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Project crowdfunds effort to bring Allwinner VPU support to the Linux kernel

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Linux

Free Electrons changed its name to Bootlin, and funded a Kickstarter campaign to bring support for the Allwinner VPU to the Linux kernel, building upon earlier work done in collaboration with the Linux Sunxi community called sunxi-cedrus.

It’s been a long hard slog to improve Linux support on Allwinner’s ARM-based SoCs, and now a French development firm called Bootlin wants to plug in the last piece of the puzzle. Bootlin has successfully crowdfunded a project to upstream support for the Allwinner video processing unit (VPU) into the Linux kernel. Over $30,000 has been raised on Kickstarter — well over the $21,566 goal — and there are 37 days left to expand the project on its way to a completion goal of June.

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MX Linux 17: An upgraded distro made for beginners

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Linux

There are tons of operating systems coming out all the time, from free laptop systems like EasyPeasy to Manjaro, Mandriva, and Kubuntu. But all of them have their share of kinks.

Naturally, many of us are scared of change, and not everyone is an early adopter when it comes to these kinds of things. While operating systems like MacOS and Chrome OS still claim larger market shares in 2018, it bears mentioning that newer operating systems have a lot to offer.

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Linux On Nintendo Switch? Hackers Show That It’s Possible

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Linux
Gaming

Every popular hardware in today’s times that tries to bind users to a particular software or operating system, becomes a target of hackers. They make continuous attempts to find ways to exploit the security measures. Along the similar lines, hacker group Fail0verflow has claimed to have found a Nintendo Switch hack.

The group has posted the picture of Switch booting a Debian GNU/Linux installation. The picture also shows a serial adapter connected to one Joy-Con docks. Notably, Fail0verflow is the same group that hacked Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3.

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The best Linux distro for gaming in 2018

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Linux
Gaming

A Linux gaming distro, as the name suggests, is tailored for avid gamers. As such it usually comes bundled with games to play, as well as drivers for graphics cards, games controllers and so forth.

There aren't many Linux distros specifically made for gaming. This isn't because Linux users dislike games, but rather it’s due to the fact that most modern Linux distros support virtually every type of recent graphics card anyway. As such, any regular Linux distro can easily be turned into a ‘game station’.

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Razer doesn’t care about Linux

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Linux
Gaming

Razer is a vendor that makes high-end gaming hardware, including laptops, keyboards and mice. I opened a ticket with Razor a few days ago asking them if they wanted to support the LVFS project by uploading firmware and sharing the firmware update protocol used. I offered to upstream any example code they could share under a free license, or to write the code from scratch given enough specifications to do so. This is something I’ve done for other vendors, and doesn’t take long as most vendor firmware updaters all do the same kind of thing; there are only so many ways to send a few kb of data to USB devices. The fwupd project provides high-level code for accessing USB devices, so yet-another-update-protocol is no big deal. I explained all about the LVFS, and the benefits it provided to a userbase that is normally happy to vote using their wallet to get hardware that’s supported on the OS of their choice.

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Linux 4.16 Now in Release Candidate Mode

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Linux
  • Linux 4.16-rc1

    Two weeks have passed, -rc1 is out there, and the merge window is thus over.

    I don't want to jinx anything, but things certainly look a lot better
    than with 4.15. We have no (known) nasty surprises pending, and there
    were no huge issues during the merge window. Fingers crossed that this
    stays fairly calm and sane.

    As usual, I'm only appending my mergelog, because while this is not
    shaping up to be a particularly huge release, none of our recent
    releases have been small enough to describe with the shortlogs I use
    for later rc's.

    The actual diff is dominated by drivers, and once again the GPU
    patches stand out - this time some AMD GPU header files. Happily, this
    time the bulk of those lines is actually *removal* due to cleanups and
    getting rid of some unused headers.

