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Updated: 3 hours 15 min ago

Linux Gaming News Punch - Episode 4

Sunday 17th of March 2019 11:42:07 PM

Tags: GOL Podcast

For those who have trouble keeping up with all the happenings, here's another bite-sized round-up of some interesting Linux gaming news recently.

The Linux Gaming News Punch - Episode 4 is officially here. As usual, it comes in both video and audio-only flavours.


Watch video on YouTube.com

MP3: Download | RSS Feed

 

OGG: Download | RSS Feed

 

Do note: This week was a little iffy due to some recording issues, which I think I managed to clean up pretty well overall. I'm investing in some better audio equipment thanks to all our supporters. This should make future podcasts, videos and livestreams much nicer.

Topics covered, click me

Dwarf Fortress

Valve stuff [1] [2]

GameMode

OpenRA

Shotgun Farmers

Gunslugs:Rogue Tactics

Godot 3.1

Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam and itch.io with enhancements, some info about Linux support

Saturday 16th of March 2019 11:59:03 AM

Tags: Steam, Itch.io, Strategy, Sandbox, Simulation

It was announced earlier this week that Dwarf Fortress was coming to Steam and itch.io, including a bunch of enhancements. What wasn't clear, was the Linux support for this newer edition. We now have some info on that.

Firstly, this brand new edition will come with "a new tile set, and generally enhanced graphics and audio" as well as Steam Workshop support. You can see their trailer about it below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Rather than post up an article where we didn't have a clue, we thought it best to wait and see on this one. We did try speaking to Kitfox Games, who are the publisher of the newer release but they didn't really have an answer at the time.

We also reached out to the developer Bay 12 Games at the same time who have now been a bit clearer:

The free version has a Linux release, and the Steam version is planned to use very similar code, so this is on the table -- my current issue is that I'm using a virtual machine that is a bit slapdash and I need to invest in a better option in order to be able to test/work with the graphics properly. This is the only reason we haven't promised a Day One Linux version (OSX for similar reasons.) I'm confident we can figure something out, even if it takes a bit of extra time. Whether or not it works with all Linux flavors etc. has also been an ongoing issue, naturally, but at least what we've got now in the free one should be portable.

Based on that reply, we've offered a hand at testing Linux versions if they need it.

Why is it going to Steam and itch.io after all this time? Healthcare and the cost of it. While they've been supported by the Patreon campaign for some time now, they're hoping the new release will give them some needed stability.

People who decide to stick with the Classic release, will still get new features as the free version isn't going to suddenly go away so it will still be available and updated from the official website as always. They also said that "modders will also be able to utilize the new graphical capabilities" which should be interesting.

You can follow it on Steam here and itch.io here.

Valve making steps to address 'off-topic review bombs' on Steam

Friday 15th of March 2019 10:45:09 PM

Tags: Valve, Steam

In a blog post today, Valve announced a pretty simple change to the way Steam games get a review score, to help with review bombing.

What is Review Bombing? To put it simply, tons of users going to a Steam page and leaving a negative review that's not always to do with the actual game in question. It's been something of a hot topic, since it became a tool for users to show their feelings about various things, most of the time something directed at the developer or publisher.

A recent example, would be how the Metro games on Steam got waves of negative reviews when Metro Exodus was announced as a timed-exclusive on the Epic Store.

So what are Valve doing? Well, they're going to remove what they say are 'off-topic review bombs' from the overall review score for that time period. However, the reviews themselves will still be left up for all to read and users on Steam can actually opt out of this removal system to continue seeing a review bomb as normal.

In a two question Q&A at the end of the blog post, Valve also mentioned a flaw in the system being that any review made during this period will no longer count if you leave this system turned on, which presumably means positive reviews too.

Valve did say they're working on "some other features around User Reviews" but they wanted to get this out as they thought it was "worth shipping by itself".

Wine 4.4 is now available with more Media Foundation API work

Friday 15th of March 2019 10:26:36 PM

Tags: Wine

The latest and greatest from the Wine team is now out. Wine 4.4 continues their biweekly development releases to eventually become Wine 5.0.

For what's new this time around:

  • New MSIDB tool for manipulating MSI databases.
  • Support for custom draw buttons in common controls.
  • Many more Media Foundation APIs implemented.

