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ParityPortal | May 25, 2017

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Open Source

Linux 3.12 features

September 3, 2013 |

Linux 3.11 has now been released after an eventful set of rc releases [rc7, rc6, rc5]. We already have a lowdown of the exciting features of Linux 3.11 kernel here and today we bring to you the features you can … Read More

FreeBSD 10 features

August 24, 2013 |

With FreeBSD 9.2 RC2 out and final release slated for August 31, the distribution’s developers are already busy developing the next major version of the operating system – FreeBSD 10, which will pack quite a lot of interesting features.

There … Read More

FreeBSD 9.2 Beta released

July 23, 2013 |

The FreeBSD release engineering team has announced the availability of first beta of version 9.2 with over a month to go before the FreeBSD 9.2 is officially announced.

FreeBSD 9.2, unlike the FreeBSD 10, is not a major release, but it does pack quite a few features which will serve as incremental stable updates to FreeBSD 9. FreeBSD 10 is expected to be launched on August 31 according to the timeline provided earlier. Some of the features of FreeBSD 10 are Bhyve hypervisor, support for Raspberry Pi, support for Intel’s “Bull Mountain” RDRAND CPU instruction set, SMP-friendly pf firewall, improved 802.11n networking stack, support for ZFS TRIM, USB audio support among others.

You can find the FreeBSD 9.2 Beta release announcement here and download the ISO images here.

Developer codes Direct3D 9 support for Linux via Gallium3D

July 17, 2013 | 1

A developer associated with the Nouveau graphics driver project has announced support for Direct3D APIs via the new Gallium3D state tracker using which games can be run on Linux and that too with better performance as compared to that offered by Wine.

Direct3D 10/11 was implemented for Linux via the Gallium3D state tracker a couple of years back but, there hasn’t been much of a developer interest in such a state tracker. The state tracker project was shortlived as developers associated with Wine were not interested in adding support for a solution that is Linux-only and that too limited to those using Gallium3D. Ultimately, the tracker was removed from Mesa.

Christoph Bumiller announced the new Direct3D tracker on Tuesday and believes that the situation is different from the Direct3D 10/11 as Gallium3D is better suited towards D3D9 as compared to newer versions of Microsoft’s graphics API. Further there is more application coverage for Direct3D 9 while being in a state whereby it can actually run games and applications.

To get the entire thing working Bumiller modified Wine such that it uses Direct3D 9 instead of Wine’s internal D3D-to-GL translation layer. The patch on Wine allows Direct3D 9 state tracker to natively implement graphics API for Gallium3D hardware drivers instead of translating API calls into OpenGL.

The developer claims that games such as Skyrim, and Civilization 5 have been tested using Nouveau NVC0 and AMD R600g drivers and are running fine on Linux. Christoph claims that the performance of the games is quite good and frame rates are nearly doubled as compared to those when using Wine’s current code.

As of now the state tracker is place in an external Mesa repository but, Bumiller has revealed that he is open for a merge. A separate repository houses the Wine changes done by Bumiller.

Apache web server 2.0 maintenance discontinued

July 15, 2013 |

Developers over at Apache project released version 2.0.65 of the Apache web server and with that have announced the discontinuation of maintenance of the 2.0 version branch and urged users to migrate to current versions of either 2.2 or 2.4 as soon as possible.

“The Apache HTTP Project developers strongly encourages all users to migrate to Apache stable release 2.4 or at minimum version the legacy release 2.2 as quickly as possible, as no further maintenance will be performed on this historical version 2.0”, reads the release announcement.

Version 2.0.65 was released on July 10 which included fixes for six security holes including a bug that would allow attackers to gain control of the server [CVE-2011-3607]. The developers have, however, noted that there is a possibility of memory exhaustion through a carefully crafted .htaccess file and this issue will remain unresolved in 2.0.65. Users who are concerned about the open issue should upgrade to the 2.2.25 of later to minimize this risk.

Apache 2.0 was first released for general use about 11 years ago and since then have had multiple releases, With maintenance ending for 2.0 users can upgrade to 2.4.4 or 2.2.25.

Linux 3.11 merge window closes, Linux 3.11-rc1 released

July 15, 2013 |

Linux 3.11 merge window is now closed and Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux 3.11-rc1 on Sunday afternoon.

Lot many features have been merged in the Linux 3.11 kernel but, there are comparatively smaller number of commits than Linux 3.10 there were more new lines in the merge. “Most of that seems to be in staging – a full third of all changes by line-count is staging, and merging in Lustre is the bulk of that” notes Torvalds in the release announcement.

Some of the notable features of Linux 3.11 include Radeon Dynamic Power Management (DPM) support, Lustre file-system support, Zswap, support for Radeon HD 8000 series GPU, stabilization of Intel Bay Trail, Nouveau VP2 video decoding support, ARM improvements, and a lot more. For more see Linux 3.11 features.

