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DRM and Games

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming
  • Right-to-repair advocates say hospitals need new rules to keep equipment working

    The PIRG report surveyed 222 biomedical professionals, many of whom work at hospitals. Nearly half said they’d been denied access to necessary repair parts and information during the pandemic. And nearly all said that removing restrictions on repairs was “critical” or “very important” to their work.

    According to the survey, manufacturers frequently restrict third-party repairs. Around 92 percent of the respondents said they’d been denied service information about equipment like ventilators and defibrillators, with around half of those people saying it happened “somewhat frequently.” Around 89 percent said manufacturers had refused to sell spare parts.

  • Sony Takes Minority Stake in Epic Games with $250 Million Investment

    Sony has made a $250 million investment to acquire a minority stake in Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine used increasingly in Hollywood production.

  • Sony Invests $250 Million in Unreal Engine Maker Epic Games

    The PlayStation maker and Fortnite proprietor didn’t disclose the new value of the games company. Bloomberg News first reported last month that Epic was close to securing funding at a valuation of about $17 billion.

    The Unreal Engine is used to create many popular game franchises, such as Borderlands and Gears of War, along with Epic’s own Fortnite. The fifth iteration, Unreal Engine 5, made its debut this summer and was demonstrated on PlayStation 5 hardware, signaling the close collaboration between Epic and Sony.

  • [Old] Sony's DRM Rootkit: The Real Story

    On Oct. 31, Mark Russinovich broke the story in his blog: Sony BMG Music Entertainment distributed a copy-protection scheme with music CDs that secretly installed a rootkit on computers. This software tool is run without your knowledge or consent -- if it's loaded on your computer with a CD, a hacker can gain and maintain access to your system and you wouldn't know it.

    The Sony code modifies Windows so you can't tell it's there, a process called "cloaking" in the hacker world. It acts as spyware, surreptitiously sending information about you to Sony. And it can't be removed; trying to get rid of it damages Windows.

  • Half-Life: Alyx - Final Hours details lots of cancelled Valve projects

    Here's one for serious Valve enthusiasts and people wanting to get juice details on their cancelled projects, and everything that led up to Half-Life: Alyx.

    Half-Life: Alyx - Final Hours is an interactive storybook, written by Geoff Keighley, that takes fans inside Valve Software to chronicle the company’s past decade of game development, including the return of Half-Life. There's so much detail in there it's crazy, it's also pretty amazing to learn it all with this new Valve Software that doesn't seem to mind talking a bit more. If you're curious, that does include a cancelled Half-Life 3. Yes, it really actually was a thing (as if there was any doubt) but it along with a lot more didn't make the cut.

  •        

  • More progress on Easy Anti-Cheat in Wine / Proton coming

    With the current in-progress community development effort to get Easy Anti-Cheat working in the Wine / Proton compatibility layers, they continually hit new milestones.

    Starting off getting one game to progress at low performance back in late June, they shared another big update recently. Going by what they said on Twitter it appears multiple titles have become playable on Linux including: Apex Legends, For Honor, Paladins, Cuisine Royale, Halo: The Master Chief Collection (single-player already works fine though), Rust and Dead By Daylight.

This Ubuntu-Based Linux OS Looks Shockingly Similar To Windows 10

Filed under
OS
Linux
Ubuntu

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I can confidently say that an Ubuntu-based Linux OS called “WindowsFx” really admires the appearance of Microsoft’s Windows 10. In fact, this distribution goes to such painstakingly detailed lengths to emulate the look and feel of Windows 10, I’m surprised Microsoft hasn’t called in the army of lawyers to shut it down. But is WindowsFx a comfortable gateway into Linux for Windows users, or merely an Ubuntu clone with a clever Windows skin?

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How to Upgrade to Linux Mint 20 from Linux Mint 19.3

Filed under
Linux

If you are running Linux Mint 19.3 "Tara", here are the steps you need to perform to upgrade to the latest Linux Mint 20.
Read more

Linux and Linux Foundation: Rust, Windows, SystemD and More

Filed under
Linux
  • Linux Developers May Discuss Allowing Rust Code Within The Kernel

    A Google engineer is looking to discuss at this year's Linux Plumbers Conference the possibility of allowing in-tree Rust language support.

