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July 2020

Intel ISPC Compiler and AMD's ROCm AOMP Compiler

Filed under
Development
Hardware

  • Intel ISPC Compiler Lands GPU Code Generation Support

    Intel's open-source ISPC (the Intel SPMD Program Compiler) now has preliminary support for code generation targeting their GPUs.

    The Intel SPMD Program Compiler that is focused on C programming with extensions around single program, multiple data programming concepts for leveraging SSE and AVX is now seeing initial support for exploiting the potential of Intel graphics processors.

    ISPC has long worked well for exploiting the potential of AVX/AVX2 and AVX-512 as well as SSE4 while now this SPMD program compiler can begin targeting Intel Gen/Xe Graphics.

    The ISPC support relies upon Intel's oneAPI Level Zero for managing devices and other orchestration.

  • AMD's ROCm AOMP Compiler 11.7-1 Brings OMPD Support, ROCgdb

    The AMD ROCm developer tool engineers have released a new build of AOMP, their LLVM Clang compiler downstream that adds OpenMP support for Radeon GPU offloading until that support ultimately makes it back upstream into LLVM/Clang.

    The ROCm engineers working on AOMP have been doing a great job on keeping their code re-based against the newest upstream LLVM code, which with this release is from just two weeks ago prior to the LLVM 11.0 branching. The AMD developers have been working on upstreaming more of their LLVM/Clang changes albeit that is a lengthy process especially with new Radeon OpenMP code continuing to be written and fine tuned.

HVMI becomes A Xen Project Incubating Project

Filed under
Linux

Contributed by Bitdefender, a leading global cybersecurity company protecting over 500 million systems worldwide and a Xen Project Advisory Board member company, HVMI allows organizations to make sense of the view of memory provided by Virtual Machine Introspection within both the Xen and KVM hypervisors. While Bitdefender has used the technology for security purposes, open sourcing this technology opens up possibilities to extend HVMI’s value across many industries.

HVMI is a subset of Bitdefender’s HVI which is used to understand and apply security logic to memory events within running Linux and Windows virtual machines. These mechanisms leverage Virtual Machine Introspection APIs at the hypervisor-level.

Also being open sourced is Bitdefender’s ‘thin’ hypervisor technology, known as Napoca, which was used in developing HVI. Napoca may prove useful to researchers and open source efforts as it virtualizes CPU and memory, as opposed to virtualizing all hardware, and can be combined with HVI to protect physical systems.

To learn more, read the Bitdefender press release or watch the webinar outlining details of this contribution.

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GeckoLinux ROLLING 999.200729 released

Filed under
OS
Linux
News
SUSE

GeckoLinux is pleased to announce the 999.200729 update to its ROLLING editions, thus completing the current refresh cycle of the entire GeckoLinux lineup. GeckoLinux ROLLING spins are generated directly from unmodified openSUSE Tumbleweed and Packman repositories, and the installed system can be updated directly from those official sources. This design decision has allowed GeckoLinux ROLLING users to install and update their systems in a constant rolling fashion over the past two years from the cutting edge and highly stable openSUSE Tumbleweed distribution. Now, GeckoLinux users that need an installation ISO to support very new hardware will find what they need in the GeckoLinux ROLLING 999.200729 set of updated spins.

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Games: Godot, Godhood, PCSX2 and More

  • Godot Engine to get various improvements thanks to the Google Summer of Code program

    The open source Godot game engine is a really amazing project that’s quickly becoming even more amazing. Development continues unabated and, thanks to dedicated programmers, there’s plenty to look forward to in the works.

    The free, open source and cross-platform game engine Godot has been steadily improving for quite some time. The upcoming 4.0 version already promises neat new features such as Vulkan support and real-time global illumination. Now, thanks to Google’s Summer of Code program, a few student developers have been focusing on improving several areas of the engine and editor.

    All six of the projects are good improvements and generally add to the available tools but a few caught my attention more than others. Particularly the inclusion of document generation for Godot’s own scripting language as well as improvements to localization tools. Yes, I know, they may not be as obviously pleasing as better animation support or modelling improvements but solid documentation and the ability to painlessly edit a sprawling project is something that’s often sadly overlooked in the development world. Making an engine or editor more accessible is always a noble goal.

  • In Blood is an upcoming visual novel about toxic relationships and lovecraftian horror

    While, admittedly, this isn’t the usual fare that we cover, some of you might be interested in this upcoming project by developer Jaime Scribbles. Finding herself in another dimension, protagonist Eleadora struggles to get back to her own world while having to rely on potentially untrustworthy allies. Eleadora may well find herself changed both physically and mentally after her ordeal, mutating into something other than human if things don’t go well.