As for bug fixes, they noted 50 in total checked off. The usual applies, some bugs are older, that have been found as fixed and not necessarily fixed with this release. Fixes included for Metro Exodus, Bayonetta, Europa Universalis III, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and plenty more.

You can find the release announcement here.

Turn-based tactical RPG 'Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark' prepares to leave Early Access with a massive update

Friday 15th of March 2019 04:46:17 PM

Tags: Indie Game, RPG, Early Access, Steam

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark, a turn-based tactical RPG from 1C Entertainment and 6 Eyes Studio that's supposed to be like a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy Tactics is getting ready to leave Early Access.

From the press details we've received, the full release is going to be sometime in Spring 2019 and today it's getting a pretty big update "adding a huge amount of optional content to further flesh out its world". They say this update will make the game "nearly feature and content complete, offering up all the missions, classes, gear and optional content planned for release". However, the final encounter and some surprises are being left until the final launch.

They also shared some brand new screenshots with us (click to make bigger):

Nice to see another game that was funded on Kickstarter have Linux support in early as promised.

To mark the occasion, they've cut 10% off the price on Steam until Monday. For the full launch, the price will be rising so it's a pretty good deal right now.

Feral Interactive have put out a big update to their 'GameMode' Linux gaming performance tool

Friday 15th of March 2019 04:19:38 PM

Tags: Feral Interactive, Open Source

We all want to get the best performance out of our Linux games and Feral Interactive's GameMode tool continues to help towards this. While the initial release of GameMode was quite limited, they haven't stopped working on it.

They've just announced the release of GameMode 1.3, which adds in a bunch of pretty useful features including: disabling the screen-saver, a "gamemoderun" helper script to do the necessary setup (set LD_PRELOAD) to enable GameMode on games which do not support it themselves and increase I/O priority of game processes.

All of that sounds quite nice but there's two other pretty huge features added in this release. For those with either an NVIDIA or AMD GPU, there's now experimental overclocking/performance level configuration.

They also noted "Various other minor fixes and improvements". See the release notes on GitHub here.

I really hope this tool keeps on advancing, I've no doubt there's plenty more ways for them to keep pushing Linux gaming performance further to benefit everyone. The fact that Feral aren't keeping this for themselves, is also another reason to love what they do, it also means others can help make it even better like with this release having multiple authors.

One of the contributors, Marc Di Luzio, who previously worked for Feral Interactive and now Unity (while also doing tooling for Valve) teased on Twitter "More cool things to come, now that some foundations have been laid..." which sounds interesting.

Tactical action game 'Gunslugs:Rogue Tactics' coming to Linux from Orangepixel and it looks awesome

Friday 15th of March 2019 04:05:53 PM

Tags: Action, Steam, Indie Game, Coming Soon

Orangepixel are working on their next title, a tactical action game going by the name Gunslugs:Rogue Tactics and Linux support is in.

Gunslugs:Rogue Tactics is a tactical action game where you take control over your elite squad of soldiers, trying to take out the Black Duck Army and stop their world threatening experiments by sneaking your way past the enemy lines, avoiding camera and security drones, planting C4 to take down buildings and complete various missions.

You can see some early gameplay below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

I fully appreciate completely over the top action, so for me this looks fantastic. It reminds me somewhat of Broforce, except it seems like it has quite a bit more depth to it. The bit in the gameplay above at around 4:28, where the character pushes a barrel towards enemies and then fires at it from cover looked like some serious fun. This is absolutely going to be one to watch, I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Features:

  • Missions - complete missions to progress in the game
  • Stealth – Avoid security cameras, hide from enemies and distract them with rocks, tennis-balls or other throwable objects.
  • Loot – A variation of items is there to help you on your missions, shields, helmets, different shoe types, EMP's, weapons, and more. Learn how to use each item in the most optimal way to help you survive missions
  • Procedural generation – Every game will be generated differently, increasing the replay value.

You can give it a wishlist and follow it on Steam if you think it looks good.

Jetstream looks like a pretty sweet puzzle game, releasing for Linux next month

Friday 15th of March 2019 03:53:21 PM

Tags: Puzzle, Indie Game, Steam, Coming Soon

Clockwork Acorn revealed yesterday that their rather lovely looking puzzler Jetstream will release on April 2nd, with Linux support right away.

