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Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob

    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation.

    The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.

  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs

    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2.

    NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.

  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

More Benchmarks Of The Performance Pullback In Linux 4.20

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Last night I published some benchmarks after finding Linux 4.20 is regressing in several workloads compared to Linux 4.18/4.19 and at least was affecting Intel Core i9 "HEDT" boxes. Here are more affected workloads regressing on Linux 4.20 and it's not just limited to high-end hardware.

This morning I decided to check in on my automated bi-daily kernel benchmarks on LinuxBenchmarking.com. It's all automated and thus don't necessarily have the time to look at the data too often (even though PTS' LinuxBenchmarking.com does also provide email notifications when auto-detecting possible regressions), but in looking back at the archived data it too captured a significant performance pullback on multiple systems on Linux 4.20.

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Microsoft's Vista 10 Disaster Returns, Privacy Violations, and Moving to GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • If at first or second you don't succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update

    The 1809 build of Windows 10 and Windows Server is fast becoming infamous. Microsoft pulled it shortly after release when it started deleting people's files, and stumbling in other ways. Redmond reissued the software on Tuesday, and today it's clear you shouldn't rush into deploying it, if installing it at all, in its present state.

  • Microsoft Just Crammed Ads Into Windows 10 Mail. When Will They Stop? [Ed: With Vista 10 the users are the product. The spies from Microsoft spy on them (sometimes illegally, but these people are above the law) and their real clients are advertisers.]

    Whether it’s pre-installing Candy Crush Saga, showing full-screen ads on your lock screen, or displaying banner ads in File Explorer, Microsoft has been shoehorning ads into every inch of Windows 10. The Mail app is getting them next.

    Update: Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw, just backpedaled on Twitter. He said “this is an experimental feature that was never intended to be tested broadly and is being turned off.” As Mehedi Hassan notes over at Thurrott, this is a strange claim because Microsoft has a detailed support page explaining these advertisements.

  • Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

    Microsoft broke Euro privacy rules by carrying out the "large scale and covert" gathering of private data through its Office apps.

    That's according to a report out this month [PDF] that was commissioned by the Dutch government into how information handled by 300,000 of its workers was processed by Microsoft's Office ProPlus suite. This software is installed on PCs and connects to Office 365 servers.

    The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That's a no-no.

    Those actions break Europe's new GDPR privacy safeguards, it is claimed, and may put Microsoft on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines. The Dutch authorities are working with the corporation to fix the situation, and are using the threat of a fine as a stick to make it happen.

  • How old were you when you first started using Linux?

    Whether you switched from another operating system, or are one of the lucky few who knew no OS before it, all of us were beginners at some point.

    How old were you when you started using Linux? Do you remember that time clearly, or is it so far in the past that it's but a faint memory?

    Regardless of the answer, let us know when it was, and maybe, a bit about what that experience has meant to you.

5 Easy Tips for Linux Web Browser Security

Filed under
Linux
Security
Web

If you use your Linux desktop and never open a web browser, you are a special kind of user. For most of us, however, a web browser has become one of the most-used digital tools on the planet. We work, we play, we get news, we interact, we bank… the number of things we do via a web browser far exceeds what we do in local applications. Because of that, we need to be cognizant of how we work with web browsers, and do so with a nod to security. Why? Because there will always be nefarious sites and people, attempting to steal information. Considering the sensitive nature of the information we send through our web browsers, it should be obvious why security is of utmost importance.

So, what is a user to do? In this article, I’ll offer a few basic tips, for users of all sorts, to help decrease the chances that your data will end up in the hands of the wrong people. I will be demonstrating on the Firefox web browser, but many of these tips cross the application threshold and can be applied to any flavor of web browser.

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Kodak’s new 3D printer has a Raspberry Pi inside

Filed under
Linux

Kodak has launched a Raspberry Pi 3 based Kodak Portrait 3D Printer with a dual-extrusion system, multiple filament types, a 5-inch touchscreen, and WiFi and Ethernet connections to a Kodak 3D Cloud service.

Kodak and Smart Int’l. have collaborated on a professional, dual extrusion Kodak Portrait 3D Printer that runs a Linux-based 3DprinterOS on a Raspberry Pi 3 board. The $3,500 device offers connections to a Kodak 3D Cloud service, and is designed for engineering, design, and education professionals.

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Nix – The Purely Functional Package Manager for Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

Nix is a powerful, purely functional package management system designed for reliable and reproducible package management, released under the terms of the GNU LGPLv2.1. It is the primary package management system in NixOS, a lesser known Linux distribution.

Nix offers atomic upgrades and rollbacks, multiple versions of package installation, multi-user package management and effortless setup of build environments for a package, regardless of what programming languages and tools a developer is using.

