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Linux 5.7 Features

  • FSINFO System Call, Mount Notifications Sent In For Linux 5.7 To Provide Better Storage Details

    Red Hat's David Howells has sent in pull requests introducing the new fsinfo() system call and mount/superblock notifications and as part of that a general notification mechanism for the kernel. This stems from work Howells has been pursuing for the past several months for exposing more file-system information and mount notifications. The fsinfo() system call exposes more file-system / VFS information like file-system UUIDs, capabilities, mount attributes, and other possible bits. With the fsinfo() pull request are also implementations for EXT4 and NFS.

  • Linux 5.7 EFI Changes: "The GRUB Project Is Showing Signs Of Life Again"

    Ingo Molnar on Monday began sending in his feature pull requests for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window. Of the pull requests worth noting are the EFI changes. Molnar characterized the GRUB boot-loader project as "showing signs of life again" following the recent introduction of a generic Linux/UEFI boot protocol rather than "x86 specific hacks". The hope is that over time all new extensions will be introduced via that protocol to avoid these hacks for cleaning up the EFI kernel boot code in due course.

  • Linux 5.7 For 64-bit ARM Brings In-Kernel Pointer Authentication, Activity Monitors

    The 64-bit ARM architecture code will support several new features with the in-development Linux 5.7 kernel. Highlights of the 64-bit ARM (AArch64 / ARM64) code for Linux 5.7 include: - In-kernel pointer authentication is now supported. Back in 2018 added to the kernel was pointer authentication support but only exposed for user-space usage. As explained back then, "Pointer authentication can be supported by ARMv8.3 hardware and newer to allow for signing and authenticating of pointers against secret keys. The purpose of this pointer authentication is to mitigate ROP attacks and other potential buffer-overrun-style attacks." Now with Linux 5.7 the ARMv8.3+ pointer authentication support also works within the kernel.

  • Linux 5.7 Media Updates Add H.264 / H.265 / VP9 Decode To The Meson Driver

    The media subsystem updates have landed for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window. The media subsystem updates are predominantly made up by individual media driver updates as usual. Some of the highlights include: - The Amlogic Meson VDEC driver now has support for VP9 decoding, H.264 decoding, and HEVC decode.

  • Linux 5.7 Power Management Includes Fixes, Tiny Power Button Driver

    Intel's Rafael Wysocki who oversees the kernel's power management area has sent in his relevant pull requests for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window. Highlights of the power management updates for Linux 5.7 include: - Support for Krait-based SoCs within the Qualcomm driver.

  • Linux 5.7's USB Changes Range From Apple Fast Charging To Reporting USB-C Orientation

    With the newly-minted Linux 5.6 kernel is initial support for USB4 based on Intel's Thunderbolt code while for Linux 5.7 is a wide variety of other USB changes. There aren't any big USB4 changes to note with the Linux 5.7 kernel that is now going through its merge window. But there are plenty of other interesting USB changes for the 5.7 version...

  • Split Lock Detection Sent In For Linux 5.7 To Spot Performance Issues, Unprivileged DoS

    The previously reported work on split lock detection due to its big performance hit is now queued up for Linux 5.7. Split locks occur when an atomic instruction spans multiple cache lines and requires a global bus lock for ensuring atomicity. These split locks can take at least 1,000 more cycles than an atomic operation within a single cache line.

  • Intel Begins Prepping More Linux Code For Data Streaming Accelerator In Sapphire Rapids

    Last year Intel outlined the Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA) as a feature on future Intel CPUs for high-performance data movement and transformation operations for networking and storage / persistent memory. We are now seeing more of the Intel DSA work beginning to take shape for the Linux kernel.

