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System76 Preparing To Roll Out Their First Coreboot-Enabled Laptop

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

System76 has been making good strides on their Coreboot support for their hardware and they are now readying a System76 Darter Pro OSFC Edition as their apparent first laptop to ship with Coreboot in place of the proprietary BIOS.

Ahead of this year's Open-Source Firmware Conference (OSFC) being held from 3 to 6 September at the Google and Facebook offices in Mountain View, System76 announced the Darter Pro OSFC Edition that ships with Coreboot. Those pre-ordering the device are able to pick up their new laptops during the event, so it appears at least for this initial run of enabled devices they are just weeks out from becoming a reality.

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Also: Linux Laptop Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying

Awesome Linux Racing Games Collection

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gaming

Linux is fun and more fun when there are car racing games available for Linux based operating systems. In this post, we thought to collect the list of best Linux racing games for you.

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Star Labs Linux Laptop Review — A Premium Ultrabook for Open Source Admirers

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

We’ve previously covered System76 and their Linux loving laptops. But there are several other brands around that put Linux first. Star Labs is one of them and they’ve provided a demo unit of their Labtop (yes, Labtop). A premium laptop with fairly boastful specs.

[...]

Powering this understated device is no modest hardware, either. The Core-i7 8550u gives you four cores with eight threads running at 1.8 GHz and boosting to a whopping 4.0 GHz to chew through your workload with relative ease. The 8GB of DDR4 RAM isn’t bad, but a 16GB option would be nice given the increasing demands of modern software. Underpinning all of that computing power is also a beast of an NVMe SSD capable of 3200MB/s read speeds and 2200MB/s write speeds. Of course, none of this really matters without the context of pricing. The Labtop comes in at a very fair $850USD (before any applicable surcharges). That’s significantly better than the $720USD I paid for my Asus Zenbook that came with an Intel Core-M CPU and SATA SSD, both far less performant (keeping in mind that it is now about four years old).

As I mentioned before, I had no brand awareness of Star Labs before embarking on this review. So, my very first impressions were gathered from the product packaging. The shipping box seemed very thin, which worried me, but that was dispelled afterward. The product packaging is a stylish black matching the laptop with a silvery metallic depiction of the laptop on each side of the box. It’s a little bit flashy but it compensates with the very clean illustrations. The unboxing experience was fairly standard, however, I was very happy with the general lack of non-recyclable materials. As a proponent of environmentally friendly packaging, I was happy to see that there wasn’t a bunch of styrofoam inside. Despite the minimalistic packaging, I was confident that it would stand-up to shipping. After all, mine shipped all the way from the UK to Canada and it was fine.

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The Best Accessories to Get for Your Raspberry Pi 4

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

If you’ve been interested in the Raspberry Pi but haven’t gotten around to getting one, there has never been a better time. With the release of the Raspberry Pi 4, you get a much more powerful piece of hardware than ever. The new model packs more powerful hardware and can even drive 4K displays at 60Hz.

Of course, unless this isn’t your first Raspberry Pi, you’ll probably need some accessories, too. Like any computer, you’ll want a keyboard and mouse as well as a power supply. Beyond that, there is a lot you can do with the tiny computer, so we’ve put together a list of a few great accessories.

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What has to happen with Unix virtual memory when you have no swap space

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Linux

I'm afraid I have bad news for the people snickering at Linux here; if you're running without swap space, you can probably get any Unix to behave this way under memory pressure. If you can't on your particular Unix, I'd actually say that your Unix is probably not letting you get full use out of your RAM.

To simplify a bit, we can divide pages of user memory up into anonymous pages and file-backed pages. File-backed pages are what they sound like; they come from some specific file on the filesystem that they can be written out to (if they're dirty) or read back in from. Anonymous pages are not backed by a file, so the only place they can be written out to and read back in from is swap space. Anonymous pages mostly come from dynamic memory allocations and from modifying the program's global variables and data; file backed pages come mostly from mapping files into memory with mmap() and also, crucially, from the code and read-only data of the program.

(A file backed page can turn into an anonymous page under some circumstances.)

Under normal circumstances, when you have swap space and your system is under memory pressure a Unix kernel will balance evicting anonymous pages out to swap space and evicting file-backed pages back to their source file. However, when you have no swap space, the kernel cannot evict anonymous pages any more; they're stuck in RAM because there's nowhere else to put them. All the kernel can do to reclaim memory is to evict whatever file-backed pages there are, even if these pages are going to be needed again very soon and will just have to be read back in from the filesystem. If RAM keeps getting allocated for anonymous pages, there is less and less RAM left to hold whatever collection of file-backed pages your system needs to do anything useful and your system will spend more and more time thrashing around reading file-backed pages back in (with your disk LED blinking all of the time). Since one of the sources of file-backed pages is the executable code of all of your programs (and most of the shared libraries they use), it's quite possible to get into a situation where your programs can barely run without taking a page fault for another page of code.