  • Godhood to ascend Early Access on August 11

    This god simulator by Abbey Games allows players to create their own religion, cultivate followers and grow the faith into glorious prosperity. Originally crowdfunded, Godhood has come a long way since its original pitch, adding a whole range of options and mechanics to better define your godly cult. Expect to issue commandments, manage disciple and engage in divine combat against other deities in a battle to establish yourself as the one true faith.

  • PlayStation 2 emulator PCSX2 continues to show improvements in latest progress report

    The quest for better emulation is never quite done, it seems. The open source PS2 emulator saw its first major stable release in years a few months ago and since then more exciting stuff has been under development.

    If you’re not familiar with PCSX2, it’s one of the oldest PlayStation 2 emulators around. While not completely perfect, it’s allowed for reasonably good emulation of titles for a long time and has gotten noticeably better on Linux as of the last few years. Back in May, PCSX2 released its first new stable version in four years and, with it, brought countless improvements and fixes as well.

    The development hasn’t slowed since and there’s plenty to love in a recent progress report. While there’s a fair bit of code refactoring and bug fixing, I’m mostly excited about some the accuracy improvements that have been implemented. Z-buffer improvements, for example, solve many text and HUD display issues while dithering support and blending improvements make things look more as they were originally intended.

    I’ve got quite a few PS2 games from back in the day and, as PCSX2 has steadily improved, it’s been fun to revisit those titles. While things aren’t quite perfect yet, there’s an impressive amount of compatibility. Even software rendering is relatively manageable for those few picky titles that don’t play nice yet. Still, projects like these are invaluable for preservation of old games even as the original hardware becomes more difficult to find.

  • EVERSPACE 2 continues to shape up in Alpha, shows off second star system

    The rather pretty open-world space action sim from ROCKFISH games looks to be steadily improving as it nears Beta quality. The developers have shown the adjustments made in response to feedback as well as new content they hope to add soon.

  • How to install Steam on Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, Majaro, Mint)

    In this article, you will learn how to install Steam on Linux. The guide applies to all the distributions.

    Steam is a very popular video game distribution service. It acts as a storefront where users can buy the game, play and update it directly through the Steam application. Apart from that, community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud storage, and in-game voice chat functionalities are also provided by Steam.

    The Steam platform is the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming in the world, accounting around 75% of the market share.

10 cheat sheets for Linux sysadmins

Filed under
Linux

When you're a systems administrator, you don't just have one job; you have ALL the jobs, and often each one is on-demand with little to no warning. Unless you do a task every day, you may not always have all the commands and options you need in mind when you need them. And that's why I love cheat sheets.

Cheat sheets help you avoid silly mistakes, they keep you from having to look through pages of documentation, and they keep you moving efficiently through your tasks. I've selected my favorite 10 cheat sheets for any sysadmin, regardless of experience level.

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4 ways I contribute to open source as a Linux systems administrator

Filed under
Linux
OSS

I recently participated in The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit North America, held virtually June 29-July 2, 2020. In the course of that event, I had the opportunity to speak with a fellow attendee about my career in Linux systems administration and how it had led me to a career focused on open source. Specifically, he asked, how does a systems administrator who doesn't do a lot of coding participate in open source projects?

That's a great question!

A lot of focus in open source projects is placed on the actual code, but there's a lot more to it than that. The following are some ways that I've been deeply involved in open source projects, without writing code.

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today's leftovers

Filed under
HowTos

  • Intel Prepping Bus Lock Detection For Linux To Avoid This Performance Pitfall

    Building off the recently mainlined Intel work on split lock detection, Intel engineers have now been extending that with bus lock detection support.

    A bus lock as outlined within Intel's PRM happens via split locked access to writeback memory or using locks to uncacheable memory. Detecting bus locks is important due to performance penalties and possible denial of service implications.

    Intel's Fenghua Yu summed up the performance implications as typically being more than one thousand cycles slower than an atomic operation within a cache line and disrupting the performance of other CPU cores as well.

  • MSM Open-Source Driver Continues On Qualcomm Adreno 640/650 Series Bring-Up

    The open-source MSM DRM driver developed by Google, Qualcomm's Code Aurora, and other parties as what started out as part of the "Freedreno" driver initiative is continuing to see better support for the newer Adreno 640 and 650 series.

