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Linux 4.15

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After a release cycle that was unusual in so many (bad) ways, this
last week was really pleasant. Quiet and small, and no last-minute
panics, just small fixes for various issues. I never got a feeling
that I'd need to extend things by yet another week, and 4.15 looks
fine to me.

Half the changes in the last week were misc driver stuff (gpu, input,
networking) with the other half being a mix of networking, core kernel
and arch updates (mainly x86). But all of it is tiny.

So at least we had one good week. This obviously was not a pleasant
release cycle, with the whole meltdown/spectre thing coming in in the
middle of the cycle and not really gelling with our normal release
cycle. The extra two weeks were obviously mainly due to that whole
timing issue.

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Also: Linux Kernel 4.15 Officially Released, Includes Patches for Meltdown and Spectre

Linux 4.15 Kernel Released, Time For The Linux 4.16 Merge Window

Linux 4.15

Linux 4.15 Is Set To Sail Today With AMDGPU DC, Zen Temperature Monitoring, RISC-V

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After going through nine weekly release candidates, the Linux 4.15 kernel is set to be released today as the first major stable update of 2018.

Due to all of the ongoing KPTI/Retpoline changes over the past month to address Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities, the Linux 4.15 development cycle dragged on much longer than anticipated and the longest cycle in about seven years. But there is the initial KPTI and Retpolinue support baked in, which has also been backported to some recent stable series. However, further tuning and optimizations to these mitigation techniques are still expected for Linux 4.16 and beyond. Using this functionality can degrade performance particularly for I/O workloads and others interacting heavily with the kernel, but hopefully some of the work coming up will further lighten the impact. Among the many features coming to Linux 4.16 are also PowerPC and ARM work in this space for their relevant exposure.

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Kernel: Allwinner and Linux Driver Management 1.0

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  • Allwinner SUNIV Old ARM9-Based SoCs Worked On For Upstream Linux Kernel Support

    From the mid-2000's to 2011 Allwinner was marketing their F-Series processors with ARM9 32-bit RISC processors while finally in 2018 these SoCs might have upstream Linux kernel support.

    Linux SunXI developer Icenowy Zheng last week sent out the initial kernel patches for supporting these "SUNIV" Allwinner ARM9 SoCs.

  • Linux Driver Management 1.0 Released

    We’re proud to announce the release of Linux Driver Management 1.0, a reworked implementation with the focus on being an agnostic, GObject-style library for the detection and enumeration of devices, with bindings for popular languages such as C, JS via GJS, Python, and Vala, as well as support for matching devices to driver packages.

  • Solus Releases Linux Driver Management 1.0

    The Solus Project this week released Linux Driver Management 1.0, a library created by this innovative Linux distribution for enumerating system components and detecting matches between said components and packages/drivers providing additional functionality.

    This library is about improving the user experience for devices that may not be playing out-of-the-box on Solus or other Linux distributions. Among the hardware initially focused on supporting, for example, is the NVIDIA graphics cards with the proprietary drivers.

Difficult Windows, Chromebooks Software

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  • Maxim Burgerhout: "User-friendly" Windows

    So for some app my kids want to use, I needed to setup Windows. And a printer. I have a Samsung M2070W, and I have had it for years. It has not always been easy to use (hell no!), but it generally works after a few kicks in the groin.

    I’ve used it with my iPad, with various Android devices, and various Linux distributions. And now, I needed to set it up in Windows.


    I guess. Unless you count the fact that many devices need vendor drivers to begin with, because Windows doesn’t ship with them.

    Well anyway, luckily, Linux seems to identify and use my printer just fine. 

  • The Best Apps and Tools for Chromebooks

    We’re going to break this down into different categories to help make it easier to find what you’re looking for. The one thing to note here is that Android apps are placed throughout the various categories where they make the most sense, but we also include a section at the end for Android apps that don’t fall into any one specific category. Pretty simple, really.

Linux Foundation and Linux Graphics

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  • LinuxBoot: a new Linux Foundation project for boot firmware

    The Linux Foundation has announced a new project, called LinuxBoot, that is working on replacements for much of the firmware used to boot our systems. The project is based on work by Google and others to use Linux (and Go programs) to replace most of the UEFI boot firmware.

  • GPUVM Discrete GPU Code For AMDKFD, Radeon Compute Could Be Ready For Linux 4.17

    Sent out Friday night were the latest patches for getting the discrete GPU support within the AMDKFD HSA kernel driver up to scratch for allowing the ROCm compute stack working off a mainline kernel.

    Earlier this month AMD sent out a large dGPU patch-set for AMDKFD, short for the AMD Kernel Fusion Driver. AMD's Felix Kuehling confirmed that a prerequisite PCI-E atomics patch is currently queued up for landing into Linux 4.16, which is fine since this AMDKFD material is already too late for hitting the 4.16 tree.

