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December 2016

Games for GNU/Linux

Filed under
Gaming
  • Happy New Year from GamingOnLinux

    GOL itself is now seven and a half years old, and hopefully we will be around for another seven at least!

  • Godot Continues Major Work On Its 3D Renderer For Release In 2017

    Open-source game engine Godot has been working on a multi-month project to vastly improve (and largely rewrite) its 3D renderer to make it as great as its 2D renderer. This work is being done for the Godot 3.0 engine and so far this 3D renderer is seeing a lot of movement.

    Godot 3.0 is aiming for a modern, clustered renderer that supports graphics features similar to other modern game engines like a physically based renderer, global illumination, shadow mapping, and more.

  • Intel's Clear Linux Is Working On Steam Support

    For those planning to do Linux gaming with Intel graphics hardware, you might soon have a new choice with the performance-oriented Clear Linux distribution out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center.

    Clear Linux developers are currently working on bringing up support for Steam in Clear Linux, something that isn't trivial to do as the operating system tends to be 64-bit focused while Steam still depends upon a mess of 32-bit packages, among other challenges. But Intel developer Arjan van de Ven has shared a photo on Twitter showing the basics of Steam appearing to work on Clear Linux.

  • Former Valve Developer: Steam Linux Project Was The Hardest

    Getting games on Linux and improving OpenGL drivers was the hardest challenge one veteran game developer has come across.

    Rich Geldreich who had worked at Valve for five years shared the most difficult work he's done: Steam for Linux. That's on top of his time at Valve he worked at Microsoft, served as an adjunct professor, was a head researcher for a company since acquired by Google, was CTO for a mobile games company, formerly a principal software engineer at Unity, now an independent consultant / software engineer, and an expert on data compression.

Early Benchmarks Of Linux 4.10 Show Some Improvements & Regressions For Core i7-6800K

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

This New Year's Eve I finished up some benchmarks of the Linux 4.5 through Linux 4.10 Git kernels on a powerful Core i7 6800K "Broadwell-E" system. I found some improvements with 4.10 Git, but there are also some evident regressions.

I'll have more benchmark results in the New Year as time allows and the 4.10 development settling down, but from the tests I did so far on the Core i7 6800K system there is some concern over what appears to be some definite and noticeable regressions.

Read more

Linux Graphics

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Skylake Iris Pro Graphics: Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Antergos, Clear Linux Benchmarks

    For those craving some more end-of-year Linux distribution benchmarks, this morning I finished carrying out a fresh Linux distro comparison focusing upon the Intel OpenGL performance when making use of "Skylake" Iris Pro hardware. For this New Year's Eve benchmarking fun was Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Antergos, and Clear Linux.

  • Mesa Saw More Than 10,000 Commits This Year From Record Number Of Contributors

    Unless Marek delivers another one of his big patch-sets to provide some new feature/improvement to RadeonSI, the OpenGL shader cache magically lands, or some other big surprise to end out the year, here are some final statistics about Mesa's impressive developments in 2017.

  • AVC VDENC Video Encoding Enabled For Intel Broxton & Kabylake

    For those that don't recall, VDENC is a low-power, high-performance video encode engine added originally to Intel Skylake hardware. That aforelinked article covers the big benefits of using VDENC and the patches published earlier this year for enabling this Intel video encode engine on Linux.

Germany's 1&1 Still Working On MARS For The Linux Kernel, Still Hoping For Upstream

Filed under
Development
Linux

At the end of last year was an update on MARS Replication System Still Being Worked On For Upstream Linux Kernel and like clock work, the German web hosting provider has issued another update on the in-development MARS replication system and is still hoping to mainline it, maybe next year.

MARS' tag-line at the 1&1 web hosting company is "replicating petabytes over long distances" and "has replaced DRBD as the backbone of the 1&1 geo-redundancy feature as publicly advertised for 1&1 Shared Hosting Linux (ShaHoLin). MARS is also running on several other 1&1 clusters. Some other people over the world have also seemingly started to use it."

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

Filed under
OSS
  • 7 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Open Source Project Developers

    It seems like only yesterday that 2016 begun and we were just about to see great changes happening with SourceForge. Now we’re at the end of it, readying ourselves for yet another year.

