CentOS Linux 7. They reported mixed results -- some wins and some losses for FreeBSD -- using a clean install with the default package/settings on the x86_64/amd64 version for each operating system.

FreeBSD 11.0 showed the fastest compile times, and "With the SQLite benchmark, the BSDs came out ahead of Linux [and] trailed slightly behind DragonFlyBSD 4.6 with HAMMER. The 11.0-BETA4 performance does appear to regress slightly for SQLite compared to FreeBSD 10.3... With the BLAKE2 crypto test, all four Linux distributions were faster than DragonFlyBSD and FreeBSD... with the Apache web server benchmark, FreeBSD was able to outperform the Linux distributions..."

Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.7 Officially Released (iu.edu) 60

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: The Linux 4.7 kernel made its official debut today with Linus Torvalds announcing, "after a slight delay due to my travels, I'm back, and 4.7 is out. Despite it being two weeks since rc7, the final patch wasn't all that big, and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners." Linux 4.7 ships with open-source AMD Polaris (RX 480) support, Intel Kabylake graphics improvements, new ARM platform/board support, Xbox One Elite Controller support, and a variety of other new features.
Slashdot reader prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: The biggest new features of Linux kernel 4.7 are support for the recently announced Radeon RX 480 GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) from AMD, which, of course, has been implemented directly into the AMDGPU video driver, a brand-new security module, called LoadPin, that makes sure the modules loaded by the kernel all originate from the same file system, and support for generating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP. Furthermore, Linux kernel 4.7 is the first one to ensure the production-ready status of the sync_file fencing mechanism used in the Android mobile operating system, allow Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) programs to attach to tracepoints, as well as to introduce the long-anticipated "schedutil" frequency governor to the cpufreq dynamic frequency scaling subsystem, which promises to be faster and more accurate than existing ones.
Linus's announcement includes the shortlog, calling this release "fairly calm," though "There's a couple of network drivers that got a bit more loving."
Android

Intel ChromeBooks Can Now Run Wine and Steam (codeweavers.com) 45

"With Google Play and Android app support hitting Chromebooks, it's now possible to run Windows applications/games on Chromebooks via CrossOver For Android," reports Phoronix. Slashdot reader grungy writes: The first Intel ChromeBooks have access to the Play Store now, and the Android version of Wine apparently runs on them... Pictures show the Steam client running, and a clip of a D3D game. Of course, the Play Store is only available on the ChromeOS developer channel so far, but that should change later this year.
CrossOver for Android also hasn't been officially released, but Thursday CodeWeavers' president blogged excitedly that "we are staring at a Leprechaun riding on the back of a Unicorn while taking a picture of a UFO. We are running CrossOver through Android on a ChromeBook running a Windows based game launched from the Steam client. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE...EVER!!!"
Open Source

Mesa 12.0 Released With OpenGL 4.3 Support, Intel Vulkan and More (phoronix.com) 24

An anonymous reader writes: Mesa3D developers have announced the release of Mesa 12.0. Mesa 12 notably adds open-source OpenGL 4.3 drivers for Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA on Linux, and it also integrates the previously open-sourced Intel Vulkan graphics API driver. From the Phoronix analysis, "Mesa 12.0 is easily one of the biggest updates to this important open-source user-space OpenGL driver stack in quite some time and will offer much better support and features especially for Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA open-source Linux desktop users/gamers." You can download Mesa 3D Graphics Library 12.0.0 here.
Graphics

'Linux vs Windows' Challenge: Phoronix Tests Popular Games (phoronix.com) 141

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Larabel at Phoronix has combined their new results from intensive Linux/Windows performance testing for popular games on Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA graphics cards, and at different resolutions. "This makes it easy to see the Linux vs. Windows performance overall or for games where the Linux ports are simply rubbish and performing like crap compared to the native Windows game." The games tested included Xonotic, Tomb Raider, Grid Autosport, Dota 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, F1 2015, and Company of Heroes 2 -- and the results were surprising.

Xonotic v0.8 outperformed Windows with a NVIDIA card, but "The poor Xonotic performance on Linux with the Intel driver was one of the biggest surprises from yesterday's article. It's not anything we've seen with the other drivers." And while testing on the Source 2 engine revealed that Valve's Dota 2 "is a quality Linux port," most of the other results were disappointing -- regardless of the graphics card and driver. "Tomb Raider on Linux performs much worse than the Windows build regardless of your driver/graphics card... Shadow of Mordor's relative Linux performance is more decent than many other Linux games albeit still isn't running at the same speeds as the Windows games..."

