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October 2020

Resource management in KDE

Filed under
Development
KDE

Edmundson started by explaining that the job of a desktop environment is deliver applications to the user. Users "need to be in control", he said. That role has become more complicated in recent years. Some time ago, when a user was running a web browser like Firefox or a chat application like Kopete, the management of running processes was easy. The user could run a ps command and would see just one line of output for each of those applications. This was easy to understand and self-explanatory.

Now, the situation is "very different". When a user opens a Firefox instance they can get a dozen processes; Discord in a Flatpak ("because it is cool now") launches 13 processes. The ps output is unreadable; it consists of "random names doing random things". Just understanding that output is difficult; aggregating the results to get an idea of how much CPU time or power the application is using has become even more challenging. There is thus a need to track processes properly in desktop environments, since the available data no longer means anything. We "need some metadata", Edmundson concluded.

Fairness is also an increasingly important issue. Edmundson gave an example of Krita, an advanced graphics application. It performs some heavy processing, all contained within a single process. On the other hand, Discord has those 13 processes, many of which will be making heavy use of the CPU "because it is written in Electron". The system's CPU scheduler will see those two applications as 14 opaque processes, not knowing what they correspond to. This means that Krita could get only 1/14 of the available CPU time, even though it represents half of the applications running. Metadata about running applications needs to propagate through the whole software stack to be available to the scheduler, he said.

One of Plasma's tasks is mapping windows to applications. More precisely, it tries to map windows to their associated desktop files — the configuration files containing metadata that are used, for example, to create menu entries. Applications open windows and "we hope we can match it all up". The Plasma developers use a lot of hacks and heuristics to perform this matching, but "we do not like guessing", he said. He made an example of a Firefox window being used to watch an Akademy talk like his. There is an audio icon inside that window, but this icon is not managed by the same process as the one controlling the outer window, he explained. Plasma needs to find the link between them, and "it is an arbitrary guessing game".

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Kernel: Arm/Arm64, Linux 5.10, Intel Propping up Windows, and FBCON

Filed under
Linux
  • The Arm64 memory tagging extension in Linux [LWN.net]

    One of the first features merged for the 5.10 kernel development cycle was support for the Arm v8.5 memory tagging extension [PDF]. By adding a "key" value to pointers, this mechanism enables the automated detection of a wide range of memory-safety issues. The result should be safer and more secure code — once support for the feature shows up in actual hardware.
    As one might expect, the Arm64 architecture uses 64-bit pointers to address memory. There is no need (yet!) for an address space that large, though, so normally only 48 of those bits are actually used by the hardware — or 52 bits if a special large-address-space option is enabled. So there are 12-16 bits that can be used for other purposes. Arm systems have long supported a "top byte ignore" feature that allows software to store arbitrary data in the uppermost byte of a virtual address, but the hardware designers have been busy coming up with other uses for those bits as well. The memory tagging extension (MTE) is one of those uses.

    Specifically, MTE allows the storage of a four-bit "key" in bits 59-56 of a virtual address — the lower "nibble" of the top byte. It is also possible to associate a specific key value with one or more 16-byte ranges of memory. When a pointer is dereferenced, the key stored in the pointer itself is compared to that associated with the memory the pointer references; if the two do not match, a trap may be raised. Keys can be managed by the application, or they can be randomly generated by the CPU.

    Four bits only allow for 16 distinct key values, but that is enough to do some interesting things. If a function like malloc() ensures that allocations that are adjacent in memory have different key values, then an access that overruns any given allocation will be detected by the processor. Use-after-free bugs can be detected by changing the key value immediately when a range of memory is freed. If each stack frame is given its own key, buffer overruns on the stack will also generate traps. An attempt to dereference a completely wild pointer (or one injected by an attacker) also has a good chance of being detected.

  • 5.10 Merge window, part 1 [LWN.net]

    As of this writing, 7,153 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline Git repository for the 5.10 release — over a period of four days. This development cycle is clearly off to a strong start. Read on for an overview of the significant changes merged thus far for the 5.10 kernel release.