    As fond as we are of the year that was, now is not just a time for remembering “Auld Lang Syne”, but also a time to prepare for what comes next. For open source project developers that means not only reflecting upon decisions and actions made, but also coming up with new resolutions that will define the future of open source projects.

  • Business model as a variable to consider when choosing Open Source software.

    Any analytic report about who writes the code in open and collaborative environments will reflect how corporations involvement is increasing in Open Source software development at every level. More and more companies are transitioning from becoming FLOSS consumers to producers and almost every new software company out there has Open Source as a core strategy or even as part of their DNA.

    But who is sustaining the development of that key piece of software that will be a core part of your future product? Who pays those developers? Why? How does the key stakeholders benefit from the outcome of the ecosystem and the software they produce? How much do they invest in the production of that software? For how long? How do they get their income? What is the relevance of the software produced by the ecosystem they feed in their business models?

    These and similar basic questions need to be fully understood before a specific software becomes part of your key product or business. Knowing the answers to the above questions might not prevent you from surprises in the future but at least can prepare you for the potential consequences. What it is clear to me is that these answers are becoming more complicated to find and understand over time, specially for those companies who do not have a strong background on Open Source.

    Choosing a specific piece of software based on purely technical variables or even present healthiness of the community around the project/organization, expectations of the number of contributors or impact in general might not be enough any more. A specific community or project will become "your provider" so the business model behind it is equally important.

  • Open source down under: Linux.conf.au 2017

    It’s a new year and open source enthusiasts from around the globe are preparing to gather at the edge of the world for Linux.conf.au 2017. Among those preparing are Googlers, including some of us from the Open Source Programs Office.

  • Firefox 52 Borrows One More Privacy Feature from the Tor Browser

    Mozilla engineers have added a mechanism to Firefox 52 that prevents websites from fingerprinting users using system fonts.

    The user privacy protection system was borrowed from the Tor Browser, where a similar mechanism blocks websites from identifying users based on the fonts installed on their computers.

    The feature has been active in the Tor Browser for some time and will become active in the stable branch of Firefox 52, scheduled for release on March 7, 2017.

    The font fingerprinting protection is already active in Firefox 52 Beta.

  • 2017 TDF and LibreOffice calendar

    2017 is just around the corner, so here’s a shiny calendar from The Document Foundation and the LibreOffice community. Print it out, hang it on your wall, and here’s to a great 12 months ahead!

  • Hungary withdraws membership from Open Government Partnership

    Hungary has decided to withdraw its membership from the OGP, following a disagreement with the OGP Steering Committee on a report.

  • Scotland published its first action plan as OGP “Pioneer“

    Scotland published its first Open Government National Action Plan since it has been selected by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as one of the fifteen “Pioneer” governments in April 2016.

  • Germany and Luxembourg joined OGP

    During the Paris OGP Summit 2017, Germany and Luxembourg were among the European countries that announced their intent to join the Open Government Partnership. Portugal said it will “soon” become a member of the institution.

  • Contracting 5 initiative officially launched at Paris OGP Summit
  • OGP countries shifting commitments from basics to innovations

    The countries participating in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) are shifting their attention from "getting the basics right" to innovative measures and reforms that translate into actions capable of generating real change. After 'public service delivery', the areas 'fiscal openness' and 'access to information' are the most prevailing in the commitments for 2015-2016.

  • Paris Declaration to promote collective actions in open government

    The Paris Declaration, which was presented at the OGP Paris Summit in December, will encourage cooperation between countries and civil societies to promote open government on a global scale. The Declaration lists twenty-one collective actions in which governments can take part and share experiences. “Actions are concrete cooperation, output-orientated and will produce tangible results”, the text of the Declaration states.

  • French to test Sirene data in a hackathon

    Etalab, the French agency in charge of Open Data in France, and INSEE (Institut National de la Statistiques et des Etudes Economiques) – the French national agency for statistics, organised in November a hackathon to test and use the data of the SIRENE (Système informatique pour le répertoire des entreprises et des établissements) database which will be published as open data in January.

  • 'Open Source' Robo-Car in '17?

    The year 2016 opened the door to a new phase of highly automated driving, moving the discussion away from “wouldn’t it be nice-to-have-a-robo-car” to a more immediate “to-do list” with which regulators, car OEMs and technology companies must grapple if they hope to make self-driving cars commercially viable and safe.

