Summary: Torvalds’ latest talk which got media attention earlier this month
Summary: Torvalds’ latest talk which got media attention earlier this month
The FAT police is at it again
Summary: Canon and Microsoft sign a patent deal which relates to patents on FAT file systems and impacts some of Canon’s products, potentially Linux products as well (Canon makes drivers for Linux but does not develop products with Android or GNU/Linux just yet)
While we are unaware of any Android- or Linux-based products from Canon, the company does deliver drivers for FOSS platforms, especially since under a decade ago (we covered this quite often at the time of a turnaround). Therefore it is regretful to learn about FAT patents, which were disgraced by entities and people including Torvalds (there is prior art and TomTom never pushed the case to the end), are used to tax Canon products or legitimise FAT patents.
Linux-centric sites hardly paid attention to it last week, but someone in IRC told us about it. Looking it up very quickly we found Microsoft’s booster Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet saying: “Today’s patent agreement isn’t the first forged by the two companies. Canon previously licensed Microsoft exFAT file system technology for an undisclosed amount.”
Sometimes companies pay for it via Microsoft partners such as Tuxera, but sometimes there are deals like this one. The OIN’s CEO told us over the telephone that Microsoft has been using FAT patents while calling them “Linux-related” or something along those line in the case of LG and maybe Samsung also (Samsung’s deal seems to have been broader than that the second time around).
Nikon's deal with Microsoft was quite different and the booster correctly pointed out: “Today’s agreement also is not part of Microsoft’s ongoing campaign to convince companies using Linux, Android and ChromeOS to license its patents. Nikon announced an Android-related patent licensing deal with Microsoft in February 2013.”
This is not entirely true because the deal practically serves to legitimise exFAT, which is a common attack vector on embedded Linux. The post from the booster (hogwash of sorts) attracts comments from Microsoft sceptics, who know a lot better what Microsoft has been up to. There are comments such as: “Do we need a repeat of FAT? If I see a product’s filesystem using exFAT I will return it.”
Another person says: “The fact the the US Supreme Court recently re-addressed software patents is a move in the positive direction, even though it was not a large move. While much damage has already been done since these huge giants like Microsoft and IBM already have an enormous software patent portfolio, at least there is hope in future software patent releases. Eventually, technology will advance forward and the current software patent portfolios will probably start to become stale, at which point I can see the general public begin to feel the advantages if we make the right decisions today moving forward. But, we must end the monopolies that this huge companies get with their enormous patent portfolios. The trend in software patents granted within the past 30 years or so is staggering, just do some searches on this subject as it is well worth the reads. My hope is that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes moving forward.”
Canon has many patents on physical and mechanical or optical things like lenses. Microsoft has mostly software patents, which may be utterly worthless in the eyes of SCOTUS, as opposed to the USPTO that granted them without scrutiny. The USPTO has just become even more zealous about patents and it approves almost every patent application, even though SCOTUS deems many of those patents too abstract to be patentable (patent lawyers don't quite agree).
Carl Erickson, the “co-founder and president of Atomic Object, a software design and development company founded in 2001,” (based on his introduction) says that “Investors in software startups need to understand that such companies are unlikely to have strong IP protection through patents. Instead, investors should look for evidence of engaged, delighted users, significant market share or the potential for rapid growth, exclusive relationships or special market channels. For a software startup and their investors, these will beat patent pending, any day.”
His whole analysis, however, sometimes (in the text) claims that patents too are needed, with phrases such as:
As I wrote in my last post, protecting your intellectual property isn’t just about patents. It’s important for companies to ensure they own the copyright on their software.
Copyright protects a particular expression, patents protect an idea. The nature of software is such that an idea can be implemented in many different ways, in many different languages, and therefore patent protection on an idea is potentially legitimate and important. So when should you worry about a software patent?
If you’re confused by software patents, you’re not alone. While our legal and business structures will eventually adapt, technology, as usual, is moving faster, and the results aren’t always good or predictable. A recent Supreme Court decision didn’t radically alter the status quo, but reinforced a trend away from some of the sillier past decisions.
Software patents should be dragged to courts and defeated there. There is a valuable precedent now. All these FAT patent deals (Microsoft has been signing them for years) may be as valuable as estate on the Mars. █
The Tux3 author intends to publish his Tux3 patches to the kernel mailing list in the next week or two with the intent of mainlining the file-system into the Linux kernel. There’s still some features to add and bugs to work through, but Phillips is now at a stage where he’s comfortable in seeing all of the code mainlined into the Linux kernel. He also hopes that by being in the mainline kernel will be an up-tick of interest and development support for the file-system. Samsung, among others, have been interested in potentially using Tux3 as an embedded Linux file-system. In fact, he said Samsung may be more interested in using Tux3 than their F2FS Flash-Friendly File-System project and he has been communicating with Samsung’s F2FS developers.
