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Dell Shipped Linux On 162 Unique Platforms In Fiscal Year 2019

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GNU
Linux

Despite having shipped Linux on client systems since 1999, Dell has made waves in the developer and consumer space more recently with Project Sputnik, a now 6-year-old initiative that aimed to create a premium Linux PC that "just works" right out of the box using Ubuntu. That device, as most of you probably know, is the XPS 13.

However, over FY2019 Dell shipped Linux across 162 platforms, including various models of Precision Workstations, Latitude, Optiplex, Inspiron, Vostro and XPS lines. While Dell primarily ships with Ubuntu pre-installed, they also support a couple different China-specific distributions, and they certify machines like its Precision Mobile Workstation for Red Hat. (Dell simply chooses not to pre-install RHEL only because most customers will buy an enterprise license and then install it independently.)

If this hits you as somewhat of a surprise, you're not alone! Even Project Sputnik lead Barton George was taken aback by this statistic, and understands that people following Dell's movements don't necessarily have visibility into what's happening beyond Sputnik.

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Preparing for Y2038 (Already?!)

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Linux

It somehow doesn't seem that long ago, but nineteen years ago during Y2K I spent my New Year's Eve in the Akamai Network Operations center, waiting to respond to anything that might go awry as the clock struck midnight in key time zones such as Greenwich and Boston. As of January 9, 2019, we are roughly half-way from Y2K to "Y2038", the next large time epoch roll-over event. In 2038 on January 19th the "Unix Epoch Time" will exceed the size of a signed 32-bit integer "time_t" value (231-1), or roughly 2.1 billion seconds since the epoch of 00:00:00 on January 1, 1970. We have somewhat more time to deal with the systems that will break nineteen years from now. However, as we get closer there will be increasing impacts on software working with future dates.

Shortly after Y2K we made jokes about "next up, Y2038!" but back then it felt an eternity in the future and likely to be someone else's problem. Now that we're halfway there, and we have already reached the point where Y2038 issues can cause software failures, it is a good opportunity to start planning for Y2038. For example, software may already be having issues working with 20-year certificate lifetimes or 20-year mortgages, and the frequency of these issues will only increase as we get closer to Y2038. At Akamai we are already running strategically-targeted internal planning and testing for Y2038, and it seems likely that the scope of this work will continue to grow over the next 19 years as this important effort increases in urgency.

Very little went wrong on January 1, 2000 for us (short of some Javascript on an Akamai marketing site displaying "1900" as the current date!), but one thing that gets missed is that the limited global impact that evening was due to two factors: 1) the amount of advanced preparation that was done; 2) many "Y2K problems" actually occurred years in advance rather than during the roll-over itself. Leap seconds are in some ways scarier than date-format issues in that they are harder to test for and much less of the impact happens in advance. There is a risk that the lack of impacts of Y2K may cause organizations and technologists to under-prepare for Y2038. It is also harder to explain "Y2038" to lay people than Y2K, potentially making it harder to prioritize and focus advanced work. The large number of embedded Internet of Things (IoT) devices becoming ubiquitous in our environment also makes the likely risk and potential impact considerably higher for Y2038 than it was for Y2K.

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ZFS in Linux and BSD

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Linux
BSD
  • ZFS On Linux Runs Into A Snag With Linux 5.0

    While the Linux 5.0 kernel has a lot of enticing features and improvements, if you rely upon ZFS On Linux (ZOL) you will probably want to hold off on trying the Linux 5.0 release candidates at this time.

    ZFS On Linux currently fails to build against the Linux 5.0 kernel sources. This isn't due to a trivial API change but rather the 5.0 kernel is no longer exporting the __kernel_fpu_begin and __kernel_fpu_end symbols, which the ZOL kernel module relies upon as part of the file-system's checksums.

    There isn't a simple solution for this immediately, especially one that doesn't involve using GPL symbols, due to license compatibility issues with the out-of-tree ZOL kernel code. But surely with time and new code a solution can come about as it doesn't look like the upstream kernel developers are interested in any maneuvering to help out ZOL specifically (or rarely out-of-tree modules for that matter).