    But there really is changes all over. Drivers may be the bulk (GPU,
    networking, staging, media, sound, infiniband, scsi and misc smaller
    subsystems), but we have a fair amount of arch updates (spectre and
    meltdown fixes for non-x86 architectures, but also some further x86
    work, and just general arch updates). And there's networking,
    filesystem updates, documentation, tooling..

    There's a little bit for everybody, in other words.

    Go out and test,

    Linus

  • Linux 4.16-rc1 Kernel Released With Many Changes

    Just like clockwork, the first release candidate of Linux 4.16 is now available.

    Linux 4.16-rc1 was tagged just minutes ago and remains under the "Fearless Coyote" codename that has been happening for several cycles now. Over the Linux v4.15 stable release, the Linux 4.16 merge window up to RC1 brings 11340 files changed, 491295 insertions(+), 305085 deletions(-). Yes, that's another hearty merge window.

    To learn about all of the changes for this next kernel version, see my thorough Linux 4.16 feature overview that I finished up this morning. Linux 4.16 is bringing a lot more work on Spectre/Meltdown mitigation, AMDGPU DC multi-display synchronization, better Intel Cannonlake support, VirtualBox Guest Driver is now mainline, many CPU/scalability improvements, AMD SEV encrypted virtualization support for KVM, file-system improvements, new ARM board support, and a wide range of other improvements as outlined in the aforelinked article.

  • A Look At The Plethora Of Linux 4.16 Kernel Features & Changes

    After the lengthy Linux 4.15 kernel cycle, the past two weeks have marked the Linux 4.16 merge window. Yet again it's been another heavy feature period for the kernel. There is still a lot of mitigation work going on for most CPU architectures surrounding Spectre and also Meltdown, the open-source graphics drivers have continued getting better, various CPU improvements are present, the VirtualBox Guest driver was mainlined, and dozens of other notable changes for Linux 4.16. Take a look.

    Here's our usual kernel feature overview from our original reporting the past two weeks in closely monitoring the Linux kernel mailing list and Git repository. Linus Torvalds is expected to mark the end of the merge window today by releasing Linux 4.16-rc1.

Linux: Encryption, AMDVLK and Intel DRM Driver

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Linux
  • diff -u: Adding Encryption To printk()

    A patch from Dan Aloni recently came in to create the option to encrypt printk() output. This would make all dmesg information completely inaccessible to users, including hostile attackers. His idea was that the less information available to hostile users, the better.

    The problem with this, as Steven Rostedt pointed out, was that it was essentially just a way for device makers and Linux distributions to shut out users from meaningfully understanding what their systems were doing. On the other hand, Steven said, he wouldn't be opposed to including an option like that if a device maker or Linux distribution actually would find it legitimately useful.

  • AMDVLK Driver Updated With New Extension, Better Geometry Shader Support

    The AMD developers working on their official, cross-platform Vulkan driver have carried out another weekly update to their AMDVLK public source tree.

    This week the updates to the AMDVLK open-source driver are fairly interesting. First up there is now VK_EXT_external_memory_host support. Coincidentally, this week RADV also wired in this extension. EXT_external_memory_host is used for importing host allocations and host-mapped foreign device memory to become Vulkan memory objects.

  • Selectable Platform Support Proposed Again For Intel's DRM Driver

    It seems like every few years or so comes a patch series proposing to allow the Intel DRM driver to limit its platform support in the name of saving a few bytes from the kernel build. This week the latest "selectable platform support" patches are out there.

Devices: ROS, Taicenn, Mycroft Mark

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Linux
Hardware
  • Your first robot: The controller [3/5]

    This is the third blog post in this series about creating your first robot with ROS and Ubuntu Core. In the previous post you were introduced to the Robot Operating System (ROS), and got your robot moving by ROSifying one of the CamJam worksheets. Today we're going to move beyond the CamJam worksheets, and work toward having our robot remotely controlled by focusing on our wireless controller: getting data out of it and into ROS messages.