You can see the developer confirm Linux support on Twitter along with the other details, here's a trailer to show off too:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features the game will have at release:

  • Intuitive gameplay. Easy to learn but hard to master!
  • 14 unique and innovative mechanics. Discover and master all the mechanics and their interactions.
  • 100+ hand-crafted levels. The puzzles have been designed specifically to immerse you in the game and take you on a pleasant journey.
  • Beautiful and elegant art style and music. Enjoy this calming puzzle game with a soft minimalist design.
  • No knowledge of pilot skills required!

It has a wonderfully simple style to it, with mechanics that also look really great. One of those puzzle games that is likely simple on the surface but it will leave you scratching your head a good few times.

You can wishlist and follow it on Steam.

OpenRA for classic Command & Conquer games has a fresh release now out

Friday 15th of March 2019 03:34:55 PM

Tags: Game Engine, Strategy, RTS, Open Source, Update

OpenRA, the open source game engine for the classics Command & Conquer titles (and a personal favourite) has a brand new release available.

This update brings in all the changes from the last few test releases which include fixes to some long standing issues, as well as improve how fluid the gameplay is. A small change, yet one that's pretty major for the gameplay is how Tanks and other units with turrets will now automatically target enemy units while moving, which also takes the Fog of War into account.

There's plenty of other gameplay adjustments too like: Engineers in Red Alert being consumed when capturing a building; The Hijacker has been promoted to a Thief, who can steal cash from refineries as well as vehicles; Allied Mechanics now repair destroyed team-mate vehicles instead of capturing them as well as much improved Attack Dog behaviour.

More campaign missions are available for both Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn, units set to Return Fire will no longer chase enemies, they added support for the AI to rebuild lost harvesters and there's multiple improvements to the map editor. Their version of Dune 2000 also gained concrete damage and destruction along with some bug fixes.

For those playing with the game engine, to build mods or entire games, there's also new modding features and improvements there as well.

If you need your fix of Command & Conquer, Red Alert or Dune 2000 then OpenRA is pretty amazing. See more on the official OpenRA website.

DXVK 1.0.1 is out for Vulkan-based D3D11 and D3D10 with Wine

Thursday 14th of March 2019 08:04:44 PM

Tags: Wine, Vulkan

Today we have the first bug-fix update for DXVK since the big 1.0 last month. It's not a huge release but as always it's a good one.

Here's what's changed from the short release notes:

  • Fixed memory allocation failures on Intel Bay Trail (#947)
  • Fixed regression that broke DXGI gamma control (#937)
  • Devil May Cry 5: Enabled d3d11.relaxedBarriers option by default to improve performance
  • Star Wars Battlefront (2015): Report Nvidia GPUs correctly to fix driver version error (#968)
  • Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5: Work around dark rendering issue on Nvidia GPUs (#956)
  • World of Warcraft: Fixed GPU hangs on Nvidia GPUs since game patch 8.1.5 (#964)

As always, you can follow it on GitHub.

Certainly an impressive project, one I have no doubt has changed quite a few Linux users gaming habits. From getting a few extra games working on Wine, to Valve surprising everyone by bundling it into their new Steam Play system. I imagine it's helped a number of people switch to Linux who were previously on the fence.

Valve announces new networking APIs for developers and Steam Link Anywhere

Thursday 14th of March 2019 06:20:53 PM

Tags: Valve, Steam

Valve is getting ahead of the game with GDC fast approaching, with two bits of Steam news coming in hot today.

Firstly, Steam Link Anywhere actually sounds very interesting. It's now officially in beta and it allows you to essentially connect to your computer and play games from anywhere. Since it's just an extension of the Steam Link functionality, it's free for all Steam users. It works with both the Steam Link App and the Steam Link hardware.

To access it, you do need to opt into the Steam Client beta version. Valve say it requires "A high upload speed from your computer and strong network connection to your Steam Link device are required to use Steam Link Anywhere". More on that here.