  • Intel's Cloud-Hypervisor 0.11 Adds Windows Guest Support

    Intel has a shiny new feature release out of their open-source Cloud-Hypervisor that runs atop KVM and leveraging the Rust programming language.

    Cloud-Hypervisor 0.11 comes with some prominent improvements for this increasingly used component in the open-source Linux virtualization stack. As mentioned, even Microsoft has been working with Cloud-Hypervisor among other IHVs and ISVs.

  • Linux Frame-Buffer Console To Drop Accelerated Scrolling Since It's Full Of Bugs - Phoronix

    The Linux kernel's frame-buffer console (FBCON) is set to drop accelerated scrolling support since it isn't widely used and now found to be "full of bugs" plaguing the code-base.

    Google's Syzbot that continuously fuzzes the Linux kernel using Syzkaller recently began fuzzing the FBCON code within the kernel. As a result of that exposure, the developers are now well aware with "solid proof that it's full of bugs."

    The best solution from the developer perspective has been to delete the code / faulty features, such as with the recent deleting of soft scrollback support. Given the use-cases for FBCON and only a few drivers supporting accelerated scrolling, it's the latest feature now slated for removal.

KDE.org migrated to Hugo

Filed under
KDE
Web

KDE.org now uses the Hugo. Hugo is a fast and modern static site generator written in Go. It provides a few improvements over the old system that was using plain PHP. A large part of the work was done by Anuj during GSoC 2020. This was a massive work, converting the repository storing more than 20 years of KDE history.

The website is now generated once and no longer use PHP to generate itself at runtime. This improves the loading speed of the website, but the speed boost is not significant, since the PHP code used before was quite small and KDE’s servers are powerful.

But the biggest improvement is in terms of features. We are now working with markdown files instead of raw HTML files, this makes the life of the promo team much easier.

The internalization of the website now creates a unique URL per language, this should allow Google to link to the version of the website using the correct language. A french, ukrainian, catalan, Dutch, and a few more languages are already available. There is also a proper language selector! We also don’t need to manually tag each string for translations.

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Games: Tomb Raider, Angry Video Game Nerd, Amnesia: Rebirth

Filed under
Gaming

  • Developer Brings Shadow of the Tomb Raider to Ubuntu, Outperforms DX11 In Windows 10 | Tom's Hardware

    Feral Interactive, a company that brings windows games to Mac and Linux, has implemented its magic on Square Unix's Shadow of the Tomb Raider and has it working in Ubuntu via the Vulkan API. YouTuber Penguin Recordings has compared performance results for both the Ubuntu and Windows 10 platforms side-by-side. The results are quite interesting.

    Because Linux cannot support any type of DirectX API, as it's Microsoft-only, Feral Interactive has to use the Vulkan API to actively translate DX11 and/or DX12 calls to make them work on Linux. Fortunately, this method does work rather well, but performance will usually be slower than native DirectX due to the translation process.

    Spec-wise, Penguin uses a Ryzen 9 3950X alongside a GeForce RTX 3090 with 32GB of RAM to run his tests.

    Surprisingly, in DX12 mode for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Feral's Linux version of the game could keep up with the Windows 10 platform quite well. Averaging between two to seven fps (and 10 fps above 100 fps) short of the Windows 10 version. The frame rate difference is so small it would be hard to notice without an fps counter visible.

  • Difficult retro platformer Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe out now | GamingOnLinux

    Leaning heavily into nostalgia and something of a parody, the very difficult platformer series Angry Video Game Nerd has been re-released as a enhanced Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe.

    Truthfully, I've never followed Angry Video Game Nerd but they have a pretty clear cult following and they were a huge influence on the early lot of on-video game reviews being one of the first set of people to do it. They somewhat set the stage for the many thousands of others doing them regularly across YouTube and other sites today. There was even an Angry Video Game Nerd movie…

  • Amnesia: Rebirth 1.1 is out, along with major rendering fixes for Linux | GamingOnLinux

    Frictional Games have released Amnesia: Rebirth 1.1 which is a very important upgrade for Linux fans as it fixes up some major problems.