Under Nix, packages are built from a functional package language called “Nix expressions”. This functional approach to package management guarantees that installing or upgrading one package cannot break other packages.

Nix also has multi-user support, which implies that normal (or non-privileged) system users can securely install packages and each user is identified by a profile (a collection of packages in the Nix store that appear in the user’s PATH).

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Devices: Adding Linux to A PDP-11, Adding GNU/Linux Software to Chrome OS, and Adding Ubuntu to Android

Filed under
Android
Linux
Google
  • Adding Linux To A PDP-11

    The UNIBUS architecture for DEC’s PDPs and Vaxxen was a stroke of genius. If you wanted more memory in your minicomputer, just add another card. Need a drive? Plug it into the backplane. Of course, with all those weird cards, these old UNIBUS PDPs are hard to keep running. The UniBone is the solution to this problem. It puts Linux on a UNIBUS bridge, allowing this card to serve as a memory emulator, a test console, a disk emulator, or any other hardware you can think of.

    The key to this build is the BeagleBone, everyone’s second-favorite single board computer that has one feature the other one doesn’t: PRUs, or a programmable real-time unit, that allows you to blink a lot of pins very, very fast. We’ve seen the BeagleBone be used as Linux in a terminal, as the rest of the computer for an old PDP-10 front panel and as the front end for a PDP-11/03.

  • Chrome OS Linux apps will soon be able to access your entire Downloads folder and Google Drive

    Google is working hard to turn Chrome OS into more than just a browser, but a real, functional operating system for consumers of all kinds. Most recently, they’ve invited developers to the platform with Linux app support that enables all of their tools, including Android Studio, to work as expected. Soon, your Chrome OS and Google Drive files will be even more accessible to your Linux apps.

    [...]

    According to a new commit on the Chromium Gerrit, that’s all about to change. The commit primarily pertains to a new dialog that will be shown when sharing ‘root’ folders like My Drive or Downloads with your Chrome OS Linux apps (internally known as Crostini) container. The dialog is intended to forewarn you that sharing a root folder is a bit more serious than just sharing a sub-folder, and to be sure you know what you’re doing.

  • Samsung Note 9 and Tab S4 owners can run a full Ubuntu Desktop – Linux on Dex

    We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display.

    Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.

Congatec shows off Qseven and SMARC modules with new i.MX8X

Filed under
Linux

Congatec announced two industrial, Linux-ready modules equipped with NXP’s dual- or quad-A35 i.MX8X SoC: the Conga-QMX8X (Qseven) with optional PoE and the Conga-SMX8X (SMARC 2.0) with optional WiFi.

When either Variscite or Congatec announces a computer-on-module based on a new processor, the other company typically follows suit shortly thereafter. After Variscite announced its NXP i.MX8X-based VAR-SOM-MX8X module on Nov. 13, Congatec followed up with a pair of i.MX8X Qseven and SMARC 2.0 modules: the Conga-QMX8X and Conga-SMX8X. None of these COMs have announced ship dates (or prices), so it’s unclear which will arrive first, or whether they’ll be beaten to market by the phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, announced back in March.

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Linux Foundation: Uber Joins the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member, CNCF Survey and Cloudera

Filed under
Linux
OSS
  • Uber Joins the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member

    Uber has been an active and committed member of the open source community, leveraging, contributing, and developing open source solutions across our tech stack since launching our platform nearly 10 years ago. Announced today during Uber Open Summit 2018, we extend our commitment by joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member, continuing to support the open source community through the Linux Foundation.

    [...]

    “Open source technology is the backbone of many of Uber’s core services and as we continue to mature, these solutions will become ever more important,” said Thuan Pham, Uber CTO. “The Linux Foundation not only provides homes to many significant open source projects, but also creates an open environment for companies like Uber to work together on developing these technologies. We are honored to join the Linux Foundation to foster greater collaboration with the open source community.”

  • CNCF Survey: Cloud Usage in Asia Has Grown 135% Since March 2018 [Ed: They just call every server "cloud" because they call themselves "cloud"]

    The bi-annual CNCF survey takes a pulse of the community to better understand the adoption of cloud native technologies. This is the second time CNCF has conducted its cloud native survey in Mandarin to better gauge how Asian companies are adopting open source and cloud native technologies. The previous Mandarin survey was conducted in March 2018. This post also makes comparisons to the most recent North American / European version of this survey from August 2018.

  • AI in the Real World

    We are living in the future – it is just unevenly distributed with “an outstanding amount of hype and this anthropomorphization of what [AI] technology can actually provide for us,” observed Hilary Mason, general manager for machine learning at Cloudera, who led a keynote on “AI in the Real World: Today and Tomorrow,” at the recent Open FinTech Forum.

