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December 2016

Games for GNU/Linux

Filed under
Gaming
  • Happy New Year from GamingOnLinux

    GOL itself is now seven and a half years old, and hopefully we will be around for another seven at least!

  • Godot Continues Major Work On Its 3D Renderer For Release In 2017

    Open-source game engine Godot has been working on a multi-month project to vastly improve (and largely rewrite) its 3D renderer to make it as great as its 2D renderer. This work is being done for the Godot 3.0 engine and so far this 3D renderer is seeing a lot of movement.

    Godot 3.0 is aiming for a modern, clustered renderer that supports graphics features similar to other modern game engines like a physically based renderer, global illumination, shadow mapping, and more.

  • Intel's Clear Linux Is Working On Steam Support

    For those planning to do Linux gaming with Intel graphics hardware, you might soon have a new choice with the performance-oriented Clear Linux distribution out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center.

    Clear Linux developers are currently working on bringing up support for Steam in Clear Linux, something that isn't trivial to do as the operating system tends to be 64-bit focused while Steam still depends upon a mess of 32-bit packages, among other challenges. But Intel developer Arjan van de Ven has shared a photo on Twitter showing the basics of Steam appearing to work on Clear Linux.

  • Former Valve Developer: Steam Linux Project Was The Hardest

    Getting games on Linux and improving OpenGL drivers was the hardest challenge one veteran game developer has come across.

    Rich Geldreich who had worked at Valve for five years shared the most difficult work he's done: Steam for Linux. That's on top of his time at Valve he worked at Microsoft, served as an adjunct professor, was a head researcher for a company since acquired by Google, was CTO for a mobile games company, formerly a principal software engineer at Unity, now an independent consultant / software engineer, and an expert on data compression.

Early Benchmarks Of Linux 4.10 Show Some Improvements & Regressions For Core i7-6800K

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

This New Year's Eve I finished up some benchmarks of the Linux 4.5 through Linux 4.10 Git kernels on a powerful Core i7 6800K "Broadwell-E" system. I found some improvements with 4.10 Git, but there are also some evident regressions.

I'll have more benchmark results in the New Year as time allows and the 4.10 development settling down, but from the tests I did so far on the Core i7 6800K system there is some concern over what appears to be some definite and noticeable regressions.

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Linux Graphics

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Skylake Iris Pro Graphics: Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Antergos, Clear Linux Benchmarks

    For those craving some more end-of-year Linux distribution benchmarks, this morning I finished carrying out a fresh Linux distro comparison focusing upon the Intel OpenGL performance when making use of "Skylake" Iris Pro hardware. For this New Year's Eve benchmarking fun was Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Antergos, and Clear Linux.

  • Mesa Saw More Than 10,000 Commits This Year From Record Number Of Contributors

    Unless Marek delivers another one of his big patch-sets to provide some new feature/improvement to RadeonSI, the OpenGL shader cache magically lands, or some other big surprise to end out the year, here are some final statistics about Mesa's impressive developments in 2017.

  • AVC VDENC Video Encoding Enabled For Intel Broxton & Kabylake

    For those that don't recall, VDENC is a low-power, high-performance video encode engine added originally to Intel Skylake hardware. That aforelinked article covers the big benefits of using VDENC and the patches published earlier this year for enabling this Intel video encode engine on Linux.

Germany's 1&1 Still Working On MARS For The Linux Kernel, Still Hoping For Upstream

Filed under
Development
Linux

At the end of last year was an update on MARS Replication System Still Being Worked On For Upstream Linux Kernel and like clock work, the German web hosting provider has issued another update on the in-development MARS replication system and is still hoping to mainline it, maybe next year.

MARS' tag-line at the 1&1 web hosting company is "replicating petabytes over long distances" and "has replaced DRBD as the backbone of the 1&1 geo-redundancy feature as publicly advertised for 1&1 Shared Hosting Linux (ShaHoLin). MARS is also running on several other 1&1 clusters. Some other people over the world have also seemingly started to use it."

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

Filed under
OSS
  • 7 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Open Source Project Developers

    It seems like only yesterday that 2016 begun and we were just about to see great changes happening with SourceForge. Now we’re at the end of it, readying ourselves for yet another year.

    As fond as we are of the year that was, now is not just a time for remembering “Auld Lang Syne”, but also a time to prepare for what comes next. For open source project developers that means not only reflecting upon decisions and actions made, but also coming up with new resolutions that will define the future of open source projects.

  • Business model as a variable to consider when choosing Open Source software.