Linux 3.11 features

July 12, 2013 |

Linux 3.11 merge window is about to close, most probably this Sunday, and most of the pull requests have been merged. Here we are listing out the highlights of the expected Linux Kernel 3.11 features.

Disk & File System

The Linux 3.10 successor is bringing with its support for LZ4 compression, Zswap for compressed swap caching, XFS file system improvements, Btrfs performance tuning, F2FS file system updates, EXT4 file system updates and inclusion of Lustre file-system client for the first time.

LZ4 compression can now be used as an alternative to Gzip, BZIP2, LZMA and LZO to compress the Linux kernel. LZ4’s compression and decompression speeds easily beat those of its alternatives like LZO, Snappy, and zlib. Available only for ARM hardware for now, the compression speeds top 45.6MB/s as compared to 25.2 MB/s with LZO on an ARMv7 1.5GHz board. The commits can be found here.

After being in development for a long time, Zswap has been merged into Linux 3.11. Zswap is basically a lightweight compressed cache for swap pages. The pages, which are in process of being swapped out will be taken up by Zswap and compressed into a dynamically allocated RAM-based memory pool. According the Linux kernel documentation, “zswap basically trades CPU cycles for potentially reduced swap I/O. This trade-off can also result in a significant performance improvement if reads from the compressed cache are faster than reads from a swap device.” You can find the commit here.

Linux 3.11 brings with it Btrfs file-system changes including regular work on performance fixes, bug-fixes, and code-cleanups. The merge includes tuning of “crc code as well as our transaction commits.” The improvements also bring with it resolution of issues related to early enospc.

XFS file system improvements encompass bug-fixes, performance improvements related to inode creation and deletion, buffer readahead, work on project quotas and group quotas, and blukstat among others.

F2FS doesn’t bring a whole lot of new things to Linux 3.11 but, it does include a fix for regression found in Linux 3.10. The performance of the file system is slower with 3.10 as compared to 3.9 in some workload cases notes Phoronix. This particular bug was reported by other developers as well and has been taken care of. Beyond that the F2FS updates also bring with it fixes related to little and big endian conversion as well as support for xattr security labels – a feature used by SEAndroid.

EXT4 file system improvements include optimization in ext4_writepages() and extent cache shrink mechanism. The ext4_writepages() can now be used for nodelalloc and ext3 compatibility mode thereby allowing page writes to be submitted as a single request rather than individual 4k writes. The extent cache shrink mechanism has been updated such that it doesn’t have the scalability bottleneck caused by the i_es_lru spinlock. Some other optimizations include changes that result into reduced CPU usage “to avoid issuing empty commits unnecessarily.”

Lustre, which is a high performance parallel distributed file system, has been included for the first time with Linux 3.11. The file system is particularly popular with high-performance cluster computing as well as super-computers. You can find more about Lustre here and here.

Graphics

Linux 3.11 will bring with it Radeon dynamic power management support, new DRM display driver, Intel Haswell improvements along with Valley View / Bay Trail support, H.264 / MPEG2 video decoding for Nouveau and early GK110 GPU support

Back on June 26, Alex Deucher of AMD went ahead to post a massive patch set that included 165 patches that included Dynamic Power Management (DPM) support for R600 GPUs (Radeon HD 2000) through to Southern Islands (Radeon HD 7000). The DPM supports clockgating, dynamic engine clock scaling, dynamic memory clock scaling, dynamic voltage scaling, and dynamic PCI Express Gen1/Gen2 switching. You can find the patches here.

The new DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) driver merged into Linux 3.11 is for the Renesas R-Car SoC. The ARM cortex-9 based SoC is basically used in high-end car ‘infotainment’ systems wherein the graphics are powered by PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics core. The commit notes read, “The R-Car Display Unit (DU) DRM driver supports both superposition processors and all eight planes in RGB and YUV formats with alpha blending.” Even though VGA and LVDS encoders are supported, it has to be noted that they are only to do with the display portion and not the PowerVR 3D graphics.

Intel’s Daniel Vetter prepared a pull request back in May for Linux 3.11 the key highlights for which were: Intel Valley View (aka Bay Trail) is no longer preliminary and is now stable for use with Intel Atom Bay Trail hardware; Frame-Buffer Compression (FBC) support for Haswell; SVDO and TV clean-ups; various mode-setting fixes / improvements.

The Nouveau DRM changes within the Linux 3.11 would include fixes benefiting concurrent running of Piglit, which would make buffer object deletion asynchronous. The merger also includes context/register initialization updates. H.264/MPEG-2 video decoding is also now supported via the VP2 engine for some PureVideo HD graphics cards.

The Nouveau driver has support for 2D EXA acceleration and X-Video support for NVIDIA’s “NVF0” aka GK110 GPU used in NVIDIA GeForce TITAN and GeForce GTX 780. There has been a rare xf86-video-nouveau commit following which there was more code push to the Nouveau DRM repository and mainline Mesa. The new code brings with it 3D support for the GK110, still in its infancy, which when used in conjunction with updated DDX and Nouveau DRM would bring with it basic OpenGL support.