    Gone are days of early-adapter giddiness over the Google car, or an “Autopilot” Tesla with over-the-air software upgrades.

    Reality sank in 2016. The industry is now aware Autopilot’s limitations. The automotive engineering community is taking a crash course in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that’s far beyond today’s computer vision. Engineers are taking note of challenges in machine learning (how do you certify the safety of AI-driven cars?). Many automakers are scrambling for a holistic approach toward cybersecurity.

    So, what’s in the auto industry 2017 agenda that could change the course of robotic car development?

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Washington Post Publishes False News Story About Russians Hacking Electrical Grid

    A story published by The Washington Post Friday claims Russia hacked the electrical grid in Vermont. This caused hysteria on social media but has been denied by a spokesman for a Vermont utility company.

    The Post story was titled, “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, officials say.”

  • Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

    The 2016 U.S. presidential election was preceded by unprecedented cyberattacks and produced a result that surprised many people in the U.S. and abroad. Was it hacked? To find out, we teamed up with scientists and lawyers from around the country—and a presidential candidate—to initiate the first presidential election recounts motivated primarily by e-voting security concerns. In this talk, we will explain how the recounts took place, what we learned about the integrity of the election, and what needs to change to ensure that future U.S. elections are secure.

  • Malware Purveyor Serving Up Ransomware Via Bogus ICANN Blacklist Removal Emails

    Fun stuff ahead for some website owners, thanks to a breakdown in the registration process. A Swiss security researcher has spotted bogus ICANN blacklist removal emails being sent to site owners containing a Word document that acts as a trigger for ransomware.

And the best distro of 2016 is ...

Filed under
GNU
Linux

It is time for the final vote. I have already given you my opinion on the finest performers when it comes to individual desktop environments - Plasma, Xfce and even Gnome, but now, following in the best of our annual traditions, we need to vote on the most complete, most successful distribution of the year.

Unlike the desktop environment votes, it will not be purely based on the final score. I will also incorporate other elements - how deeply has a particular distro charmed me, whether I have continued using it after the initial review, how it has evolved, and of course, the critical stability, support and friendliness parameters. And then, there's your vote, too. So let's run through the coveted shortlist. To wit, the 2016 elite.

Read more

More in Tux Machines

Games: Pokémon, Roundup, and Some More Titles on GNU/Linux

  • Bridging Game Worlds With The ‘Impossible’ Pokémon Trade | Hackaday

    Transferring hard-earned Pokémon out of the second generation GameBoy game worlds into the ‘Advance Era’ cartridges (and vice versa) has never been officially supported by Nintendo, however [Goppier] has made these illicit trades slightly easier for budding Pokémon trainers by way of a custom PCB and a healthy dose of reverse engineering. Changes to the data structure between Generation II on the original GameBoy (Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal) and Generation III on the GameBoy Advance (Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen and Emerald) meant that trades between these cartridges was never a possibility – at least not through any legitimate means. In contrast, Pokémon trades are possible between the first and second generation games, as well as from Generation III and beyond, leaving the leap from Gen II to Gen III as an obvious missing link.

  • Punk Wars, Axis & Allies 1942 Online, Melvor Idle, Unpacking … - itsfoss.net

    One more to liven up the December bridge, and that is that there is nothing more entertaining to pass the time than to play a game and that is partly Linux Play, our premiere native games section for Linux with this, its monthly edition with the best that came out in November. Including construction and survival title and Punk wars, the classic war strategy of Axis & Allies 1942 Online, the RPG hardcore Melvor idle… And a lot more, without forgetting the free title with which we close the list and that this time transfers the television phenomenon of The Squid Game to PC controls under the name of Crab Game. Linux Play!

  • NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy gets some first footage, mixing elements of Your Grace & Reigns | GamingOnLinux

    NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy is an upcoming adventure that the developer claims blends together elements found in the likes of Your Grace, Reigns and Astrologaster into something new. Set to launch in 2022, NeuroNet sees you take control of an AI charged with managing a city called Catena. You will need to make quick-fire decisions that impact the future and the prosperity of its citizens, with every choice and decision taken having a lasting effect on those you meet and the city's status. Lots of cyberpunk theming going on here with a new trailer giving a look into what to expect you can see below.

