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Distros: Draco in Sparky, Fedora Issues and Optional Dependencies in Debian

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • Draco Desktop

    There is a new desktop available for Sparkers: Draco

  • Archiving 26 500 community Q&As from Ask Fedora

    Ask Fedora is the Fedora Linux community’s questions-and-answers portal, and it recently transitioned from a forum software called Askbot to Discourse. Changing the underlying forum software doesn’t have to be destructive but Ask Fedora decided to go with a nuke-and-pave migration strategy: They decided to start from scratch instead of copying user accounts and the user-contributed content to the new software.

    The first time I learned of the migration was a few days after it had happen. I’d run into an issue with my Fedora installation and went online looking for solutions. Every useful search result was from the old Ask Fedora site and every link returned an HTTP 404 Not Found error message as those answers hadn’t been migrated to the new Ask Fedora website.

  • Attention epel6 and epel7 ppc64 users

    If you are a epel6 or epel7 user on the ppc64 platform, I have some sad news for you. If you aren’t feel free to read on for a tale of eol architectures.

    ppc64 (the big endian version of power) was shipped with RHEL6 and RHEL7 and Fedora until Fedora 28. It’s been replaced by the ppc64le (little endian) version in Fedora and RHEL8.

  • Optional dependencies don’t work

    In the i3 projects, we have always tried hard to avoid optional dependencies. There are a number of reasons behind it, and as I have recently encountered some of the downsides of optional dependencies firsthand, I summarized my thoughts in this article.

    [...]

    Software is usually not built by end users, but by packagers, at least when we are talking about Open Source.

    Hence, end users don’t see the knob for the optional dependency, they are just presented with the fait accompli: their version of the software behaves differently than other versions of the same software.

    Depending on the kind of software, this situation can be made obvious to the user: for example, if the optional dependency is needed to print documents, the program can produce an appropriate error message when the user tries to print a document.

    Sometimes, this isn’t possible: when i3 introduced an optional dependency on cairo and pangocairo, the behavior itself (rendering window titles) worked in all configurations, but non-ASCII characters might break depending on whether i3 was compiled with cairo.

    For users, it is frustrating to only discover in conversation that a program has a feature that the user is interested in, but it’s not available on their computer. For support, this situation can be hard to detect, and even harder to resolve to the user’s satisfaction.

Choosing the right model for maintaining and enhancing your IoT project

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Linux

In today's connected embedded device market, driven by the Internet of things (IoT), a large share of devices in development are based on Linux of one form or another. The prevalence of low-cost boards with ready-made Linux distributions is a key driver in this. Acquiring hardware, building your custom code, connecting the devices to other hardware peripherals and the internet as well as device management using commercial cloud providers has never been easier. A developer or development team can quickly prototype a new application and get the devices in the hands of potential users. This is a good thing and results in many interesting new applications, as well as many questionable ones.

When planning a system design for beyond the prototyping phase, things get a little more complex. In this post, we want to consider mechanisms for developing and maintaining your base operating system (OS) image. There are many tools to help with this but we won't be discussing individual tools; of interest here is the underlying model for maintaining and enhancing this image and how it will make your life better or worse.

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ZFS On Linux 0.8 Released With Native Encryption, TRIM, Device Removal

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Linux

The feature-packed and long-desired ZFS On Linux 0.8 release has finally taken place! ZoL 0.8 is out there!

ZFS On Linux 0.8 has debuted today as the newest feature release for this ZFS file-system port for Linux systems. ZFS On Linux 0.8 supports up through the latest Linux 5.1 stable series while still working going back to the Linux 2.6.32 kernel days, but the SIMD support isn't available on stock 5.0+ kernels leading to big performance penalties.