With another Linux Foundation Summit means another time to hear an update about LLVMLinux, the Linux Foundation backed project to build the mainline Linux kernel with LLVM’s Clang C/C++ compiler in place of GCC.
The panel opened with Corbet pointing out that today “Almost all the people who work on the kernel are paid to do it. Only 10 percent to 20 percent are volunteers. What do your companies expect to get from your kernel work?”
At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit on March 26, a panel of leading Linux kernel developers discussed the current state of Linux development and collaboration.
Software companies have long realized the economic and strategic value of using and contributing code to external open source projects. But they’re much slower to understand and apply the same open source methods of collaboration to their own projects internally, said Phil Odence, vice president of business development at Black Duck Software in a Collaboration Summit presentation today.
Linux kernel developers Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jens Axboe, Dave Chinner, Matthew Garrett, and Mel Gorman participated in a panel discussion, moderated by LWN Editor Jon Corbet, at Collaboration Summit on Wednesday. Here are some of the highlights. For the full session, view the video, below.
NVIDIA has already made its plans clear about the legacy drivers, but now the company decided that it’s time to explain a little better what it is going to do regarding the support for old video cards in UNIX systems.
While Thunderbolt was promising from a technology perspective, it hasn’t seen too much adoption outside of Apple systems and the Linux support is still plaguing developers and causing nightmares among Linux users.
Summary: The FSF gives an award for work on embracing ‘secure boot’, whereas the better option — in my own personal opinion — is to altogether boycott UEFI, for a variety of separate reasons
IT IS NOT often that I get to say this, but I disagree with the FSF’s decision to grant Matthew Garrett an award for work on UEFI. Not only has he acted as a Microsoft apologist (like Miguel de Icaza, who had also received an FSF award) but he also smeared Linux developers whom he did not agree with. Not only has he made Microsoft’s case (and Intel’s patents) stronger but he also made regulatory actions against UEFI 'secure boot' more complicated.
A world with UEFI ‘secure boot’ is a world less secure. We need to shun, boycott and altogether avoid UEFI, not find ways to embrace it. People who help popularise or lead us to acceptance of ‘secure boot’ are doing a disservice — not a service — to the principle of people controlling their own computing. That last point is what distinguishes my personal position from the FSF’s (collectively). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
While it’s late into the Linux 3.14 kernel development cycle, a patch that was introduced in Linux 3.13 with an aim of improving open-source graphics driver performance for TTM-based drivers is now being reverted since for some situations it instead decreased the performance.
The first Arduino-certified product to come out of Intel’s embedded systems division, is the Galileo a sign of things to come or a white elephant?
Red Hat is a relative late-comer to the dynamic patching party. Oracle has been in the space the longest, thanks to its 2011 acquisition of dynamic-kernel patching vendor Ksplice.
He has worked on the Linux kernel and userland for more than 20 years, in areas including KVM, the kernel-based virtual machine, high speed networking, Linux/ia64, Linux/m68k, the system libraries (glibc) and high-end NUMA systems.
For users of the BFS scheduler patches to the kernel, they have been updated this week for the Linux 3.13 kernel.
Con Kolivas continues maintaining his Brain Fuck Scheduler patch-set outside of the Linux kernel with no ambitions to mainline the alternative CPU scheduler. BFS 0.446 was released this week and with this release comes support for the now-stable Linux 3.13 kernel.
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are all the rage as conventional computing platforms have taken up the challenge of network routing and management (see “What’s The Difference Between SDN and NFV”). The trend is to integrate monolithic, vertically integrated hardware like gateways and routers into a single, virtualized, hardware platform.
On a related note, the LLVM Linux project is also seeking GSoC attention. Developers are still hard at work on making the upstream Linux kernel compatible with building under LLVM/Clang rather than just GCC. Much progress has been made in being able to build the Linux kernel with Clang but there’s still outstanding patches, etc.
The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today announced it is building a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) program with edX, the nonprofit online learning platform launched in 2012 by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). More than 31 universities have partnered with edX and nearly two million people have accessed its courses online since it launched just 18 months ago.
Xen 4.4 provides stable ARM support, improved libvirt support for libxl, a new scalable event channel interface, and many other changes. I’ve already written at length before about the big improvements to Xen 4.4 within Xen 4.4 Is On Approach With Many Features and Xen 4.4 Will Be Riding High With New Features.