  • [Older] The future of ZFS in FreeBSD

    The sources for FreeBSD's ZFS support are currently taken directly from Illumos with local ifdefs to support the peculiarities of FreeBSD where the Solaris Portability Layer (SPL) shims fall short. FreeBSD has regularly pulled changes from Illumos and tried to push back any bug fixes and new features done in the context of FreeBSD. In the past few years the vast majority of new development in ZFS has taken place in DelphixOS and zfsonlinux (ZoL). Earlier this year Delphix announced that they will be moving to ZoL
    [...]

  • FOSS Clothing | BSD Now 280

    A EULA in FOSS clothing, NetBSD with more LLVM support, Thoughts on FreeBSD 12.0, FreeBSD Performance against Windows and Linux on Xeon, Microsoft shipping NetBSD, and more.

Hyundai Joins AGL and Other Automotive News from CES

Filed under
Linux
OSS

This week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has been even more dominated by automotive news than last year, with scores of announcements of new in-vehicle development platforms, automotive 5G services, self-driving concept cars, automotive cockpit UIs, assisted driving systems, and a host of electric vehicles. We’ve also seen numerous systems that provide Google Assistant or Alexa-driven in-vehicle interfaces such as Anker’s Google Assistant based Roav Bolt.

Here we take a brief look at some of the major development-focused CES automotive announcements to date. The mostly Linux-focused developments range from Hyundai joining the Automotive Grade Linux project to major self-driving or assisted ADAS platforms from Baidu, Intel, and Nvidia.

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Linux Foundation's AGL, ACT (Copyleft Compliance) and Upcoming Copyleft Conf (Conservancy)

Filed under
Linux
OSS
Legal
  • Toyota Motors and its Linux Journey

    I spoke with Brian R Lyons of TMNA Toyota Motor Corp North America about the implementation of Linux in Toyota and Lexus infotainment systems. I came to find out there is an Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) being used by several autmobile manufacturers.

    I put together a short article comprising of my discussion with Brian about Toyota and its tryst with Linux. I hope that Linux enthusiasts will like this quick little chat.

    All Toyota vehicles and Lexus vehicles are going to use Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) majorly for the infotainment system. This is instrumental in Toyota Motor Corp because as per Mr. Lyons “As a technology leader, Toyota realized that adopting open source development methodology is the best way to keep up with the rapid pace of new technologies”.

  • Simplifying and Harmonizing Open Source for More Efficient Compliance

    Using open source code comes with a responsibility to comply with the terms of that code’s license, which can sometimes be challenging for users and organizations to manage. The goal of ACT is to consolidate investment in and increase interoperability and usability of, open source compliance tooling, which helps organizations manage compliance obligations.

    Software widely includes an assortment of open source code with multiple licenses and a mix of proprietary code. Sorting and managing all these can be a major hassle, but the alternative is potential legal action and damaged relations with the open source community.

    The projects in ACT are poised to boost existing Linux Foundation compliance projects like OpenChain, which identifies recommended processes and make open source license compliance simpler and consistent, and the Open Compliance Program, which educates and helps developers and companies understand their license requirements. ACT provides tooling to help support efficient workflows.

  • Copyleft Conf: Registration is Open

    Conservancy is very excited to share the schedule for the first ever Copyleft Conf with you! Copyleft Conf is a one day event, taking place in downtown Brussels at Digityser. Registration begins at 9:30am and we'll be finishing by 6pm. We'll have talks, a panel and participatory discussions near the end of the day.

    Participants from throughout the copyleft world — developers, strategists, enforcement organizations, scholars and critics — will be welcomed for an in-depth, high bandwidth, and expert-level discussion about the day-to-day details of using copyleft licensing, obstacles facing copyleft and the future of copyleft as a strategy to advance and defend software freedom for users and developers around the world.