On top of that, for developers they've announced the Steam Networking Sockets APIs, available to all Steam approved developers to access the technologies and infrastructure built to support CS:GO and Dota 2. The gist of it is this:

  • Access to our network, giving your players protection from attack, 100% reliable NAT traversal, and improved connectivity.
  • Tools for instantly estimating the ping between two arbitrary hosts without sending any packets.
  • A high quality end-to-end encrypted reliable-over-UDP protocol.

A bunch of it is open source too, available to look over on GitHub on Valve's GameNetworkingSockets repository.

For a lot more info on the networking stuff, see this post from Valve. They do say that this is only the first of a "series" of updates aimed at "improving the networked gaming experience for Steam partners". An additional bit mentions stuff for dedicated servers also coming soon, which will be interesting.

Also, Valve are doing a talk at GDC on Thursday next week, to talk about this plus what else is to come. For anyone attending, it's happening at "12:45 pmin Moscone West Hall 2011".

The Universim continues to evolve the Modern Age in the latest build

Thursday 14th of March 2019 12:44:04 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, Humble Store, Simulation, Strategy, Early Access

The Universim is a very impressive Early Access god sim and this latest update expands it that little bit further.

For those who haven't played it before, it's a "new breed of God Game" from Crytivo that was originally funded on Kickstarter. Progress in the last year has really been impressive, with tons of new stuff coming in. This update,Global Warning Patch v0.0.31, adds in a lot more visual tweaks and additions for when you reach the Modern Age as well as more additions to the Medieval Age.

For starters, when building in the Modern Age you will now get some scaffolding up. It's not exactly a big thing but it does make the game feel that little bit more polished as you can see below:

New visual effects made it in this round too, like Modern Age skyscrapers coming crashing down:

They've also added in the Fuel Factory, you can upgrade the Hospital to the Modern Hospital, the Reservoir and Well can also now be upgraded further into the Modern Age, the Plastic factory is in and more.

One of my favourite additions, is the new Clone Center to create brand new nuggets (people) because who need reproduction in the Modern Age? It's a massive building too, the biggest in the game although they say it's currently a little smaller so it doesn't look out of place but you will be able to upgrade it and make it bigger.

Linking into that, there's a new traits system for these cloned nuggets, as they all get special "Legendary Traits" which sound both awesome and hilarious at times:

Take the Undying, for example, who will never grow old. However, they sleep for years at a time and can spread diseases far more quickly than other Nuggets when they contract one.

As always, the latest update comes with a whole host of bug fixes to make it a more pleasant experience. Plenty more I haven't mentioned, see the full notes here.

I've played quite a lot of this one both in my spare time and testing each update to ensure it's smooth, really enjoying it and the future updates to it sound quite exciting. Eventually, we will be blasting off into space to see different planets. Exploring space and colonizing other worlds is going to be very interesting, can't wait to see how they handle that.

As far as god-sim like games go, it's a pretty damn good choice even now.

You can find it on Humble Store and Steam. The Linux build is not currently available on GOG.

You Died but a Necromancer revived you looks fun, coming to Linux later this year

Thursday 14th of March 2019 12:12:41 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Casual, Steam, Coming Soon

You Died but a Necromancer revived you looks like one of those titles that will be equal parts fun and enraging as you avoid traps across multiple small levels.

A casual game from developer BolHut, it has you and up to three friends try to navigate narrow pathways full of chainsaws, spikes, cannons, flamethrowers and so on to reach the end. It's a simple idea and it looks really quite stylish, check it out:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Each floor is different, as it has procedural generation so no play-through will remain the same. Since it has local multiplayer too, it could be a seriously hilarious party game as it has both co-op and versus modes. In the co-op mode, only one of you needs to reach the end and the versus mode obviously is the opposite as you're all trying to be first and likely dying while trying to.

The controls will be incredibly simple too, basic up/down left/right and that seems pretty much it, they key is obviously your timing and keeping an eye on all the traps you need to work around.

Honestly, I think this looks genuinely good so I will be taking a look at release, whenever that is, sometime this year. You can wishlist and follow it on Steam.

The Savior's Gang you lead a group of worshippers to the promised land, hopefully without killing them

Thursday 14th of March 2019 11:57:36 AM

Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Casual

The Savior's Gang from Catness Game Studios takes some tales from the Bible, tears out some pages and spreads in a bunch of Monty Python styled humour.

