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Kernel: Wayland, NVIDIA and Linux Development (LWN)

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Problems Being Investigated Under Wayland Itches Program, Including Gaming Performance

    Last week we wrote about a "Wayland Itches" program being devised by prolific open-source contributor Hans de Goede of Red Hat. The goal of this program is to address itches/paper-cuts/problems in using GNOME Shell atop Wayland. He's received a fair amount of feedback so far and has some early indications to share.

    Hans de Goede wrote two blog posts today outlining the early feedback to his Wayland Itches project. Two items he is going to look into initially are middle-click on title/header bar to lower the Window not working for native applications and sudo/pfexec not working on Wayland. For the sudo/pfexec support, Hans is planning to optionally support the ability for GUI apps to connect when running as root. That was rejected upstream before but his plan is for this to be an optional feature for enabling the xauth file for allowing XWayland as root by GNOME-Shell/Mutter.

  • NVIDIA 418.52.07 Linux Driver Wires In Two More Extensions

    NVIDIA today released the 418.52.07 Linux driver as an updated build intended for Vulkan developers with it introducing support for two more extensions.

  • BPF: what's good, what's coming, and what's needed

    The 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit differed somewhat from its predecessors in that it contained a fourth track dedicated to the BPF virtual machine. LWN was unable to attend most of those sessions, but a couple of BPF-related talks were a part of the broader program. Among those was a plenary talk by Dave Miller, described as "a wholistic view" of why BPF is successful, its current state, and where things are going.

    Years ago, Miller began, Alexei Starovoitov showed up at a netfilter conference promoting his ideas for extending BPF. He described how it could be used to efficiently implement various types of switching fabric — any type, in fact. Miller said that he didn't understand the power of this idea until quite a bit later.

  • The first half of the 5.2 merge window

    When he released the 5.1 kernel, Linus Torvalds noted that he had a family event happening in the middle of the 5.2 merge window and that he would be offline for a few days in the middle. He appears to be trying to make up for lost time before it happens: over 8,300 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline in the first four days. As always, there is a wide variety of work happening all over the kernel tree.

  • DAX semantics

    In the filesystems track at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit, Ted Ts'o led a discussion about an inode flag to indicate DAX files, which is meant to be applied to files that should be directly accessed without going through the page cache. XFS has such a flag, but ext4 and other filesystems do not. The semantics of what the flag would mean are not clear to Ts'o (and probably others), so the intent of the discussion was to try to nail those down.

    Dan Williams said that the XFS DAX flag is silently ignored if the device is not DAX capable. Otherwise, the file must be accessed with DAX. Ts'o said there are lots of questions about what turning on or off a DAX flag might mean; does it matter whether there are already pages in the page cache, for example. He said that he did not have any strong preference but thought that all filesystems should stick with one interpretation.

    While Christoph Hellwig described things as "all broken", Ts'o was hoping that some agreement could be reached among the disparate ideas of what a DAX flag would mean. A few people think there should be no flag and that it should all be determined automatically, but most think the flag is useful. He suggested starting with something "super conservative", such as only being able to set the flag for zero-length files or only empty directories where the files in it would inherit the flag. Those constraints could be relaxed later if there was a need.

  • A filesystem for virtualization

    A new filesystem aimed at sharing host filesystems with KVM guests, virtio-fs, was the topic of a session led by Miklos Szeredi at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. The existing solution, which is based on the 9P filesystem from Plan 9, has some shortcomings, he said. Virtio-fs is a prototype that uses the Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) interface.

    The existing 9P-based filesystem does not provide local filesystem semantics and is "pretty slow", Szeredi said. The FUSE-based virtio-fs (RFC patches) is performing "much better". One of the ideas behind the new filesystem is to share the page cache between the host and guests, so there would be no data duplication for multiple guests accessing the same files from the host filesystem.

    There are still some areas that need work, however. Metadata and the directory entry cache (dcache) cannot be shared, because data structures cannot be shared between the host and guests. There are two ways to handle that. Either there can be a round trip from the guest to the host for each operation to ensure the coherence of the metadata cache and dcache, or the guest can cache that information and somehow revalidate the cache on each operation without going to the host kernel.

  • Common needs for Samba and NFS

    Amir Goldstein led a discussion on things that the two major network filesystems for Linux, Samba and NFS, could cooperate on at the end of day one of the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. In particular, are there needs that both filesystems have that the kernel is not currently providing? He had some ideas of areas that might be tackled, but was looking for feedback from the assembled filesystem developers.