    Any analytic report about who writes the code in open and collaborative environments will reflect how corporations involvement is increasing in Open Source software development at every level. More and more companies are transitioning from becoming FLOSS consumers to producers and almost every new software company out there has Open Source as a core strategy or even as part of their DNA.

    But who is sustaining the development of that key piece of software that will be a core part of your future product? Who pays those developers? Why? How does the key stakeholders benefit from the outcome of the ecosystem and the software they produce? How much do they invest in the production of that software? For how long? How do they get their income? What is the relevance of the software produced by the ecosystem they feed in their business models?

    These and similar basic questions need to be fully understood before a specific software becomes part of your key product or business. Knowing the answers to the above questions might not prevent you from surprises in the future but at least can prepare you for the potential consequences. What it is clear to me is that these answers are becoming more complicated to find and understand over time, specially for those companies who do not have a strong background on Open Source.

    Choosing a specific piece of software based on purely technical variables or even present healthiness of the community around the project/organization, expectations of the number of contributors or impact in general might not be enough any more. A specific community or project will become "your provider" so the business model behind it is equally important.

  • Open source down under: Linux.conf.au 2017

    It’s a new year and open source enthusiasts from around the globe are preparing to gather at the edge of the world for Linux.conf.au 2017. Among those preparing are Googlers, including some of us from the Open Source Programs Office.

  • Firefox 52 Borrows One More Privacy Feature from the Tor Browser

    Mozilla engineers have added a mechanism to Firefox 52 that prevents websites from fingerprinting users using system fonts.

    The user privacy protection system was borrowed from the Tor Browser, where a similar mechanism blocks websites from identifying users based on the fonts installed on their computers.

    The feature has been active in the Tor Browser for some time and will become active in the stable branch of Firefox 52, scheduled for release on March 7, 2017.

    The font fingerprinting protection is already active in Firefox 52 Beta.

  • 2017 TDF and LibreOffice calendar

    2017 is just around the corner, so here’s a shiny calendar from The Document Foundation and the LibreOffice community. Print it out, hang it on your wall, and here’s to a great 12 months ahead!

  • Hungary withdraws membership from Open Government Partnership

    Hungary has decided to withdraw its membership from the OGP, following a disagreement with the OGP Steering Committee on a report.

  • Scotland published its first action plan as OGP “Pioneer“

    Scotland published its first Open Government National Action Plan since it has been selected by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as one of the fifteen “Pioneer” governments in April 2016.

  • Germany and Luxembourg joined OGP

    During the Paris OGP Summit 2017, Germany and Luxembourg were among the European countries that announced their intent to join the Open Government Partnership. Portugal said it will “soon” become a member of the institution.

  • Contracting 5 initiative officially launched at Paris OGP Summit
  • OGP countries shifting commitments from basics to innovations

    The countries participating in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) are shifting their attention from "getting the basics right" to innovative measures and reforms that translate into actions capable of generating real change. After 'public service delivery', the areas 'fiscal openness' and 'access to information' are the most prevailing in the commitments for 2015-2016.

  • Paris Declaration to promote collective actions in open government

    The Paris Declaration, which was presented at the OGP Paris Summit in December, will encourage cooperation between countries and civil societies to promote open government on a global scale. The Declaration lists twenty-one collective actions in which governments can take part and share experiences. “Actions are concrete cooperation, output-orientated and will produce tangible results”, the text of the Declaration states.

  • French to test Sirene data in a hackathon

    Etalab, the French agency in charge of Open Data in France, and INSEE (Institut National de la Statistiques et des Etudes Economiques) – the French national agency for statistics, organised in November a hackathon to test and use the data of the SIRENE (Système informatique pour le répertoire des entreprises et des établissements) database which will be published as open data in January.

  • 'Open Source' Robo-Car in '17?

    The year 2016 opened the door to a new phase of highly automated driving, moving the discussion away from “wouldn’t it be nice-to-have-a-robo-car” to a more immediate “to-do list” with which regulators, car OEMs and technology companies must grapple if they hope to make self-driving cars commercially viable and safe.

    Gone are days of early-adapter giddiness over the Google car, or an “Autopilot” Tesla with over-the-air software upgrades.

    Reality sank in 2016. The industry is now aware Autopilot’s limitations. The automotive engineering community is taking a crash course in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that’s far beyond today’s computer vision. Engineers are taking note of challenges in machine learning (how do you certify the safety of AI-driven cars?). Many automakers are scrambling for a holistic approach toward cybersecurity.

    So, what’s in the auto industry 2017 agenda that could change the course of robotic car development?