(This frantic eviction of file-backed pages can happen even if you have anonymous pages that are being used only very infrequently and so would normally be immediately pushed out to swap space. With no swap space, anonymous pages are stuck in RAM no matter how infrequently they're touched; the only anonymous pages that can be discarded are ones that have never been written to and so are guaranteed to be all zero.)

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Also: Swap, swap, swap, and bad places to work

Can Swap Space Solve System Performance Issues?

Audiocasts/Shows/Videos: Going Linux, Linux Action News, BeeFree OS MMXX Run Through

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • Going Linux #374 · Snaps, Flatpaks and Appimages

    We've heard a lot about them, but what ARE Snaps, Flatpaks, and AppImages? What do they do for us? Which should we use? 

  • Linux Action News 118

    Ubuntu integrates ZFS even further, NVIDIA starts publishing GPU documentation, and Harmony OS makes its debut.

    Plus why you might actually want to use the new Dex, significant performance gains for a beloved project, and more.

  • BeeFree OS MMXX Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at BeeFree OS MMXX.

New 10" Android PPC-4310 POE Touch Panel PC Brings i.MX8M Technology Support

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Android
Linux
Hardware

Imagine a complete POE touch panel PC solution built around the newest i.MX8M ARM technology. A touch panel computer with wide-ranging Linux and support, including Yocto Embedded, QT, Wayland, and Ubuntu, as well as Android 8.1 and 9 Support. Estone Technology is pleased to announce the 10” PPC-4310 Frameless Panel PC.

The PPC-4310 is one of the first complete POE touch panel solutions constructed around an i.MX8M ARM processor with long lifecycle support. The new i.MX8M processor is optimized for industrial control applications, and guarantees more than 10 years of lifespan support. It has been optimized for industrial HMI and control, but is also equipped and designed to look and function well in commercial and residential applications. This new Estone touch panel PC platform offers many options not seen in other systems, including dual core DSP digital MIC input with noise suppression, and acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) , ready for OEM/ODM customization projects with edge-computing voice interaction supports.

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Samsung DeX missed its chance to make a big splash

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Android
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The Galaxy Note 10 has just broken cover and, just like its predecessors, it has something new for Samsung DeX users. To be fair, the convenience of being able to not just control your phone but access the “DeXtop” from any Windows or Mac computer is a major step forward, but it may have fallen short of what fans of the platform have been expecting or even requesting for a few months now. Samsung DeX definitely has a lot of potential but Samsung may have missed the boat on that one this year.

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Kernel: Linux Mimics Windows in F2FS, AMD Linux Driver Support For "Renoir" APUs

Filed under
Linux
  • F2FS Case-Insensitive Support Is Pending Ahead Of The Linux 5.4 Kernel

    EXT4 set off the new trend for opt-in, per-directory case-insensitive file/folder support on Linux systems. EXT4 picked up that optional case-insensitive support for Linux 5.2 while the for Linux 5.4 kernel cycle the Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) is set to receive similar support.

    Last month we wrote about case-insensitive patches for F2FS that provided case-folding support using Unicode similar to the patches for EXT4. Like EXT4, this feature is opt-in on a per-directory basis. A Google engineer sent out these F2FS patches, which didn't come as a surprise considering the growing use of F2FS on mobile Android devices where for conventional end-users may be handy having case-insensitive support to behave to the likes of FAT32/NTFS on Windows.

  • AMD Sends Out Initial Linux Driver Support For "Renoir" APUs

    AMD is striking well over the past month with their Linux hardware bring-up. In the past month we've seen the Navi 10/12/14 support get in order for Linux as well as support for the future Vega-based Arcturus GPU and now we see the initial enablement patches for their next-generation APUs, Renoir.

    Sent out today was the initial 27 patches amount to around two thousand lines of code (roughly half of which is just header files) for bringing up this next-gen AMD APU.

Stable kernels 5.2.8, 4.19.66, and 4.14.138

Filed under
Linux
  • Linux 5.2.8

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.2.8 kernel.

    All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.2.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 4.19.66
  • Linux 4.14.138
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More in Tux Machines

Programming: CI/CD and 'DevRel'

  • CloudBees and Google Cloud Partner to Accelerate Application Development on Anthos

    Respective leaders in DevOps and cloud computing are partnering to provide end-to-end application development automation from source to production...

