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Kernel: Latest From Phoronix and From LWN (Outside the Week-Long Paywall Now)

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  • AMDVLK 2021.Q2.2 Brings Minor Improvements But No Vulkan Ray-Tracing Yet - Phoronix

    AMD engineers today published AMDVLK 2021.Q2.2 as their latest open-source public code drop of their official Linux Vulkan driver. 

    While this month AMD published a new Radeon Software packaged driver build with Vulkan ray-tracing support for Linux systems, that driver is binary-only. Now as their first AMDVLK update since that milestone, unfortunately, the ray-tracing support hasn't made it into this open-source driver yet. 

  • Linux 5.13 Graphics Drivers Are Exciting From Intel Alder Lake S Bring-Up To AMD FreeSync HDMI - Phoronix

    The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) kernel graphics driver changes have been submitted and merged for the ongoing Linux 5.13 kernel merge window and it brings with it many changes, especially for these open-source Intel and AMD Radeon drivers. 

  • Rust heads into the kernel?

    In a lengthy message to the linux-kernel mailing list, Miguel Ojeda "introduced" the Rust for Linux project. It was likely not the first time that most kernel developers had heard of the effort; there was an extensive discussion of the project at the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference, for example. It has also been raised before on the list. Now, the project is looking for feedback from the kernel community about its plans, thus the RFC posting on April 14.

  • Btrfs on zoned block devices

    Zoned block devices have some unfamiliar characteristics that result from compromises made in the name of higher storage density. They are divided into zones, some or all of which do not support random access for write operations. Instead, these "sequential" zones can only be written in order, from the first block to the last. This constraint poses a new challenge for filesystems, which are normally designed with the assumption that storage blocks can be written in any order. It is thus not surprising that zoned-device support in mainstream filesystems in Linux has been slow in coming; that is changing, though, with the addition of support for zoned block devices to Btrfs in Linux 5.12.

    The only way to overwrite data in a zoned drive's sequential zone is to reset the write pointer to the beginning of the zone, which immediately erases the entire content of that zone. On the other hand, random read access is fully supported. Many zoned devices also provide some "conventional" zones that support random read and write operations. Zoned devices were first seen in the form of shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives; the kernel has low-level support for these devices. Zoned devices using flash storage also exist; they trade flexibility for reduced hardware complexity. These devices were added to the NVMe standard in the form of the Zoned Namespaces (ZNS) command set, which has been supported in Linux since the 5.9 release.

    Work has been going on for a number of years to support zoned drives in Linux filesystems. Copy-on-write filesystems should be easier to adapt, as they are designed to avoid overwriting data blocks. Among the existing Linux filesystems, F2FS already supports zoned devices, and allows normal operations on such devices (but requires that the drive provide at least one conventional zone). In addition, zonefs, a special filesystem for zoned devices, was included in the 5.6 kernel. Using zonefs requires applications designed for this purpose, as the filesystem does not support the creation of normal files. Some types of applications do fit the model well, however, for example those with log-structured data.

  • Running code within another process's address space

    One of the key resources that defines a process is its address space — the set of mappings that determines what any specific memory address means within that process. An address space is normally private to the process it belongs to, but there are situations where one process needs to make changes to another process's memory; an interactive debugger would be one case in point. The ptrace() system call makes such changes possible, but it is slow and not always easy to use, so there has been a longstanding quest for better alternatives. One possibility, process_vm_exec() from Andrei Vagin, was recently posted for review.

    In truth, alternatives to ptrace() already exist for some tasks. The cross-memory attach system calls were merged for 3.2 in 2011 as process_vm_readv() and process_vm_writev(). As their names would suggest, they allow one process to read from and write to another process's memory. Those system calls satisfy many needs, but fall short when even more invasive access is needed to another process's address space. Sometimes, it seems, there is no alternative to running code within the target address space.

    Vagin's patch set gives a couple of examples of where this access would be useful. User-mode kernels, such as User-mode Linux and gVisor, have to be able to intercept system calls made by a sandboxed process and, possibly, run them in the address space of that process. The Checkpoint/Restore in User space project needs to reach deeply within a process to extract all of the information needed to checkpoint it. Both use cases are currently handled with ptrace() but, once again, better and faster alternatives are wanted.

More in Tux Machines

Kernel: Graphics and Linux M1 Support

  • AMD + Valve Focusing On P-State / CPPC Driver With Schedutil For Better Linux Efficiency - Phoronix

    As reported at the start of August, AMD and Valve have been working on Linux CPU performance/frequency scaling improvements with the Steam Deck being one of the leading motivators. As speculated at that time, their work would likely revolve around use of ACPI CPPC found with Zen 2 CPUs and newer. Published last week was that AMD P-State driver for Linux systems indeed now leveraging CPPC information. AMD formally presented this new driver yesterday at XDC2021.

