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Compact, Linux-driven edge server supports Nvidia T4 GPUs

Filed under
Linux

Atos’ suitcase-sized “BullSequana Edge” server runs Linux on a 6th Gen Xeon-D and supports AI edge processing via optional Nvidia T4 GPUs and FPGAs. Other specs include SATA, USB 3.0, GbE, and optional 10GbE, WiFi, 3G/4G, and LoRa.

Establishing our scope of coverage on the low end is pretty easy — aside from the occasional new Arduino board, we tend to limit our coverage to embedded devices that run Linux. Yet, on the high end, where Linux runs on just about everything and edge computing is the latest craze, it’s increasingly difficult to draw lines between servers and high-end embedded gear. Size matters in this delineation, which is one reason why we’re covering Atos’ suitcase-sized, Linux-driven BullSequana Edge.

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Crazy Compiler Optimizations

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux

Kernel development is always strange. Andrea Parri recently posted a patch to change the order of memory reads during multithreaded operation, such that if one read depended upon the next, the second could not actually occur before the first.

The problem with this was that the bug never could actually occur, and the fix made the kernel's behavior less intuitive for developers. Peter Zijlstra, in particular, voted nay to this patch, saying it was impossible to construct a physical system capable of triggering the bug in question.

And although Andrea agreed with this, he still felt the bug was worth fixing, if only for its theoretical value. Andrea figured, a bug is a bug is a bug, and they should be fixed. But Peter objected to having the kernel do extra work to handle conditions that could never arise. He said, "what I do object to is a model that's weaker than any possible sane hardware."

Will Deacon sided with Peter on this point, saying that the underlying hardware behaved a certain way, and the kernel's current behavior mirrored that way. He remarked, "the majority of developers are writing code with the underlying hardware in mind and so allowing behaviours in the memory model which are counter to how a real machine operates is likely to make things more confusing, rather than simplifying them!"

Still, there were some developers who supported Andrea's patch. Alan Stern, in particular, felt that it made sense to fix bugs when they were found, but that it also made sense to include a comment in the code, explaining the default behavior and the rationale behind the fix, even while acknowledging the bug never could be triggered.

But, Andrea wasn't interested in forcing his patch through the outstretched hands of objecting developers. He was happy enough to back down, having made his point.

It was actually Paul McKenney, who had initially favored Andrea's patch and had considered sending it up to Linus Torvalds for inclusion in the kernel, who identified some of the deeper and more disturbing issues surrounding this whole debate. Apparently, it cuts to the core of the way kernel code is actually compiled into machine language.

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Linux Foundation Statement on Huawei Entity List Ruling

Filed under
Linux
Security

Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling.[1] While statements in the Executive Order prompting the listing used language granting a broader scope of authority, the Huawei Entity List ruling was specifically scoped to activities and transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulation (EAR).
Open source encryption software source code was reclassified by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) effective September 20, 2016 as “publicly available” and no longer “subject to the EAR.”[2] Each open source project is still required to send a notice of the URL to BIS and NSA to satisfy the “publicly available” notice requirement in the EAR at 15 CFR § 742.15( b ).

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Huawei Linux Laptop Driver Improvements On The Way

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Linux

Huawei laptops have already worked well on Linux like the MateBook while further improvements are forthcoming, as is commonly the case for x86 laptops with various quirks and other non-standard support bits. A patch was sent out today for improving the Linux kernel's existing Huawei laptop driver and extending it from being just a WMI hot-keys driver to now being a platform driver with extra functionality.

The added functionality to this Huawei-WMI Linux driver includes controlling the mic/mute LED, controlling battery charging thresholds, adjusting the Fn-lock state, and related functionality.

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Also: Huawei laptop extras driver

Kernel: Wayland, NVIDIA and Linux Development (LWN)

Filed under
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.

Some Difficulty That Are Often Experienced By New Linux Users

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GNU
Linux

On a Linux Users forum, I asked about the difficulties experienced by users. Apparently, I got many interesting and varied answers. Here are some of the difficulty that Linux users feel based on the opinions of people in the forum.

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Amp Up Your Linux Music Library With DeaDBeeF

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

There are a ton of great music players for Linux, and most of them have a pretty strong following. What makes DeaDBeeF stand out? In a word, it’s customization. DeaDBeeF is as close to a DIY music player as you’re going to get without making the jump to the command line.

DeaDBeeF lets you customize the entire layout of your music player, how your library is arranged, and which information is displayed when you play a song. Plus, it’s highly extensible, and there are plenty of excellent plugins that open up even more options for how you can customize and control your listening experience.

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Bringing the Benefits of Linux Containers to Operational Technology

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Linux
Security

Linux container technology was introduced more than a decade ago and has recently jumped in adoption in IT environments. However, the OT (operational technology) environments, typically made up of heterogenous embedded systems, have lagged in the adoption of container technologies, due to both the unique technology requirements and the business models that relied on proprietary systems. In this article, I explore recent innovation in open-source offerings that are enabling the use of containers in OT use cases, such as industrial control systems, IoT gateways, medical devices, Radio Access Network (RAN) products and network appliances.

Enterprise IT leaders have adopted “cloud-native” computing architectures because of the innovation velocity and cost benefits derived by the approach. To leverage containers, developers segment applications into modular micro-services that enable flexible development and deployment models. These micro-services are then deployed as containers where the service itself is integrated with the required libraries and functions. On containerization, these application components have small footprints and fast speeds of deployment. The applications become highly portable across compute architectures due to the abstraction away from the hardware and the operating system.