  • Codefresh’s More Robust, Open Source Marketplace Makes Coding Easier, Faster, More Secure

    First deployed in December 2018, the Codefresh Marketplace makes it easier for code developers to find commands without having to learn a proprietary API – every step, browsable in the pipeline builder, is a simple Docker image. The Marketplace contains a more robust set of pipeline steps provided both by Codefresh and partners, such as Blue-Green and Canary deployment steps for Kubernetes, Aqua security scanning, and Helm package and deployment. All plugins are open source and users can contribute to the collection by creating a new plugin.

  • Codefresh freshens produce at the Kubernetes code marketplace

    Codefresh is the first Kubernetes-native CI/CD technology, with CI denoting Continuous Integration and CD denoting Continuous Delivery, obviously. The organisation has this month worked to improve its open source marketplace with features that focus on faster code deployment. First deployed in December 2018, the Codefresh Marketplace [kind of like an app store] allows developers to find commands without having to learn a proprietary API — this is because every step, which is browsable in the pipeline builder, is a simple Docker image.

  • DevOps World | Jenkins World: CircleCI orbs, DevOps Institute’s Ambassador Program, and Codefresh Marketplace

    DevOps and Jenkins is on full display this week at CloudBees’ DevOps World | Jenkins World taking place in San Francisco. In addition to the DevOps thought leaders and community members coming together to learn, explore and help shape the next generation of Jenkins and DevOps, a number of organizations took the opportunity to reveal new products. [...] SmartBear revealed TestEngine, a new solution designed to automate test execution in CI/CD environments. In addition, the company announced ReadyAPI 2.8 to accelerate functional, security and load testing of RESTful, SOAP, GraphQL and other web services. The new tools are aimed at accelerating API delivery. Users can now execute ReadyAPI, SoapUI Pro and SoapUI Open Source tests simultaneously on a central source that’s integrated into their development processes. This tackles the challenges that Agile and DevOps teams have such as complex deployments, large regression suites, and global development teams, according to SmartBear in a post.

  • What Is Developer Relations?

    Matthew Broberg, Advocate and Editor at opensource.com says that in practice the implementation of DevRel has been far from consistent. "DevRel, in theory, is the intersection of three disciplines: engineering, marketing, and community management," he says. "In practice, DevRel applies to a wildly popular set of job titles with wildly different expectations across different organizations." [...] Rebecca Fitzhugh, Principal Technologist at Rubrik agrees. "While there is certainly a marketing component when representing the company to the customer and community, it's equally about representing the customer to the company," she says. "Our DevRel team brings feedback from our customers to the product and engineering team in order to drive a better developer experience against our product's APIs."

Network transparency with Wayland: Final report.

The goal of this 2019 Google Summer of Code project is to develop a tool with which to transparently proxy applications that use the Wayland protocol to be displayed by compositors. Unlike the original X protocol, only part of the data needed to display an application is transferred over the application's connection to the compositor; instead, large information transfers are made by sharing file descriptors over the (Unix socket) connection, and updating the resources associated with the file descriptors. Converting this side channel information to something that can be sent over a single data stream is the core of this work. The proxy program I have developed for the project is called Waypipe. It can currently be found at gitlab.freedesktop.org/mstoeckl/waypipe. (I am currently looking for a better stable path at which to place the project; the preceding URL will be updated once this is done.) A few distributions have already packaged the program; see here; alternatively, to build and run the project, follow the instructions in the README and the man page. My work is clearly identified by the commit logs, and amounts to roughly ten thousand lines of C code, and a few hundred of Python. Read more Also: Vulkan 1.1.120 Released As The Newest Maintenance Release

The ClockworkPi GameShell is a super fun DIY spin on portable gaming

Portable consoles are hardly new, and thanks to the Switch, they’re basically the most popular gaming devices in the world. But ClockworkPi’s GameShell is something totally unique, and entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go. This clever DIY console kit provides everything you need to assemble your own pocket gaming machine at home, running Linux-based open-source software and using an open-source hardware design that welcomes future customization. The GameShell is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, which began shipping to its backers last year and is now available to buy either direct from the company or from Amazon. The $159.99 ( on sale for $139.99 as of this writing) includes everything you need to build the console, like the ClockworkPi quad-core Cortex A7 motherboard with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 1GB of DDR3 RAM — but it comes unassembled. Read more

KNOPPIX 8.6.0 Public Release

Version 8.6 basiert auf → Debian/stable (buster), mit einzelnen Paketen aus Debian/testing und unstable (sid) (v.a. Grafiktreiber und aktuelle Productivity-Software) und verwendet → Linux Kernel 5.2.5 sowie Xorg 7.7 (core 1.20.4) zur Unterstützung aktueller Computer-Hardware. Read more English: Knoppix 8.6 new public version is finally out !