    He has recently just started looking at the kernel NFS daemon (knfsd) as it is a lesser use case for the customers of his company's NAS device. Most use Samba (i.e. SMB). He would like to see both interoperate better with other operating systems, though.

  • NFS topics

    Trond Myklebust and Bruce Fields led a session on some topics of interest in the NFS world at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. Myklebust discussed the intersection of NFS and containers, as well adding TLS support to NFS. Fields also had some container changes to discuss, along with a grab bag of other areas that need attention.

    Myklebust began with TLS support for the RPC layer that underlies NFS. One of the main issues is how to do the upcall from the RPC layer to a user-space daemon that would handle the TLS handshake. There is kernel support for doing TLS once the handshake is complete; hardware acceleration of TLS was added in the last year based on code from Intel and Mellanox, he said. RPC will use that code, but there is still the question of handling the handshake.

More in Tux Machines

Finance/Funding and FOSS

  • Poloniex continues to support open-source development; donates to Grin General Fund

    Released in January 2019, privacy-focused cryptocurrency Grin was previously in the news for its hard fork in July 2019. The hard fork in question, focused on maximizing miner decentralization and usability. The cryptocurrency has been solely reliant on crowdfunding and previously in March 2019, the coin received an anonymous donation of 50 BTC. But, the aspect that makes this privacy-focused cryptocurrency stand out is its involvement with Mimblewimble. Grin is the first application on the Mimblewimble protocol, which was created to bolster the scalability and privacy of digital assets. Litecoin’s Charlie Lee has been steering the silver coin towards Mimblewimble, going on to hire a developer from Grin to explore Litecoin’s capabilities with the protocol.

  • Square Crypto Hires Lightning, Libra Developers for ‘Bitcoin Dream Team’

    Square Crypto, the division of the publicly traded payments company that focuses exclusively on bitcoin, just announced three new hires to work on open source projects.

  • Open Source Bitcoin Payment Processor Receives a Grant From Square Crypto

    Bringing cryptocurrency payments to a larger audience is no easy feat. Many companies are trying to do so, albeit to little or no avail. Square Crypto, the branch of Square, which focuses on the cryptocurrency industry, is trying to change that aspect. Their recent investment in BTCPay Server shows there may be a bright future ahead for crypto payments on a global scale.

  • MyHbarWallet launches the first browser-based, open source wallet for hbars

    Today, MyHbarWallet.com launched, and is excited to support the Hedera™ Hashgraph community. Out of the box, users can initiate the account creation process, load existing accounts, and create accounts on behalf of requestors. MyHbarWallet was influenced by MyEtherWallet (MEW), the top wallet for the Ethereum blockchain. We wanted to make the experience of using Hedera familiar for those who are already active in the cryptocurrency space. The team behind MyHbarWallet is the same core team actively contributing to the open source Hedera software development kits (SDK). MyHbarWallet was built using Vue.js.

  • Tidelift and the Python Software Foundation partner to support widely used Python web development libraries

    The Python Software Foundation and Tidelift today announced a partnership to support the community-driven Pallets Projects, a collection of Python web development libraries downloaded millions of times each month. Tidelift now provides recurring income to the team of developers behind these vitally important open source libraries to help ensure they are maintained to commercial standards. The collaboration also enables Pallets maintainers to deliver maintenance, security, and license assurances to Tidelift's managed open source subscription customers, ensuring the libraries work well with their applications.

  • Investors’ Interest in AI, Open Source Software Remains High

    DataRobot, which automates the process of creating machine learning models, announced a $206 million Series E round led by Sapphire Ventures that values the company at more than $1 billion. GitLab, which lets software developers collaborate on projects, announced a $268 million Series E round led by Goldman Sachs and Iconiq, at a $2.75 billion valuation. 

  • Lira, eToro’s New Open-source Programming Language

    eToro, the global multi-asset investment company, has today released the details of Lira, a new open-source programming language for financial contracts. Lira is the first step in bringing the $500 trillion OTC derivatives market onto the Blockchain by introducing a new formal contract language.(i) Lira is a domain-specific language that can be used to write OTC financial contracts for assets currently on the Ethereum blockchain. It is both secure and easy to programme whilst guaranteeing self-executing global settlement and automated trade reporting and monitoring. It’s easy tracking and compression will enable better collateral requirement efficiencies.