  • The Jackie and Daria update for Spiritfarer lands December 13 | GamingOnLinux

    The biggest update yet for the award-winning Spiritfarer lands on December 13, with plenty of new content. Spiritfarer is a casual thoughtful experience about being a ferrymaster for the deceased. You build up a boat, explore and care for various spirits before letting them go. With the new update coming the developer said it is the biggest yet with a new island to explore, there's two new spirits to make friends with and a hospital to bring back from the brink. On top of that there's also some sort of new platforming event and new upgrades for your ferry.

GNU/Linux on Desktop/Laptop Miscellany

  • What Is a Physical Kill Switch, and Does Your PC Need One?

    Purism is a company founded on the idea of having strict privacy and security features built into its computers. The Librem 14 is a prime example of this philosophy, and its hardware, firmware, and operating system have been designed with a significantly higher level of paranoia than typical computers. The Librem 14 Linux laptop features multiple physical kill switches, which the company claims absolutely disables the related hardware. There are switches for the webcam and microphone as well as WiFi and Bluetooth. When it comes to the Librem 14 in particular, there are so many additional privacy features that the kill switches really are the least of it, but there are examples of such kill switches in regular laptops that don’t go to such extremes. All the way back in 2018, HP was already shipping laptops with physical kill switches for the webcam. Their Specter laptops included these switches, so hopefully the chances of a hacked webcam recording you when you don’t want it to are virtually zero. Kill switches may not always take the form of a traditional sliding switch on the side of a laptop. It’s entirely possible to integrate the kill switch with a physical, built-in camera shutter.

  • Partaker Intel Core i3-8130U fanless mini PC Win 10 Linux supported $423

    Partaker have created a new fanless mini PC equipped with a wealth of connectivity and capable of supporting both the Microsoft Windows 10 and operating system most Linux distributions depending on your preference. Pricing starts from $423 for the Intel Core i3-8130U processor version although a more affordable Intel Celeron 3865u/3867u/3965u processor version is also available with prices starting from $246. Both are barebone systems meaning that you will need to provide your own memory, storage and operating system, enabling you to tailor the system to your exact requirements.

  • IGEL Releases Support for VMware Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub for Linux

Kernel and Graphics: Kuiper Linux, Rust, Apple, Mesa, and XWayland

  • Custom Linux allows Raspberry Pi to drive ADI peripherals

    Called Kuiper Linux, it incorporates Linux device drivers for ADI products, and supports other hardware including Digilent Zedboard, TerASIC DE10-Nano and Digilent Cora “The reasoning behind creating this distribution is to minimise the barriers to integrating ADI hardware devices into a Linux-based system,” according to the company. “When starting with a generic Linux distribution, the kernel typically would have to be rebuilt with the desired drivers enabled. While this is not difficult for an engineer that is familiar with the process, it can be a daunting task even when everything goes right. ADI Kuiper Linux solves this problem, and includes a host of additional applications, software libraries, and utilities.”

  • Rust takes a major step forward as Linux's second official language | ZDNet

    It wasn't that long ago that the very idea that another language besides C would be used in the Linux kernel would have been laughed at. Things have changed. Today, not only is Rust, the high-level system language moving closer to Linux, it's closer than ever with the next "patch series to add support for Rust as a second language to the Linux kernel."

  • Apple SoC PMGR driver for 5.17
    Hi SoC folks,
    
    Please merge the new PMGR driver for 5.17.
    
    This should not have any hard deps with the previous pulls. The 
    MAINTAINERS change already rode along the DT pull, for simplicity.
    
  • More Apple Silicon M1 Bring-Up On The Way For Linux 5.17 - Phoronix

    The enablement work for supporting Apple's M1 SoC under Linux continues and with the v5.17 kernel next year will be yet more additions. Among the new driver activity for Linux 5.17 is an Apple PMGR driver for controlling the power states. The Apple PMGR block on their SoC has high-level power state controls for SoC devices. At the moment not all features are supported but important step forward for power management with Apple Silicon on Linux.