    [...]

    As progress is made in the development of AI, machine learning and deep learning, there are still things we need to keep in mind, Mason said. “One of the biggest topics in our field right now is how we incorporate ethics, how we comply with expectations of privacy in the practice of data science.”
    She gave a plug to a short, free ebook called “Data Driven: Creating a Data Culture,” that she co-authored with DJ Patil, who worked as chief data scientist for President Barack Obama. Their goal, she said, is “to try and get folks who are practicing out in the world of machine learning and data science to think about their tools [and] for them to practice ethics in the context of their work.”
    Mason ended her presentation on an optimistic note, observing that “AI will find its way into many fundamental processes of the businesses that we all run. So when I say, ‘Let’s make it boring,’ I actually think that’s what makes it more exciting.’”

Linux 4.20 Showing Some Performance Slowdowns

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Being well past the Linux 4.20 merge window I have moved onto benchmarking more of this development version of the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, there are some clear performance regressions.

This week I got to firing off some Linux 4.20 kernel benchmarks... I started with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and Intel Core i9 7980XE for being the interesting HEDT CPUs in my possession at the moment. On the 7980XE I spotted several performance regressions with this Linux 4.20 development kernel compared to Linux 4.19 and 4.18, so then I fired up the completely separate Intel Core i9 7960X box to carry out the same tests. Sure enough, with that different hardware, there is further confirmation of slowdowns with Linux 4.20.

The common trait of these systems was Ubuntu 18.10 x86_64 and using the Linux 4.18.18, 4.19.1, and 4.20 Git kernel packages provided by the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. With the differing hardware the intention is not to compare the performance between the systems but in looking at the direction of the Linux kernel performance.

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Ubuntu Mir's EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

Ubuntu's little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment. Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is "highly experimental, and can crash the desktop." This support is available via the "edge" EGMDE Snap. Read more

Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob
    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation. The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.
  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs
    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2. NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.
  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Net Neutrality Stance, Mozilla, a VR Work, Firefox Monitor and 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity

  • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality
    Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online. The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone. Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.
  • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!
    Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.
  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support
    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.
  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019
    Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task. Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.

Graphics: Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack, Mesa 18.3.0 RC, ROCm 1.9.2 and Firefox on Wayland

  • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590
    While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn't yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn't what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement. [...] Long story short, it looks like at least one initialization issue is blocking the Radeon RX 590 Linux support. Hopefully the workaround ends up being trivial enough that it can be quickly back-ported to existing stable Linux kernel series. Once the Radeon RX 590 is running well on Linux, I'll be through with a ton of benchmarks that I have already been working on this week with other graphics cards using the newest Linux driver stacks. This situation is sadly reminiscent of the Raven Ridge launch earlier this year where the open-source driver team was working on support for months in advance, but the production hardware/BIOS ended up varying a lot from their hardware bring-up that is was very shaky support at launch. The Raven Ridge support improved a lot on Linux since launch, but even to this day some hardware still seems to be problematic both of hardware in my labs as well as reports by users. Hopefully it won't take nearly as long for the RX 590 support to be in shape.
  • mesa 18.3.0-rc3
    The third release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.
  • Mesa 18.3-RC3 Released With RADV Fixes, Drops Zen L3 Thread Pinning
    Mesa release manager Emil Velikov has announced the latest weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 18.3. Mesa 18.3 has a number of Meson build system updates, several RADV driver corrections, a few NIR updates, fixes video API support for Raven 2 APUs, and back-ports the change to drop the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning functionality.
  • Radeon ROCm 1.9.2 Released - Brings SDMA/RDMA Support For Vega 20, HIP/HCC Improvements
    While we know ROCm 2.0 is coming out before year's end and that will have many improvements like complete OpenCL 2.0 support, ROCm 1.9.2 is out today as the latest stable release for this Radeon Open Compute stack. ROCm 1.9.2 brings some notable changes for just being a point release ahead of the big ROCm 2.0 milestone. Vega 20 remains one of the big areas for AMD's driver/software developers for what will begin shipping next year as the Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 accelerators.
  • Mozilla Now Ships Firefox Nightly Builds With Wayland Enabled
    After what feels like an eternity in waiting years for Mozilla to ship their Firefox web-browser with native Wayland support enabled, their latest Firefox Nightly builds have achieved this milestone. There have been Wayland patches for Firefox going back years but the Wayland support hasn't been enabled in the official Firefox binaries up until now. Starting yesterday, the Mozilla.org Firefox Nightly packages have Wayland support built-in and when launching Firefox if GDK_BACKEND=wayland is set, should now work with native Wayland rather than XWayland.