  • The State Of VR HMDs On Linux With DRM Leasing, Etc

    Keith Packard who has been doing contract work for Valve the past year on improving the support for virtual reality head-mounted displays (VR HMDs) shares a status update on his work at this week's Linux.Conf.Au in Sydney.

    A large portion of Keith's Linux VR work this past year has been on DRM leasing and as such that was a bulk of his conversation. With Linux 4.15, the DRM leasing code is in place along with other improvements around treating "non-desktop" displays, etc. But there still remains X.Org Server and Mesa patches for working along with tidying up other bits for this code to better the integration of VM HMDs with the Linux desktop while ensuring consistent and optimal performance.

Kernel Coverage at LWN (Paywall Expired)

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  • Active state management of power domains

    The Linux kernel's generic power domain (genpd) subsystem has been extended to support active state management of the power domains in the 4.15 development cycle. Power domains were traditionally used to enable or disable power to a region of a system on chip (SoC) but, with the recent updates, they can control the clock rate or amount of power supplied to that region as well. These changes improve the kernel's ability to run the system's hardware at the optimal power level for the current workload.

    SoCs have become increasingly complex and power-efficient over the years. Most of the IP blocks in an SoC have independent power-control logic that can be turned on or off to reduce the power they consume. But there is also a significant amount of static current leakage that can't be controlled using the IP-block-specific power logic. SoCs are normally divided into several regions depending on which IP blocks are generally used together, so that an unused region can be completely powered off to eliminate this leakage. These regions of the chip, called "power domains", can be present in a hierarchy and thus can be nested; a nested domain is called a subdomain of the master domain. Powering down a power domain results in disabling all the IP blocks and subdomains controlled by the domain and also stopping any static leakage in that region of the chip.

  • Deadline scheduling part 1 — overview and theory

    Realtime systems are computing systems that must react within precise time constraints to events. In such systems, the correct behavior does not depend only on the logical behavior, but also in the timing behavior. In other words, the response for a request is only correct if the logical result is correct and produced within a deadline. If the system fails to provide the response within the deadline, the system is showing a defect. In a multitasking operating system, such as Linux, a realtime scheduler is responsible for coordinating the access to the CPU, to ensure that all realtime tasks in the system accomplish their job within the deadline.

    The deadline scheduler enables the user to specify the tasks' requirements using well-defined realtime abstractions, allowing the system to make the best scheduling decisions, guaranteeing the scheduling of realtime tasks even in higher-load systems.

    This article provides an introduction to realtime scheduling and some of the theory behind it. The second installment will be dedicated to the Linux deadline scheduler in particular.

  • Meltdown/Spectre mitigation for 4.15 and beyond

    While some aspects of the kernel's defenses against the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were more-or-less in place when the problems were disclosed on January 3, others were less fully formed. Additionally, many of the mitigations (especially for the two Spectre variants) had not been seen in public prior to the disclosure, meaning that there was a lot of scope for discussion once they came out. Many of those discussions are slowing down, and the kernel's initial response has mostly come into focus. The 4.15 kernel will include a broad set of mitigations, while some others will have to wait for later; read on for details on where things stand.

    This article from January 5 gives an overview of the defenses for all three vulnerability variants. That material will not be repeated here, so those who have not read it may want to take a quick look before proceeding.

Netrunner Rolling 2018.01

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  • Netrunner Rolling 2018.01 KDE-focused Manjaro Linux-based operating system is here

    There are many Linux-based operating systems out there, but not many I would call great. My absolute favorite is Fedora, as I am a GNOME fan that likes using a distro that focuses on truly free and open source software. Not to mention, it quickly gets many updated packages while also retaining stability. So yeah, Fedora is great.

    Another great Linux distro? Netrunner Rolling. This Manjaro-based operating system uses KDE Plasma for its desktop environment. As the name implies, it follows a rolling release, meaning it is constantly being updated to fresh packages -- no major upgrades needed. It has a lot of polish and many quality pre-installed programs which indicates the developers truly care about the overall user experience. Quite frankly, it reminds me of Windows 7 -- in a good way -- which also makes it a wise choice for those unhappy with the much-maligned Windows 10. Today, Netrunner Rolling gets its first ISO refresh of 2018.

  • Netrunner Rolling 2018.01 released

    The Netrunner Team is happy to announce the release of Netrunner Rolling 2018.01 – 64bit ISO.

Linux 3.17 To 4.15 Kernel Benchmarks On Intel Gulftown & Haswell

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Here is a look at how the Linux kernel performance has evolved since the release of Linux 3.17 in October 2014. With all the major kernel releases over the past 3+ years, here is how the performance compares using two very different Intel Gulftown and Haswell systems.

