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Kernel: Retpoline, VirtualBox, Linux 4.15 Next Weekend, and Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit

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Linux
  • Retpoline Is Still Being Improved Upon For Intel Skylake/Kabylake

    While initial support for Retpoline was merged into the Linux 4.15 Git kernel last week and is now being backported to some supported Linux kernel series, there is still additional work ongoing for properly mitigating Spectre v2 on Intel Skylake CPUs and newer.

    It turns out Skylake CPUs and newer require additional patches to fully mitigate against the Spectre Variant Two vulnerability. These newer CPUs can fallback to a potentially poisoned indirect branch predictor when a return buffer underflows. Andi Kleen of Intel has sent out a new patch series dubbed "RETPOLINE_UNDERFLOW" that gets enabled by default for Skylake CPUs and newer.

  • VirtualBox Guest Driver Being Mainlined With Linux 4.16

    The upcoming Linux 4.16 kernel cycle will be mainlining the VirtualBox Guest "vboxguest" kernel driver.

    As part of an effort led by Red Hat, the VirtualBox guest drivers are finally working towards mainline in the Linux kernel and with 4.16 there is the vboxguest driver as a notable step following the VirtualBox DRM/KMS driver in Linux 4.13.

  • Linus Torvalds Is Hopeful for a January 21 Release of the Linux 4.15 Kernel

    The eighth and probably the last RC (Release Candidate) of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel series has been announced by Linus Torvalds over the weekend and it's now ready for public testing.

    Coming a week after the seventh RC, Linux kernel 4.15 Release Candidate 8 is here with more patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities publicly disclosed earlier this month. Most specifically, it brings x86 "retpoline" support, a solution developed by Google and other security researchers to not allow speculation on the CPU.

  • LSFMM 2018 call for proposals

    The 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit will be held April 23-25 in Park City, Utah. The call for proposals has just gone out with a tight deadline: they need to be received by January 31.

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    Search and replace is a function you'll frequently need for text processing so today we're looking at another one of the many rust replacements out their, today's tool is a rust replacement for sed called sad otherwise known as space age sed, one of the standard tools on your unix like linux system.

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Xilinx Continues Their Open-Source FPGA Upstreaming Push For The Linux Kernel

Earlier this month we covered the news of Xilinx is looking to upstream their open-source "AI Engine" driver to the Linux kernel. This comes as Xilinx and AMD are working on Radeon Open eCosystem (ROCm) support for their FPGAs with AMD being in the process of acquiring the FPGA giant. Now more open-source code is looking to be included in the Linux kernel tree. Sent out on Saturday were more patches around the Xilinx Alveo accelerator and the Xilinx Runtime (XRT) open-source stack. Read more

Catching up on WebKit GStreamer WebAudio backends maintenance

Over the past few months the WebKit development team has been working on modernizing support for the WebAudio specification. This post highlights some of the changes that were recently merged, focusing on the GStreamer ports. My fellow WebKit colleague, Chris Dumez, has been very active lately, updating the WebAudio implementation for the mac ports in order to comply with the latest changes of the specification. His contributions have been documented in the Safari Technology Preview release notes for version 113, version 114, version 115 and version 116. This is great for the WebKit project! Since the initial implementation landed around 2011, there wasn’t much activity and over the years our implementation started lagging behind other web engines in terms of features and spec compliance. So, many thanks Chris, I think you’re making a lot of WebAudio web developers very happy these days :) The flip side of the coin is that some of these changes broke the GStreamer backends, as Chris is focusing mostly on the Apple ports, a few bugs slipped in, noticed by the CI test bots and dutifully gardened by our bots sheriffs. Those backends were upstreamed in 2012 and since then I didn’t devote much time to their maintenance, aside from casual bug-fixing. Read more Also: SVT-AV1, Dav1d Speeding Along AV1 Into 2021