  • Intel's SWR Removed From Mainline Mesa, More Classic Code Cleaning Continues - Phoronix

    Last Friday Mesa classic drivers were removed from the mainline code-base and punted off to an "Amber" code branch where they will receive whatever attention moving forward. With that classic Mesa code removed, more code cleaning is now happening on top of the tens of thousands of lines of code already removed. Intel's OpenSWR driver has also now been removed from mainline. Since the original classic Mesa drivers consisting of Radeon R100/R200, original Nouveau, and Intel i915 / i965 drivers were removed, more code cleaning can now happen on mainline for code that was just sticking around for these old, rather unmaintained drivers.

  • XWayland Lands DRM Leasing Support To Handle VR Headsets - Phoronix

    Along with XWayland touchpad gestures, another shiny feature was merged this week into X.Org Server Git for XWayland: DRM leasing support! XWayland now has mainline support for the DRM leasing (drm-lease-v1) protocol for allowing X11 clients running through XWayland to lease non-desktop connectors/outputs from the underlying Wayland compositor. This is particularly useful and designed around the needs of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays.

Open Hardware/Modding: Raspberry Pi, RISC-V, HiFiBerry, and More

  • Retro Reproduction Captures The Style Of The Sol-20 | Hackaday

    In the early years of the computer revolution, a machine like the Sol-20 really stood out. Where most hobbyist machines had front panels that bristled with toggle switches and LEDs, the Sol-20 was a sleek, all-in-one that looked like an electric typewriter in a walnut-trimmed box. Unfortunately, it was also quite expensive, so not that many were sold. This makes them hard enough to find 40 years later that building his own reproduction Sol-20 is about the only way for [Michael Gardi] to have one of his own.

  • Imagination Catapults into RISC-V

    Imagination unveiled four RISC-V-based “Catapult” CPU cores: two 32-bit MCU cores and two 64-bit designs that run Linux, including an automotive functional safety core. The big news on the first day of the RISC-V Summit in San Francisco was the announcement from Imagination Technologies that it was launching four RISC-V core designs under a Catapult brand. This summer, Imagination revealed it was building RISC-V CPU cores, and it has now announced four Catapult CPU designs. The in-order cores include two 32-bit MCU-like cores and two 64-bit models that run Linux. The UK-based company refers to the four core categories as “dynamic microcontrollers; real-time embedded CPUs; high-performance application CPUs; and functionally safe automotive CPUs.”

  • Adding Optical Audio to the Raspberry Pi with One Chip

    In the home theater space most people would tell you the age of optical audio, known officially as TOSLINK, is over. While at one time they were the standard for surround sound systems, the fiber cables with their glowing red tips have now been largely supplanted by the all-in-one capabilities of HDMI on new TVs and audio receivers. But of course, that doesn’t mean all that TOSLINK-compatible hardware that’s in the field simply disappears. If you’re looking to connect a Raspberry Pi to the optical port of your AV system, [Nick Sayer] has you covered. His “TOSLINK Transceiver Hat” utilizes a WM8804 chip from Cirrus Logic to go from the Pi’s I2S audio output to S/PDIF. From there the signal goes directly into the TOSLINK input and output modules, which have the appropriate fiber optic hardware and drivers built-in. All you have to do from a software standpoint is enable a boot overlay intended for a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) from HiFiBerry.

  • Guitar Pickguard Adds MIDI Capabilities

    For a standard that has been in use since the 1980s, MIDI is still one of the most dominant forces on the musical scene even today. It’s fast, flexible, and offers a standard recognized industry-wide over many different types of electronic instruments. Even things which aren’t instruments can be turned into musical devices like the infamous banana keyboard via the magic of MIDI, and it also allows augmentation of standard instruments with other capabilities like this guitar with a MIDI interface built into the pick guard. [Ezra] is the creator of this unique musical instrument which adds quite a few capabilities to his guitar. The setup is fairly straightforward: twelve wires run to the pick guard which are set up as capacitive sensors and correspond with a note on the chromatic scale. Instead of using touchpads, using wires allows him to bend away the “notes” that he doesn’t need for any particular piece of music. The wires are tied back to an Adafruit Feather 32u4 microcontroller behind the neck of the guitar which also has a few selectors for changing the way that the device creates tones. He can set the interface to emit single notes or continuously play notes, change the style, can change their octave, and plenty of other features as well.