    Nick Desaulniers of Google, who is known for his work on LLVM Clang'ing the Linux kernel and related efforts, is wanting to bring up the matter of in-tree Rust support for the kernel. The extent though of allowing Rust within the kernel isn't clear yet but would likely be very limited.

  • Emulating Windows system calls in Linux

    The idea of handling system calls differently depending on the origin of each call in the process's address space is not entirely new. OpenBSD, for example, disallows system calls entirely if they are not made from the system's C library as a security-enhancing mechanism. At the end of May, Gabriel Krisman Bertazi proposed a similar mechanism for Linux, but the objective was not security at all; instead, he is working to make Windows games run better under Wine. That involves detecting and emulating Windows system calls; this can be done through origin-based filtering, but that may not be the solution that is merged in the end.
    To run with any speed at all, Wine must run Windows code directly on the CPU to the greatest extent possible. That must end, though, once the Windows program makes a system call; trapping into the Linux kernel with the intent of making a Windows system call is highly unlikely to lead to good results. Traditionally, Wine has handled this by supplying its own version of the user-space Windows API that implemented the required functionality using Linux system calls. As explained in the patch posting, though, Windows applications are increasingly executing system calls directly rather than going through the API; that makes Wine unable to intercept them.

    The good news is that Linux provides the ability to intercept system calls in the form of seccomp(). The bad news is that this mechanism, as found in current kernels, is not suited to the task of intercepting only system calls made from Windows code running within a larger process. Intercepting every system call would slow things down considerably, an effect that tends to make gamers particularly cranky. Tracking which parts of a process's address space make Linux system calls and which make Windows calls within the (classic) BPF programs used by seccomp() would be awkward at best and, once again, would be slow. So it seems that a new mechanism is called for.

    The patch set adds a new memory-protection bit for mmap() called PROT_NOSYSCALL which, by default, does not change the kernel's behavior. If, however, a given process has turned on the new SECCOMP_MODE_MMAP mode in seccomp(), any system calls made from memory regions marked with PROT_NOSYSCALL will be trapped; the handler code can then emulate the attempted system call.

  • systemd 246-RC1 Released

    With this being the first systemd release since March, there is a lot in store for the v246 milestone. There are many systemd 246 features including new unit settings, the service manager has support for the cgroup v2 freezer, the CPU affinity setting now supports a NUMA value, systemd.hostname= can be used for setting the hostname from the kernel command line during early boot, hardware database updates, systemd-journald now supports Zstd compression, numerous networkd additions, systemd-cryptsetup now supports activating Microsoft BitLocker volumes during boot, systemd-homed improvements, the new systemd-xdg-autostart-generator, and much more. Just yesterday was one of the latest additions of exposing host OS information to containers.

  • Intel Gen12/Xe Graphics Have AV1 Accelerated Decode - Linux Support Lands

    On top of Intel Gen12/Xe Graphics bringing other media engine improvements and much better 3D graphics support, another exciting element of the next-generation Intel graphics is now confirmed: GPU-accelerated AV1 video decoding!

    There has been talk of Gen12/Xe supporting AV1 at least on the decode side but a lack of hard information to date. But landing this week in Intel's Media Driver for Linux is indeed AV1 decode wired up for Gen12. This is nice to see happen and a bit of a surprise as so far the Intel Media Driver support matrix has lacked any references to AV1.

  • Four years of Zephyr

    The Zephyr project is an effort to provide an open-source realtime operating system (RTOS) that is designed to bridge the gap between full-featured operating systems like Linux and bare-metal development environments. It's been over four years since Zephyr was publicly announced and discussed here (apparently to a bit of puzzlement). In this article, we give an update on the project and its community as of its v2.3.0 release in June 2020; we also make some guesses about its near future.

    The authors are both Zephyr developers working for Nordic Semiconductor; Cufí was the release manager for the v2.3.0 release.

    [...]

    The Zephyr kernel supports multiple architectures and scheduling algorithms. There are cooperative and preemptive threads, along with facilities for reducing interrupt latencies and guaranteeing the execution of key threads. An optional user mode can use the Memory Protection Units (MPUs) typically present in microcontrollers to isolate and sandbox threads or groups of threads from one another and the kernel.