Other changes for today’s NVIDIA 334.21 Linux driver update include a NVIDIA kernel module security fix for a userspace pointer dereference, OpenGL bug-fixes, support for GPUs with VDPAU feature set E, improved application profile support, improved performance of OpenGL applications when used in conjunction with the X driver’s composition pipeline, NVIDIA Settings control panel updates, and other fixes.
Last week we talked about Broadcom finally open-sourcing their VideoCore IV 3D Graphics Stack and it is indeed the real McCoy, but the $10,000 Quake III bounty has yet to be claimed for getting it to work on the Raspberry Pi.
VDPAU Feature Set E is the latest revision of NVIDIA’s PureVideo hardware that’s found in the brand new Maxwell graphics processors. With the GeForce GTX 750 series support for VDPAU Feature Set E, there is support for H.264 decoding up to 4096 x 4096 and MPEG-1/MPEG-2 streams up to 4080 x 4080. These new GPUs also support enhanced error concealment when dealing with the decoding of corrupted video streams.
The ASUS Zenbook UX301LA-DH71T is a Haswell-based Intel ultrabook that I have found to be quite interesting and will be carrying out a large number of Linux tests (and Windows 8.1 vs. Linux benchmarks) from this laptop that sports Intel Iris Graphics 5100, dual SSDs, and other impressive features.
For any Linux laptop users or those concerned about their data’s safety on production systems, I highly recommend utilizing disk encryption for safeguarding the data. However, what’s the performance impact like these days? In this article with the current development snapshot of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on a modern Intel ultrabook we’re looking at the impact (including CPU utilization) of using an eCryptfs-based home directory encryption and LUKS-based full-disk encryption on Ubuntu Linux.
For those curious about the performance of Intel’s “Quark” x86 SoC for very low-power applications, including wearable devices, here’s some benchmarks of Debian on their Galileo development board.
…in this article we are benchmarking the AMD Catalyst and NVIDIA binary drivers on Ubuntu Linux.
For this article we benchmarked Ubuntu 14.04 in its current development state and compared it to the Ubuntu releases going back three years to Ubuntu 11.10.
Summary: Skills involving BSD, GNU, and other toolsets deserve coverage (at least by name) in the context of Free/Open Source software
THERE was recently a lot of coverage about jobs in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and days or weeks later the Linux Foundation weighed in with its press release  about a study it had funded to frame this as a “Linux” boom. The Linux Foundation is run and managed by branding experts like Zemlin (they don't always do branding right) and marketing people, so this should not be shocking. The only problem is, they rewrite history to make it look as though only Linux counts (the big lie which gives the Linux Foundation power at the expense of camps like GNU/FSF). I am not an opponent of the Linux Foundation; I am a big fan of Linux, but I also care about accuracy and truth in reporting — something which the marketing community is unable, by definition, to care about.
Looking at the sort of headlines generated by the Linux Foundation’s latest marketing drive (e.g. 2-8]), it’s all about “Linux” but not about the rest of the stack (FOSS). The Linux Foundation is not the only entity which does this by the way. But what they call “Linux skills” often means command-line skills and basically familiarity with GNU utilities, not Linux (the kernel does not have many utilities of interest). Some tools, like OpenSSH, are from BSD. If we mislead the public by collectively referring to all those small programs as “Linux”, then we not only do a disservice to other projects but we also reinforce the philosophy of Linux, which does not stress or insist so much on freedom.
To give example of better actions from the Linux Foundation (as of late), it shared a story about a Pennsylvania high school adopting GNU/Linux and it generated some good headlines . Its marketing staff issued a somewhat provocative, stereotypes-reinforcing (connoting Linux with scarce social/love life) Valentine’s post , not to mention today’s Facebook promotion  (people have openly complained about the Linux Foundation’s support for surveillance like Facebook for years). On the other hand, the Linux Foundation sets up new conferences that are named only after the kernel  (even when the conferences cover things beyond it ), which is another matter worth mentioning.
Ultimately, it would be fair to stress, not only the Linux Foundation calls/labels “Linux” a much broader system, exploiting a common misunderstanding/misconception. The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) too is doing that . It often teaches GNU, but students are led to believe that it’s all “Linux”. We can do better than that. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
With hiring managers beefing up their plans to bring aboard talent with Linux skills over the next six months, a bright future awaits those professionals who know Linux.
Tech recruitment firm Dice and The Linux Foundation have released the 2014 edition of the Linux Jobs Report. The two found that the growing demand for Linux talent is “driving salaries for Linux above industry norms.”
