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Open source: why is it such a big deal?

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OSS

What is open source software (OSS)? OSS is any program, application, operating system that is released along with its source code so that you, the user, can change it at will. Or at least have the option to utilise the services of a vendor of your choice. The fact that any other type of software exists is itself strange: would you buy a car that is completely sealed off from repair? No access to the engine, the tail-lights, or the windshield wiper? Even the tyres? One and only one company — the manufacturer of the car — will be able to fix even the smallest problem. Would you buy such a vehicle? Forget buying, given the current competition in vehicles, such a product would not last in the market for even a week.

The fact that people are selling you software that you cannot take to another person to fix, re-package, assist in providing even basic upgrades is in itself wrong and the discussion should end right here, IMHO. But that is a whole different topic and best left to camp-fire discussions; we have neither the will nor the wherewithal to turn an entire industry on its head.

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Security Leftovers

Graphics: Mesa, Vega and ETC2

  • RADV Driver Gets Big Patch Series For 8-bit & 16-bit Arithmetic, 8-bit Storage
    A set of 38 patches have been sent out that wire in support for the VK_KHR_shader_float16_int8, VK_AMD_gpu_shader_half_float, VK_AMD_gpu_shader_int16, and VK_KHR_8bit_storage extensions to the RADV driver within Mesa. Rhys Perry who started contributing to the Nouveau driver stack has been working on this 8-bit and 16-bit arithmetic support for the Radeon Vulkan "RADV" driver. These 8-bit / 16-bit extensions work for AMD Volcanic Islands GPUs and newer. However, the half-floats support needs LLVM 8.0 or newer due to bugs on LLVM 7.
  • BACO Power Savings Support Comes To AMD's Vega 12
    The latest addition to AMD's open-source Linux kernel driver is supporting BACO on Vega 12. With the upcoming Linux 5.1 kernel cycle, BACO is enabled for Vega 10 and Vega 20. BACO is short for Bus Active, Chip Off as a low-power mode whereby most of the GPU is shut-off during idle periods in order to drastically cut the power consumption of the graphics card. BACO is also known as AMD ZeroCore Power mode.
  • Improved ETC2 Texture Compression Lands For Older Haswell/Ivybridge GPUs On Linux
    The previously mentioned work on improving ETC2 support for older generations of Intel graphics has now been mainlined for Mesa 19.1. This work for the ETC2 texture compression is improving the "fake" support for Intel Gen 7 class graphics, the Ivybridge and Haswell era graphics. This work was done by Igalia to address the lack of native ETC2 coverage on these several year old chips. Following this improved implementation for the fake ETC2 support is also wiring up OES_copy_image support for this extension. ETC2 is the lossy texture compression mandated since OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenGL 4.3.

Bitmain SoC Support Coming To Linux 5.1 - Sophon ARMv8 + RISC-V Chip For Deep Learning

Queued for mainlining with the upcoming Linux 5.1 kernel cycle is initial support for Bitmain SoCs. Bitmain is the Chinese company that started out designing ASICs for Bitcoin mining with the Antminer and other products. The company has also been venturing into designs for artificial intelligence and deep learning. With the upcoming Linux 5.1 kernel will be initial support for Bitmain's BM1880 System-on-a-Chip as well as the "Sophon Edge" developer board. Read more

Debian Developers' Updates and Python Bits