Nutty – A network monitoring app for Linux

After the internet revolution, it’s important to be connected with the cyber world to get things done. Skipping the complicated intricacies of how the internet works, on a personal level, we connect to the internet through various ways, like WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or Wi-Fi to put it simply, or some kind of a wired connection to a router, or in some cases, cellular networks. Whatever the medium be, we almost always require a way to monitor and manage the network connection(s). We are going to suggest a program for the purpose named Nutty. Read more

GNOME: Tracker 3.0, Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps, DevConf.CZ 2020, GNOME's Mutter

  • API changes in Tracker 3.0

    Lots has happened in the 2 months since my last post, most notably the global coronavirus pandemic … in Spain we’re in week 3 of quarantine lockdown already and noone knows when it is going to end. Let’s take our mind off the pandemic and talk about Tracker 3.0. At the start of the year Carlos worked on some key API changes which are now merged. It’s a good opportunity to recap what’s really changing in the new version. I made the developer documentation for Tracker 3.0 available online. Thanks to GitLab, this can be updated every time we merge a change in Git. The documentation a work in progress and we appreciate if you can help us to improve it. The documentation contains a migration guide, but let’s have a broader look at some common use cases.

  • Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps

    When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, that network might block your access to the wider internet until you’ve signed into the network’s captive portal page. An untrusted network can disrupt your connection at any time by blocking secure requests and replacing the content of insecure requests with its login page. (Of course this can be done on wired networks as well, but in practice it mainly happens on Wi-Fi.) To detect a captive portal, NetworkManager sends a request to a special test address (e.g. http://fedoraproject.org/static/hotspot.txt) and checks to see whether it the content has been replaced. If so, GNOME Shell will open a little WebKitGTK browser window to display http://nmcheck.gnome.org, which, due to the captive portal, will be hijacked by your hotel or airport or whatever to display the portal login page.

  • DevConf.CZ 2020

    Once again, DevConf.CZ, is our meeting-while-freezing winter conference in Brno. For this year I cooked up two talks: An hour-long talk about Portals during the first day of the conference. The room was almost full and the questions were very relevant. A few attendees met me after the talk seeking help to make their apps start using Portals and with ideas for new Portals. You can watch the recordings below: On the last conference day, I had a quick twenty minutes talk about GNOME Boxes in the virtualization track. The audience wasn’t our known faces from the desktop talks, so I got the chance to show Boxes for the first time for a bunch of people. I did a quick presentation with live demos and Q&A. It was a success IMHO. Check the recordings below:

  • GNOME's Mutter Working On Variable Refresh Rate Support (VRR / Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync)

    Sway's Wayland compositor recently added Variable Refresh Rate / Adaptive-Sync support to help avoid tearing and stuttering while now GNOME's Mutter is working on similar VRR support on the desktop. A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isn't advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR.

Ubuntu Leftovers

  • Edge AI in a 5G world – part 1: How ‘smart cell towers’ will change our lives

    In part 1 we will talk about the industrial applications and benefits that 5G and fast compute at the edge in the form of ‘smart cell towers’ will bring to AI products. In part 2 we will go deeper into how you can benefit from this new opportunity. Part 3 will focus on the key technical barriers that 5G and Edge compute remove for AI applications. In part 4 we will summarise the IoT use cases that can benefit from smart cell towers and how they will help businesses focus their efforts on their key differentiating advantage.

  • Rigado cuts customers’ time-to-market with Ubuntu Core and AWS

    In the fast-paced world of IoT, being able to reduce time-to-market is a priority. Rigado’s core mission is to provide scalable and secure infrastructure for their customers’ commercial IoT deployments. It became clear to Rigado that, to achieve the ease of use it was looking for, it needed to redesign its gateway software – and containerisation emerged as the best way. After looking at a number of container options that involved a lot of moving parts, Rigado decided to turn to Ubuntu Core and snaps. Switching to Ubuntu Core has also enabled Rigado to take advantage of Ubuntu Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to rapidly launch Ubuntu instances in AWS.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 624

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 624 for the week of March 22 – 28, 2020.

  • Design and Web team summary – 30th March 2020

    Due to the rapidly developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the entire web team has transitioned to 100% remote for the foreseeable future. Canonical is well set up to remain productive but brings design challenges such as group sketching which we are testing and evaluating solutions.