Understanding Debian GNU/Linux Releases

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GNU
Linux
Debian

The universe of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution comes with its own odds and ends. In this article we explain what a release of Debian is, how it is named, and what are the basic criteria for a software package to become part of a regular release.

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DD-WRT vs. Tomato vs. OpenWrt: Which Router Firmware Is the Best?

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GNU
Linux

Choosing a custom firmware for your router can be daunting. There are several options that you’ll hear recommended all over the Internet, and the documentation on the actual process of installing the firmware tends to be sparse. Throw in the terms and acronyms that get tossed around, and before long you’re happy to stick with your router’s stock firmware.

It doesn’t need to be that difficult. Each of the three major open-source firmwares – DD-WRT, Tomato, and OpenWRT – has its own strengths and weaknesses that make it ideal for one situation or another. You’ll need to consider which features you need for your network and whether your router is even supported by the firmware. Those should be the most important factors you take into account when choosing.

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Non-Child Process Exit Notification Support

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Development
Linux

Daniel Colascione submitted some code to support processes knowing when others have terminated. Normally a process can tell when its own child processes have ended, but not unrelated processes, or at least not trivially. Daniel's patch created a new file in the /proc directory entry for each process—a file called "exithand" that is readable by any other process. If the target process is still running, attempts to read() its exithand file will simply block, forcing the querying process to wait. When the target process ends, the read() operation will complete, and the querying process will thereby know that the target process has ended.

It may not be immediately obvious why such a thing would be useful. After all, non-child processes are by definition unrelated. Why would the kernel want to support them keeping tabs on each other?

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How We Designed the Librem 5 Dev Kit with 100% Free Software

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

Today we’re going to cover the journey of designing the Librem 5 Developer Kit and how we used 100% Free Software in its development.

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Baidu's Linux-Powered Car Technology

Filed under
Linux
OSS
  • Chinese tech giant Baidu is making a play for the next big thing after cloud computing

    Baidu has just announced China's first open source edge computing platform - reflecting the country's growing open source community.

    Baidu, a cloud company and search giant sometimes known as the "Google of China," unveiled OpenEdge at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday.

    "Edge computing is becoming more commonplace due to the rise of IoT devices," Zun Wang, a Baidu spokesperson, told Business Insider. "It brings different kinds of compute power, especially for AI processing, to the edges of your network, allowing close proximity of your data source with the cloud."

    Edge computing means that the processing power is shifted away from the cloud and towards the "edge" — which is to say closer to the users who are using it. For example, edge devices might be gadgets people use each day, such as PCs, smartphones and tablets, or Internet of Things gadgetry like wearables and smart home appliances.

  • Baidu Cloud launches its open-source edge computing platform

    At CES, the Chinese tech giant Baidu today announced OpenEdge, its open-source edge computing platform. At its core, OpenEdge is the local package component of Baidu’s existing Intelligent Edge (BIE) commercial offering and obviously plays well with that service’s components for managing edge nodes and apps.

    Because this is obviously a developer announcement, I’m not sure why Baidu decided to use CES as the venue for this release, but there can be no doubt that China’s major tech firms have become quite comfortable with open source. Companies like Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and others are often members of the Linux Foundation and its growing stable of projects, for example, and virtually ever major open-source organization now looks to China as its growth market. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re also now seeing a wider range of Chinese companies that open source their own projects.

  • China's Baidu will help deliver Walmart groceries in self-driving vans

    China's leading search engine will soon be helping make deliveries for Walmart, bringing it into direct competition with Google's driverless technology.

    California startup Udelv announced Tuesday that it will deploy self-driving vans using Baidu's technology in Surprise, Arizona, as part of a pilot program to deliver fresh groceries for Walmart (WMT).
    Udelv has developed a fleet of autonomous delivery vans on Baidu's (BIDU) open-source autonomous driving platform, Apollo.