    The MSM DRM driver developers continue working on the Adreno 640/650 series as found in the Snapdragon 855/855+ and 865/865+, respectively. Sent in on Wednesday was the MSM-next material for Linux 5.9. This pull has "a bunch more" work on Adreno 640/650 both on the display and GPU enablement side, among that work are fixes, setting up the UBWC configuration, HWCG setup (hardware clock gating), and other bits.

  • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 868

    jenkins, chromeos, chromebook, arm, buying a house

  • Norbert Preining: KDE/Plasma Status Update 2020-07-30

    Only a short update on the current status of my KDE/Plasma package for Debian sid and testing:

    Frameworks 5.72
    Plasma 5.19.4
    Apps 20.04.3
    Digikam 7.0.0
    Ark CVE-2020-16116 fixed in version 20.04.3-1~np2
    Hope that helps a few people.

  • Week 8: GSoC Project Report

    Last week I implemented the duration fields and addition of storyboard items from storyboard. Previously it could only be done from the timeline docker. Also I implemented updating of all affected items’ thumbnail. This makes the docker almost complete sans the capability to save or export.

    The duration field is implemented such that any item in the storyboard docker has the duration equal to the next keyframe in any node. This makes sense because the canvas image would be identical to the keyframe image for that duration only, after that the other keyframe’s content would be added to it. Changing duration would move all keyframes in all nodes after the keyframe for that item.

  • [Godot] GSoC 2020 - Progress report #1

    As we announced a few months ago, Godot is participating again in the Google Summer of Code program for its 2020 edition.

    6 projects have been selected back in May, and the 6 students and their mentors have now been working on their projects for close to two months. We omitted to announce the projects formally (sorry about that!), but this first progress report written by each student will make up for it by giving a direct glimpse into their work.

  • Diversity in Open Source and Gaming: Does it Matter?

    It shouldn’t need to be said, and yet it needs to be shouted, over and over. The US has an especially egregious problem among developed nations with police violence (while data is difficult to obtain and interpret, there is clearly a problem). However, these are worldwide struggles in one form or another which shouldn’t be limited to protests in the streets and discussions of police and politics. As gamers and Linux users, we sit at a special intersection of entertainment and industry. Neither side is well represented when it comes to diversity and action. Our community needs to do better. We need to make Black lives matter in our own space and do our part to push society forward.

    This issue should be crucial to us because of the values we represent as Linux gamers. Gaming is universal. There is an innate desire to play, to escape, to be challenged, to connect or compete with others, to tell stories. Gaming is to be shared, to break down barriers and find commonality. Gaming on Linux means we also value Free/Libre Software. And Free Software is meant to be free: free from restrictions, for anyone to use and make it their own. These words are hollow without putting them into practice and ensuring this is available to all, that anyone can contribute. There is a natural connection here, between the joy and universality of gaming and the benefits and openness of Free Software, twin ideals we want to succeed. So while games are rarely Open Source, as a community that uses both we should reflect a culmination of these values.

    [...]

    Unfortunately, we do not. Many games and their players are rife with white supremacy, neo-Nazis, hate speech and groups, bigotry, poor (if any) representation, toxicity, issues of how they represent police, excuses of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the real problems of the locations they represent, and ugly actions like players spawning KKK members in Red Dead Online to terrorize others.

  • Gender balance in computing: current research
  • Nest With Fedora registration now open

    Registration for Nest with Fedora is now open! We welcome you to join us for three days of Fedora content, workshops, and social hours. Nest begins Friday 7 August at 1200 UTC and runs through Sunday 9 August at 2200 UTC. The schedule will be published in the coming days. We are using a platform called Hopin, which has been generously provided by the Apache Software Foundation.

    As we all know, this year our annual contributor conference Flock to Fedora has been moved to a virtual event: Nest with Fedora. It won’t be a literal replacement for all the great in person time we usually get, but I am still excited to see all of the familiar (and new!) faces and to catch up on what everybody has been working on. There is also a silver lining going virtual: so many more Fedora contributors can attend!

  • Sandworm details the group behind the worst cyberattacks in history [iophk: Windows TCO]

                     

                       

    Andy and Nilay discuss the origins of Sandworm, the intricacies and ramifications of their attacks, and what mysteries and situations are still left unsolved. Listen here or in your preferred podcast player to hear the entire conversation.

                       

    Below is a lightly edited excerpt from the conversation.

  • Industrial Systems Can Be [Cr]acked Remotely via VPN Vulnerabilities

                     

                       

    In Secomea GateManager, which allows users to connect to the internal network from the internet through an encrypted tunnel, researchers discovered multiple security holes, including weaknesses that can be exploited to overwrite arbitrary data (CVE-2020-14500), execute arbitrary code, cause a DoS condition, execute commands as root by connecting via hardcoded Telnet credentials, and obtain user passwords due to weak hashing.