CPU

Linux 3.11 will include AVX2 Crypto optimizations, IBM PowerPC improvements, ARM improvements and 64-bit support for XEN and KVM virtualization.

Optimizations in Linux 3.11 for AVX2 include more work on the Camellia AES-NI acceleration and as the Crypto is present in Intel Haswell CPUs faster performance can be leveraged from new Crypto code-paths for encrypted disks. Beyond this there are new SHA224 and SHA384 shims that have been added to the widely-present SSSE3 instruction set extension. The new update to AVX2 however drops the defunct Blowfish and Twofish implementations. There are further fine tuning to Crypto including not idling OMAP SoC devices between crypto operations happening in one session, support for FreeScale’s DCP co-processor, unaligned buffer self-tests, and a PCLMULQDQ optimization for CRCT10DIF.

IBM is pushing forward quite a few Power PC architecture updates including support for transparent huge pages for 64-bit processors, Power8 Event-Based Branch providing user-space interrupts for performance monitor events, PStore infrastructure enabling kernel oopses and other errors to be written to non-volatile RAM, improvements to EEH PCI error handling and recovery operations.

Linux 3.11 ARM improvements also include support for KVM and Xen virtualization on 64-bit hardware (AArch64), Hugetlbfs and transparent huge-pages, cache flishing improvements, clps711x, STI driver includes support for STiH415 and STiH416 SoC, Texas Instruments keystone ARM, Rockchips RK3xxx ARM platform. You can find more information about ARM improvements here and here.

Others

Beyond the disk and file system improvements, graphics and CPU improvements Linux 3.11 will also bring in improvements in input devices as well as audio / sound and Wine will be able to handle Windows RT apps.

Input device improvements include touchscreen driver for Cypress 4th generation touch devices, PS/2 support on the OLPC via a specialized controller, Haswell MacBook Air patches among others.

Linux audio stack has been improved and comes with support for more than 32 card instances, Intel Bay Trail, ALC5505 DSP support in the HDA driver, AC’97 refactoring bug-fixes, etc.

WordPress 3.5.2 packs 7 security issues

June 24, 2013 |

Developers of the open source blogging software WordPress have rolled out the security and maintenance release of the WordPress 3.5 and have fixed a total of 12 bugs which includes fixes for 7 security issues.

According to the developers, on top of the security fixes, the update also contains hardening measures that provides additional security to WordPress installations and they have strongly urged all users to update their installations to version 3.5.2 immediately.

The security fixes in 3.5.2 include blocking of server-side request forgery (SSRF) attacks; updates to the TinyMCE editor, the external SWFUpload library and other components to protect against cross-site scripting (XSS) holes; update to WordPress’s password protection for posts that could lead to denial-of-service (DoS) attacks among others; and update that disallows contributors from improperly publishing posts or reassigning the post to a different author among others.

Users can either download the latest version or head on to their WordPress Dashboard and click on Updates. You can get more information about the fixes here.

The Linux Foundation announces 2013 Training Scholarship Program

June 18, 2013 |

Today, The Linux Foundation announced its latest annual Linux Training Scholarship Program with new categories reflecting a change in trend in the world of programming.

Categories such as ‘Whiz Kids’, ‘Women in Linux’, ‘SysAdmin Super Stars’, ‘Developer Do-Gooders’, and ‘Linux Kernel Guru’ have been created for this year’s program.

The Foundation noted that its 2013 Linux Jobs Report shows increasing demand for Linux professionals with over 90 per cent employers saying that they will be hiring a Linux professional in the next six months. “We seek to find individuals who want to contribute to the advancement of the Linux operating system and help influence its future”, said The Linux Foundation.

Recipients of the scholarship will be given free one year training in one of the following areas:

  • Embedded Linux Development
  • Developing Device Drivers
  • Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging
  • Developing Applications for Linux
  • Linux System Administration
  • Linux Network Management
  • Linux Performance Tuning

The winners of the scholarship will also receive a 30-minute mentoring session with one of the Linux Foundation’s training instructor.

You can submit your application here.

Linux 3.10-rc6 released rather calmly

June 16, 2013 |

After a dramatic Linux 3.10-rc5 release last week, Linus Torvalds has released the 3.10-rc6 yesterday afternoon noting that things have been better as compared to last week.

With probably two more releases to go before the official Linux 3.10 release and Torvalds promising profanity last week if things didn’t shape up, things are definitely looking brighter as the pull requests that take care of only regressions have decreased.

Torvalds did warn though that if people tried to push things that don’t matter for Linux 3.10-rc7, he probably would be more upset. Some of the changes that were included in rc6 included architecture changes for x86, powerpc, mips, arm, and s390. Improvements and changes were also incorporated in ceph and xfs filesystems along with networking and driver updates for sound, wireless, md, gpu, and block among others.

In case you haven’t been following Linux 3.10 up until now, you may check out some of the Linux 3.10 features as well as some best Linux 3.10 features.