  • Baidu's driverless tech to power Walmart delivery: CES 2019

    Chinese search engine giant Baidu will soon see its driverless technology used in Arizona for the likes of Walmart, in the latest example of Chinese technology finding its way into the U.S. market, despite ongoing trade tensions between the two countries.

    Udelv, a California-based autonomous delivery startup, announced that it had built a self-driving operation system using Baidu's open-source Apollo platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Later this year, the company will start serving Walmart and other retail giants with delivery vans powered by the technology.

  • Baidu announces Apollo 3.5 and Apollo Enterprise, says it has over 130 partners

    Beijing tech giant Baidu is ramping up its self-driving car initiative. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, it announced Apollo 3.5, the latest version of its Apollo open source driverless car platform, and took the wraps off of Apollo Enterprise, which it described as a suite of “customizable autonomous driving … solutions” for vehicle fleets. It also recommitted to launching a self-driving taxi service in Changsha, China later this year.

  • Baidu announces Apollo Enterprise, its new platform for mass-produced autonomous vehicles

    Baidu made several big announcements about Apollo, its open-source autonomous vehicle technology platform, today at CES. The first is the launch of Apollo Enterprise for vehicles that will be put into mass production. The company claims that Apollo is already used by 130 partners around the world. One of its newest partners, Chinese electric vehicle startup WM Motors, plans to deploy level 3 autonomous vehicles by 2021.

    Apollo Enterprise’s main product lines will include solutions for highway autonomous driving; autonomous valet parking; fully autonomous mini-buses; an intelligent map data service platform; and DuerOS (Baidu’s voice assistant) for cars.

  • Baidu goes open source with Openedge analytics platform and Apollo driverless stack

    Baidu unveiled an open source “OpenEdge” edge computing platform and an open Linux-based “Apollo 3.5” autonomous car stack. OpenEdge dev boards include an Intel-based BIE-AI-Box in-car visual analytics board and NXP-based BIE-AI-Board for IoT.

    Baidu, which is often referred to as the Google of China, has announced an open source, AI-infused OpenEdge edge computing platform with development boards based on Intel and NXP SoCs. The news follows Baidu’s announcement earlier this week that it was releasing version 3.5 of its open source Linux-based Apollo self-driving software stack, as well as a new Apollo Enterprise platform based on it designed for vehicle fleet management (see farther below). The open source platforms were announced at this week’s CES show in Las Vegas.

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Zombie Panic! Source, Dicey Dungeon, NVIDIA RTX, Steam Play, Battle Motion, Ravva and the Cyclops Curse, Feudal Alloy

  • The Beta of Zombie Panic! Source was updated recently, should work better on Linux
    Zombie Panic! Source is currently going through an overhaul, as part of this it's coming to Linux with a version now in beta and the latest update should make it a better experience. [...] I personally haven't been able to make any of the events yet, so I have no real thoughts on the game. Once it's out of beta and all servers are updated, I will be taking a proper look as it looks fun. No idea when this version will leave beta, might be a while yet.
  • Dicey Dungeons, the new unique roguelike from Terry Cavanagh and co introduces quests
    We have a lot of roguelikes available on Linux (seriously, we do) yet Dicey Dungeons from Terry Cavanagh, Marlowe Dobbe, and Chipzel still remains fresh due to the rather unique game mechanics. I still can't get over how fun the dice mechanic is, as you slot dice into cards to perform actions. It's different, clever and works really well.
  • Quake 2 now has real-time path tracing with Vulkan
    If you have one of the more recent NVIDIA RTX graphics cards, here's an interesting project for you to try. Q2VKPT from developer Christoph Schied implements some really quite advanced techniques.
  • Steam Play versus Linux Version, a little performance comparison and more thoughts
    Now that Steam has the ability officially to override a Linux game and run it through Steam Play instead, let's take a quick look at some differences in performance. Before I begin, let's make something clear. I absolutely value the effort developers put into Linux games, I do think cross-platform development is incredibly important so we don't end up with more lock-in. However, let's be realistic for a moment. Technology moves on and it's not financially worth it to keep updating old games, they just don't sell as well as newer games (with exceptions of course). As the years go on, there will be more ways to run older games better and better, of that I've no doubt.
  • Battle Motion, a really silly massive fantasy battle game will have Linux support
    Sometimes when looking around for new games I come across something that really catches my eye, Battle Motion is one such game as it looks completely silly.
  • Ravva and the Cyclops Curse looks like a rather nice NES-inspired platformer
    Another lovely looking retro-inspired platformer! Ravva and the Cyclops Curse from developer Galope just released this week with Linux support.
  • Become a fish inside a robot in Feudal Alloy, out now with Linux support
    We've seen plenty of robots and we've seen a fair amount of fish, but have you seen a fish controlling a robot with a sword? Say hello to Feudal Alloy.

