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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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/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.

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

More in Tux Machines

Kernel: AMD, Concurrency Cheat Sheet, Habana Labs, and Mesa

  • AMD Secure Memory Encryption Has a Flaw, Now Disabled by Default in Linux Kernel

    According to a report from Phoronix, the Linux 5.15 kernel is receiving a new fix that involves disabling AMD's Secure Memory Encryption, or SME. This feature is normally enabled by default, but due to unexpected boot failures on some AMD machines, SME will now be disabled by default. Devs will update the Linux 5.15 kernel first, but the change will also move to prior kernels. AMD Secure Memory Encryption is a feature exposed to AMD's EPYC and Ryzen Pro processors that allows the CPUs to encrypt the memory at a hardware level. AMD says the feature offers no significant impact on system performance and works with any OS and application because it's hardware-accelerated and doesn't rely upon software.

  • [Older] Linux Kernel Concurrency Cheat Sheet

    Navigating Linux kernel APIs can be very time-consuming, so Linux ksplice guru Vegard Nossum put together a very handy time-saving cheat sheet to help traversing Linux kernel concurrency primitives. As a child, I spent countless hours playing games on my Nintendo Game Boy. As I grew older and started programming in QBasic on MS-DOS, I also got curious about how Game Boy games worked.

  • Habana Labs For Linux 5.16 To Bring Peer-To-Peer Support With DMA-BUF - Phoronix

    The drama around DMA-BUF code for the Habana Labs AI driver appears to be wrapping up with the Linux 5.16 cycle that is coming up. The Habana Labs driver changes were mailed out today for queuing in char/misc ahead of next month's Linux 5.16 merge window. This driver for supporting the AI inference and training accelerators at the Intel-owned company has some exciting updates for this next kernel release.

  • mesa recompiled with gallium drivers

    The guys have been reporting slow Nvidia performance, for example a report from forum member Keef here: https://forum.puppylinux.com/viewtopic.php?p=39261#p39261 I had compiled all of the packages in OpenEmbedded without libllvm, as it is a hug library, about 60MB. However, it meant had to leave out some drivers in the 'mesa' package.

  • Mesa 22.0 Lands Some Patches Toward OpenCL Image Support - Phoronix

    Mesa 22.0-devel is one step closer to having OpenCL image support that is sought after by many individuals for allowing more OpenCL-enabled desktop software to work nicely with this open-source OpenCL component in Mesa. For nearly a year there has been the work-in-progress merge request implementing OpenCL 1.2 image support. That work was started by Red Hat's Karol Herbst.

Games: Valve, Timberborn, and More

  • Valve launches Deck Verified, to show off what games will work well on the Steam Deck | GamingOnLinux

    We've been wondering what Valve had planned to show off Steam Deck compatibility for games and now they've launched Deck Verified as their answer. Valve say they are reviewing the entire Steam catalogue on the Steam Deck, with each of them gaining a category that it falls under that will show up across Steam from the store to your own Steam Library. The ratings will be split across Verified, Playable, Unsupported and Unknown. This is good because there's a lot of reasons why games will mix between perfect and unplayable on Steam Deck and the Arch Linux-based SteamOS it ships with.

  • Valve Launches "Steam Deck Verified" Program For Games That Run Well On The Steam Deck - Phoronix

    Valve is introducing a Steam Deck Verified system for helping gamers find out what games have been verified to work well on their forthcoming AMD+Linux-powered handheld game console.

  • VKD3D-Proton 2.5 Released With Experimental DXR 1.1, More Games Working - Phoronix

    VKD3D-Proton as Valve's Direct3D 12 over Vulkan implementation for Steam Play's Proton is out with a big feature update. VKD3D-Proton 2.5 brings experimental, opt-in support for DXR 1.1 ray-tracing. DXR 1.1 isn't yet fully implemented but does add inline ray-tracing support and other features. DXR 1.0 ray-tracing meanwhile is now considered effectively feature complete with VKD3D-Proton 2.5.

  • VKD3D-Proton v2.5 is out for Direct3D 12 on top of Vulkan, improving DirectX Raytracing | GamingOnLinux

    VKD3D-Proton is the project that translates Microsoft's Direct3D 12 to Vulkan, another big part of Steam Play Proton and there's a new release out. If you wish to know more about Steam Play and Proton do check out our dedicated section. A continued focus of VKD3D-Proton is bringing up support for DirectX Raytracing (DXR). As of this version 2.5 the developer notes that DXR 1.0 "is more or less feature complete". A few weird issues are left and eventually the config variable to enable it will be removed when it's stable enough. Further work went into improving DXR 1.1 and it's now experimentally exposed, with it being enabled by setting VKD3D_CONFIG=dxr11. They say that DXR 1.1 cannot be "fully implemented" just yet, although the feature support missing doesn't seem to currently be used by games. As of now DXR 1.1 inline raytracing is also fully implemented.