    At the release, sadly the game was something of a mess for Linux with floating objects and at times everything vanishing. Thankfully, it seems the Linux graphical issues have been fully solved and you should now be able to play through. Nicely timed here by Frictional for Halloween.

today's howtos

Filed under
HowTos
  • How to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.10

    Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is out now! It’s an exciting new release with a lot to love, like QR code WiFi sharing, improved fingerprint login support, better Thunderbolt port support, and much more!

    In this guide, we’ll go over how to upgrade your Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system to the new Ubuntu 20.10. However, before we begin, please make a backup of your system, as it’s always good to have a backup before attempting a system upgrade.

  • How To Install Apache Ant on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Apache Ant on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Apache Ant™ is a Java library and command-line tool whose mission is to drive processes described in build files as targets and extension points dependent upon each other. The main known usage of Ant is the build of Java applications. Ant supplies a number of built-in tasks allowing to compile, assemble, test, and run Java applications. Ant can also be used effectively to build non-Java applications, for instance, C or C++ applications. More generally, Ant can be used to pilot any type of process which can be described in terms of targets and tasks.

    This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Apache Ant on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

  • How to install MongoDB Community Edition on Linux

    Mongo DB Community is the free edition of the Mongo database software. The Community edition is an excellent option for those that don’t want to pay for the “Enterprise” edition but still want to use excellent database software.

  • How to Install Jira Agile Project Management Tool on Ubuntu 20.04

    JIRA is a project management tool developed by Atlassian which is used as an issue and bug-tracking system. It is a commercial tool and available as a Trial version for a limited time. You can use JIRA in Support and Customer Services to create tickets and track the status of the created tickets. It comes with a simple and user-friendly dashboard that helps you to track work progress and issues. It offers a rich set of features including, Bugs and defect management, Advanced reporting, Search and filtering, Customizable workflows, Customizable dashboards, Advanced security and administration and many more.

  • How to Install YOURLS self-hosted URL shortener on CentOS 8

    YOURLS is a free, open-source and self-hosted URL shortener written in PHP. It is very similar to TinyURL or Bitly and allows you to run your own URL shortening service. It also allows you to add branding to your short URLs. It offers a rich set of features including, Private and Public link, Custom URL keywords, Historical click reports, Ajaxed interface, Jsonp support and many more.
    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install YOURLS on CentOS 8 with Let's Encrypt SSL.

  • Display Network Information In Linux Using What IP Tool - OSTechNix

    What IP is a simple graphical application used to display network information in Linux operating systems. Using What IP, anyone can easily find the IP address of local, public and virtual network interfaces. You can copy their IP addresses with a single mouse click.

    Not just the IP address, What IP can also get you the list of available ports listening on your system, and check if they are publicly accessible. In addition, it lists the network devices on your LAN.

    Another notable feature is it displays your geolocation based on the IP address. All details are displayed in a compact and simple graphical interface!

    What IP is an open source application written using Python 3 and GTK3 widget toolkit. The source code is freely available in GitLab under GPL3 license.

  • Vdx - An Intuitive Commandline Wrapper To FFmpeg - OSTechNix

    Vdx is an intuitive commandline wrapper to FFmpeg. Using Vdx, we can do most common audio and video encoding and transcoding operations.

  • Using the Midnight Commander to browse Linux directories | Network World

    Midnight Commander – the "mc" command – provides an easy way to browse directories and to view, move, delete, compare, change and edit files. Similar in some ways to ranger, mc makes it easy to move around directories and offers side-by-side file/directory listings that work independently of each other. In addition, it provides a very wide range of actions that you can take through simple menu choices.

    To start Midnight Commander, simply type "mc" in a terminal window. When you open mc, both the left and right sides of the display will look the same and will show the contents of whatever directory you started in. You can switch sides using the tab key or simply by clicking on a directory or file in the side of the display. You can select a file or directory simply by clicking on it. You can also browse directory contents using the up and down arrow keys.