  • DRM Driver Posted For AI Processing Unit - Initially Focused On Mediatek SoCs - Phoronix

    BayLibre developer Alexandre Bailon has posted a "request for comments" of a new open-source Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver for AI Processing Unit (APU) functionality. Initially the driver is catering to Mediatek SoCs with an AI co-processor but this DRM "APU" driver could be adapted to other hardware too. Alexandre Bailon sums up this DRM AI Processing Unit driver as "a DRM driver that implements communication between the CPU and an APU. This uses VirtIO buffer to exchange messages. For the data, we allocate a GEM object and map it using IOMMU to make it available to the APU. The driver is relatively generic, and should work with any SoC implementing hardware accelerator for AI if they use support remoteproc and VirtIO."

  • Apple M1 USB Type-C Linux Support Code Sent Out For Testing - Phoronix

    he latest patches sent out for review/testing on the long mission for enabling Apple M1 support on Linux is the USB Type-C connectivity. Sven Peter has sent out the initial USB Type-C enablement work for the Apple ACE1/2 chips used by Apple M1 systems. In turn this Apple design is based on the TI TPS6598x IP but various differences. The Linux kernel support is being added onto the existing TIPD driver.

Proprietary Security Issues

Audiocasts/Videos: GNU World Order, Sioyek, LUTs

today's howtos

  • How to Install VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye)

    As we all know that VirtualBox is a free virtualization tool which allows us to install and run multiple virtual machines of different distributions at the same time. VirtualBox is generally used at desktop level where geeks used to create test environment inside the virtual machines. Recently Debian 11 (bullseye) is released with latest updates and improved features. In this post, we will cover how to install VirtualBox and its extension pack on Debian 11 system.

  • How To Install Opera Browser on Debian 11 - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Opera Browser on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Opera is one of the most popular cross-platform web browsers in the world. Opera offers many useful features such as free VPN, AdBlocker, integrated messengers, and private mode help you browse securely and smoothly. Share files instantly between your desktop and mobile browsers and experience web 3.0 with a free crypto wallet. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Opera Web Browser on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

  • Get your Own URL Shortening Service With YOURLS and Raspberry PI

    Online URL shortening are services able to transform a long, hard to manage url into a shorter one, usually composed by a domain ana a short casual string (the most famous being Bitly, Adfly and Shortest). With YOURLS and Raspberry PI you can create your own, private shortening service In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to install and configure YOURLS with a Raspberry PI computer board and publish it. Please note that this can’t be performed with a Raspberry PI Pico as it is a microncotroller and not a Linux computer. YOURLS stands for Your Own URL Shortener. It is an open source software, running on a LAMP server and using a small set of PHP scripts that allow you to run your own URL shortening service.

  • How to play Orcs Must Die! 2 on linux

    Create your own, self hosted url shortener service with YOURLS and Raspberry PI. Step-by-step guide to have it working in a very few time

  • Configure External RAID on Ubuntu/Centos/RedHat - Unixcop

    RAID: Stands For Redundant Array Of Independent Disks (Hardware Raid) or Redundant Array Of Inexpensive Disks (Software Raid) and that is technology that keeps data redundant to avoid data loss if any disk falls or is corrupted .

  • Don’t like Visual Studio Code? Try these 5 Alternatives Apps - [Ed: Some of the 'alternatives' are also Microsoft and also proprietary software. Rather awful list...]

    When it comes to programming, we are going to need a plain text editor that allows us to easily modify files or take notes. One of the most complete and professional tools is Visual Studio Code. Although this Microsoft program is not indicated for users with little experience, so, if it is our case, surely we want to know what the best alternatives are. Anyone can download Virtual Studio Code, since it is completely free, but without a doubt, it has been designed to be used by programmers. In this field we find many other good options for professional work, especially if we are interested in knowing anything about a program developed by Microsoft.

  • How to Access BBSes in Linux Using Telnet

    In the '80s and early '90s, the most popular way to get online in the US was through Bulletin Board Systems or BBSes. While they're nowhere near as numerous as they were during their mid-90s heyday, there are still hobbyists operating these systems scattered around the world. And you can access them from Linux, without a dial-up modem.

  • How to solve the undefined variable/index/offset PHP error - Anto ./ Online

    This guide will you how to solve the notice undefined variable, index, or offset error that you are experiencing in PHP. This error is easy to spot in the warning and error message logs. Consequently, you will typically see a descriptive error message like this...