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Compact, Linux-driven edge server supports Nvidia T4 GPUs

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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

Filed under
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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Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • Zombieload, Nextcloud, Peppermint 10, KDE Plasma, IPFire, ArcoLinux, LuneOS | This Week in Linux 67
    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ll check out some Distro News from Peppermint OS, ArcoLinux, LuneOS & IPFire. We got a couple apps to talking about like Nextclou0…d and a new Wallpaper tool that has quite a bit of potential. We’ll take a look at what is to come with the next version of KDE Plasma. Intel users have gotten some more bad news regarding a new security vulnerability. Later in the show, we’ll cover some interesting information regarding a couple governments saving money by switching to Linux. Then finally we’ll check out some Linux Gaming News. All that and much more on your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!
  • Ubuntu Podcast: S12E07 – R-Type
    This week we’ve been installing Lineage on a OnePlus One and not migrating Mastodon accounts to ubuntu.social. We round up the Ubuntu community news from Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Peppermint OS and we discuss some tech news. It’s Season 12 Episode 07 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.
  • OpenGL 4.6 / SPIR-V Support Might Be Inching Closer For Mesa Drivers
    We're quickly approaching the two year anniversary of the OpenGL 4.6 release and it's looking like the Intel/RadeonSI drivers might be inching towards the finish line for that latest major revision of the graphics API.  As we've covered many times, the Mesa drivers have been held up on OpenGL 4.6 support due to their SPIR-V ingestion support mandated by this July 2017 version of the OpenGL specification. While there are the Intel and Radeon RADV Vulkan drivers already with the SPIR-V support that is central to Vulkan, it's taken a long time re-fitting the OpenGL drivers for the likes of ARB_gl_spriv. Then again, there aren't many (actually, any?) major OpenGL games requiring version 4.6 of the specification even with its interoperability benefits thanks to SPIR-V.

Software: Left, Samba, LaTeX, PyRadio and More

  • Left Is A Minimalist, Distraction-Free Text Editor For Writers
    Left is a free and open source distraction-free text editor for Linux, Windows and Mac. The main goal of Left is to get you to focus on writing. It comes with writing essentials like autocomplete, synonym suggestions and writing statistics, but it doesn't support text formatting, and doesn't have all the bells and whistles found in applications like LibreOffice Writer or Microsoft Office Word. This minimalist text editor may not be particularly exciting, and it's not for everyone, but if you're working on a long writing project, a clean interface that allows you to focus exclusively on your work may be for you.
  • Samba 4.10.4 Released With 40 Bug fixes
    The Samba Team announced the availability of Samba 4.10.4. This is the latest stable release of the Samba 4.10 release series. Also, they released a patch against Samba 4.10.3. This release comes with close to 40 bug fixes.
  • 8 Best latex editors for Linux, Windows or MacOS
    LaTeX project is a programming language with which scientific and mathematical texts can be created. The full form of LaTeX here is Lamport TeX. In simple words, it is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting but for special purposes where you need scientific and mathematical texts like scientific formulas for some academic books or PDF… Using packages or libraries, you can extend the scope of functions to create graphics and formulas. Now, what exactly is the LaTex editor? In simple words, the editor that supports LaTeX programming to create documents is called LaTeX editors. Thus, it is not like our normal word editor where we get formatted text in WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) such as OpenOffice, LibreOffice or Microsoft Office. LaTeX is totally opposite uses a command line interface to format text for books or documents need an extensive text system that is intended for books, scientific papers and articles. Particularly in the mathematical-technical area, the system offers itself because of the formulas contained. You can simply install LaTeX on your system and then text can be entered in a simple editor and saved in a source text file, similar to a script. This text is supplemented by LaTeX commands, which, for example, identify chapters, sections, headings, and quotes. In addition, a LaTeX document can be spread over several files, so that each chapter is a separate file. However, there are a good number of best LaTeX backed editors are available for online to download with both open sources as well as a free license for Windows, Linux and MacOS. Thus, here we are with some best open source or free LaTeX editors but before installing them remember they are not simple text editors and to operate them, first, you must get familiar with the LaTeX commands…
  • PyRadio – curses based internet radio player
    On my roadmap is to review all actively maintained internet radio players. To date, I’ve covered odio, Shortwave, and Radiotray-NG. While there’s lots to admire in these projects, I feel that an internet radio player meeting all my requirements is still out there waiting to be discovered. For this review, I’ll run through PyRadio. Unlike the other radio players I’ve covered, PyRadio is curses based software.
  • Insync 3 Beta Available With OneDrive Syncing Support On Linux [Ed: Give all your files to Microsoft (which bribes officials to dump GNU/Linux, puts back doors in everything arrests whistleblowers etc.)]
  • GNOME 3.34's Mutter Gets Important Fix To Avoid Stuttering / Frame Skips
    In addition to GNOME's Mutter compositor / window manager seeing an important fix recently lowering the output lag under X11 so it matches GNOME's Wayland performance, another important Mutter fix also landed. The Mutter/Clutter change to avoid skipping over the next frame to render has landed. This is yet another big deal contribution by Canonical's Daniel van Vugt as part of their GNOME desktop enhancements.
  • Firefox brings you smooth video playback with the world’s fastest AV1 decoder
    Tuesday’s release of Firefox 67 brought a number of performance enhancing features that make this our fastest browser ever. Among these is the high performance, royalty free AV1 video decoder dav1d, now enabled by default on all desktop platforms (Windows, OSX and Linux) for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. With files more than 30% smaller than today’s most popular web codec VP9 [1], and nearly 50% smaller than its widely deployed predecessor H.264 [2], AV1 allows high-quality video experiences with a lot less network usage, and has the potential to transform how and where we watch video on the Internet. However, because AV1 is brand new and more sophisticated, some experts had predicted that market adoption would wait until 2020 when high-performance hardware decoders are expected. Dav1d in the browser upends these predictions.
  • GNU Binutils Begins Landing eBPF Support
    The GNU Binutils is finally getting wired up around the Extended BPF (eBPF) as the modern, in-kernel virtual machine that stretches the Berkeley Packet Filter beyond the networking subsystem.  Compiling for eBPF has most commonly been done by the LLVM eBPF back-end to allow compiling C into the eBPF bytecode but it looks like the GNU toolchain developers are looking to increase their support around the increasingly common eBPF use-cases for this in-kernel VM.

