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Open Source

Linus Torvalds Officially Announces the Release of Linux Kernel 4.8 ( 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.

Systemd Rolls Out Its Own Mount Tool ( 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 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.

Fedora 25 To Run Wayland By Default Instead Of X.Org Server ( 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 ( 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 ( 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."

Intel ChromeBooks Can Now Run Wine and Steam ( 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 ( 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.

'Linux vs Windows' Challenge: Phoronix Tests Popular Games ( 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?

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 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 ( 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 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 ( 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 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 ( 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 Releases Open-Source Driver Support For Next-Gen Polaris GPUs ( 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 ( 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.

NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver Adds Support For Wayland, Mir ( 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.

AMD Publishes Preview Linux Hybrid Driver With Vulkan, OpenGL 4.5 Support ( 51

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has finally published the previously talked about closed-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux. Announced by AMD via the Phoronix Forums is the new hybrid driver dubbed "AMD GPU-PRO Beta Driver – Linux." This closed-source user-space driver provides the first AMD Vulkan support on Linux along with OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.0, and VDPAU video acceleration capabilities. But in using the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver, only the very latest AMD GPUs are currently supported (GCN 1.2+). Update: 03/19 03:22 GMT by T : Sorry for the borked link; now fixed.

Reports: NVIDIA Launching a Distro of Its Own ( 149

An anonymous reader writes: There are unconfirmed reports that NVIDIA is working on its own Linux distribution dubbed "NLINUX." This NLINUX is supposedly a Linux platform optimized for gamers and similar to SteamOS, but NVIDIA has yet to confirm these reports and the sole evidence appears to be a circulating screenshot of an NLINUX install screen. Would you be interested in a Linux distribution created by an IHV? Somewhat similar is Intel's own Linux distribution, Clear Linux, that offers high performance Linux on Intel x86_64 hardware.

Ubuntu Drops Support For AMD's Catalyst GPU Driver ( 155

An anonymous reader writes: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and newer will no longer be supporting AMD's widely-used Catalyst Linux (fglrx) driver. AMD has dropped support for this proprietary AMD driver in favor of encouraging users to use the open-source AMDGPU/Radeon drivers. While the fglrx/Catalyst driver is notorious among Linux gamers, this will represent a regression for many AMD Linux users due to the open-source driver only having OpenGL 4.1 support compared to OpenGL 4.5 in Catalyst, lower performance in common gaming workloads, incomplete OpenCL compute support, no CrossFire multi-GPU support, and other missing features. Much of the missing functionality will end up being implemented by AMD's new AMDGPU driver stack but that is still months away from being truly ready and will only benefit the very latest Radeon GPUs while the fglrx-free Ubuntu 16.04 is set to ship in April.

Raspberry Pi 3 Is a Nice Upgrade, But Alternatives Exist With Faster Performance ( 287

An anonymous reader writes: With the Raspberry Pi 3 now available, benchmarks have been done comparing the Raspberry Pi 3 to other ARM SBCs. The Raspberry Pi 3 was found to be a faster upgrade compared to the Raspberry Pi 2, but the ODROID-C2 is a much faster alternative. For only $5 more than the Raspberry Pi 3, it includes twice the amount of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and a faster SoC. The ODROID-C2 also has HDMI 2.0 and superior Ethernet while the Raspberry Pi 3 has an advantage of 802.11n WiFi. The ODROID-C2 also has a heatsink for ensuring the SoC doesn't get as toasty as the Raspberry Pi 3.

Wayland Isn't Ready For the Fedora 24 Desktop ( 120

An anonymous reader writes: There was much hope that Fedora 24 would be the first major Linux distribution using Wayland by default in place of an X.Org Server, that didn't pan out with Fedora 24 Workstation developers deciding not to use Wayland by default but it will remain a log-in time option. Fedora Wayland has made a lot of progress but functionality like on-screen keyboard, accessibility, remote displays, USB display hot-plugging, and other functionality is incomplete for the Fedora 24 timeline. At least there are many other Fedora 24 features that made it for this next release due out in June. Wayland will turn eight years old this year.

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