    Zephyr supports six major architectures (x86, Arm, ARC, NIOS II, Xtensa, and RISC-V) and also runs in emulation. Both 32- and 64-bit processor support exists for some architectures. Within the Arm architecture, the emphasis has been on the usual 32-bit Cortex-M cores, but experimental support for Cortex-R and Cortex-A (including 64-bit Cortex-A) exists and continues to improve. Beyond "real hardware," Zephyr runs on QEMU, and as an ELF executable. It supports a simulated radio, which can save time and expense when testing and debugging radio frequency (RF) issues. In all, there are upstream support files for over 200 "boards".

    Zephyr has logging and shell subsystems. These have configurable transports, including traditional serial ports (for both) and over the network (for logging). Logging is optionally asynchronous; in this case, a separate thread actually sends log messages. The logging calls themselves post compact messages to a queue, which can be done quickly, so logging can be done even from within interrupt context.

    Hardware-specific APIs are built around a lightweight device driver model that is tightly integrated with the kernel. It supports a wide range of peripherals and sensors under this common model. Multiple storage options are available. These range from basic key-value storage optimized for NOR flash to filesystems.

Why Windows Power Users Break Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

As more people come to Linux, those of us who help the Windows refugees make the switch will need to be very patient with them. The more someone knows about Windows, the more likely it is that they will break Linux. Handing them a Linux laptop and saying, “Here ya go…” is not enough if they are going to succeed. You’re going to have to hold their hand for a while and telling them to “RTFM” will just drive them back to Windows. Understanding why they struggle as much as they do will help you to help them avoid some of the common pitfalls.

I specialize in helping people get started with Linux. I’ve helped hundreds of people over the last few years and I can pretty much spot the ones who are going to do well and those who are going to be frustrated. If a client approaches me and they start the conversation with “I’ve been using Windows for 20 years…” I know it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The pattern is always the same: I walk them through an install and all is well for about two weeks and then I get a frustrated message from them about how Linux is stupid and doesn’t work. I know without asking that they’ve broken something major or borked up the whole system. I usually can fix the problem and make a good lesson out of it for them. I have gone so far as to walk them through a second installation from scratch. If the system is totally hosed, that’s the best way to go. Give them a clean slate to work with and hope they learned something.

On the other hand, if a client tells me that they know nothing about computers but they need one to get things done like writing documents, spreadsheets, web surfing and email then they usually have zero issues. I get them setup and I don’t hear from them again. I usually contact then after a month or two and they invariably tell me everything is working perfectly. I got a call from a gentleman I hadn’t heard from in a year and a half recently. He said everything was working nicely but he wanted some advice about upgrading his Linux Mint from 17.3 to 18.1 and could I help him get it right. No problem. Wonderful to hear that all is well!

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Audiocasts/Shows: Ubuntu Podcast, BSD Now and Bad Voltage

Filed under
GNU
Linux
BSD
Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E16 – Owls

    This week we’ve been re-installing Ubuntu 20.04. Following WWDC, we discuss Linux Desktop aspirations, bring you some command line love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

    It’s Season 13 Episode 16 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

  • BSD Now 358: OpenBSD Kubernetes Clusters

    Yubikey-agent on FreeBSD, Managing Kubernetes clusters from OpenBSD, History of FreeBSD part 1, Running Jitsi-Meet in a FreeBSD Jail, Command Line Bug Hunting in FreeBSD, Game of Github, Wireguard official merged into OpenBSD, and more

  • Bad Voltage 3×08: Petrichoronavirus

Here’s How to Upgrade from Linux Mint 19.3 to Linux Mint 20

Filed under
Linux

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your Linux Mint 19.3 computers to Linux Mint 20, the wait is finally over. The Linux Mint project announced today that it’s now possible to upgrade Linux Mint 19.3 installations to Linux Mint 20, but only 64-bit versions.

As you probably know already, Linux Mint 20 is a 64-bit only system. Linux Mint 19.3 was the last release to offer support for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. Therefore, you’ll only be able to upgrade 64-bit Linux Mint 19.3 systems using the following instructions.