  • Tricks and treats for sysadmins and ops | Enable Sysadmin

    Are you ready for the scary technology tricks that can haunt you as a sysadmin? Here are five treats to counter those tricks.

  • repair all mySQL/mariaDB databases

Oracle Continues Building DTrace For Linux Atop BPF

Filed under
Development
Linux

More than a decade ago Linux users tended to be envious of Sun Microsystems' Solaris for ZFS and DTrace as the two most interesting technical selling points of the platform. In that time OpenZFS is now extremely vibrant for offering ZFS on BSD and Linux systems while DTrace is barely brought up these days. This tracing framework originally developed for Solaris was fantastic back in the day but over the years Linux has stepped up its game with various efforts. Now as we hit the end of 2020, Oracle engineers continue working on bringing better DTrace support to Linux.

In recent years Oracle has been working on DTrace for Linux with a focus on DTrace for Oracle Linux / its "Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel". Their kernel-side work has never been upstreamed and while they do have a GitHub repository its usage doesn't seem to be very prevalent outside of the Oracle ecosystem.

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asciiworld – world map depicted in ASCII

Filed under
Software

One of the great strengths of Linux is the whole raft of weird and wonderful open source utilities. That strength does not simply derive from the functionality they offer, but from the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with applications.

The UNIX philosophy spawned a “software tools” movement which focused on developing concise, basic, clear, modular and extensible code that can be used for other projects. This philosophy remains an important element for many Linux projects.

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IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

Filed under
Red Hat
  • Red Hat Pairs Innovation with Stability in Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Further Extends Linux as Foundation for Digital Transformation

    Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3, the latest version of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. Generally available in the coming weeks, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3 fuses the stability required by IT operations teams with cloud-native innovation, providing a more stable platform for next-generation enterprise applications. Already an established backbone for mission-critical computing, the latest enhancements to the platform bring new performance profiles and automation, reinforced security capabilities and updated container tools.

  • A post-COVID IT roadmap [Ed: By Mark Bohannon, vice president, government affairs at Red Hat]

    What began for almost all of us as a month-long work from home event looks like it will last a year or longer. When we return to the office, it will be a completely different experience, with most employees working staggered schedules, teams divided into groups and ever more reliance on technology to keep employees and customers connected and engaged.

    In recent weeks we have seen announcements from major technology companies, financial firms and others that support the forever-changed nature of the way we work. Understanding that, it's time to start talking about the next steps we need to take to ensure that our IT infrastructure and tools can continue to support the remote workers, while providing state-of-the-art, timely customer service.

    The U.S. Department of Defense, prior to COVID probably one of the agencies in all of government most reluctant to support a remote workforce, has been without question one of the leaders in adapting to our "new normal." DOD, through the adoption of work from home tools and improvements to its overall IT infrastructure, has moved nearly one million employees from a traditional office environment to a work-from-home posture. Despite its quick success, DOD is also a perfect example of the work that remains.

  • Show us your gear: Greg Gorman and an IoT command center for work and play – IBM Developer

    I admit it – I’m a total nerd when it comes to gadgets and toys, it’s pretty obvious looking at my desk! A quick scan of my network shows 39 devices on SmartThings, 92 that Alexa knows about (along with four Echos of various types) and 66 devices on my wi-fi and ethernet network! While some are work-related, many others are more about learning to hack on IoT devices as a side-hobby.

    [...]

    I set up a Raspberry Pi 3B+ to run it, and then I have a central hub that collects as much of the data as I can get my hands on.

  • The IBM Kubernetes Certification Process – IBM Developer

    Inside IBM, a large number of containerized software products are released every day. They are built with different personas, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift cluster requirements, and install technologies. These products need to be consistent and feel like they all came from the same company, but an industry standard for the design of production-grade, Kubernetes software does not exist. By creating the IBM Kubernetes Certification process, my team helps developers drive consistency, security, reliability, and good design across IBM products.

    If you develop containerized software, you likely relate to the importance of certification. All containerized software should complete a similar certification process since it gives a stamp of production grade readiness and security to customers.