Today in Open Source: Download the free 2014 Linux Jobs Report.
Penn Manor High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania will embrace the open source Linux platform, installing it on more than 1,700 laptops. Every student at Penn Manor HS received an Acer TravelMate laptop powered by the Ubuntu 13.10 OS – and the student body was encouraged to explore the OS and push its limits.
How does the penguin community celebrate February 14 every year? Is it with a box of chocolates? Maybe if it’s sitting next to our keyboards alongside multiple coffee mugs. What about little Necco Sweethearts? Those “luv you” messages seem a little too general to fully express the amorous thoughts of those with Linux already seeded deep in their hearts.
After trying to conceal its Facebook posts from the world for nearly a decade, Linux’s Look Back Facebook video leaked today.
The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organisation, announced that Master Affiliate for the Western Balkans Region LPI-Greece recently appointed CACTTUS as LPI Sub-Affiliate for Kosovo, a company which has a strong experience in the market of Kosovo in technology and trainings.
Summary: Some of the latest bits of news about Linux, the Linux Foundation, and core parts of the kernel
Following the news that SUSE engineers are working on a kernel module called kGraft that can patch a running kernel, iTWire contacted the company to find out if Oracle’s ownership of Ksplice – a mechanism for doing the same job – would pose any legal issues.
Ksplice was developed by Ksplice Inc under an open source licence until July 2011 when it was bought by Oracle and taken proprietary.
While in-fighting continues within the Debian camp over what should be the default init system in Debian, a developer has shown off his own tiny “sinit” init system project.
The “Suckless Init System” is a real init system and is derived from M. Farkas-Dyck’s Strake init code. This “suckless” init system is designed to be a simple system and was made to scratch the itch of a developer wanting to remove BusyBox from his toy Linux distribution, Morpheus.
By definition, the Linux Foundation has Linux as its core mission, helping to bring the community of Linux developers and vendors together and fostering the right environment for collaboration. When the Linux Foundation started—it was created in 2007 as a result of the merger between the Free Standards Group (FSG) and Open Source Development Labs (OSDL)—Linux was the only thing that the group did. But in 2014, that’s no longer the case.
With the rest being filesystems (vfs, nfs, ocfs, btrfs and some kernfs fixes), some mm noise, and tooling (perf). Shortlog appended, which doesn’t always happen for rc2.
Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced a few minutes ago, February 6, that the second maintenance release of the stable Linux kernel 3.13 is now available for download.
With the early Atom “Bay Trail” hardware being disastrous for Linux, when Intel recently announced their Bay Trail based NUC Kit we were anxious and decided to give this unit a go. The Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYK packs an Intel Celeron N2820 Bay Trail CPU and motherboard supporting up to 8GB of DDR3L system memory and 2.5-inch HDD/SSD in a 116 x 112 x 51 mm form-factor. In this article is a rundown of the Phoronix experience so far for this Atom NUC Kit and how well it’s running with Ubuntu Linux.
The needs of enterprises and service providers diverge when it comes to software-defined networking. Enterprises are the ones looking for capital and operational cost relief, while service providers require new service velocity, panelists at the inaugural OpenDaylight Summit said this week.
A new GLSL intermediate representation (IR) approach has been proposed for Mesa in replacing its existing tree-based representation for shaders.
NVIDIA announced their first public Linux graphics driver beta in the 334.xx series today and with it comes a splendid number of changes.
AMD has released the new AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta Linux video driver for the Linux platforms, featuring quite a few changes and support for a couple of new chipsets.
Summary: News about Linux, accumulated and sorted over the past days for easier digestion
With yesterday’s release of the Linux 3.14-rc1, here’s a look at the top features that were merged for introduction in the Linux 3.14 kernel.
The mentioned features are what I’ve found most interesting about this next major kernel release to date based upon the dozens of articles I’ve already authored on Phoronix about Linux 3.14, my testing already of 3.14 development code on multiple systems, analytics via Anzwix, etc.
In a fixes pull request sent in by Red Hat’s David Airlie last night, a handful of DRM driver bugs were corrected. Additionally, there’s an update to the command submission (CS) parser for the R600 and R700 generation GPUs (the Radeon HD 2000 through HD 4000 series hardware) to support setting up the OpenGL Geometry Shader rings. The Evergreen GPUs and newer already has this GS support within their CS parser.