  • Automattic raises $300 million at $3 billion valuation from Salesforce Ventures

    Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce and soon Tumblr, has closed a $300 million funding round at a $3 billion post-money valuation. The Series D round has a single investor, Salesforce Ventures. Funding rounds are something special for Automattic . While the company has been around for nearly 15 years, it hasn’t raised a ton of money. It closed a $160 million Series C round back in 2014 and raised little money before that.

Openness: Software Defined Drones, Energy, Open Data, Open Access and Open Hardware

  • Software Defined Drones and the Path to Standardization and Scale in the Drone Industry

    Sartori is the co-founder of Auterion – they’re the Red Hat of the drone industry, serving as a distributor and enabler for open source software for drones. He’s a proponent of open source, and a believer that open source software is the key to scalability in the drone industry. There’s data and history to support the idea. As drone manufacturing giant DJI is often compared to Apple, open source drones are frequently compared to Android – and Sartori points out that Android is based on open source Linux, and as more than 87 percent of phones are now Android, that makes it the most used software in the world.

  • ITP Renewables releases free open-source modelling platform for the energy transition

    ITP Renewables has released Version 1 of open-CEM, a free of charge open source modelling tool for the National Electricity Market (NEM). The tool can be used by policy makers, project developers, investors and the public to run scenarios of the development of the NEM out to 2050. The project’s aim is to provide a transparent and well-informed analysis of technology and policy options for the NEM as Australia proceeds through the energy transition. Open-CEM was developed in conjunction the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the Energy Transition Hub at the University of Melbourne, software developers ThoughtWorks and the US Strategy Energy Analysis Center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

  • 10 NLP Open-Source Datasets To Start Your First NLP Project

    There has been significant growth in natural language processing (NLP) over the last few years. The demand for advanced text recognition, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, machine-to-human communication has led to the rise of several innovations. According to industry estimates, the global NLP market will reach a market value of US$ 28.6 billion in 2026 and is expected to witness CAGR of 11.71% across the forecast period through 2018 to 2026.

  • Arcadia Fund grant to support open-source publishing across UC campuses

    The Educopia Institute and California Digital Library, or CDL, received a $2.2 million grant in August in support of the Next Generation Library Publishing project, or Next Gen. The grant was bestowed by the Arcadia Fund, a charity that supports environmental, cultural heritage and open-access projects. The Next Gen project is said to enhance the UC system’s open-access publishing infrastructure by providing noncommercial tools that support the dissemination of knowledge, according to a CDL press release.

  • OpenLeg – The Open Source Robot Leg

    There’s an old saying about standing on the shoulders of giants, but how about doing so with an open source leg? Well, your robots might do so at least, thanks to OpenLeg, a new open source project for building robot legs. Created by [Joey Byrnes], this started out as a senior project for a course at the University of Illinois. The idea is to create a robot leg that others can use to build four-legged robots that can amble around the neighborhood, much like those built by Boston Dynamics.

  • New microscopes unravel the mysteries of brain organization

    The secret of capturing exquisite brain images with a new generation of custom-built microscopes is revealed today in Nature Methods. The new microscopes, known as mesoSPIMs, can image the minute detail of brain tissue down to individual neurons that are five times thinner than a human hair, and can uncover the 3D anatomy of entire small organs, faster than ever before. MesoSPIMs provide new insights into brain and spinal cord organization for researchers working to restore movement after paralysis or to investigate neuronal networks involved in cognition, pleasure, or drug addiction.

  • New open-source microscope may help paralysis patients

    Scientists have developed a new generation of custom-built microscopes that significantly improve brain tissue imaging, an advance that could help find better treatment for patients with paralysis. The microscopes, known as mesoSPIMs—short for 'mesoscale selective plane-illumination microscopes'—can image brain tissues down to the minute details of individual neurons which are five times thinner than a human hair, the study noted. The researchers added that they can uncover the 3D anatomy of entire small organs, faster than ever before using the new microscope.