I was sent a key by the developer and since I do love ridiculous games I gave it a shot. I will be honest right away though, I didn't really like it. The basic idea is good, the humour isn't bad but the actual gameplay mechanics are really tedious.


Watch video on YouTube.com

The gameplay is pretty simple really, you're leading a group of followers across each level and hopefully some of them might survive. You click and they move, you double-click and they move a bit faster, you can drag and click and they move around a little sharper and that's really it. The traps themselves aren't even that interesting or hard to spot, you pretty much always know what's coming.

The camera controls are also terribly annoying. Since you control the entire group, the camera tries to keep them all focused. When you have to leave people behind, say they're stuck behind a fallen trap you can't move, the camera will just zoom out for a while until it snaps back to your remaining people. Very annoying, as you can only zoom or pan the camera around. At one point I got too close to a wall, so the camera decided zooming into one of my follower's ankle was a good idea—helpful.

I also don't know who thought it would be funny to constantly spam you with messages on the screen, like some sort of instant messenger complete with stupid pictures. There's being funny and then there's being obnoxious, that was firmly in the latter.

Good idea for a game, pretty poorly executed. You can find it on Steam.

Pyramid of Prophecy, the first DLC for Heroes of Hammerwatch is out

Thursday 14th of March 2019 11:06:45 AM

Tags: DLC, Action, Rogue-lite, Steam, Humble Store

Heroes of Hammerwatch, the great looking rogue-lite action-adventure just expanded with the Pyramid of Prophecy DLC.

The release also comes with a big free patch to the base-game for all owners, even without the DLC so that's awesome too. The free update adds in a sixth tier to the Town Hall including new levels, new voices, new items, a new Luck stat to tip the RNG in your favour and more.

As for the DLC, it sounds pretty great. It includes an entirely new campaign with randomly generated levels, a new melee class called the Gladiator, the Aridara Arena to face waves of enemies to earn tokens for further upgrades and plenty more DLC-only new stuff. See the full announcement about all the new stuff and bug fixes here.


Watch video on YouTube.com

I spent tons of time dying in the first Hammerwatch, still haven't managed to get a hold of this one yet which honestly sounds a lot better with the persistent progression and random environments.

You can pick up from Humble Store and Steam. The Linux build is not on GOG.

Your mid-week (sort of) look at some games on sale, plenty of goodies

Thursday 14th of March 2019 10:55:47 AM

Tags: Game Sale

This is you sort-of mid-week look at some epic Linux gaming deals going on right now, a look across various stores to find you some deals ready for the weekend ahead.

First up, Fanatical are doing a big Spring Sale (Linux games here) and if you use the discount code "FANATICAL10" up until March 31st you get an extra 10% off. They have a pretty amazing deal going on Skullgirls + 2nd Encore DLC with 91% off. They also have Two Point Hospital at the lowest price so far with 25% off. Update: Steam actually now has Two Point Hospital at 33% off and it's on a free weekend.

GOG has both a mid-week sale and a weekly sale going on, each with a selection of Linux games. Some top picks there include:

If you hop on over to the Humble Store they also have the Humble Indie Bundle 20 with seven Linux games, as well as the Humble Strategy Bundle 2019 with some great titles like Stellaris and Civilization VI. They also have a Linux ebook bundle that might be interesting.

For those who want to test Steam Play, F1 2018 on Steam is currently free to try for another day and it's also 75% off. I gave it a run yesterday and I was surprised by how well it worked. Not as smooth as Feral's port of the previous F1 game but still pretty good.

Finally, itch.io has 75% off The Signal From Tölva which includes a DRM-free build plus a Steam key, the cheapest deal around for it right now.

In the puzzler 'Baba Is You', you mess with the rules and it's out now

Thursday 14th of March 2019 10:18:30 AM

Tags: Indie Game, Humble Store, Steam, Puzzle, Itch.io

Baba Is You from developer Hempuli Oy is a very interesting looking puzzler and it's out now with Linux support.

Don't let the simplistic visuals fool you, the whole idea is honestly brilliant. To complete each level, you need to change the rules. These rules are blocks in each level you move around and combine to overcome challenges.