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The 10 Best Scanning Tools for Linux System in 2020

Filed under
Linux

If you are looking for a scanning tool for Linux, then you are in the right place. From the very beginning of digitalization, scanning tools have served us in many ways. If you want to store your paper documents or photos digitally, there is no alternative to scanning tools. Although you get a default scanning tool with the scanner driver, that is not polished to work flawlessly. Besides, these default scanning tools don’t always get the best support from the manufacturers for the Linux platform. This is why you need to look for the scanning tools for your Linux system.

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Rockchip PX30 based in-vehicle system supports OBD-II telematics and ADAS

Filed under
Android
Linux

Arbor’s 8-inch “IOT-800N” automotive telematics panel PC for ADAS and fleet management runs Android 8.1 or Linux on a quad -A35 Rockchip PX30 and offers CAN/OBD-II, 4G, GPS, WiFi/BT, NFC, and an 8MP camera.

Arbor announced a Rockchip PX30-based telematics computer with an 8-inch touchscreen for Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and fleet management that is aimed primarily aimed at improving safety in buses. The IOT-800N plugs into a vehicle’s OBD-II protocol telematics computer via a CAN interface to support ADAS applications such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, and collision avoidance. It can also enable driving monitoring such as fatigue and driving behavior detection.

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Stable Kernels: 5.7.8, 5.4.51, 4.19.132, 4.14.188, 4.9.230, and 4.4.230

Filed under
Linux
  • Linux 5.7.8

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.7.8 kernel.

    All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...

  • Linux 5.4.51
  • Linux 4.19.132
  • Linux 4.14.188
  • Linux 4.9.230
  • Linux 4.4.230
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More in Tux Machines

NanoPi NEO3 Headless SBC Launched for $20 and up

Last month, we found out FriendlyELEC was working on NanoPi NEO3, a tiny SBC powered by Rockchip RK3328 processor and made for headless applications and networked storage thanks to Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports, as well as a 26-pin GPIO header. At the time, the board was still been finalized, but the company has now started to take orders for $20 and up depending on options which include a cute white enclosure... [...] The Wiki has been updated as well, and the company provides both Ubuntu Core 18.04 based FriendlyCore, and OpenWrt based FriendlyWrt operating systems for the board with both relying on Linux 5.4.12 kernel. I’d also expect Armbian to eventually provide Ubuntu 20.04 and Debian 10 images. Read more

Moving (parts of) the Cling REPL in Clang

Motivation
===

Over the last decade we have developed an interactive, interpretative 
C++ (aka REPL) as part of the high-energy physics (HEP) data analysis 
project -- ROOT [1-2]. We invested a significant  effort to replace the 
CINT C++ interpreter with a newly implemented REPL based on llvm -- 
cling [3]. The cling infrastructure is a core component of the data 
analysis framework of ROOT and runs in production for approximately 5 
years.

Cling is also  a standalone tool, which has a growing community outside 
of our field. Cling’s user community includes users in finance, biology 
and in a few companies with proprietary software. For example, there is 
a xeus-cling jupyter kernel [4]. One of the major challenges we face to 
foster that community is  our cling-related patches in llvm and clang 
forks. The benefits of using the LLVM community standards for code 
reviews, release cycles and integration has been mentioned a number of 
times by our "external" users.

Last year we were awarded an NSF grant to improve cling's sustainability 
and make it a standalone tool. We thank the LLVM Foundation Board for 
supporting us with a non-binding letter of collaboration which was 
essential for getting this grant.


Background
===

Cling is a C++ interpreter built on top of clang and llvm. In a 
nutshell, it uses clang's incremental compilation facilities to process 
code chunk-by-chunk by assuming an ever-growing translation unit [5]. 
Then code is lowered into llvm IR and run by the llvm jit. Cling has 
implemented some language "extensions" such as execution statements on 
the global scope and error recovery. Cling is in the core of HEP -- it 
is heavily used during data analysis of exabytes of particle physics 
data coming from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other particle 
physics experiments.