Security Leftovers

  • Falco founder: Kubernetes security has to do better than “don’t worry – OH MY GOD”

    It’s almost a year since Sysdig’s behavioral activity monitoring tool Falco entered the sandbox of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). We talked to the company’s new chief open source advocate Kris Nova and co-founder Loris Degioanni to check in about the project’s progress and talk about the state of Kubernetes security and open source licensing in general. Falco was first introduced to the public back in May 2016. It’s no secret that security wasn’t exactly a top priority when Kubernetes was developed, so Falco was set up to tackle some of the challenges the orchestrator introduced to the modern infrastructure stack. [...] Moving the project into the CNCF in October 2018 was the logical next step for Degioanni. “In order to be cloud-native and to actually be placed as a part of the stack of the next generation of infrastructures, you want to be part of the CNCF nowadays.” But the foundation has strict rules on what projects must do to make it to the next stage, so the first months in the sandbox were mostly spent setting up processes and work on Falco’s own infrastructure. With Nova, who spent quite some time on the Kubernetes project, now on board, this trajectory is likely to continue.

  • Australian not-for-profit's encryption solution to privacy breaches

    One of the main aspects of addressing or curing the privacy breach epidemic is to gain back control and management over personal data. Where we see the aspect of giving back consumer some control, all of the control, and the accountability for their personal data that's stored on digital space, and what we developed is a set of tools that allows an entire economy of consumers, businesses and marketers to interact in harmony and in a way move the world to a more privacy aware interaction.

  • Open source breach and attack simulation tool Infection Monkey gets new features

    Guardicore, a leader in internal data center and cloud security, unveiled new capabilities for its Infection Monkey that make it the industry’s first Zero Trust assessment tool.

  • Patch now: 1,300 Harbor cloud registries open to attack [Ed: What they mean by “open to attack” is “needs patching”. Typical ZDNet.]

OSS Leftovers

  • State of DevOps 2019 Survey, Sponsored by CloudBees, Shows Higher Percentage of Top-performing DevOps Teams Use Open Source Software

    CloudBees, the enterprise DevOps leader powering the continuous economy, highlighted recent findings in the 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps Report. The survey was conducted by DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), a pioneer in helping organizations achieve high DevOps and organizational performance with data-driven insights, and Google Cloud, and sponsored by CloudBees and others. The results showed that a higher percentage of top performing teams in enterprise organizations are using open source software. Additionally, the proportion of Elite performers (highest performing teams) nearly tripled from last year, showing that DevOps capabilities are driving performance.

  • The Internet Relies on People Working for Free

    When you buy a product like Philips Hue’s smart lights or an iPhone, you probably assume the people who wrote their code are being paid. While that’s true for those who directly author a product’s software, virtually every tech company also relies on thousands of bits of free code, made available through “open-source” projects on sites like GitHub and GitLab. Often these developers are happy to work for free. Writing open-source software allows them to sharpen their skills, gain perspectives from the community, or simply help the industry by making innovations available at no cost. According to Google, which maintains hundreds of open-source projects, open source “enables and encourages collaboration and the development of technology, solving real-world problems.”

  • Obsidian Systems’ end-to-end coverage of Open Source Week 2019

    Leading South African open source firm and provider of OS technology and services Obsidian Systems has confirmed its Diamond Sponsorship of the acclaimed and much-anticipated Open Source Week, managed by the organisers of PyConZA, LinuxConfZA and PostgresConfZA tracks.

  • npm, Inc. Announces Leadership Change

    npm, Inc., the open source JavaScript developer tools provider and operator of the world's largest software registry, today announced its CEO, Bryan Bogensberger , has resigned effective immediately to pursue new opportunities. npm's Board of directors have commenced a search for a new CEO. The company's leadership will be managed collaboratively by a team comprised of senior npm executives.

  • What does upstream and downstream development even mean?

    If you've ever dealt with (in any shape or form) open source software, chances are pretty good you've heard the terms upstream and downstream. These terms are actually more important to open source development than you might think. But what do they even mean? I'm going to explain it to you.

  • Being open about open source

    IMS MAXIMS broke new ground in 2014 when it made the code for its big hospital IT systems open source.

  • Sharing Is Caring, Says Firm That Made Its Tech Open-Source

    Usually when law firms develop legal technology, either it’s to make a profit or it’s free to further the firm’s branding as a legal expert in the platform’s practice area. But Travers Smith bucked that trend when it announced last week that it was releasing its email management system MatMail as open-source software.

