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Linux Kernel, Linux Foundation and Graphics

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • The final step for huge-page swapping

    For many years, Linux system administrators have gone out of their way to avoid swapping. The advent of nonvolatile memory is changing the equation, though, and swapping is starting to look interesting again — if it can perform well enough. That is not the case in current kernels, but a longstanding project to allow the swapping of transparent huge pages promises to improve that situation considerably. That work is reaching its final stage and might just enter the mainline soon.

    The use of huge pages can improve the performance of the system significantly, so the kernel works hard to make them available. The transparent huge pages mechanism collects application data into huge pages behind the scenes, and the memory-management subsystem as a whole works hard to ensure that appropriately sized pages are available. When it comes time to swap out a process's pages, though, all of that work is discarded, and a huge page is split back into hundreds of normal pages to be written out. When swapping was slow and generally avoided, that didn't matter much, but it is a bigger problem if one wants to swap to a fast device and maintain performance.

  • Revisiting the MAP_SHARED_VALIDATE hack

    One of the the most commonly repeated mistakes in system-call design is a failure to check for unknown flags wherever flags are accepted. If there is ever a point where callers can get away with setting unknown flags, then adding new flags becomes a hazardous act. In the case of mmap(), though, developers found a clever way around this problem. A recent discussion has briefly called that approach into question, though, and raised the issue of what constitutes a kernel regression. No changes are forthcoming as a result, but the discussion does provide an opportunity to look at both the specific hack and how the kernel community decides whether a change is a regression or not.

    Back in 2017, several developers were trying to figure out a way to safely allow direct user-space access to files stored on nonvolatile memory devices. The hardware allows this memory to be addressed directly by the processor, but any changes could go astray if the filesystem were to move blocks around at the same time. The solution that arose was a new mmap() flag called MAP_SYNC. When a file is mapped with this flag set (and the file is stored on a nonvolatile memory device), the kernel will take extra care to ensure that access to the mapping and filesystem-level changes will not conflict with each other. As far as applications are concerned, using this flag solves the problem.

  • Take Our Survey on Open Source Programs

    Please take eight minutes to complete this survey. The results will be shared publicly on The New Stack, and The Linux Foundation’s GitHub page.

  • Mesa 18.1.4 release candidate

    Mesa 18.1.4 is planned for release this Friday, July 13th, at or around 10 AM PDT.

  • Mesa 18.1.4 Being Prepared With Intel Fixes & A Couple For Radeon

    Another routine Mesa 18.1. point release is being prepared while waiting for the August debut of the Mesa 18.2 feature update.

    Dylan Baker, the Mesa 18.1 release manager and his first stab at the task, has announced the Mesa 18.1.4 release candidate today. In its current form, Mesa 18.1.4 is comprised of just over two dozen patches.

  • Pre-AMDGPU xf86-video-ati X.Org Driver Sees A Round Of Improvements

    It's rare in recent years to have anything to report on xf86-video-ati, the X.Org driver for the display/2D experience for pre-GCN Radeon graphics cards. But this week has been a large batch of fixes and improvements for those using this DDX driver with pre-HD7000 series hardware.

    Longtime Radeon Linux driver developer Michel Dänzer has landed a number of commits already this week of various fixes/cleanups, some of which were inspired by the xf86-video-amdgpu DDX driver that is used for current-generation hardware with the AMDGPU kernel driver (unless using xf86-video-modesetting...).

More in Tux Machines

A brief history of text-based games and open source

The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of technologies enabling the digital art form we call interactive fiction. When a Community Moderator for Opensource.com suggested an article about IFTF, the technologies and services it supports, and how it all intersects with open source, I found it a novel angle to the decades-long story I’ve so often told. The history of IF is longer than—but quite enmeshed with—the modern FOSS movement. I hope you’ll enjoy my sharing it here. Read more

Fact check: Linux developer accused of pedophilia in fake blog posts

Followers of some of Reddit’s Linux-devoted subreddits were recently greeted with an unusual and disturbing discovery: pro-pedophilia and anti-Semitic blog posts from the developer of Linux Exherbo, a Linux distribution with native cross-compiling package management. A website under the developer’s name featured a number of unsavory blog posts. Fortunately, the blog appears to be fake. The developer, Bryan Østergaard, normally posts updates to a LiveJournal page under the username kloeri, although the last update dates 2014. Earlier this week, someone shared to Reddit a different blog attributed to Østergaard with a handful of more recent blog posts explaining “why” he decided to create Exherbo. Read more

Open source code worth $600m contributed to Apache

Open source code valued at over $600 million was delivered by volunteer project contributors to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in a single 12-month period. That's according to the Apache Software Foundation's (ASF) annual report for its 2018 fiscal year, which ended on 30 April. The report was released last week. ASF was established in 1999 and claims to be the world's largest open source foundation with more than 300 freely available, enterprise-wide projects that serve as the backbone for some of the most visible and widely used applications in computing today. Read more

RIP, Printrbot

  • Printrbot has shut down
    Printrbot, a popular Kickstarter-backed 3D printer company, has shut down, leaving only a barebones website and little explanation.
  • Pioneering desktop 3D printer maker Printrbot closes it doors
  • Printrbot Closes Doors, Saddening 3D Printing Fans Everywhere
    In a competitive market, it’s hard for any company to stay ahead of the others, and it’s a sad fact that even some of the most popular and long-lived companies succumb to heavy weather. Printrbot, founded in 2011, had legions of fans who loved its printers’ affordability, ease of assembly and use, and open source freedom. Printrbot 3D printers were 3D printers for the people – only a few hundred dollars, they provided access to 3D printing technology for people who hadn’t been able to afford it before, and although they were simple, they were high quality. Best of all, you could make them your own, tinkering with them and creating new and unique machines, as so many users did. The company was ethical, direct and honest. Some open source 3D printer companies just download files and don’t share. Printrbot dutifully shared its source files and was a rare true open source company.
  • 3D Printing Community saddened by closure of Printrbot 3D printers
    Open source 3D printer manufacturer Printrbot has announced the close of its business, citing poor sales as the reason for the decision. A simple statement on the Printrbot website from founder Brook Drumm reads: “Printrbot is closed. Low sales led to hard decisions. We will be forever grateful to all the people we met and served over the years. Thank you all.” For the time being, Drumm will reportedly be “unreachable” for comments, and plans to share his views and plans for this “final chapter” in due course. The 3D Printing Community however has take to social media in mourning of the company, with figures including Joel Telling (YouTube’s 3D Printing Nerd), Thomas Sanladerer, and Dr. Adrian Bowyer himself weighing in on the close.
  • Printrbot Shuts Down After Seven Years of Creating Open Source 3D Printers
    Printrbot, the 3D printing manufacturer which was founded in 2011 with the launch of its original Printrbot printer on Kickstarter, has announced that it's now sadly closing its doors.