Plans
===

The project foresees three main directions -- move parts of cling 
upstream along with the clang and llvm features that enable them; extend 
and generalize the language interoperability layer around cling; and 
extend and generalize the OpenCL/CUDA support in cling. We are at the 
early stages of the project and this email intends to be an RFC for the 
first part -- upstreaming parts of cling. Please do share your thoughts 
on the rest, too.


Moving Parts of Cling Upstream
---

Over the years we have slowly moved some patches upstream. However we 
still have around 100 patches in the clang fork. Most of them are in the 
context of extending the incremental compilation support for clang. The 
incremental compilation poses some challenges in the clang 
infrastructure. For example, we need to tune CodeGen to work with 
multiple llvm::Module instances, and finalize per each 
end-of-translation unit (we have multiple of them). Other changes 
include small adjustments in the FileManager's caching mechanism, and 
bug fixes in the SourceManager (code which can be reached mostly from 
within our setup). One conclusion we can draw from our research is that 
the clang infrastructure fits amazingly well to something which was not 
its main use case. The grand total of our diffs against clang-9 is: `62 
files changed, 1294 insertions(+), 231 deletions(-)`. Cling is currently 
being upgraded from llvm-5 to llvm-9.

A major weakness of cling's infrastructure is that it does not work with 
the clang Action infrastructure due to the lack of an 
IncrementalAction.  A possible way forward would be to implement a 
clang::IncrementalAction as a starting point. This way we should be able 
to reduce the amount of setup necessary to use the incremental 
infrastructure in clang. However, this will be a bit of a testing 
challenge -- cling lives downstream and some of the new code may be 
impossible to pick straight away and use. Building a mainline example 
tool such as clang-repl which gives us a way to test that incremental 
case or repurpose the already existing clang-interpreter may  be able to 
address the issue. The major risk of the task is avoiding code in the 
clang mainline which is untested by its HEP production environment.
There are several other types of patches to the ROOT fork of Clang, 
including ones  in the context of performance,towards  C++ modules 
support (D41416), and storage (does not have a patch yet but has an open 
projects entry and somebody working on it). These patches can be 
considered in parallel independently on the rest.

Extend and Generalize the Language Interoperability Layer Around Cling
---

HEP has extensive experience with on-demand python interoperability 
using cppyy[6], which is built around the type information provided by 
cling. Unlike tools with custom parsers such as swig and sip and tools 
built on top of C-APIs such as boost.python and pybind11, cling can 
provide information about memory management patterns (eg refcounting) 
and instantiate templates on the fly.We feel that functionality may not 
be of general interest to the llvm community but we will prepare another 
RFC and send it here later on to gather feedback.


Extend and Generalize the OpenCL/CUDA Support in Cling
---

Cling can incrementally compile CUDA code [7-8] allowing easier set up 
and enabling some interesting use cases. There are a number of planned 
improvements including talking to HIP [9] and SYCL to support more 
hardware architectures.



The primary focus of our work is to upstreaming functionality required 
to build an incremental compiler and rework cling build against vanilla 
clang and llvm. The last two points are to give the scope of the work 
which we will be doing the next 2-3 years. We will send here RFCs for 
both of them to trigger technical discussion if there is interest in 
pursuing this direction.


Collaboration
===

Open source development nowadays relies on reviewers. LLVM is no 
different and we will probably disturb a good number of people in the 
community ;)We would like to invite anybody interested in joining our 
incremental C++ activities to our open every second week calls. 
Announcements will be done via google group: compiler-research-announce 
(https://groups.google.com/g/compiler-research-announce).



Many thanks!


David & Vassil

Read more Also: Cling C++ Interpreter Looking To Upstream More Code Into LLVM

This week in KDE: New features galore!

Tons and tons of awesome new features and UI polish landed this week, alongside an equally weighty ton of important bugfixes. Read more

Elive 3.8.14 beta released

The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 3.8.14 This new version includes: Kernel updated to 5.6.14 retrowave special theme themes, designs, icons improvements and more customizations included bootup with a much more friendly graphical menu, it now remembers your last selected OS, all the options are in the same menu instead of submenus, disabled useless recovery options, improved resolution, fixed wallpaper issue on encrypted installations SWAP space is much more performant now, feedbacks welcome Read more