  • Inspur Open-Sources TF2, a Full-Stack FPGA-Based Deep Learning Inference Engine

    Inspur has announced the open-source release of TF2, an FPGA-based efficient AI computing framework. The inference engine of this framework employs the world's first DNN shift computing technology, combined with a number of the latest optimization techniques, to achieve FPGA-based high-performance low-latency deployment of universal deep learning models. T

  • Developer pulls critical code from tech company after ICE contract revealed

    On Thursday, software engineer Seth Vargo pulled his open source “Chef Sugar” project from Github, as well as the Ruby package library, RubyGems. Vargo made the decision to pull the code, which had millions of downloads, after learning that Chef, a company that provides an “automation platform” for infrastructure management, had a software contract with ICE.

  • Microsoft poses threat to Germany's digital sovereignty, warns study

    Germany's ministry of the interior asked management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, to produce a "Strategic market analysis on reducing dependence on single software providers". In the 34-page document released yesterday, researchers conclude that "at all levels" the German government is "strongly dependent" on very few software providers. And that is particularly true for Microsoft, whose Office and Windows programs are running on 96% of public officials' computers. This dependence results in "pressure points in the federal government, that work in opposition to the government's [stated] strategic IT goals," the report notes. Concerns about information security at Microsoft could "endanger the country's digital sovereignty".

  • Chef roasted for tech contract with family-separating US immigration, forks up attempt to quash protest

    DevOps darling Chef had a nightmare Thursday after it emerged the software biz had inked a deal with US immigration, which sparked protest and a baffling counter-response. Here's how it went down. Earlier this week, Chef, an app configuration specialist, was publicly called out for selling $95,000 (£75,000) of licenses to Uncle Sam's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the controversial agency best known for its recent hits I Separated Asylum-Seeking Families At The Border and What's A Concentration Camp. The one-year software supply deal, brokered by a reseller, kicked off in August. Open-source programmer and DevOps guru Seth Vargo, deeply unhappy with this arrangement, yanked offline some of his Ruby Gems – software packages for Ruby devs – that made Ruby-based Chef a lot easier to use. In particular, he took down the popular and useful Chef-Sugar, which over the years has racked up more than 20 million downloads.

  • Thwarting Digital Ad Fraud at Scale: An Open Source Experiment with Anomaly Detection

    To achieve the requisite capabilities while keeping the experimental solution cost-effective for practical usage, our test system used an architecture comprised of open source Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra, and our Anomaly Detection application. Beyond the performance, scalability, and affordably Kafka and Cassandra provide, both Open-source data technologies also offer a particularly high degree of compatibility and pair well together.

  • A Developer Deletes His Code to Protest Its Use by ICE

    Computer server management software is usually pretty boring. But when that software is sold to a federal agency that separates families and detains children, even esoteric technology can become the center of controversy. On Monday, activist Shanley Kane highlighted a contract between Seattle-based software company Chef and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Chef develops and sells open source software for configuring servers and cites Alaska Airlines, Google, Facebook, and Capital One as customers. The ICE contract created a minor stir on Twitter, but by Thursday morning, Chef hadn’t made a public statement about the controversy. Discouraged by the company’s silence, former Chef employee Seth Vargo removed several Chef-related open source tools that he had hosted on two code repositories. They included Sugar, a tool designed to make it easier to work with Chef’s software that’s widely used by Chef customers, though it’s not clear if ICE uses it. "I have removed my code from the Chef ecosystem," Vargo wrote on the code hosting site GitHub. "I have a moral and ethical obligation to prevent my source [code] from being used for evil."

  • Open-source control system alternatives

    Though the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) continues to receive the lions share of coverage as defining “the” open system, it is, in fact, not the only approach or option for the application of open technologies for the control domain. OPAF is somewhat constrained on how open they can be because they have backwards compatibility as a starting point, which to some extent limits them to using traditional and “less open” (consortia-sponsored) protocols such as OPC, FieldComm, Profibus, etc. to ensure compatibility and vendor support. They’re also working on how to convert all their existing applications and IP to the new virtual environment. [...] Building on the latent momentum for small, low-cost microcontrollers, Hilscher has introduced its Industrial Raspberry Pi 3 using Node-Red as the development/integration environment and Docker containers to design and connect with the rest of the world. Node-RED is a Java-script programming tool for connecting hardware devices, APIs and online services by providing a browser-based flow editor that makes it easy to virtually “wire” together flows that can be then deployed to the runtime in a single click.