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January 2020

Sad news about Scott Rifenbark

Filed under
Obits

I'm sorry to have to pass on the sad news that Scott Rifenbark, our
tech writer for the project passed away on Wednesday after a battle
with cancer.

I remember interviewing Scott over 10 years ago when forming a team at
Intel to work on what became the Yocto Project, he was with it from the
start. He warned me he wasn't an entirely traditional tech writer but I
warned we weren't aiming to be a traditional project either. It was a
great match. He stayed with the project ever since in one way or
another, he enjoyed working on the project and we enjoyed working with
him.

Read more

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance On A $199 AMD Ryzen Laptop

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

When carrying out our Windows vs. Linux benchmarks we normally are doing so on interesting high-end hardware but for today's benchmarking is a look at how a $199 USD laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor compares between Windows 10 as it's shipped on the laptop against the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux distribution.

The $199 AMD laptop being used for testing is the Motile M141, a 14-inch laptop with Ryzen 3 3200U and Vega 3 graphics, 4GB of RAM, 120GB solid-state drive, and 1080p display. This 14-inch Ryzen 3 laptop is currently selling for just $199 USD at Walmart. While never hearing of Motile previously, I decided to go ahead and buy this laptop for some Linux testing... Motile is a private-label brand from Walmart.

Read more

Solus Shines With Plasma Desktop Options

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Solus is one of the leading alternative distros to other more mainstream Linux OSes. The 4.1 upgrade, especially the Plasma edition, clearly set the standard that other Linux distributions should follow.

If you are a gamer, take note of this: Solus 4.1 just made gaming simpler. Solus 4.1 ships with increased file limits to enable ESync support. This release also raises the file limits in the PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) package to Lutris' suggested value. This lets you spend less time configuring your system and more time playing games.

Read more

LibreRouter: An open-source router that offers GPIO pins in a Raspberry Pi form factor

Filed under
OSS

Single-board computers (SBCs) can not only be used as cost-effective options for developers or for creating retro emulators. On the contrary, they can also serve as routers thanks to their wide range of connection options, while some can offer a lot of performance for their size. The Raspberry Pi has practically pre-configured software solutions to this effect, for example.

Now, a DIY solution has been announced by LibreRouter.org. The LR1 is based on a Qualcomm Atheros QCA9558 MIPI processor that can utilise 128 MB of RAM. The router has built-in Wi-Fi too that supports up to IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, while LibreRouter also offers an optional GPS sensor. Using the two mPCIe slots you can connect powerful network cards or cellular routers, too.

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Qt 5.12.7 Released

Filed under
KDE

I am happy to announce we have released Qt 5.12.7 today.

The Qt 5.12 LTS is in 'strict' phase, so it will receive only the selected important bug and security fixes. This 7th patch release for Qt 5.12 LTS series contains almost 50 bug fixes including security issue fixes for both Qt ( CVE-2020-0569 and CVE-2020-0570) and 3rd party components (CVE-2019-19244, CVE-2019-19603, CVE-2019-19242, CVE-2019-19645, CVE-2019-19646 & CVE-2019-19880). Also in QtWebEngine there are many CVE fixes from Chromium. Please check other most important changes from Qt 5.12.7 Changes Files.

Qt 5.12.7 is now available via the maintenance tool of the online installer. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal or from qt.io Download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users in the Qt Account portal and at the qt.io Download page for open-source users. You can also try out the Commercial evaluation option from the qt.io Download page.

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Pentoo – A Security-Focused Linux Distro Based on Gentoo

Filed under
Gentoo
Security

Pentoo is an open-source Live CD and Live USB Gentoo Linux-based operating system designed for experts in the field of penetration testing and security assessment. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures and is can be run as an overlay on an existing Gentoo installation.

If you’re not familiar with Gentoo Linux, it is an advanced Linux distro that enables users to compile their operating system from the source in other to enjoy advantages such as applications and optimal performance specific to the computer, to mention a couple.

It does not have an installer and users are to translate the software they want before continuing with the installation. In short, one shouldn’t go near it if they don’t have the perseverance for filing through Linux documentation.

Just like with Gentoo, Pentoo has an advanced Python-based package management system with cool features such as “fake” (OpenBSD-style) installs, system profiles, config file management, safe unmerging, and virtual packages, among others.

Read more

/e/OS and the Art of Remote Project Management

Filed under
OS
Android

In this article, we look behind the scenes to understand how the team at /e/OS works!
For those who have not been following up on the developments in the smartphone OS world, /e/ OS is a de-googled, privacy-focused, android-based smartphone operating system. The project is the brain child of Gaël Duval, the man who created Mandrake Linux. /e/OS is forked from LineageOS.
The team did not just stop with the forking. First, they removed the Google calls which were spread all over the source code. Next, they replaced several of the default apps and added FOSS replacements. With a single /e/ account, user data on the phone could be automatically synchronized with ecloud servers. What data was to be synced can be controlled by the user.
By the middle of 2018, the beta version of the /e/OS was ready. /e/OS today supports 91 smartphones. For those who are not comfortable flashing their smartphones, /e/ offers a range of refurbished smartphones, which can be purchased with /e/OS already flashed on them. Currently they are testing Mail-in-your-phone, a service where users who are not confident flashing their own devices, can send it to /e/ and get it flashed!
All this forking, debugging, rewriting and modification requires design, development and testing efforts. After the OS is flashed on smartphones, support for the end users is required.
Lets understand how /e/ manages all these different activities.

