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today's leftovers

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  • Laval Virtual: OpenXR master class in VR!

    Collabora's long-standing tradition of presenting talks at conferences took an unexpected turn in the last few months, with numerous events deciding to go virtual for their 2020 editions. Collaborans have been up to the challenge however, presenting online talks at a number of events including foss-north ("FOSS Virtual & Augmented Reality") and Linaro Tech Days ("Wayland and Weston: 8 years of production devices" & "Open Source GPU Drivers BoF").

    In addition to these online conferences, Collaborans also had the opportunity to speak at a event held entirely in VR! Laval Virtual World, which took place at the end of April, brought the concept of "virtual conference" to a new level with over 11,000 attendees from 110 countries taking part in a fully immersive experience! Here's a short highlight reel from the organizers, to give you an idea of what the event was like.

  • XSAVES Supervisor States For Linux 5.8 To Support Future Intel CPU Features

    Queued up this weekend as part of the x86/fpu changes slated for the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle is low-level functionality necessary for supporting other current and future Intel CPU features.

    The XSAVES supervisor states (Save Processor Extended States Supervisor) support is now queued up ahead of the Linux 5.8 kernel. These patches have been on the mailing list for a while and now deemed ready for mainline inclusion after being queued by Borislav Petkov.

  • “Why don’t you just fix [thing] already?”

    The title of this post is a somewhat common gripe among users. Its obvious answer is that resources are limited and people were working on other things.

    Duh! Not very helpful.

    We need to dig deeper and find the implicit question, which is “Why wasn’t [thing that I care about] prioritized over other things?” This is a more accurate and useful question, so we can arrive at a more accurate and useful answer: because other things were deemed either more important or more feasible to fix by the people doing the work.

    Why would other things be deemed more important? For bugs, it’s because they affect everyone and are trivially reproducible. The ones that get overlooked tend to be more esoteric issues that are not easily reproducible, or only affect niche use cases or hardware. Put bluntly, it’s appropriate that such issues are de-prioritized; it should be obvious that issues which affect everyone and are trivially reproducible are more important to fix.

  • OpenBSD Seeing Initial Work Land On Enabling 64-bit POWER

    It's arguably long overdue but OpenBSD is seeing initial work on POWERPC64 enablement landing in its source tree.

    OpenBSD is joining the ranks of other BSDs and Linux distributions in supporting recent 64-bit IBM POWER / OpenPOWER hardware. It's still a journey ahead but as of last week the initial pieces of the architecture enablement were merged.

  • How to install Xtreme Download Manager - XDM on Ubuntu 20.04

    In this video, we are looking at how to install Xtreme Download Manager - XDM on Ubuntu 20.04.

  • 2020-05-18 | Linux Headlines

    openSUSE board elections are still causing friction in its community, Audacity rolls back its 2.4 update, the curl project seeks participation in its annual survey, the bootiso Bash script hits version 4.0, and Sunflower lands its first release in four years.

Tech but not Linux-related

  • Everything you need to know about Night mode in Samsung Internet

    Here’s a quick refresher on SVG images before we dig into this topic: SVG images are XML documents with different shapes (like rectangles, circles, etc.) and paths described as positioned objects with styling applied to them. Unlike a bitmap image, the individual objects the image consists of remains. You can target and e.g. animate or change the color of different parts of an SVG image.

    The same color filtering that is used on bitmap images should have been used for SVG images. That’s what they appear to have done as well. However, they didn’t abandon the idea of the HSL lightness inversion for SVG images. I’ll let these examples of day and night renderings of some SVG images speak for themselves...

  • Russell Coker: A Good Time to Upgrade PCs

    PC hardware just keeps getting cheaper and faster. Now that so many people have been working from home the deficiencies of home PCs are becoming apparent. I’ll give Australian prices and URLs in this post, but I think that similar prices will be available everywhere that people read my blog.

    From MSY (parts list PDF ) [1] 120G SATA SSDs are under $50 each. 120G is more than enough for a basic workstation, so you are looking at $42 or so for fast quiet storage or $84 or so for the same with RAID-1. Being quiet is a significant luxury feature and it’s also useful if you are going to be in video conferences.

    For more serious storage NVMe starts at around $100 per unit, I think that $124 for a 500G Crucial NVMe is the best low end option (paying $95 for a 250G Kingston device doesn’t seem like enough savings to be worth it). So that’s $248 for 500G of very fast RAID-1 storage. There’s a Samsung 2TB NVMe device for $349 which is good if you need more storage, it’s interesting to note that this is significantly cheaper than the Samsung 2TB SSD which costs $455. I wonder if SATA SSD devices will go away in the future, it might end up being SATA for slow/cheap spinning media and M.2 NVMe for solid state storage. The SATA SSD devices are only good for use in older systems that don’t have M.2 sockets on the motherboard.

