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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

Graphics: Nouveau, Mesa and VESA

  • Nouveau Gets ARB_bindless_texture Support For Maxwell & Newer
    Back for Mesa 18.0 there was OpenGL bindless textures for Kepler GPUs on the open-source NVIDIA "Nouveau" driver while now for Mesa 18.1 that support is in place for Maxwell GPUs and newer. Bindless texture support is important for "AZDO" purposes for approaching zero driver overhead with OpenGL. ARB_bindless_texture reduces the API/GL driver overhead of resource bindings and allows accessing textures without needing to first bind/re-bind them.
  • Marek Working Towards Even Lower SGPR Register Usage
    Yesterday well known open-source AMD developer Marek Olšák landed his RadeonSI 32-bit pointers support for freeing up some scalar general purpose registers (SGPRs) and he's continued with a new patch series to alleviate register usage even more.
  • Libdrm 2.4.90 Released With Meson Build System, AMDGPU & Intel Improvements
    Marek Olšák on Saturday released the big libdrm 2.4.90 DRM library update that sits between Mesa and other GPU user-space components and the kernel's Direct Rendering Manager code.
  • Mesa Git Lands RadeonSI 32-bit Pointers Support
    At the start of the new year Marek Olšák of AMD posted a set of patches for 32-bit GPU pointers in RadeonSI. That work has now landed in mainline Mesa Git.
  • xf86-video-vesa 2.4.0
    Nothing terribly exciting, but enough bug fixes to justify a release.
  • VESA X.Org Driver Sees First Update In Three Years
    Should you find yourself using the xf86-video-vesa DDX for one reason or another, a new release is now available and it's the first in three years. The xf86-video-vesa 2.4.0 X.Org driver was released this week with the handful of commits that came in since v2.3.4 was tagged three years ago, it's been eight years already since xf86-video-vesa 2.3.0. For most users, xf86-video-vesa is just used in select fallback instances when your main DDX driver fails but even still these days KMS is pretty solid with xf86-video-modesetting, fbdev and other DDX drivers working well, etc.

Kernel: VGA_Switcheroo, Con Kolivas/MuQSS, and KPTI Protection

Ubuntu: Unity, Mir, and Snapd

  • Ubuntu Touch Q&A 23
    The developers have been hard at work on Xenial! ARM64 now working on Ubuntu Touch, and applications launch! As many modern CPUs don't include 32-bit compatibility mode, ARM64 native mode on UT can start to make use of more modern CPUs.
  • UBports Continues Working On Unity 8, Developer ISO Coming
    While Canonical is no longer involved in Unity 8 development, the community-driven UBports team continues working on their "Unity 8" and "Ubuntu Touch" efforts with a hope to deliver a developer ISO soon. Sadly the Yunit project that also forked Unity 8's code-base doesn't seem to be active at least not regularly anymore, but the UBports team is working on delivering. In their latest Q&A session they share that Unity 8 on the desktop is coming together. One of the developers commented, "While it's both good and pretty, it's not 'pretty good'."
  • This Week In Mir (16th Feb, 2018)
  • Snapd 2.31 Better Supports Wayland Via Mir, Canonical Hires Another Mir Developer
    Besides Mir 0.30 being released this week, other Mir progress was also made by these Canonical developers working on forging Mir into a viable Wayland compositor. Gerry Boland of Canonical's Mir team has shared that Snapd 2.31 now supports any Snap implementing the Wayland interface. This allows for Mir to be shipped as a Snap and support Wayland clients using Canonical's app sandboxing approach alternative to Flatpaks.

Debian: The SysVinit Migration, Debian Debates, and package-hosting repository,

  • The SysVinit upstream project just migrated to git
    Surprising as it might sound, there are still computers using the traditional Sys V init system, and there probably will be until systemd start working on Hurd and FreeBSD. The upstream project still exist, though, and up until today, the upstream source was available from Savannah via subversion. I am happy to report that this just changed.
  • futures of distributions
    Seems Debian is talking about why they are unable to package whole categories of modern software, such as anything using npm. It's good they're having a conversation about that, and I want to give a broader perspective.
  • What is Debian all about, really? Or: friction, packaging complex applications
    This weekend, those interested in Debian development have been having a discussion on the debian-devel mailing list about "What can Debian do to provide complex applications to its users?". I'm commenting on that in my blog rather than the mailing list, since this got a bit too long to be usefully done in an email.
  • Updated my package-repository
    Yesterday I overhauled my Debian package-hosting repository, in response to user-complaints.