Read more

Also: /e/ OS and the Art of Remote Project Management

More in Tux Machines

Linux Kernel: GPU Blobs, 5.8, 5.9 and ARM32 in Action

  • Netgpu and the hazards of proprietary kernel modules

    On its face, the netgpu patch set appears to add a useful feature: the ability to copy network data directly between a network adapter and a GPU without moving it through the host CPU. This patch set has quickly become an example of how not to get work into the kernel, though; it has no chance of being merged in anything like its current form and has created a backlash designed to keep modules like it from ever working in mainline kernels. It all comes down to one fundamental mistake: basing kernel work on a proprietary kernel module. The use case for netgpu appears to be machine-learning applications that consume large amounts of data. The processing of this data is offloaded to a GPU for performance reasons. That GPU must be fed a stream of data, though, that comes from elsewhere on the network; this data follows the usual path of first being read into main memory, then written out to the GPU. The extra copy hurts, as does the memory-bus traffic and the CPU time needed to manage this data movement. This overhead could be significantly reduced if the network adapter were to write the data directly into the GPU's memory, which is accessible via the PCI bus. A suitably capable network adapter could place packet data in GPU memory while writing packet headers to normal host memory; that allows the kernel's network stack to do the protocol processing as usual. The netgpu patch exists to support this mode of operation, seemingly yielding improved performance at the cost of losing some functionality; anything that requires looking at the packet payload is going to be hard to support if that data is routed directly to GPU memory.

  • Some statistics from the 5.8 kernel cycle

    Linus Torvalds released the 5.8 kernel on August 2, concluding another nine-week development cycle. By the time the work was done, 16,306 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository for this release. That happens to be a record, beating the previous record holder (4.9, released in December 2016) by 92 changesets. It was, in other words, a busy development cycle. It's time for our traditional look into where that work came from to see what might be learned. A total of 1,991 developers contributed to 5.8, which is another record; 304 of those developers appeared for the first time in this cycle. The community added over 924,000 lines of code and removed around 371,000 for a net growth of over 553,000 lines of code.

  • FUSE Read/Write Passthrough Updated For Much Better File-System Performance

    Of various criticisms around FUSE for implementing file-systems in user-space, one of the most prolific issues is around the performance generally being much lower than a proper file-system kernel driver. But with the FUSE passthrough functionality that continue to be worked on, there is the potential for much better FUSE file-system performance. The ongoing FUSE passthrough work is about allowing the passthrough read/write of files in avoiding at times unnecessary overhead of the user-space FUSE daemon. When operating in FUSE_PASSTHROUGH mode, the daemon can allow on a per-file basis opening in passthrough mode where all read and write operations are forwarded by the kernel directly to the lower file-system rather than to the FUSE daemon running in user-space.

  • Navi 2 Fixes, Other Graphics/Display Fixes Sent In For Linux 5.9

    Following all of the feature updates to the open-source GPU/DRM drivers for Linux 5.9 that included a lot of new material, the first batch of fixes have now been sent in for mainline in addressing early fallout from these many changes. Ahead of the Linux 5.9-rc1 release this weekend, an initial batch of Direct Rendering Manager fixes were sent out on Thursday.

  • How the ARM32 Linux kernel decompresses

    This is intended as a comprehensive rundown of how the Linux kernel self-decompresses on ARM 32-bit legacy systems. All machines under arch/arm/* uses this method if they are booted using a compressed kernel, and most of them are using compressed kernels.

  • Walleij: How the ARM32 Linux kernel decompresses

    For those who are into the details: here is a step-by-step guide through the process of decompressing an Arm kernel and getting ready to boot from Linus Walleij.

The Linux-based PinePhone is the most interesting smartphone I've tried in years

Android's potential for customization was seemingly endless when it was first introduced, thanks to its Linux kernel and open-source nature. However, Google has introduced more restrictions over the past few years in the name of privacy and security, making root and other deep modifications difficult or impossible. While I agree that most of the security changes in Android are needed (I really don't need the Facebook app digging through my local files), they do mean you are not in full control of your own device. There's still the option of using custom ROMs like LineageOS and Paranoid Android, but they're still limited by the restrictions of Android. Porting ROMs to new phones is a time-consuming and difficult process, they sometimes lack features compared to the stock software (like full camera quality), and some devices don't allow unlocking the bootloader at all. Thankfully, there's now an alternative to Android for enthusiasts who want full control over their phone: the PinePhone, a budget device developed by Pine64 and supported by the Linux community. Despite its many (many, many) limitations, the PinePhone is still the most interesting phone I've used in years. Read more

tdoay's howtos

QEMU 5.1.0 released

  • QEMU version 5.1.0 released

    We’d like to announce the availability of the QEMU 5.1.0 release. This release contains 2500+ commits from 235 authors.

  • QEMU 5.1.0 released

    Version 5.1.0 of the QEMU processor emulator is out. "This release contains 2500+ commits from 235 authors." Enhancements consist mostly of additional hardware emulation, of course, but it doesn't stop there; see the changelog for lots of details.

  • QEMU 5.1 Release Brings Many Improvements To This Open-Source Virtualization Component

    QEMU 5.1 is now available for this important piece of the open-source Linux virtualization stack. There are plenty of changes across the board with QEMU 5.1 while some of the highlights standing out include: - Support for live migration on AMD EPYC systems with nested virtualization. - Persistent Memory Region (PMR) support from the NVMe 1.4 specification.