The article concludes with a note of optimism. "Hopefully in due time with the next generation of games making use of Vulkan...we'll see better performance relative to Windows." Have Slashdot readers seen any performance issues while playing games on Linux?
Bug

Linux Kernel 4.6.1 Released; Some Users Report Boot Issue 161

Marius Nestor, reporting for Softpedia (condensed): Linux kernel 4.6.1 is already here, only two weeks after the official launch of the Linux 4.6 kernel series. For those not in the loop, Linux 4.6 branch is the latest and most advanced kernel branch available right now for GNU/Linux operating systems, but it looks like its adoption is a little slow at the moment. "I'm announcing the release of the 4.6.1 kernel. All users of the 4.6 kernel series must upgrade," says Greg Kroah-Hartman. "The updated 4.6.y git tree can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser."
Some users are apparently facing boot failure issue on the latest version. An anonymous tipster tells Slashdot: Several folks on the web have reported a regression in the latest Linux kernels, starting with 4.6.1 and including the 4.7 beta that prevents booting and drops to busybox, at least the one supplied by the Ubuntu PPA. The boot sequence ends with "address family not supported by protocol: error getting socket" and then, "error initializing udev control socket" (screenshot here).
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.6 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 149

An anonymous coward writes: Just like clockwork, the Linux 4.6 kernel was officially released today. Details on the kernel changes for Linux 4.6 can be found via Phoronix and KernelNewbies.org. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell support and Dell XPS 13 Skylake support are among the many hardware changes for 4.6. For Linux 4.7 there are already several new features to look forward to from new DRM display drivers to a new CPU scaling governor expected.
prisoninmate also writes: Linus Torvalds announced the final release of the anticipated Linux 4.6 kernel, which, after seven Release Candidate builds introduces features like "the OrangeFS distributed file system, support for the USB 3.1 SuperSpeed Plus (SSP) protocol, offering transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, improvements to the reliability of the Out Of Memory task killer, as well as support for Intel Memory protection keys," [according to Softpedia].

"Moreover, Linux kernel 4.6 ships with Kernel Connection Multiplexor, a new component designed for accelerating application layer protocols, 802.1AE MAC-level encryption (MACsec) support, online inode checker for the OCFS2 file system, support for the BATMAN V protocol, and support for the pNFS SCSI layout."

Open Source

11 Years After Git, BitKeeper Is Open-Sourced (phoronix.com) 197

An anonymous reader writes: Eleven years after Linus Torvalds developed Git after a falling out with BitKeeper for managing the Linux kernel source code, BitMover Inc has finally decided to open-source the BitKeeper VCS. The latest BitKeeper release has made the code open-source under the terms of the Apache 2.0 license. The community edition code is available from BitKeeper.org. Does BitKeeper now stand a chance against free software systems like Git and SVN?To offer some context, Larry McVoy, the CEO of BitMover -- the company that makes BitKeeper -- offered free BitKeeper licenses to various open source projects -- Linux kernel utilized it as well. However, later, Australian computer programmer Andrew Tridgell reverse engineered BitKeeper protocol in an attempt to make his own client. Torvalds didn't like this practice, and accused Tridgell of "playing dirty tricks with his proprietary source code tool of choice," and as a result, he wrote Git.
GNU is Not Unix

Linux 4.6 Brings NVIDIA GTX 900 Support, OrangeFS, Better Power Management (phoronix.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.6-rc1 kernel has been released. New to the Linux 4.6 kernel are a significant number of new features including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 open-source 3D support when using the closed-source firmware files, Dell XPS 13 Skylake laptop support, a fix for laptops that were limiting their own performance due to incorrectly thinking they were overheating, AHCI runtime power management support, Intel graphics power management features enabled by default, a new file-system (OrangeFS), and a range of other improvements.
AMD

AMD Releases Open-Source Driver Support For Next-Gen Polaris GPUs (phoronix.com) 38

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time ever, AMD has provided open-source support for next-generation discrete GPUs ahead of the product's launch. AMD developers published initial open-source Linux driver support for Polaris GPUs with the addition adding over sixty-seven thousand lines of code to the Linux kernel. AMD Polaris graphics cards are expected this summer while AMD released the open-source driver support in advance for preparing their new Linux hybrid driver that relies upon the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver.
Emulation (Games)

Wine Makes It Possible To Run Vulkan Windows Programs On Linux (phoronix.com) 52

The cool Wine-related news of the week isn't just for Android Remix; an anonymous reader writes with some news applicable to a wider set of users: While no Windows-only Vulkan games have yet to be released, Wine developers are ready and have worked out experimental support for wrapping Vulkan Windows programs on Linux. Assuming you have a Vulkan Linux driver, the latest Wine-Staging build allows for Vulkan Windows programs/games to be dynanically translated and run on Linux 32-bit and 64-bit. Wine's Vulkan wrapper is passing all Khronos conformance tests, but hopefully the ever-expanding Linux game catalog will make this 10k+ lines of code not necessary moving into the future.
Graphics

NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver Adds Support For Wayland, Mir (phoronix.com) 83

An anonymous reader writes: After being desired by NVIDIA Linux users for years, the proprietary GeForce graphics driver natively supports Wayland and Mir as an alternative to an X.Org Server. It's been a long time coming for the proprietary GPU driver stacks to support Wayland/Mir, but with today's 364.12 beta driver there is now the necessary DRM KMS kernel support and EGL extensions for being able to handle these next-generation display solutions. The new NVIDIA Linux driver also provides integrated Vulkan support, PRIME rendering support, and other additions.

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