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01.03.14

Links 3/1/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 3/1/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 12:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 3/1/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fedora 20 Brings Wayland to GNOME and Abandons Blobs

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Binary blobs like AMD’s Catalyst driver are being marginalised by Fedora, which is also starting to introduce Wayland in GNOME-based distributions

THE previous post dealt with the state of Wayland in KDE. Well, it’s not just KDE which moves in this direction. The main patron of GNOME, namely Red Hat, is leaving proprietary graphics drivers behind [1,2] (the less, the merrier) and also moving to a more manageable graphics stack. Fedora is improving GNOME 3 and the GNOME Shell [3,4], which it now tied more closely to Wayland [5]. This is significant. With other work which aims to improve the desktop experience (e.g. Systemd [6]) we are bound to see many projects following, and not just direct Fedora derivatives like Korora [7]. The Fedora project is probably the biggest driver of GNU/Linux development, rivalled only by Debian, which still isn’t leaning towards Systemd [8,9]. What Fedora does affects not only RHEL, but also the world’s most used server operating system (close to Debian), CentOS [10].

Watch closely what Fedora is doing because what Red Hat decides on typically becomes a de facto standard for the rest of us. The good news is, the graphics stack in Linux seems to be repelling blobs (with root privileges), which are the most likely component to ever act as a backdoor (unless it already exists).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Fedora 20 Linux: Problems Supporting AMD Video Hardware

    Fedora 20, the newest version of the Linux-based operating system affiliated with Red Hat (RHT), has been out only for a few weeks. But it is already creating challenges for Linux users with AMD graphics hardware, which is not supported in some cases on the new release. It’s a reminder of the way that dependence on proprietary device drivers can drastically hinder open source adoption.

  2. Will there really be no AMD Catalyst driver packaged by RPM Fusion for Fedora 20?
  3. Fedora 20 Delivers Updated Gnome Software Center

    Fedora 20 delivers a sleek new software manager for the Gnome Shell that is perfectly user-friendly. This new software manager also takes advantage of the header bars introduced with Gnome 3.10. I have taken an extensive look at the re-designed Gnome Software Manager, and now its time to show off the goods.

  4. DJANGO UNCHAINED: Don’t let ‘preview’ apps put you off Fedora 20

    If you’re a fan of GNOME 3 and the GNOME Shell, Fedora 20 will be a welcome update. This release sees an upgrade for Fedora’s default GNOME spin, bringing the desktop to GNOME 3.10.

    Fedora’s live desktop CD has used GNOME by default for many years now. Once upon a time that was completely unremarkable. However, since Ubuntu now has Unity, OpenSUSE pours its effort into KDE and Mint has worked hard to divorce Cinnamon 2.0 from GNOME 3, Fedora is, well, just about all GNOME has left these days.

  5. GNOME Shell Wayland Benchmarks From Fedora 20

    While an X.Org Server is still used by default on Fedora 20 “Heisenbug”, Wayland has become a viable option for early adopters and developers wishing to work on Wayland software compatibility and/or testing. All the packages are needed on a Fedora 20 installation to launch a GNOME Wayland session and begin working, including support for XWayland in order to run X11-dependent games and applications.

  6. KDBUS & Systemd Now Yields A Working System

    Open-source developers this week achieved a pleasant late Christmas present for Fedora users of having a working system with using the in-development Linux kernel DBus implementation (KDBUS) paired with the latest systemd code can now yield a booting system.

  7. Interview: Chris Smart of the Korora Project
  8. Init wars: Debian inclining towards upstart
  9. Debian Still Debating Systemd vs. Upstart Init System
  10. Progress Being Made On CentOS 7, Based Off RHEL7

    The CentOS community developers focused on their rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 have already begun playing with the RHEL7 Beta source packages to form CentOS 7.0.

Links 3/1/2014: Android News

Posted in News Roundup at 12:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Age of Wayland in KDE

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 11:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An alternative to X Server is gaining traction in the world of KDE

FOR a period of time a couple of years ago Wayland made some headlines; Canonical has since then moved on to its own (with Canonical copyrights) X Server replacement, so Wayland did not make many headlines in 2013. But Wayland is making a bit of a comeback, not in Unity or GNOME (which now has version 3.11.3 in focus [1,2,3]) but in KDE.

