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Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

In the light of the 2020 "global reckoning on race relations" the Linux kernel developers have stepped up with proposed new inclusive terminology guidelines for their coding community. The proposal came from Intel principal engineer Dan Williams and won support from other Linux maintainers including Chris Mason and Greg Kroah-Hartman. Words to be avoided include "slave", with suggested substitutions such as secondary, subordinate, replica or follower, and "blacklist", for which the replacements could be blocklist or denylist. The proposal has allowed for exceptions when maintaining a userspace API or when updating a code for a specification that mandates those terms. The existing Linux kernel coding style, described here, and has made no mention of inclusive language. The proposal is to add a new document, to be called Linux kernel inclusive technology, which will give the rationale for the changes. Referencing the fact that "the African slave trade was a brutal system of human misery deployed at global scale," the document has acknowledged that "word choice decisions in a modern software project does next to nothing to compensate for that legacy." Read more

Games: SpringRTS, OneShot and OpenXR

  • Playing SpringRTS games on Linux gets easier with Flatpak

    SpringRTS, the free and open source game engine for playing various real-time strategy games is now even easier to get running on Linux. If you've never heard of SpringRTS: it originally started to bring the classic Total Annihilation into proper 3D and since has expanded over years to become a full game engine with all sorts of games made for it. The developers recently announced a new official Flatpak package up on Flathub, enabling users across many different Linux distributions to easily grab the official SpringLobby and keep it nicely up to date. SpringLobby is the official UI for playing online and offline, plus it has a built-in feature to download missing content while trying to play with others.

  • Unique puzzle-adventure 'OneShot' now has a Linux build on itch

    If you've been itching to play the surreal puzzle adventure OneShot since it arrived on itch.io, we've got good news for you. While OneShot is not exactly a new game being originally released in 2016, it only gained Linux support last year in April 2019. Back in March 2020, the developer then went further and released it onto game store itch.io but it was missing the Linux build. It became part of the massive itch.io charity bundle that happened recently, so I've no doubt plenty of you who picked it up didn't even realise you owned it. Thankfully, on June 19 the developer added the standalone Linux build too so you can go ahead and play it on Linux.

  • Khronos Group open sources the OpenXR Conformance Test Suite for VR & AR

    In another important step forwards for free and open standards, plus the future of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the Khronos Group have open sourced their OpenXR testing suite. What is OpenXR? It's an open standard for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), collectively known as XR. It's picking up wide industry adoption, and hopefully means developers won't have to repeatedly rewrite code as they can support a single standard across platforms—something vitally important for the future of XR. It's gotten to the point where even Valve have decided to go all-in with OpenXR in their SteamVR.

  • OpenXR Conformance Tests Open-Sourced

    The Khronos Group today continued with their relatively recent trend of the past few years of open-sourcing their conformance tests. The OpenXR conformance tests are now open-source. The Conformance Test Suite for this industry-standard for AR/VR is now available as open-source under an Apache 2.0 license. This makes it easier for those developing OpenXR implementations to test against this publicly available set of tests, including the likes of the open-source Monado OpenXR runtime.

Raspberry Pi 4, now running your favorite distribution!

With lots of help (say, all of the heavy lifting) from the Debian Raspberry Pi Maintainer Team, we have finally managed to provide support for auto-building and serving bootable minimal Debian images for the Raspberry Pi 4 family of single-board, cheap, small, hacker-friendly computers! The Raspberry Pi 4 was released close to a year ago, and is a very major bump in the Raspberry lineup; it took us this long because we needed to wait until all of the relevant bits entered Debian (mostly the kernel bits). The images are shipping a kernel from our Unstable branch (currently, 5.7.0-2), and are less tested and more likely to break than our regular, clean-Stable images. Nevertheless, we do expect them to be useful for many hackers –and even end-users– throughout the world. The images we are generating are very minimal, they carry basically a minimal Debian install. Once downloaded, of course, you can install whatever your heart desires (because… Face it, if your heart desires it, it must free and of high quality. It must already be in Debian!) Read more

Android Leftovers