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September 2020

Intel: DG1, Media Driver 2020.3 and Key Locker Support

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Intel Sends Out Latest DG1 Linux Patches But Won't Hit Until At Least The 5.11 Kernel

    The sixth spin of Intel DG1 discrete graphics card patches have now been sent out for review, amounting to just about 700 lines of new driver code due to building off the existing DG1 work and more broadly the Gen12/Xe support that's been refined in mainline for months. With these patches it would appear the Intel DG1 is then in good shape under Linux but due to the timing is unlikely to be mainlined until a stable kernel release in early 2021.

    Intel's Gen12 / Xe Graphics as found in Tiger Lake appears to be in good shape with the latest mainline code (soon to be tested at Phoronix) but for the DG1 discrete graphics card there have been patches lingering.

  • Intel Media Driver 2020.3 Released With Gen12 AV1 Decode, Other Improvements

    Just in time for the end of the quarter Intel's open-source multimedia team has released the Media Driver 2020.3 package for the Intel graphics accelerated media encode/decode component on Linux platforms.

    The Intel Media Decode Driver 2020.3 is notable in that it rounds out the Gen12/Xe support. This support is not only for the Tiger Lake support now beginning to appear in shipping notebooks but also for DG1 and upcoming Rocket Lake and SG1 solutions as well.

  • Intel Key Locker Support Added To LLVM - Confirms Presence With Tiger Lake

    Last week on the GNU toolchain side was initial work on supporting Intel Key Locker while this week Key Locker support has come to LLVM.

    Intel Key Locker is a means of encrypting/decrypting data with an AES key without having access to the raw key. Key Locker relies on converting AES keys into handles that are then used in place of the actual key, until revoked by the system. The goal with this feature is for preventing any rogue attackers from obtaining the actual AES keys on the system.

Android Leftovers

Filed under
Android

Benchmarking Firefox 83 Nightly With "Warp" Against Google Chrome On Linux

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

Following last week's news of Firefox Nightly flipping on their new JIT "Warp" update I was eager to run fresh benchmarks of the current Firefox releases compared to Google Chrome under Ubuntu Linux.

Warp was enabled last week for Firefox 83 nightly builds with this "Warp" just-in-time JavaScript compiler update having various improvements in an effort to provide greater responsiveness and faster page load speeds. Numbers cited by Mozilla engineers on their JavaScript/SpiderMonkey team were frequently in the 5~15% range. Even instances like Google Docs load times on Windows was around 20% faster with Warp.

This round of benchmarking was done with Firefox 81, Firefox 82 Beta 3, and Firefox 83 Alpha 1 nightly as of last week after Warp landed. A secondary run of Firefox 83 nightly was also done with WebRender force enabled on Linux. Plus Google Chrome 85 was also tested as the latest stable release.

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Linux-driven COM duo tap i.MX8M Plus

Filed under
Linux

TechNexion’s rugged “EDM-G-IMX8M-PLUS” and “AXON-E-IMX8M-PLUS” modules run Linux on NXP’s 2.3 TOPS i.MX8M Plus with up to 8GB LPDDR4, 16GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, and starter kits. There are also new i.MX8M Mini and Nano EDM modules.

TechNexion has posted product pages for two compute modules that feature NXP’s i.MX8M Plus. The EDM-G-IMX8M-PLUS is essentially the same as the wireless enabled Wandboard IMX8M-Plus-4G module option on the sandwich-style Wandboard IMX8M-Plus SBC announced in August. However, it offers up to 8GB LPDDR4 instead of 4GB. The AXON-E-IMX8M-PLUS provides essentially the same capabilities but in TechNexion’s more rugged, 58 x 37mm AXON form-factor, which was used on the i.MX8M Mini-based AXON-IMX8M-Mini module.

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Red Hat Satellite 6.7.4 has been released

Filed under
Red Hat

We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.7. is generally available as of September 30, 2020.

Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure.

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Tails 4.11 Anonymous OS Released with Tor Browser 10, Extended Persistent Storage

Filed under
Linux

The biggest news in Tails 4.11 is the fact that it comes with the latest Tor Browser 10 anonymous web browser preinstalled, which is based on the newest Mozilla Firefox 78.3 ESR (Extended Support Release) series and includes Tor 0.4.4.5, Tor Launcher 0.2.25, and NoScript 11.0.44.

On top of that, Tails 4.11 updates the Mozilla Thunderbird email client to version 68.12 and extends the Persistent Storage feature to also save the keyboard, language, and other settings from the Welcome Screen. Users will be able to restore these settings when they reinstall Tails, but only after upgrading to version 4.11.