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Devices: Mycroft Mark 2, Android at HMD

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Linux Foundation and Microsoft Gear 'on' Linux

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  • Hyperledger creates experimental labs for startups

    As an effort to bring early-stage startups together with companies that are officially recognized by Hyperledger, this measure can accelerate the pace with which new ideas find traction and reach maturity.

    Companies previously had to go through a grueling application process to prove the maturity of their code and a commitment of resources before becoming an "officially recognized" by the consortium and getting "incubation status" for their code.

    To give an idea of ​​how strict the process of applying for this status, there are at least 185 members of Hyperledger, but only eight codebases have been officially granted the status.

    This new measure now gives startups access to some of the benefits accessed only by companies that are officially recognized - for example, IBM, Intel and Monax.

  • Linux Foundation Re-Orgs to Simplify Open Source Networking

    The Linux Foundation is restructuring its operations to better coordinate the activities of multiple open source networking projects that impact the telecom space, including OPNFV, ONAP and OpenDaylight.

  • Linux Foundation brings open source projects together under LFN

    The Linux Foundation recently announced a new project called the LF Networking Fund (LFN), a platform for cross-project collaboration. Among the founding projects of the LFN include, OpenDaylight, ONAP, OPNFV, PNDA and SNAS.

  • Open source networking projects unite under Linux Foundation

    The Linux Foundation created an umbrella platform, the LF Networking Fund, to promote cross-project collaboration among open source networking projects under its wing.

  • PDP Xbox One Controllers Should Now Work With The Linux 4.15 Kernel

    One of the last minute changes sneaking into the Linux 4.15 kernel is support for PDP Xbox One controllers.

    Linux supports a variety of Xbox controllers and various offshoots while now the controllers from Performance Designed Products is the latest. PDP Xbox One Controllers can be found at a variety of Internet retailers but up to now hasn't played nicely with the Linux kernel: the devices are rather peculiar about their initialization sequence and needed some extra packets before sending any input reports.

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More in Tux Machines

OpenStreetMap in IkiWiki and Why OpenStreetMap is in Serious Trouble

  • OSM in IkiWiki
    Since about 15 years ago, I have been thinking of creating a geo-referenced wiki of pubs, with loads of structured data to help searching. I don't know if that would be useful for anybody else, but I know I would use it! Sadly, the many times I started coding something towards that goal, I ended blocked by something, and I keep postponing my dream project.
  • Why OpenStreetMap is in Serious Trouble
    That said, while I still believe in the goals of OpenStreetMap, I feel the OpenStreetMap project is currently unable to fulfill that mission due to poor technical decisions, poor political decisions, and a general malaise in the project. I'm going to outline in this article what I think OpenStreetMap has gotten wrong. It's entirely possible that OSM will reform and address the impediments to its success- and I hope it does. We need a Free as in Freedom geographic dataset.

Linux KPI-Based DRM Modules Now Working On FreeBSD 11

Thanks to work done by Hans Petter Selasky and others, this drm-next-kmod port is working on FreeBSD 11 stable. What's different with this package from the ports collection versus the ported-from-Linux Direct Rendering Modules found within the FreeBSD 11 kernel is that these DRM modules are using the linuxkpi interface. Read more

Fedora and Red Hat's Finances

GNOME: WebKit, Fleet Commander, Introducing deviced

  • On Compiling WebKit (now twice as fast!)
    Are you tired of waiting for ages to build large C++ projects like WebKit? Slow headers are generally the problem. Your C++ source code file #includes a few headers, all those headers #include more, and those headers #include more, and more, and more, and since it’s C++ a bunch of these headers contain lots of complex templates to slow down things even more. Not fun.
  • Fleet Commander is looking for a GSoC student to help us take over the world
    Fleet Commander has seen quite a lot of progress recently, of which I should blog about soon. For those unaware, Fleet Commander is an effort to make GNOME great for IT administrators in large deployments, allowing them to deploy desktop and application configuration profiles across hundreds of machines with ease through a web administration UI based on Cockpit. It is mostly implemented in Python.
  • Introducing deviced
    Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been heads down working on a new tool along with Patrick Griffis. The purpose of this tool is to make it easier to integrate IDEs and other tooling with GNU-based gadgets like phones, tablets, infotainment, and IoT devices. Years ago I was working on a GNOME-based home router with davidz which sadly we never finished. One thing that was obvious to me in that moment of time was that I’m not doing another large scale project until I had better tooling. That is Builder’s genesis, and device integration is what will make it truly useful to myself and others who love playing with GNU-friendly gadgets.