KDE 4.12 was recently made available [4], potentially attracting many news users [5]. With the leadership of BlueSystem there is a shift towards Wayland [6], which becomes ever more real in the Qt- and Wayland-Powered Hawaii 0.2 Desktop [7,8].

Judging by where KWin development is going, Canonical is unlikely to ever revisit it (Kubuntu is no longer part of Canonical) and Wayland may be central in KDE’s future, including on Plasma-powered devices such as tablets.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Eye of GNOME 3.11.3 Allows for Transparent Backgrounds

    The GNOME developers announced recently yet another development release towards Eye of GNOME 3.12, the default image viewer application for the upcoming GNOME 3.12 desktop environment.

  2. GNOME Display Manager 3.11.3 Fixes PAM Re-authentication Issue

    The GNOME developers behind the GDM (GNOME Display Manager) software have announced a few days ago the immediate availability for download and testing of version 3.11.3 of the default login manager app for the GNOME desktop environment.

  3. GNOME Software 3.11.3 Adds More Featured Apps

    The GNOME Project has announced a few days ago that a new development release towards the stable GNOME Software 3.12 application for the GNOME desktop environment is available for download and testing, introducing two new features and lots of bugfixes.

  4. KDE 4.12 Performance Updates Revealed

    The Majority of the changes for this release can be found in the excellent selection of KDE applications. Several applications come with new features and increased stability. If you want to see the latest improvements for KDE 4.12, we have all the exciting details.

  5. Why Do Users Choose KDE?

    Popularity polls for software are questionable indicators at best. However, with KDE receiving just under a third of the votes in LinuxQuestion’s Members Choice for 2011 and 2012 and in Linux Journal’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, there’s enough consistency to call KDE the most popular Linux desktop environment.

    Admittedly, if you add all the choices that use GNOME technology (Cinnamon, GNOME, Mate, and Unity), then KDE loses its position. But if you consider a desktop environment as a combination of both the shell and the underlying technology, KDE’s position is unchallenged. At a time when half a dozen choices are available, KDE’s one-third is probably as close to dominance as any desktop is likely to get.

  6. Retrospection

    It’s now almost one year since I started my job at BlueSystem to work full time on KDE software. It’s a perfect time to look back and do some retrospection as well as trying to look into the future.

    Of course my focus of work was on KWin, but especially over the last months I worked all over the KDE workspaces. Overall we have achieved a great result. KWin is running in near production-ready quality after the port to Qt 5 and the Plasma workspaces are also in a very good shape already. I tend to mentially compare the experience with the state of Plasma 1 six years ago which was just a few weeks before the first release. We are in a better state and there is still lots of time till we will do our Plasma 2 release.

  7. Qt & Wayland-Powered Hawaii 0.2 Desktop Released
  8. Wayland-Powered Hawaii 0.2 Desktop Released

    The Maui project have released a completely new Wayland powered desktop named Hawaii 0.2, which promises to bring a new generation of desktop experience for GNU/Linux users. This desktop promises to bring a completely new out of box experience GNU experience for users and ships the latest and greatest open source software out there. The desktop environment uses Qt 5.2 as the toolkit backed by qtwayland module.

Links 3/1/2014: Linux (Kernel) News

Posted in News Roundup at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kernel Space

Graphics Stack

  • NVIDIA Optimus Linux Power Battery Tests
  • Intel Pentium G3220 On Linux
  • Intel Celeron, Pentium Haswell HD Graphics On Mesa 10.1-devel
  • X Server Security Disaster: “It’s Worse Than It Looks”

    There’s X.Org Server security vulnerabilities — even for vulnerabilities going back two decades — from time to time and in related components of the Linux graphics stack. Parts of the X.Org stack can be in fairly rough shape given the age of X11, but a very poor picture of it was painted at the Chaos Communication Congress. It was stated that the X.Org security is even worse than it looks.

    At the 30th Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) last week in Germany, Ilja van Sprundel, a security researcher who previously reported X.Org vulnerabilities, gave a presentation. Covered in the presentation at the very well known CCC conference in Germany were client-side issues and then an entire half of the presentation devoted to the X.Org Server.

  • More Changes Coming For DirectFB 1.8

    While most of the Linux desktop world is focused around Wayland, X11, and Mir for the basis of the display technologies, DirectFB has continued marching forward and picked up many features this year and there will be another batch of features presented soon with DirectFB 1.8.