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Nvidia Graphics News

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • AMD FreeSync on a Nvidia GPU?

    It may be a familiar story for a lot of office workers no matter where you live in 2020. Out of the blue, COVID19 showed up, and suddenly working remotely is the new norm – your company either allowing it or encouraging it. I am also in this situation, stuck for about 6 months at home, more or less. And with all changes, there’s positive and negative aspects. In my case, I have lost a comfortable setup in my workplace (multiple monitors, high resolution).

    In order to make the best of working from home, I have purchased an ultra-wide monitor, which happens to be FreeSync compatible as well. But would it actually work on Linux? Especially on a non-AMD GPU configuration?

  • NVIDIA Sends Out Latest Linux Kernel Patches For 1GB THP To Help Boost Performance

    NVIDIA software engineer Zi Yan sent out on Monday his latest "1GB PUD THP" patches in aiming to boost application performance on Linux for software making use of large amounts of RAM.

    This 1GB transparent hugepage support for Linux x86_64 is designed to reduce translation overhead and allow for greater application performance for software with large memory footprints without needing any application changes. NVIDIA's motivation for this work is on the performance front with aiming to boost virtual memory performance via gigantic TLB entries without needing additional changes as imposed by HUGETLBFS pages. The PUD THP support would be disabled by default but can be toggled via sysfs under /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/.

  • NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver Moves To 455 Series For Linux

    NVIDIA's Linux Vulkan beta driver build has moved from the 450 series that it's been on for a while to the current 455 branch.

    Earlier this month NVIDIA shipped the 455.23.04 Linux beta driver for RTX 30 series support being most notable for the R455 series. But there are also various other underlying improvements too in the jump from 450 to 455 like a new VkMemoryType that will help out some games, numerous fixes, support for the NGX Updater, and VDPAU additions.

  • NVIDIA adds Ampere support to their Vulkan Beta Driver with a new release

    NVIDIA have pushed out a fresh update to their developer-focused Vulkan Beta Driver series, here's the highlights and what's changed.

    For starters it's now been rebased on top of their mainline 455 driver branch, which brings with it Ampere 30xx series support. So for anyone truly needing this series for all the brand-new Vulkan extensions and other Beta features, you should be good to go.

Games: OBS Studio, Arcane Fortune, American Truck Simulator - Colorado and More

Filed under
Gaming
  • OBS Studio adds in better noise suppression thanks to RNNoise in the 26.0 release out now

    Free and open source video recording and live streaming software OBS Studio version 26.0 is out now.

    Pretty much all you need to get going with video content, OBS Studio being cross-platform and open source opened up a lot of options for Linux users when it arrived a few years ago. It's been great to see it flourish.

  • PC Gaming Setups for Windows and Linux

    What is the perfect setup for PC Gaming on the software side? Windows? Linux? or Both? Let's explore all the possibilities.

  • Grand strategy empire builder 'Arcane Fortune' has a new release and it went open source

    Arcane Fortune is a game we briefly highlighted at the start of August as one that is inspired by the likes of Civilization, SimCity and Dwarf Fortress and it's getting bigger again.

    Quite an interesting experience already, with a lot of features and gameplay already there. You can even play it directly in your terminal - if you wish. However, it does also have a "proper" version that uses SDL2 with mouse support. With a new release that went up on September 27, not only has it pulled in new features, it's also now properly open source. The original release was under a creative commons license but now they've moved the code over to the AGPL.

  • Get an early look at the Million Dollar Highway in American Truck Simulator - Colorado

    SCS Software will be launching the American Truck Simulator - Colorado DLC at some point and while work goes on they've released a new teaser.

    Here's one for you truckers, as Colorado has what some say is one of the most beautiful roads in America with the 'Million Dollar Highway' and it's going to be featured in the DLC. A pretty long stretch of road that runs from Bernalillo, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado in the western United States. Sounds like the perfect place to go for a drive.

  • Episodic horror novel Scarlet Hollow sees a free first episode, Kickstarter soon for more

    Black Tabby Games recently released the first episode of Scarlet Hollow, a horror visual novel and choice-driven adventure game set in the mountains of Appalachia. After the initial release, they put up a Linux version too!

    It's made by the award-winning graphic novelist Abby Howard whose previously works include the comics of 2013: The Last Halloween, Junior Scientist Power Hour and The Last Halloween - all of which had very successful Kickstarter campaigns. Scarlet Hollow will have hand-drawn backgrounds mixed with animated sprites together with a "complex relationship system to bring to life an immersive world of charming (and terrifying) characters".