  • Timberborn: a cute beaver colony sim with an unrewarding late game

    The game only supports Windows. However, it runs excellently on Linux in Steam Proton compatibility mode.

  • Swarming RTS Age of Darkness: Final Stand is in Early Access and works great on Linux | GamingOnLinux

    Age of Darkness: Final Stand is like a fantasy version of They Are Billions, and compared with the latter it runs great on Linux thanks to Steam Play Proton. No native Linux version here but honestly it runs so well you can't tell the difference, it's click and play thanks to Proton and as such a massive fan of real-time strategy games I couldn't resist playing this one myself. Note: key provided by Team17. The world in Age of Darkness is one of constant fear. Darkness brings out Nightmares, strange hellish creatures with a taste for flesh and destruction. It's a constant battle of preparation. Right now it only has a survival mode, which sees you build up a village as you attempt to survive each night. All the traditional elements of a base-building RTS are here with population management, resource gathering, army building and more. A game very much for those of you who like "turtling", where you focus on building up a heavy defence.

  • Playing Deltarune: Chapter 2 natively on Linux | GamingOnLinux

    So, some time ago Toby Fox released the second chapter of the Deltarune series. Sadly, as was the case with the previous chapter, this one too comes without official Linux support. However, if the [HeartShapedObject] is willing, there is a way to play the game natively on Linux, albeit without official support. The trick is essentially the same as I described back in 2018 when the first chapter of Deltarune was released. Essentially, Deltarune is made with the GameMaker engine, and you can do a "port" of games like that as long as you can find a compatible GameMaker runner binary to pair up with the game data.

  • War Thunder is getting more terrain deformation in the upcoming 'Ground Breaking' upgrade | GamingOnLinux

    Ground Breaking is the name of the next major update for War Thunder and it sounds quite exciting, with some game engine upgrades to allow for more terrain interactions and deformation. Not only will you see huge craters left over from some of the more explosive ordinance, you will also be able to push around the ground. Soil, sand and snow will be movable with your tanks, allowing you with a little patience to create your own little protective barriers. That's right, self-entrenching is going to be a thing. In the Ground Breaking update the developers will add in a new animation for vehicles digging in.

  • Hugely popular mobile roguelike Shattered Pixel Dungeon is coming to Steam | GamingOnLinux

    For the PC release the developer now has a Steam page live and they've confirmed it will have a native Linux version.

Security Leftovers

Devices: Arduino Nano, HarmonyOS,and Pi

  • Arduino Nano Floppy Emulator For When Your Disk Is Not Accessible | Hackaday

    Among the plethora of obsolete removable media there are some which are lamented, but it can be difficult to find those who regret the passing of the floppy disk. These flexible magnetic disks in hard plastic covers were a staple of computing until some time in the early 2000s, and their drives could be found by the crateload in any spares box. But what about today, when there’s a need for a real floppy drive and none is to be found? Enter [Acemi Elektronikci], with an Arduino Nano based floppy emulator, that plugs into the floppy port of a PC old enough to have one, and allows the easy use of virtual floppy disks.

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  • HarmonyOS development board shows up for $11

    Last year, we noted the Hisilicon Hi3861 based HiSpark WiFi IoT development board with supports LiteOS and HarmonyOS that was available in China for just under $10, or as part of a devkit with baseboard and modules for around $60. Although not very practical, buying from Taobao was possible, but there’s now what appears to be a new revision of the Hi3861V100 based HarmonyOS development board in a wider form factor on Banggood for $10.99.

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  • Raspberry Pi CM4 handheld console looks like a Nintendo Switch Lite - CNX Software

    StonedEge and Dmcke5 have come up with an incredibly well-designed Raspberry Pi CM4 handheld console that looks like a Nintendo Switch Lite “clone”, and that can run Dreamcast and PSP emulators at full speed using RetroPie. The RetroLite CM4 The design includes a 5-inch display, speakers, all buttons, joysticks, and D-PAD controlled via a custom Arduino board, a micro HDMI port to connect an external display, and a 4000 mAh LiPo battery charged over the USB Type-C port, and it seems to work, albeit we are told there’s still some more work to do.

  • Lilbits: TCL’s concept smart glasses, PineNote E Ink tablet, and using the Raspberry Pi 400 as a keyboard
  • “Industrial Pi” Use Cases with Ubuntu and AMD

    DFI’s GHF51 mini industrial-grade motherboard, and the EC90A-GH mini fanless industrial computer, are the world’s first industrial computer products that have passed the Ubuntu IoT hardware certification and are equipped with high-performance AMD processors. The 1.8-inch motherboard of the Ryzen R1000 processor has the same small size as the Raspberry Pi but brings unprecedented powerful computing performance, powerful expansion capabilities, and durability tailored for industrial applications. Combining the online update mechanism of the Ubuntu Certified Hardware and the online application store, the breakthrough development of “Industrial Pi” will redefine the future of the Industrial Internet of Things.