“I realize that as a number, 3.14 looks familiar to people, and I had naming requests related to that. But that’s simply not how the nonsense kernel names work,” Torvalds wrote. “You can console yourself with the fact that the name doesn’t actually show up anywhere, and nobody really cares. So any pi-related name you make up will be *quite* as relevant as the one in the main Makefile, so don’t get depressed.”
Linux kernel 3.14 RC1 includes updated drivers, architecture updates (ARM mostly, x86, PowerPC, s390, mips, and ia64), core kernel improvements, networking, mm, tooling, etc.
While the EXT4 changes and XFS alterations for the Linux 3.14 kernel weren’t too exciting, the Btrfs file-system update was submitted today for Linux 3.14 and it’s definitely exciting.
These latest MIPS designs, which were announced back in 2012, are described as “the interAptiv is a power-efficient multi-core microprocessor for use in system-on-chip (SoC) applications. The interAptiv combines a multi-threading pipeline with a coherence manager to deliver improved computational throughput and power efficiency. The interAptiv can contain one to four MIPS32R3 interAptiv cores, system level coherence manager with L2 cache, optional coherent I/O port, and optional floating point unit.”
After the recent tests of AMD’s Kaveri APU with DDR3-800MHz to DDR3-2133MHz Linux memory testing and following up with AMD Kaveri DDR3-2400MHz testing on Ubuntu Linux, many Phoronix readers followed up with a request of new memory testing done on the Intel side. In this article are benchmarks of a Core i5 Haswell CPU looking at the CPU and graphics performance impact with memory frequency scaling on Ubuntu 14.04 with the Linux 3.13 kernel.
The first update for the stable Linux kernel 3.13 has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman just a few minutes ago, starting the maintenance cycle for this new branch.
After a few days ago showing LLVM Clang 3.4 running very well on AMD’s Kaveri APU, here are some benchmarks of GCC 4.8.2, the latest GCC 4.9 development snapshot, and LLVM Clang 3.4 from an Intel Core i5 “Haswell” system running Ubuntu 14.04 with the Linux 3.13 kernel.
A group of developers remain hard at work on the LLVMLinux project to build the mainline Linux kernel on x86 and ARM with the Clang compiler.
Thanks to Jakob’s work on Sparcv9 ABI in Clang and recent changes to Sparc code generator, I am happy to announce that Clang can self host itself on Linux/Sparc64 and on FreeBSD/Sparc64.
Rob Clark has landed a new shader compiler into his Freedreno Gallium3D open-source graphics driver for Qualcomm’s Adreno A3xx hardware.
AMD is doing another large and important open-source graphics driver code drop this morning. This morning AMD is publishing their VCE code that allows for hardware-based video encoding.
Since last year AMD has provided open-source UVD support for video decoding on modern Radeon GPUs. There still isn’t any open-source UVD1 support (only UVD 2.0 and newer), but now AMD has turned its focus to open-source hardware-accelerated video encoding.
The new compiler generates a dependency graph of instructions, including a few meta-instructions to handle PHI and preserve some extra information needed for register assignment, etc.
Many people where worried about some Steam Machines using AMD graphics, I was too, but considering they are applying direct fixes for SteamOS as detailed below I don’t think we will have to worry too much.
The latest Linux distribution benchmarks to share at Phoronix are a comparison of Manjaro Linux 0.8.8, Ubuntu 13.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in its current development state, openSUSE 13.1, and Fedora 20. All tests were done from an Intel Core i5 4670 Haswell system to look at the current state of various Linux distributions when it comes to various areas of open-source performance.
The latest kernel benchmarking that happened at Phoronix was testing every major Linux kernel release from Linux 3.3 through the latest stable Linux 3.13 release from an Intel Sandy Bridge system to see how the kernel performance has evolved during the hardware’s lifetime for key subsystems.
Daniel Phillips, a lead Tux3 developer, wrote to the kernel mailing list on Monday and acknowledged that it’s been a long time coming for Tux3… We covered Tux3 back in 2008 as the Tux2 successor that was never merged due to licensing issues and then it had been quite some time without any news on Tux3, until it was resurrected in early 2013.
I reached out to Tip4Commit to find out just how many people were not collecting tips. One of its creators, Arsen Gasparyan, got back to me with some data. He shared with me that, as of last week, Tip4Commit supported 337 GitHub projects, for which 9,076 tips have been earned (a tip is earned when a pull request for a commit on a supported project is accepted), totaling about 3.34 Ƀ (worth about $2,650 at today’s Bitcoin exchange rate of $793.20). However, only 1.956 Ƀ has been received by 67 users, meaning 1.384 Ƀ, a little under $1,100 or about 40% of the value of all tips, has gone unclaimed.
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