  • Innovation with an open modular platform begins with automation

    Financial services institutions, by necessity, are embracing digital transformation and technology solutions to work more efficiently to maintain regulatory compliance, reduce risk, increase productivity, and exceed customer expectations. As part of the never-ending quest to participate in the development of industry-leading solutions, Red Hat has led the way in the demonstration of new forward-looking solutions, especially in this sector.

  • Open Liberty 20.0.0.11 brings Kerberos authentication and Thanos support in Grafana dashboards - Red Hat Developer

    This article is a quick look at two exciting updates in the new Open Liberty 20.0.0.11 release. First, you can now use the Kerberos authentication protocol to secure Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) data sources. I’ll introduce the new kerberos configuration element in Open Liberty’s server.xml and show you how to use the Kerberos protocol to secure a data source.

    We’ve also updated Open Liberty’s Grafana dashboard, which you can now use to visualize MicroProfile Metrics data from Thanos data sources. This new functionality benefits developers working in Kubernetes environments such as Red Hat OpenShift, where it is possible to use Thanos to query and store metrics data from multiple clusters. Keep reading to learn more about both of these updates in Open Liberty 20.0.0.11.

  • SmoogeSpace: RHEL-6/CentOS-6/SciLin-6/EPEL-6 End Of Life Notice 2020-11-30

    This is a short reminder that Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 6 will enter 'Extended Lifetime Support' in about 30 days from when I am writing this. Extended Lifetime Support (ELS) is a specific contract with Red Hat for them to cover certain security fixes for some extended time to allow sites some time for last minute transitions.

    RHEL-6 was released in November of 2010, and was the first RHEL I got to work with/on after I returned to Red Hat in 2009. The release has seen 10 minor releases (1 less than RHEL-5), and has been in 'extended' mode since the last 6.10 release in June 2018.

    [...]

    Primarily, if you are going to be affected by the end of EL-6 services, you either need to get an ELS contract, move to another OS, or move to self-support. In order to self-support, you will need to mirror the source code from your distribution provider and learn the basics of RPM building. If you are on CentOS and find your servers not able to do yum installs anymore.. you will need to mirror the EL-6 from the CentOS vault somewhere locally and use that as your new 'mirror'. Depending on time and energy, I will try to outline some of these steps in future blog posts.

Graphics: Mesa, RadeonSI, Vulkan

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Mesa 20.3 Lands Rewritten AMD Zen L3 Cache Optimization - Phoronix

    You may recall going back to 2018 that well known open-source AMD Mesa driver developer Marek Olsak was working on Mesa optimizations around the AMD Zen architecture. In particular, better handling of Mesa for Zen's L3 cache design. A rewritten implementation of that has now landed along with some other improvements.

    Marek discovered his L3 cache topology code was incorrect and ended up rewriting it to "make Mesa on my AMD CPU faster." The code is catering to AMD Ryzen processors but it's also possible Xeon / multi-CPU systems could employ a similar optimization should anyone be interested in pursuing it.

  • RadeonSI Lands Optimization For Uber Shaders - Phoronix

    On top of the AMD Zen L3 cache optimizations hitting Mesa 20.3 today, Marek Olšák has also landed his RadeonSI Gallium3D driver code for optimizing OpenGL uber shaders.

    Marek added a "inline_uniforms" DriConf option to the RadeonSI driver that implements inlinable uniforms.

  • Intel starts publishing Vulkan Linux driver

    Intel's open-source developers have begun publishing their patches enabling their "ANC" Vulkan Linux driver to support Vulkan ray-tracing.

    [...]

    Intel’s other big-ticket items still to come in the near-term include extending the ANV driver to support compiling and dispatching OpenCL kernels, new SPIR-V capabilities, and generic pointer support.

    Also needed is the actual support for compiling ray-tracing pipelines, managing acceleration structures, dispatching rays, and the platform support.

    Intel is not going to go much further until the Khronos Group has firmed up their VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension. However some of this Intel-specific Vulkan ray-tracing code may prove useful to Mesa's Radeon Vulkan "RADV" driver as well.

