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The Systemd Saga, Into the Vortex, and a Minty RC

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In today's Linux news, Katherine Noyes slogs the blogosphere in search of alternatives to systemd, with little success it seems. Jesse Smiths falls into VortexBox 2.3, a distribution for music servers and jukeboxes. Jamie Watson reviews Mint 17 RC and a user survey puts Ubuntu ahead of Red Hat in the OpenStack race.

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More in Tux Machines

Kernel: Moorestown, Nintendo 64, Corellium and Oracle

  • Linux Says Farewell To Intel's Smartphone Attempts With Clearing Out Moorestown / Medfield

    Not only are some old ARM platforms and some obsolete, obscure CPU architectures on the chopping block for some spring cleaning in the Linux kernel, but the Intel Moorestown and Medfield "Mobile Internet Device" platforms are being phased out from the Linux kernel this spring as well. Moorestown was Intel's early Atom platform geared for handheld mobile Internet devices and smartphones.

  • With Linux 5.12 Set To Boot On The Nintendo 64, The N64 Controller Driver Is Now Queued - Phoronix

    A few days ago we wrote about Linux 5.12 to see support for the Nintendo 64 more than two decades after that MIPS-based video game console first shipped. While the practicality of Linux on the Nintendo 64 is particularly limited given only 4~8MB of RAM and the MIPS64 NEC VR4300 clocked under 100MHz, it's going upstream and now the N64 controller driver is also queued for this next kernel cycle. The code talked about a few days ago was getting Linux to boot on the Nintendo 64. With those 200+ lines of code in the MIPS architecture space is enough to get Linux booting on the Nintendo 64 when using a Flashcart device to be able to load the arbitrary code onto the game console.

  • Corellium to offer cloud-based iOS virtualisation to individual accounts

    The company, which only recently ported Ubuntu Linux to work on Apple Silicon Macs, has announced on their blog that they will now offer their virtualisation tools for iOS to individual accounts on their CORSEC platform. Previously, only enterprise accounts could access the service, while individuals could only access virtual Android devices.

  • Getting started with SystemTap on Oracle Linux

    There are a wealth of tools available for tracing and debugging the Linux kernel on a live system. These include Kprobes, Ftrace, trace-cmd, Dtrace, eBPF, SystemTap, crash, gdb, etc. Among these tools, few allow the user to develop and re-use scripts that can filter events and collect data more than just function arguments and returned values. Dtrace, eBPF and SystemTap are the ones among these tools that do.

  • Anticipating Your Memory Needs

    The Linux kernel organizes physical memory in units of pages of a certain size called base pages. For example, the default base page size when running on Intel processors is 4KB. These pages are allocated to user and kernel tasks as they need memory. When processing large amounts of data from slower disk devices, the Linux kernel uses a page cache to cache contents, like disk blocks, to speed up access to frequently accessed data. See this article for more details on how various caches are used by the Linux kernel. This has the positive effect of improving overall system performance but the memory for page cache must come from the same memory pool that is used by rest of the system. The kernel allocates all the memory not currently in use to the page cache. As the kernel needs to allocate more memory for other tasks, it can reclaim pages from the page cache since the contents in the page cache can be restored from disk blocks when the need arises. Reclamation happens as the kernel starts to run low on free memory pages. Individual memory pages are the base pages. As pages are reclaimed, any contiguous base pages are grouped together (compaction) to form higher order pages. Higher order pages are groups of 2^n physically contiguous pages where n is the page order. Higher order pages can then be used to satisfy higher order page allocation requests, for example if an allocation request is for 8 pages, that allocation will be made from order 3 page group. The kernel recovers physical memory in the event of a shortage by page reclamation and/or compaction. Both methods are implemented in a similar fashion. As the amount of free memory falls below the low threshold (watermark), memory pages are reclaimed asynchronously via kswapd or compacted via kcompactd. If the free memory continues to fall below a minimum watermark, any allocation request is forced to perform reclamation/compaction synchronously before it can be fulfilled. The latter synchronous method is referred to as the "direct" path and is considerably slower owing to being stalled waiting for memory to be reclaimed. The corresponding stall in the caller results in a non-deterministic increased latency for the operation it is performing and is typically perceived as an impact on performance.

Debian: Ease of Use, Lomiri and More

  • Thomas Lange: Making Debian available

    This is the subject of an interesting thread on the debian-devel mailing list. It started with ".. The current policy of hiding other versions of Debian is limiting the adoption of your OS by people like me.." It seems that this user managed to contact us developers and give us some important information how we can improve the user experience. The following discussion shows that all our users need non-free firmware to get their wireless network cards run. Do we provide such installation images for our users? Sure. We build them regularly, host them on our servers, we also sign the hash sum with our official signing key. But we hide them very well and still call them unofficial. Why? I would like to have a more positive name for those images. Ubuntu has the HWE (Hardware Enablement) kernel. Maybe Debian firmware enablement images?

  • UBports: Packaging of Lomiri Operating Environment for Debian (part 04)

    Before and during FOSDEM 2020, I agreed with the people (developers, supporters, managers) of the UBports Foundation to package the Unity8 Operating Environment for Debian. Since 27th Feb 2020, Unity8 has now become Lomiri. Things got delayed a little recently as my main developer contact on the upstream side was on sick leave for a while. Fortunately, he has now fully recovered and work is getting back on track.

  • Debian's Gunnar Wolf: Back to school... As a student

    Although it was a much larger step when I made a similar announcement seven years ago, when I started my Specialization, it is still a big challenge ahead, and I am very happy to pursue this: I have been admitted to a PhD program at UNAM, the university I have worked at for almost 20 years, and one of the top universities in Latin America. What program will I be part of? Doctorado en Ciencia e Ingeniería de la Computación (Computer Science and Engineering Doctorate… Quite a broad program name, yes, sounds like anything goes).

  • [Debian-based] SteamTinkerLaunch – SparkyLinux

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: SteamTinkerLaunch

The first release candidate of NomadBSD 1.4 is now available!

We are pleased to present the first release candidate of NomadBSD 1.4. Read more

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