Addressing Icons Themes (Again)

I wrote some time ago on how platforms have a responsibility to respect the identity of applications, but now there’s some rumblings that Ubuntu’s community-built Yaru icon set (which is a derivative of the Suru icon set I maintain) intends to ignore this and infringe upon applications’ brands by modifying their icons... [...] For instance, the entire point of the GNOME icon refresh initiative is to address visual mismatches between third-party app icons and GNOME icons and we been have reaching out to developers to see about updating their icons to new design—this is the appropriate approach for a platform visual overhaul, by the way—which could always use more help on. Now I don’t see this ever happening, but I have hopes that someday Ubuntu will fully embrace GNOME and promote it as its desktop solution—especially given the desktop is out of the scope of the Ubuntu business these days. Read more

Wine 4.0 RC7

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 4.0-rc7 is now available.The Wine development release 4.0-rc7 is now available.
  • Juicy like the good stuff, Wine 4.0 RC7 is out with a delightful aroma
    No need to worry about a sour aftertaste here, we're of course talking about the wonderful software and not the tasty liquid. As usual, they're in bug-fix mode while they attempt to make the best version of Wine they can and so no super huge features made it in.
  • Wine 4.0-RC7 Released With Fixes For Video Player Crashes, Game Performance Issues
    Wine 4.0 should be officially out soon, but this weekend the latest test release of it is Release Candidate 7 that brings more than one dozen fixes. Wine 4.0 remains in a feature freeze until its release, which will likely be within the next two weeks or so. Since last Friday's Wine 4.0-RC6, the RC7 release has 13 known bug fixes. Catching our interest are some game performance regressions being resolved, including for Hot Pursuit, Project CARS, Gas Guzzlers, and others. There are also video player crash fixes when opening audio or video files.

Wikipedia cofounder: How and why I transitioned to Linux—how you can, too

My first introduction to the command line was in the 80s when I first started learning about computers and, like many geeky kids of the time, wrote my first BASIC computer programs. But it wasn’t until my job starting Nupedia (and then Wikipedia) that I spent much time on the Bash command line. (Let me explain. “Bash” means “Bourne-again shell,” a rewrite of the class Unix shell “sh.” A “shell” is a program for interacting with the computer by processing terse commands to do basic stuff like find and manipulate files; a terminal, or terminal emulator, is a program that runs a shell. The terminal is what shows you that command line, where you type your commands like “move this file there” and “download that file from this web address” and “inject this virus into that database”. The default terminal used by Linux Ubuntu, for example, is called Gnome Terminal–which runs Bash, the standard Linux shell.) Even then (and in the following years when I got into programming again), I didn’t learn much beyond things like cd (switch directory) and ls (list directory contents). It was then, around 2002, that I first decided to install Linux. Back then, maybe the biggest “distro” (flavor of Linux) was Red Hat Linux, so that’s what I installed. I remember making a partition (dividing the hard disk into parts, basically) and dual-booting (installing and making it possible to use both) Linux and Windows. It was OK, but it was also rather clunky and much rougher and much less user-friendly than the Windows of the day. So I didn’t use it much. Read more