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Washington Post Publishes False News Story About Russians Hacking Electrical Grid

    A story published by The Washington Post Friday claims Russia hacked the electrical grid in Vermont. This caused hysteria on social media but has been denied by a spokesman for a Vermont utility company.

    The Post story was titled, “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, officials say.”

  • Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

    The 2016 U.S. presidential election was preceded by unprecedented cyberattacks and produced a result that surprised many people in the U.S. and abroad. Was it hacked? To find out, we teamed up with scientists and lawyers from around the country—and a presidential candidate—to initiate the first presidential election recounts motivated primarily by e-voting security concerns. In this talk, we will explain how the recounts took place, what we learned about the integrity of the election, and what needs to change to ensure that future U.S. elections are secure.

  • Malware Purveyor Serving Up Ransomware Via Bogus ICANN Blacklist Removal Emails

    Fun stuff ahead for some website owners, thanks to a breakdown in the registration process. A Swiss security researcher has spotted bogus ICANN blacklist removal emails being sent to site owners containing a Word document that acts as a trigger for ransomware.

And the best distro of 2016 is ...

Filed under
GNU
Linux

It is time for the final vote. I have already given you my opinion on the finest performers when it comes to individual desktop environments - Plasma, Xfce and even Gnome, but now, following in the best of our annual traditions, we need to vote on the most complete, most successful distribution of the year.

Unlike the desktop environment votes, it will not be purely based on the final score. I will also incorporate other elements - how deeply has a particular distro charmed me, whether I have continued using it after the initial review, how it has evolved, and of course, the critical stability, support and friendliness parameters. And then, there's your vote, too. So let's run through the coveted shortlist. To wit, the 2016 elite.

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More in Tux Machines

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.

OSS: Delver, Lock-in, Dries Buytaert, Openstack and Mycroft

  • Delver devs release their tech publicly under open source license
    As an added bonus, it's always nice when developers open source their tech to share with others. The source release doesn't contain or cover the game data from Delver, and the game data remains subject to original copyright and applicable law. It's also worth mentioning that the source code release is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2.0, meaning the software can continue to be shared, edited, and distributed for free, and can be used for commercial use as well.
  • How open source makes lock-in worse (and better) [Ed: Troll Mac Asay at it again]
    For open source companies desperate to figure out a business model that scales with the adoption of their ostensibly free software, Amazon's recent troubles getting off Oracle's database could be instructive. One way to look at Amazon's struggles is through the lens of "proprietary software creates lock-in," but this isn't actually helpful. Why? Because open source creates similar lock-in, and that's something open source entrepreneurs might want to consider.
  • At Acquia Engage, CTO talks of open source WCM, Red Hat buy
    Dries Buytaert: No, [because] 18 to 19 years ago, mobile didn't exist. Google was a private company. I remember AT&T launching text messaging a month or so before. Social media didn't exist. I think less than 10% of the world had internet. I started Drupal; it was very much an experimental platform for me, just to have some fun. I was fascinated with the web, and I didn't have any grand plans. Obviously, that changed over time. I made it open source, [and] it started growing, slowly. Drupal started to grow, so I started my plans for Drupal and [followed] my conviction of us being onto something. We made a bet-the-farm bet on cloud [in about 2008], and that turned out to be the right bet, because we pioneered a new business model for open source, delivering [it] in the cloud. And a lot of companies are doing that now -- Elastic Path, MongoDB -- and I'm very proud of that.
  • Openstack moves one step closer to the edge
    The second Openstack Summit of the year drew to a close in Berlin yesterday, and it will be the last of its name as it rebrands as the Open Infrastructure Summit in 2019, a move that seems largely in line with the evolution of the open source cloud platform as it shifts further into edge and builds out a series of related pilot projects with Openstack as the core proposition. Many of the keynotes this time around showed the progress that the community had made in building out the pilot projects announced at the Vancouver Summit earlier this year. One in particular, the first release of StarlingX, might well help cement the open infrastructure platform in edge. StarlingX is branded as an open source edge platform, with telecom and IoT use cases in mind. According to the Foundation it "leverages components of Ceph, Openstack and Kubernetes and complements them with new services including configuration and fault management", in particular to address technology challenges around high availability and ultra-low latency compute.
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Mycroft
    Companies are looking to provide better experiences with their customers, which has given rise to the popularity of chatbots. Yet assistants that use voice tend to be only associated with tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google. Mycroft is an open-source voice assistant that is aiming to make voice assistants more attainable for everyone. “We believe the future of AI should be open, not a cryptic black box only few understand and have control over. Building this new technology together, collaborating, sharing ideas and building on top of each other – that’s how we see it,” Mycroft’s website states.