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Open Source Bits and Pieces

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Chrome OS and Portage

A number of folks have been surprised by Google’s decision to transition to Portage – the package management system from the Gentoo Linux distribution – rather than something more popular like Apt (Debian/Ubuntu) or Yum (Fedora). In retrospect, however, this is a logical choice given the needs of Chrome OS. Portage, which was the first package management system I used, offers very fine grained control of the build process, allowing you to easily compile for different chipsets, optimizations and so on. The decision would be more questionable if Chrome OS would be running applications besides the browser, because the volume of applications packaged as a .deb or .rpm is considerably larger than that packaged for Gentoo. As Chrome OS will be running just the browser, however, the move is actually pretty straightforward.

What will be interesting to see, as some commentators have mentioned, is whether the selection will draw more attention to Gentoo, my first Linux distribution and still a favorite.

Open Source and UIs




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Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Delayed Until February 2, Will Bring Linux 4.8, Newer Mesa

If you've been waiting to upgrade your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system to the 16.04.2 point release, which should have hit the streets a couple of days ago, you'll have to wait until February 2. We hate to give you guys bad news, but Canonical's engineers are still working hard these days to port all the goodies from the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) repositories to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is a long-term supported version, until 2019. These include the Linux 4.8 kernel packages and an updated graphics stack based on a newer X.Org Server version and Mesa 3D Graphics Library. Read more