  • Tough, Atom-based box PC supports EtherCAT

    Taicenn’s Linux-ready “TBOX-4000” industrial box PC provides an Atom D2550, dual GbE ports with EtherCAT support, mSATA, optional wireless, and shock, vibration, and extended temperature resistance.

    Shenzhen based Taicenn Technology has launched a rugged industrial computer that runs Linux or Windows on an old school Intel Atom D2550 “Cedar Trail” processor with dual 1.86GHz cores, 640MHz Intel graphics, and a separate Intel NM10 controller chipset. The TBOX-4000’s D2550 chip has the advantage of being reasonably power efficient (10W TDP), leading to the computer’s under 20W total consumption. It’s also likely to make this computer more affordable than most, although no pricing was listed.

  • Developing an Open Source Voice Assistant: Interview with Mycroft AI’s Steve Penrod

    Mycroft is an industry first. Where Amazon Echo and Google Home are unsurprisingly closed-lipped about their data gathering, we know that recordings gathered from these devices are stored for later use (whatever that might be). Mycroft Mark II, by comparison, is an open source voice platform.

    This means that users of the Mycroft platform can opt into sharing their usage data and designers can then use that data to learn more about demographics, language, and voice recognition.

    On the other hand, users could choose to keep their data private.

    What we know about Mycroft Mark II's hardware is that it has a Xilinx quad-core processor, specifically a Zynq UltraScale+ EG MPSoC. It has an array of six far-field PDM-based MEMs microphones and has hardware acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) for beamforming and noise reduction. It has stereo sound with dual 2" drivers (10 Watts), a 4" IPS LCD touchscreen, BT 2.1+EDR and BLE 4.2 Bluetooth In, and single-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz).

Linux Plumbers Networking Track CFP, Discussion About Childcare in Linux/FOSS/Other Conferences

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Linux
  • Linux Plumbers Networking Track CFP

    Linux networking maintainer David Miller has put out a call for proposals for a two-day networking track at this year's Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC). "We are seeking talks of 40 minutes in length, accompanied by papers of 2 to 10 pages in length." The deadline for proposals is July 11. LPC will be held November 13-15 in Vancouver and the networking track will be held the first two days.

  • Want more inclusivity at your conference? Add childcare.

    Providing conference childcare isn’t difficult or expensive, and it makes a huge difference for parents of young children who might want to come. If your community wants to (visibly!) support work-life balance and family obligations — which, by the way, still disproportionately impact women — I urge you to look into providing event childcare. I don’t have kids myself — but a lot of my friends do, and someday I might. I’ve seen too many talented colleagues silently drop out of the conference scene and fade out of the community because they needed to choose between logistics for the family they loved and logistics for the work they loved — and there are simple things we can do to make it easier for them to stay.

Linux and the Linux Foundation

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Linux
  • KVM For Linux 4.16 Brings AMD SEV, Exposing More AVX-512 Features To Guests

    The Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) updates have finally been submitted for the Linux 4.16 kernel, which were delayed due to an illness by the subsystem's maintainer.

  • OPNFV Verified Program aims to ease NFV adoption

    The​ OPNFV Project​ recently announced the OPNFV Verified Program (OVP)​ in an effort to ease the adoption of commercial network functions virtualization (NFV) products. The purpose of the program, according to OPNFV, is to help operators establish entry criteria for their proof of concepts (POCs) and request for proposals (RFPs).

  • Subtree Debuts Dotmesh and Dothub for Cloud Native Data Management

    The startup raises $10 million in a bid to bring more control to Docker and Kubernetes cloud-native application data management.

    [...]

    While dotmesh is intended to help enable data control in a cloud-native environment, the project is not currently part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The CNCF itself is a Linux Foundation effort and is home to Kubernetes and multiple other cloud-native open-source projects. Marsden said that while dotmesh is not currently part of the CNCF, the work his company is doing is sympathetic to the goals of the CNCF, which are to build cloud-agnostic software.

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