  • Great news for Transport Fever 2 fans as Vulkan support is coming

    Transport Fever 2 is a much loved transport sim released with same-day Linux support in December 2019, and it's only going to keep getting better.

    Gathering over seven thousand user reviews it has a Very Positive rating on Steam, so it's clear that this second edition from Urban Games and Good Shepherd Entertainment has hit the mark. It has a lot of features, quite a lot of content and graphically it looks pretty good too.

    However, it has just like the first game suffered some performance problems. They're aware, they've done a few updates to fix parts but more is needed. What's exciting here is that they announced in a post about upcoming macOS support that Linux and Windows will be getting an upgrade with Vulkan!

  • A bit like Stardew in space, One Lonely Outpost is fully funded and on the way to Linux

    Space, sci-fi and farming - what more could you want? One Lonely Outpost is like Stardew Valley for fans who want something a little bit more out there.

    The Kickstarter campaign which is now over ended on $123,195 pledged so there's clearly a lot of interest and that was way more than their $80,000 initial goal. Linux support is confirmed, and is listed very clearly for it too.

More in Tux Machines

EasyOS Dunfell 2.6.1 released for x86_64 PC

Yesterday announced EasyOS Dunfell 2.6.1 aarch64 for the Raspberry Pi4: https://bkhome.org/news/202101/easyos-dunfell-261-released-for-the-raspberry-pi4.html Today it is the turn for EasyOS Dunfell-series 2.6.1 64-bit on the PC. This is the first official release in this series. Same packages compiled in OpenEmbedded. Latest SeaMonkey 2.53.6. A different kernel for the PC build, 5.10.11. Read all about it here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/easyos/amd64/releases/dunfell/2.6.1/release-notes-2.6.1.htm As stated in the release notes, all three streams are being sync'ed to the same version number. The Buster-series 2.6.1 will probably be uploaded tomorrow. I have to compile the latest 5.4.x kernel, and SeaMonkey 2.53.6. As to which you would choose for the PC, it is like asking "which is better, strawberry icecream or chocolate icecream?" Read more

Top 20 Uses of Linux

The Linux OS and its related distros and flavors have transformed it from hardcore software into an industrial brand. Even if you are not a fan of it, the Linux OS might be as common as the air you breathe if you closely analyze your day to day interactive activities. Almost all the modern technologies that transform and innovate the tech industry have a Linux OS DNA imprinted on them. Those that are yet to be branded with their innovative uniqueness and recognition are waiting in line for the famed chance. Therefore, you might boldly claim that the Linux OS does not run your life, but the world around you cannot avoid the flirty pursuits of this open-source and free software. Nowadays, almost anything that can be described as cool is either pursuing Linux or is being pursued by Linux. It is the perfect symbiotic relationship in a world that tries to find a balance in technology and innovation. This article explores the awesomeness and outreach of the Linux OS in the world around us. It might even be an eye-opener for some of us to start taking our Linux skills to the next level. Top500 quotes Linux as the powerhouse or engine behind five-hundred fastest computers worldwide. I do not know of the speed of the computer composing this article or whether it qualifies to be among the listed five-hundred fastest computers worldwide. However, one thing is certain; it is 100% Linux DNA. On this note, let us start parading the top 20 uses of Linux. Read more

parted-3.4 released [stable]

Parted 3.4 has been released.  This release includes many bug fixes and new features. 
Here is Parted's home page: 
    http://www.gnu.org/software/parted/ 
For a summary of all changes and contributors, see: 
  https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/parted.git/log/?h=v3.4 
or run this command from a git-cloned parted directory: 
  git shortlog v3.3..v3.4 (appended below) 
Here are the compressed sources and a GPG detached signature[*]: 
  http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parted/parted-3.4.tar.xz 
  http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parted/parted-3.4.tar.xz.sig 
Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth: 
  https://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html 
[*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the 
.sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file 
and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this: 
  gpg --verify parted-3.4.tar.xz.sig 
If that command fails because you don't have the required public key, 
then run this command to import it: 
  gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 117E8C168EFE3A7F 
and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command. 
This release was bootstrapped with the following tools: 
  Autoconf 2.69 
  Automake 1.16.1 
  Gettext 0.21 
  Gnulib v0.1-4131-g252c4d944a 
  Gperf 3.1 
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Kernel: LWN's Latest and IO_uring Patches