  • Intel Releases A Boatload Of Haswell Documentation

    As an extra holiday present for Linux and open-source fans, Intel has quietly released a large batch of new programming documentation that covers their latest-generation Haswell graphics cores. The new “programmer’s reference manuals” cover the 2013 Haswell HD Graphics, Iris Graphics, and Iris Pro Graphics. This massive batch of documentation is spread across twelve volumes and does document their hardware registers.

  • X.Org Server 1.16 Planned For A July Debut
  • Wayland’s Weston Was Rapidly On The Rise This Year

    After yesterday recapping Mesa’s development this year and LLVM’s growing development, up today are some statistics concerning Wayland and its Weston compositor this year from the Git side.

  • Features Coming To Wayland, Weston 1.4

    Last week was marked by the first Wayland/Weston 1.4 Alpha release ahead of the planned general availability in January. For those that aren’t up to date on all of the development activity, I’ve now had the time go through and highlight all of the major changes that landed in Git.

  • Intel’s Beignet OpenCL Is Still Slowly Baking

    While Intel’s open-source OpenGL Linux driver improved a lot in 2013, sadly not advancing as much is the Intel OpenCL Linux driver for GPGPU support.

    As covered by several Phoronix articles, Intel’s work to deliver (open-source) OpenCL support to the Linux desktop that can take advantage of Ivy Bridge and Haswell graphics cores is Beignet. Beignet still seems to be rather an after-thought and not a big focus of the Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers; most Beignet activity is still done by Intel China developers.

  • 2013 Was A Stellar Year For Mesa
  • The Vivante Mesa Driver Is Still Brewing

    Going on for a while now has been the “etnaviv” driver project to create an open-source user-space graphics driver for the Vivante GC embedded GPUs. Work has slowed up to the Git repository as of late, but there still is the yet-to-be-mainlined Mesa classic driver.

  • X.Org Server 1.15 Release Has Several New Features

    While X.Org Server 1.15 was delayed from its September release target over having no new features at the time, the final release of X.Org Server 1.15 is now available.

  • NVIDIA Optimus Linux Power Battery Tests
  • Intel Broadwell Support Continues To Land For Linux

    Intel Broadwell support continues to be tidied up within the Intel Mesa DRI and DRM kernel drivers to hopefully make for a smooth launch of Intel’s next-generation processors within a few months time.

  • xorg-server 1.14.99.905
  • It’s Easy Getting Intel Graphics To Work On SteamOS

    While Valve only advertises NVIDIA graphics driver support in the SteamOS Beta released on Friday, I already found that AMD Radeon GPUs work with Catalyst on this Debian Linux derived OS. With a simple tweak, Intel HD Graphics can also run quite fine on SteamOS.

  • iFixit opens a Steam Machine prototype, finds a modular computer
  • NVIDIA 2013 Linux Graphics Driver Year-In-Review

    For the ninth year in a row I am issuing year-in-review articles concerning the state of NVIDIA’s (and separately, AMD Catalyst) Linux graphics driver and the accomplishments the driver’s made in the past calendar year along with benchmarks of all notable driver releases this year. NVIDIA’s made a lot of progress on the Linux front this year, especially for any Linux gaming stakeholder, so let’s get started on our 2013 NVIDIA Linux Year-In-Review.

  • Intel Haswell Linux Performance Improved A Lot In 2013

    With the end of the year quickly approaching, at Phoronix I have been re-testing all of the Linux graphics drivers to see how the performance has changed in 2013 and the features added/removed over the calendar year. I’ve been doing these annual Linux driver yearly recaps going back to 2005 when Linux GPU drivers were in their infancy compared to Windows. Yesterday I started with the NVIDIA 2013 Linux Year-In-Review of their first-rate binary driver while today I have some performance tests done for Intel’s latest-generation Haswell graphics hardware.

  • AMD Catalyst 13.12 GPU Driver For Linux Released
  • Mesa Support Comes For Adaptive Vsync
  • X.Org Server: 1,047 Warnings Reduced To Zero

    Keith Packard has been working on an X.Org Server clean-up of the aging code-base and he’s managed to reduce the number of generated warnings down to zero.

    With the X.Org Server code originating from the X Server code-base that’s been under development for the past 25 years, there’s lots of crufty old code still present that was written before ANSI C was even standardized. Over time, the code has gotten out of shape and doesn’t comply with today’s best practices.

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