More in Tux Machines

Open Hardware and GNU/Linux Devices

  • ESP32 Clock Pushes Outrun Graphics Over Composite | Hackaday

    We’ve covered plenty of clocks powered by the ESP32, but this one from [Marcio Teixeira] is really something special. Rather than driving a traditional physical display, the microcontroller is instead generating a composite video signal of an animated digital clock. This could be fed into whatever device you wish, but given the 80’s synthwave style it’s pumping out, you’ll probably want to find a suitably retro CRT to do it justice.

  • The Quadrivium EnsembleBot Is A Labour Of Love

    The Quadrivium EnsembleBot project is a mashup between old school musical instruments and the modern MIDI controlled world. Built by a small team over several years, these hand crafted instruments look and sound really nice. [...] This project is by no means unique, lately we’ve covered controlling a church organ with MIDI, as well as a neat Arduino Orchestra, but the EnsembleBot is just so much more.

  • Common Sense – using the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT on Ubuntu Impish Indri | Ubuntu

    Dave Jones from the Canonical Raspberry Pi team has put together a helpful guide for those getting started with the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT on Ubuntu Impish Indri. We’ve reproduced an edited version below, or you can read the full post on his blog along with other great Raspberry Pi tips!

  • Wheeled payload robot can control elevators

    SLAMTEC’s wheeled “Hermes” robot runs Android on an RK3399 and can carry up to 16 kg payloads. The autonomous bot includes 360° Lidar, depth cameras, WiFi and 4G links, a 7.5-hour battery, and an elevator controller.

  • RK3399-based programmable wheeled robot works across multiple floors

    Powered by a Rockchip RK3399 mainboard, the Hermes robot platform supports autonomous path-finding, robot collaboration, cross-floor delivery, smart obstacle avoidance, safety features, and autonomous Recharging. It can be controlled with a REST API, programmed with C++ SDK, or a program called RoboStudio available for Windows and Android.

Kernel and Graphics: Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA

  • Intel teases 'software-defined silicon' with Linux kernel contribution – and won't say why

    Intel has teased a new tech it calls "Software Defined Silicon" (SDSi) but is saying almost nothing about it – and has told The Register it could amount to nothing. SDSi popped up around three weeks ago in a post to the Linux Kernel mailing list, in which an Intel Linux software engineer named David Box described it as "a post-manufacturing mechanism for activating additional silicon features".

  • RadeonSI Lands Another "Very Large" Optimization To Further Boost SPECViewPerf - Phoronix

    In recent months we have seen a lot of RadeonSI optimizations focused on SPECViewPerf with AMD seemingly trying to get this open-source OpenGL driver into very capable shape moving forward for workstation GL workloads. Hitting Mesa 22.0-devel today is yet another round of patches for tuning SPECViewPerf.

  • Vendors Including NVIDIA Talk Up New OpenCL Extensions For Vulkan Interop, NN Inference - Phoronix

    Last Friday night we spotted OpenCL 3.0.9 with several new extensions included. Today The Khronos Group is formally announcing these latest OpenCL additions focused on Vulkan interoperability as well as neural network inferencing. These new extensions for OpenCL 3.0 include an integer dot product extension for neural network inferencing (cl_khr_integer_dot_product) with a focus on 8-bit integer support.

  • RadeonSI Enables NGG Shader Culling For Navi 1x Consumer GPUs - Phoronix

    As another possible performance win for RadeonSI Gallium3D as AMD's open-source Radeon OpenGL driver on Linux systems is enabling of NGG culling for Navi 1x consumer graphics processors rather than limiting it only to newer Navi 2x (RDNA2) GPUs. Merged on Monday was a patch to enable shader culling for Navi 1x consumer SKUs with no longer limiting it to Navi 2x / GFX10.3 or when using various debug options. This culling was also enabled for Navi 1x GPUs but only for the "Pro" graphics SKUs.

Databases: Managing Database Migrations, PostgreSQL-Related Releases

KDE Plasma 5.18.8, Bugfix Release for October

Plasma 5.18 was released in February 2020 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. Read more