  • Resource limits in user namespaces

    User namespaces provide a number of interesting challenges for the kernel. They give a user the illusion of owning the system, but must still operate within the restrictions that apply outside of the namespace. Resource limits represent one type of restriction that, it seems, is proving too restrictive for some users. This patch set from Alexey Gladkov attempts to address the problem by way of a not-entirely-obvious approach. Consider the following use case, as stated in the patch series. Some user wants to run a service that is known not to fork within a container. As a way of constraining that service, the user sets the resource limit for the number of processes to one, explicitly preventing the process from forking. That limit is global, though, so if this user tries to run two containers with that service, the second one will exceed the limit and fail to start. As a result, our user becomes depressed and considers a career change to goat farming. Clearly, what is needed is a way to make at least some resource limits apply on per-container basis; then each container could run its service with the process limit set to one and everybody will be happy (except perhaps the goats).

  • Fast commits for ext4

    The Linux 5.10 release included a change that is expected to significantly increase the performance of the ext4 filesystem; it goes by the name "fast commits" and introduces a new, lighter-weight journaling method. Let us look into how the feature works, who can benefit from it, and when its use may be appropriate. Ext4 is a journaling filesystem, designed to ensure that filesystem structures appear consistent on disk at all times. A single filesystem operation (from the user's point of view) may require multiple changes in the filesystem, which will only be coherent after all of those changes are present on the disk. If a power failure or a system crash happens in the middle of those operations, corruption of the data and filesystem structure (including unrelated files) is possible. Journaling prevents corruption by maintaining a log of transactions in a separate journal on disk. In case of a power failure, the recovery procedure can replay the journal and restore the filesystem to a consistent state. The ext4 journal includes the metadata changes associated with an operation, but not necessarily the related data changes. Mount options can be used to select one of three journaling modes, as described in the ext4 kernel documentation. data=ordered, the default, causes ext4 to write all data before committing the associated metadata to the journal. It does not put the data itself into the journal. The data=journal option, instead, causes all data to be written to the journal before it is put into the main filesystem; as a side effect, it disables delayed allocation and direct-I/O support. Finally, data=writeback relaxes the constraints, allowing data to be written to the filesystem after the metadata has been committed to the journal. Another important ext4 feature is delayed allocation, where the filesystem defers the allocation of blocks on disk for data written by applications until that data is actually written to disk. The idea is to wait until the application finishes its operations on the file, then allocate the actual number of data blocks needed on the disk at once. This optimization limits unneeded operations related to short-lived, small files, batches large writes, and helps ensure that data space is allocated contiguously. On the other hand, the writing of data to disk might be delayed (with the default settings) by a minute or so. In the default data=ordered mode, where the journal entry is written only after flushing all pending data, delayed allocation might thus delay the writing of the journal. To assure data is actually written to disk, applications use the fsync() or fdatasync() system calls, causing the data (and the journal) to be written immediately.

  • MAINTAINERS truth and fiction

    Since the release of the 5.5 kernel in January 2020, there have been almost 87,000 patches from just short of 4,600 developers merged into the mainline repository. Reviewing all of those patches would be a tall order for even the most prolific of kernel developers, so decisions on patch acceptance are delegated to a long list of subsystem maintainers, each of whom takes partial or full responsibility for a specific portion of the kernel. These maintainers are documented in a file called, surprisingly, MAINTAINERS. But the MAINTAINERS file, too, must be maintained; how well does it reflect reality? The MAINTAINERS file doesn't exist just to give credit to maintainers; developers make use of it to know where to send patches. The get_maintainer.pl script automates this process by looking at the files modified by a patch and generating a list of email addresses to send it to. Given that misinformation in this file can send patches astray, one would expect it to be kept up-to-date. Recently, your editor received a suggestion from Jakub Kicinski that there may be insights to be gleaned from comparing MAINTAINERS entries against activity in the real world. A bit of Python bashing later, a new analysis script was born.

  • Experimental Patches Allow For New Ioctls To Be Built Over IO_uring

    IO_uring continues to be one of the most exciting technical innovations in the Linux kernel in recent years not only for more performant I/O but also opening up other doors for new Linux innovations. IO_uring has continued adding features since being mainlined in 2019 and now the newest proposed feature is the ability to build new ioctls / kernel interfaces atop IO_uring. The idea of supporting kernel ioctls over IO_uring has been brought up in the past and today lead IO_uring developer Jens Axboe sent out his initial patches. These initial patches are considered experimental and sent out as "request for comments" - they provide the infrastructure to provide a file private command type with IO_uring handling the passing of the arbitrary data.