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Security Leftovers

Kernel: Reiser4 and Generic USB Display Driver

  • Reiser4 Updated For Linux 5.6 Kernel Support

    While the Linux 5.7 kernel is likely being released as stable today, the Reiser4 port to the Linux 5.6 kernel is out this weekend. Edward Shishkin continues working on Reiser4 while also spearheading work on the new Reiser4 file-system iteration of the Reiser file-system legacy. Taking a break from that Reiser5 feature work, Shishkin has updated the out-of-tree Reiser4 patches for Linux 5.6.0 compatibility. This weekend on SourceForge he uploaded the Reiser4 patch for upstream Linux 5.6.0 usage. This is just porting the existing 5.5.5-targeted code to the 5.6 code-base with no mention of any other bug fixes or improvements to Reiser4 in this latest patch.

  • The Generic USB Display Driver Taking Shape For Linux 5.9~5.10

    One of the interesting new happenings in the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver space is a Generic USB Display stack including a USB gadget driver that together allow for some interesting generic USB display setups. This work was motivated by being able to turn a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero into a USB to HDMI display adapter.

Games: Project Cars 2 and Valve/Vulkan

  • Project Cars 2 | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Steam Play

    Project Cars 2 running through Steam Play on Linux. Using my Logitech G29 which also worked as expected.

  • Valve continues to improve Linux Vulkan Shader Pre-Caching

    Recently we wrote about a new feature for Linux in the Steam Client Beta, where Steam can now sort out Vulkan shaders before running a game. With the latest build, it gets better. The idea of it, as a brief reminder, is to prepare all the shaders needed for Vulkan games while you download and / or before you hit Play. This would help to stop constant stuttering seen in some games on Linux, mostly from running Windows games in the Proton compatibility layer, as native / supported Linux games would usually do it themselves. Just another way Valve are trying to get Linux gaming on Steam in all forms into tip-top shape.

  • Steam Ironing Out Shader Pre-Caching For Helping Game Load Times, Stuttering

    Valve developers have been working on Vulkan shader pre-caching with their latest Steam client betas to help in allowing Vulkan/SPIR-V shaders to compile ahead of time, letting them be pre-cached on disk to allow for quicker game load times and any stuttering for games that otherwise would be compiling the shaders on-demand during gameplay, especially under Steam Play.

FreeBSD 11.4-RC2 Now Available

Hash: SHA256

The second RC build of the 11.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

Installation images are available for:

o 11.4-RC2 amd64 GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 i386 GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 powerpc GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 powerpc64 GENERIC64
o 11.4-RC2 sparc64 GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 BANANAPI
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 BEAGLEBONE
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD2
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 RPI-B
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 RPI2
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 WANDBOARD
o 11.4-RC2 aarch64 GENERIC

Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
to change the password for both users after gaining access to the

Installer images and memory stick images are available here:

The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.

If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
system or on the -stable mailing list.

If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
system, use the "releng/11.4" branch.

A summary of changes since 11.4-RC1 includes:

o The wpa_supplicant.conf(5) file has been fixed in bsdinstall(8).

o An update to the leap-seconds file.

o An update to mlx5_core to add new port module event types to decode.

o SCTP fixes.

o LLVM config headers have been fixed to correctly add zlib support.

o The ena(4) driver has been updated to version 2.2.0.

o loader(8) fixes for userboot.

o Fixes for compliance with RFC3168.

o A ps(1) update to permit the '-d' and '-p' flags to be used mutually.

o A knob to flush RSB on context switches if the machine has SMEP has
  been added.

o A fix to Vagrant images requiring the shells/bash port.

A list of changes since 11.3-RELEASE is available in the releng/11.4
release notes:

Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
updated on an ongoing basis as the 11.4-RELEASE cycle progresses.

=== Virtual Machine Disk Images ===

VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
(or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):

The partition layout is:

    ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
    ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
    ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)

The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.

Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:

To boot the VM image, run:

    % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
	-netdev user,id=net0

Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.

=== Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===

FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:

  eu-north-1 region: ami-0e03245dc3ecc5d35
  ap-south-1 region: ami-0100269e4d1a56492
  eu-west-3 region: ami-04d69369363a0d91f
  eu-west-2 region: ami-054fee32718b85ae0
  eu-west-1 region: ami-0b4ed21ce2fcffb67
  ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0ab69ea831245c032
  ap-northeast-1 region: ami-014ed1c7002845dae
  sa-east-1 region: ami-0779883a279143da5
  ca-central-1 region: ami-03526c4e41fbc5c0c
  ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0a1526319c431a535
  ap-southeast-2 region: ami-07b5f0fabb533a3ca
  eu-central-1 region: ami-0538d62ee3be9f769
  us-east-1 region: ami-059d76ab6e6e4063a
  us-east-2 region: ami-0c46e32a6eb527e29
  us-west-1 region: ami-0d46479f45e84d1f2
  us-west-2 region: ami-04d001870b4236742

=== Vagrant Images ===

FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
be installed by running:

    % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-11.4-RC2
    % vagrant up

=== Upgrading ===

The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:

	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 11.4-RC2

During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
performed merging was done correctly.

	# freebsd-update install

The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before

	# shutdown -r now

After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
userland components:

	# freebsd-update install

It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
into the new userland:

	# shutdown -r now

Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
stale files:

	# freebsd-update install
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