 Baba Is You is an award-winning puzzle game where you can change the rules by which you play. In every level, the rules themselves are present as blocks you can interact with; by manipulating them, you can change how the level works and cause surprising, unexpected interactions! With some simple block-pushing you can turn yourself into a rock, turn patches of grass into dangerously hot obstacles, and even change the goal you need to reach to something entirely different.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Not one I've personally played but it seems users are liking it a lot, since quite a number of people say it could be their puzzle GOTY—so it must be pretty good.

I love the idea so much, it's gone right to the top of my wishlist to take a proper look at soon!

You can grab it from Humble Store (DRM Free + Steam key), itch.io or Steam.

The cute base-building survival game 'MewnBase' has some new buildings available

Thursday 14th of March 2019 10:04:32 AM

Tags: Itch.io, Steam, Early Access, Survival

MewnBase, a space-cat base-building survival game currently in development just recently had a new update, which includes some fun new buildings.

Added in are Wind Turbines allowing you a new means of generating power, a Lightning Rod/Collector to protect your base from strikes, a Large Battery for more storage and Powered Rain Collectors to automatically transfer rain water into your Water Supply modules.

There's also new tooltips, some UI updates, Engines now have their own tech-tree level, improvements to the map view to include pan and zoom along with some bug fixes.

Not seen it before? Have a look at the most recent trailer below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

A much more relaxing survival sim compared to most, although at this time it is still somewhat basic overall. Each major update like this makes it that little bit sweeter though. Very keen to see where development on this goes!

You can find it on itch.io and Steam.

OpenRCT2, the open source game engine for RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 was updated

Thursday 14th of March 2019 09:45:49 AM

Tags: Open Source, Game Engine

Some fresh news about a wonderful open source game engine this morning, as OpenRCT2 for RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has a new release out.

This release v0.2.2 code-named "Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" brings in an almost completely new Hungarian translation, a replay system, a sprite sorting benchmark, a shortcut to advance one tick, allow for steep slopes on the side-friction roller coaster, they added Powered Launch mode to Inverted RC (for RCT1 parity), an optional chat button to top toolbar in multiplayer games, the handy feature to download missing objects when loading a park and new object types: station, terrain surface, and terrain edge.

Other improvements include allowing mouse-dragging to set patrol area in single-player, the ability to set a keyboard shortcut for opening the tile inspector, automatic folder creation for custom content and a few other bits.

They also noted around 54 bug fixes which includes sorting multiple crash bugs, multiple multiplayer desync issues and so on. Find the full release notes here.

Since you need the original data to play with OpenRCT2, you can grab a copy for the data files from Humble StoreGOG or Steam.

Mesa 19.0 is officially out, lots of improvements for Linux open source graphics drivers

Wednesday 13th of March 2019 08:30:35 PM

Tags: Mesa, Drivers, Open Source, OpenGL, Vulkan, Update

Today is the day, for those of you using open source graphics drivers (AMD/Intel and some older NVIDIA GPUs), Mesa 19.0 is now officially out.

From the release announcement:

I'm pleased to announce the general availability of mesa 19.0.0. We've had a slightly long rc process with 7 RCs (there should have been 6, but there was a bug in the script for pulling patches resulting in two back to back RCs). In general this release has shaped up rather nicely, and I look forward to the stable release cycle.

Of note is that autotools support is deprecated in 19.0.0, and you must now add --enable-autotools to autogen.sh and configure. If you haven't already **now** is the time to try meson, if all goes according to plan autotools will be removed before the 19.1 release.

You can find the release notes here, although unless you really know the ins and outs of graphics APIs, extensions and so on they're pretty hard to parse and since I don't use Mesa (being on an NVIDIA 980ti) I don't tend to follow it all too closely.

The gist of it, is that you should see bug fixes for games, performance improvements, new features and so on. I would suggest the Phoronix write-up for more detailed bits on it.