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Open-spec Omega2 LTE SBC features Cat 4 and GNSS

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Linux

Onion’s $99, sandwich-style Omega2 LTE SBC for remote sensor applications with a MIPS-based, WiFi-enabled Omega2S+ compute module, a Quectel EC25 chipset with LTE Cat 4 and GNSS, plus USB Type-C, microSD, and battery support.

Last December, Onion updated its MIPS-based, WiFi-enabled Omega2 board with a similarly OpenWrt-driven Omega2 Pro SBC that increased RAM to 512MB and flash to 8GB and added real-world USB host and micro-USB ports. Now, the company has returned to Crowd Supply with a similarly open source, OpenWrt Linux driven Omega2 LTE model with 4G LTE and GNSS location connectivity. Pricing ranges from $99 for the board alone to $199 for a fully loaded “Ultimate Collection” kit, all with early August shipments.

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Stable kernels 5.1.4, 5.0.18, 4.19.45, 4.14.121 , and 4.9.178

Filed under
Linux
  • Linux 5.1.4

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.1.4 kernel.

    All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.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 5.0.18
  • Linux 4.19.45
  • Linux 4.14.121
  • Linux 4.9.178
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More in Tux Machines

Running Deep Learning Models On Intel Hardware? It's Time To Consider A Different OS

Firstly, Intel has done extensive work to make the Xeon family of processors highly optimized for AI. The Intel Xeon Scalable processors outsmart GPUs in accelerating the training on large datasets. Intel is telling its customers that they don’t need expensive GPUs until they meet a threshold. Most of the deep learning training can be effectively done on CPUs that cost a fraction of their GPU counterparts. Beyond the marketing messages and claims, Intel went onto prove that their deep learning stack performs better than NVIDIA GPU-based stack. Recently, Intel published a benchmark to show its leadership in deep learning. Intel Xeon Scalable processers trained a deep learning network with 7878 images per second on ResNet-50 outperforming 7844 images per second on NVIDIA Tesla V100. Intel’s performance optimization doesn’t come just from its CPUs. It is delivered by a purpose-built software stack that is highly optimized at various levels. From the operating system to the TensorFlow framework, Intel has tweaked multiple layers of software to deliver unmatched performance. To ease the process of running this end-to-end stack, Intel has turned to one of its open source projects called Clear Linux OS. Clear Linux project was started as a purpose-built, container-optimized, and lightweight operating system. It was started with the premise that the OS running a container doesn’t need to perform all the functions of a traditional OS. Container Linux, the OS developed by CoreOS (now a part of Red Hat) followed the same philosophy. Within a short span, Clear Linux gained popularity among open source developers. Intel kept improving the OS, making it relevant to run modern workloads such as machine learning training jobs, AI inferencing, analytics and edge computing. Read more Also: Intel Core i9 9900KS Allowing 5.0GHz All-Core, Icelake News Coming This Week

Games: Pathfinder: Kingmaker, MidBoss, CorsixTH, Railway Empire and Unbound: Worlds Apart

  • The RPG 'Pathfinder: Kingmaker' is getting a free Enhanced Edition update next month + new DLC
    Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the party-based RPG from Owlcat Games and Deep Silver is going to expand with a free Enhanced Edition and another DLC. They say it's going to include plenty of "gameplay-enriching content additions" along with the usual quality of life improvements to existing features, new abilities and ways to build your character, a new Slayer class, new items and weapons, improved balance especially in the beginning and last two chapters, an improved kingdom management system, an increased variety to the random encounters on the map and so on.
  • MidBoss, the unique body-snatching roguelike turns 2 with a big sale and future plans details
    MidBoss is a game we've covered here numerous times, mainly due to how unique it is. You take down enemies, take their body and it's pretty amusing. The developer, Kitsune Games, has supported Linux rather nicely and now that MidBoss is over two years old they've decided to put it on a big sale. Not just that, they've also announced a fancy sounding DLC that's coming along with a free update for everyone. The DLC will have brand new pixel-art for all of the monsters, which will include idle animations for them too so the DLC should make the game look a lot more interesting. Also being added in the DLC is a "randomizer mode", to make repeated runs in the game vastly different.
  • FOSS game engine 'CorsixTH' for Theme Hospital update 0.63 is out
    The first major release for the FOSS game engine in some time, CorsixTH 0.63 is out following the recent release candidate build. CorsixTH might not be "finished" but it's incredibly playable and does provide a better experience (mostly) over running the original Theme Hospital.
  • Railway Empire has another update and it's off to France in the latest DLC out now
    There appears to be no stopping this train, Railway Empire continues to see plenty of post-release support and extra optional content. Firstly, the latest "Community Update" is out taking feedback from (you guessed it) the community of players. They've introduced modding support to DLC scenarios, increased the total number of trains and stations you can have, new tooltips, you can skip the current music track using the new "P" hotkey, the train list will actually show problems employees have, new train list filtering options, train speed reduced if they're missing supplies and lots of other nice quality of life updates.
  • A Linux version of the mind-bending multi-dimensional 'Unbound: Worlds Apart' will come at release
    Unbound: Worlds Apart from Alien Pixel Studios is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, this hand-crafted puzzler looks like it could melt my mind with the portal system.

Linux 5.2-rc2

Hey, what's to say? Fairly normal rc2, no real highlights - I think most of the diff is the SPDX updates. Who am I kidding? The highlight of the week was clearly Finland winning the ice hockey world championships. So once you sober up from the celebration, go test, Linus Read more Also: Linux 5.2-rc2 Kernel Released As The "Golden Lions"

Audiocasts/Shows: Linux Action News, Linux Gaming News Punch, Open Source Security Podcast and GNU World Order