Distros: Draco in Sparky, Fedora Issues and Optional Dependencies in Debian

  • Draco Desktop
    There is a new desktop available for Sparkers: Draco
  • Archiving 26 500 community Q&As from Ask Fedora
    Ask Fedora is the Fedora Linux community’s questions-and-answers portal, and it recently transitioned from a forum software called Askbot to Discourse. Changing the underlying forum software doesn’t have to be destructive but Ask Fedora decided to go with a nuke-and-pave migration strategy: They decided to start from scratch instead of copying user accounts and the user-contributed content to the new software. The first time I learned of the migration was a few days after it had happen. I’d run into an issue with my Fedora installation and went online looking for solutions. Every useful search result was from the old Ask Fedora site and every link returned an HTTP 404 Not Found error message as those answers hadn’t been migrated to the new Ask Fedora website.
  • Attention epel6 and epel7 ppc64 users
    If you are a epel6 or epel7 user on the ppc64 platform, I have some sad news for you. If you aren’t feel free to read on for a tale of eol architectures. ppc64 (the big endian version of power) was shipped with RHEL6 and RHEL7 and Fedora until Fedora 28. It’s been replaced by the ppc64le (little endian) version in Fedora and RHEL8.
  • Optional dependencies don’t work
    In the i3 projects, we have always tried hard to avoid optional dependencies. There are a number of reasons behind it, and as I have recently encountered some of the downsides of optional dependencies firsthand, I summarized my thoughts in this article. [...] Software is usually not built by end users, but by packagers, at least when we are talking about Open Source. Hence, end users don’t see the knob for the optional dependency, they are just presented with the fait accompli: their version of the software behaves differently than other versions of the same software. Depending on the kind of software, this situation can be made obvious to the user: for example, if the optional dependency is needed to print documents, the program can produce an appropriate error message when the user tries to print a document. Sometimes, this isn’t possible: when i3 introduced an optional dependency on cairo and pangocairo, the behavior itself (rendering window titles) worked in all configurations, but non-ASCII characters might break depending on whether i3 was compiled with cairo. For users, it is frustrating to only discover in conversation that a program has a feature that the user is interested in, but it’s not available on their computer. For support, this situation can be hard to detect, and even harder to resolve to the user’s satisfaction.