More in Tux Machines

Forbes Says The Raspberry Pi Is Big Business

Not that it’s something the average Hackaday reader is unaware of, but the Raspberry Pi is a rather popular device. While we don’t have hard numbers to back it up (extra credit for anyone who wishes to crunch the numbers), it certainly seems a day doesn’t go by that there isn’t a Raspberry Pi story on the front page. But given that a small, cheap, relatively powerful, Linux computer was something the hacking community had dreamed of for years, it’s hardly surprising. [...] So where has the Pi been seen punching a clock? At Sony, for a start. The consumer electronics giant has been installing Pis in several of their factories to monitor various pieces of equipment. They record everything from temperature to vibration and send that to a centralized server using an in-house developed protocol. Some of the Pis are even equipped with cameras which feed into computer vision systems to keep an eye out for anything unusual. [Parmy] also describes how the Raspberry Pi is being used in Africa to monitor the level of trash inside of garbage bins and automatically dispatch a truck to come pick it up for collection. In Europe, they’re being used to monitor the health of fueling stations for hydrogen powered vehicles. All over the world, businesses are realizing they can build their own monitoring systems for as little as 1/10th the cost of turn-key systems; with managers occasionally paying for the diminutive Linux computers out of their own pocket. Read more

Graphics: NVIDIA, Nouveau and Vulkan

  • NVIDIA 418.49.04 Linux Driver Brings Host Query Reset & YCbCr Image Arrays
    NVIDIA has issued new Vulkan beta drivers leading up to the Game Developers Conference 2019 as well as this next week there being NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) nearby in California. The only publicly mentioned changes to this weekend's NVIDIA 418.49.04 Linux driver update (and 419.62 on the Windows side) is support for the VK_EXT_host_query_reset and VK_EXT_ycbcr_image_arrays extensions.
  • Nouveau NIR Support Lands In Mesa 19.1 Git
    It shouldn't come as any surprise, but landing today in Mesa 19.1 Git is the initial support for the Nouveau Gallium3D code to make use of the NIR intermediate representation as an alternative to Gallium's TGSI. The Nouveau NIR support is part of the lengthy effort by Red Hat developers on supporting this IR as part of their SPIR-V and compute upbringing. The NIR support is also a stepping stone towards a potential NVIDIA Vulkan driver in the future.
  • Vulkan 1.1.104 Brings Native HDR, Exclusive Fullscreen Extensions
    With the annual Game Developers' Conference (GDC) kicking off tomorrow in San Francisco, Khronos' Vulkan working group today released Vulkan 1.1.104 that comes with several noteworthy extensions. Vulkan 1.1.104 is the big update for GDC 2019 rather than say Vulkan 1.2, but it's quite a nice update as part of the working group's weekly/bi-weekly release regiment. In particular, Vulkan 1.1.104 is exciting for an AMD native HDR extension and also a full-screen exclusive extension.
  • Interested In FreeSync With The RADV Vulkan Driver? Testing Help Is Needed
    Since the long-awaited introduction of FreeSync support with the Linux 5.0 kernel, one of the missing elements has been this variable rate refresh support within the RADV Vulkan driver. When the FreeSync/VRR bits were merged into Linux 5.0, the RadeonSI Gallium3D support was quick to land for OpenGL games but RADV Vulkan support was not to be found. Of course, RADV is the unofficial Radeon open-source Vulkan driver not officially backed by AMD but is the more popular driver compared to their official AMDVLK driver or the official but closed driver in their Radeon Software PRO driver package (well, it's built from the same sources as AMDVLK but currently with their closed-source shader compiler rather than LLVM). So RADV support for FreeSync has been one of the features users have been quite curious about and eager to see.

New Screencasts: Xubuntu 18.04.2, Ubuntu MATE, and Rosa Fresh 11

9 Admirable Graphical File Managers

Being able to navigate your local filesystem is an important function of personal computing. File managers have come a long way since early directory editors like DIRED. While they aren’t cutting-edge technology, they are essential software to manage any computer. File management consists of creating, opening, renaming, moving / copying, deleting and searching for files. But file managers also frequently offer other functionality. In the field of desktop environments, there are two desktops that dominate the open source landscape: KDE and GNOME. They are smart, stable, and generally stay out of the way. These use the widget toolkits Qt and GTK respectively. And there are many excellent Qt and GTK file managers available. We covered the finest in our Qt File Managers Roundup and GTK File Managers Roundup. But with Linux, you’re never short of alternatives. There are many graphical non-Qt and non-Gtk file managers available. This article examines 9 such file managers. The quality is remarkably good. Read more