  • An awk corner case?

    So even after years and years of experience, core tools still find ways to surprise me. Today I tried to do some timestamp comparisons with mawk (vnl-filter, to be more precise), and ran into a detail of the language that made it not work. Not a bug, I guess, since both mawk and gawk are affected. I'll claim "language design flaw", however.

  • The sad, slow-motion death of Do Not Track

    "Do Not Track" (DNT) is a simple HTTP header that a browser can send to signal to a web site that the user does not want to be tracked. The DNT header had a promising start and the support of major browsers almost a decade ago. Most web browsers still support sending it, but in 2020 it is almost useless because the vast majority of web sites ignore it. Advertising companies, in particular, argued that its legal status was unclear, and that it was difficult to determine how to interpret the header. There have been some relatively recent attempts at legislation to enforce honoring the DNT header, but those efforts do not appear to be going anywhere. In comparison, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) attempt to solve some of the same problems as DNT but are legally enforceable.

    In 2007, the US Federal Trade Commission was asked [PDF] to create a "Do Not Track" list, similar to the popular "Do Not Call" list. This would have been a list of advertiser domain names that tracked consumer behavior online, and would allow browsers to prevent requests to those sites if the user opted in. However, that approach never got off the ground, and DNT first appeared as a header in 2009, when security researchers Christopher Soghoian, Sid Stamm, and Dan Kaminsky got together to create a prototype.

  • ’90s vibes: Fresh themes for Firefox, video calls and more

    Raise your hand if your watchlists are showing signs of ‘90s reruns. Saved by the Bell, Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are making comfort TV comebacks along with bike shorts, oversize button-downs and bandanas, which could honestly be the WFH meets socially distant uniform of the summer. Visually the ‘90s give so much in a simple, joyful way. A little neon here, a few shapes there, and whoomp, there it is!

    Get some fresh ’90s styles into your digital day-to-day, with wallpapers, video call backgrounds and browser themes. This collection is here to bring you ‘90s joy without the Macarena playing on the radio all the time.

  • Open-source contact tracing, part 2

    In March 2020, the first contact-tracing app was released; it was TraceTogether in Singapore. As of early July 2020, it had been downloaded over 2.1 million times for a population of Singapore of around 5.8 million. The app uses a protocol called BlueTrace. A reference implementation of the protocol was released under the name of OpenTrace; it includes Android and iOS apps and the server piece. All those elements are released under GPL v3.

    The Git repository seems quiet after the initial release, counting, for example, only five commits to the Android app. It seems likely, then, that the public and private source trees diverged at some point. This looks to be confirmed when we look into the binary TraceTogether app analysis by Frank Liauw, and compare his results with the OpenTrace source code. OpenTrace includes, for example, the same database structure, but does not contain the updates made in TraceTogether. This means that the installed app does not correspond with the released source code, which could mean that some of the privacy characteristics of the app have changed.

    Beyond just the source code, the design paper [PDF] describes the main ideas and details of the protocol. Users are identified by their phone numbers; both global and temporary IDs are generated by the centralized server. The apps may download batches of temporary IDs in advance in order to continue working offline. The proximity tracing is done by Bluetooth and the BlueTrace protocol includes sending the phone model, for distance calibration purposes, along with the temporary ID.

  • New features in gnuplot 5.4

    Gnuplot 5.4 has been released, three years after the last major release of the free-software graphing program. In this article we will take a look at five major new capabilities in gnuplot. First, we briefly visit voxel plotting, for visualizing 3D data. Since this is a big subject and the most significant addition to the program, we'll save the details for a subsequent article. Next, we learn about plotting polygons in 3D, another completely new gnuplot feature. After that, we'll get caught up briefly in spider plots, using them to display some recent COVID-19 infection data. Then we'll see an example of how to use pixmaps, a new feature allowing for the embedding of pictures alongside curves or surfaces. Finally, we'll look at some more COVID-19 data using the new 3D bar chart.

    A full accounting of all of the improvements and bug fixes in 5.4 can be found in the release notes. More gnuplot history can be found in our May 2017 article on the soon-to-be-released gnuplot version 5.2, which described its new features, some of which have been expanded in 5.4.

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Ubuntu: Internet of Things (IoT), CyberDog, ZeroDown, and OVS (Open vSwitch)

  • Ubuntu Blog: Embedded systems: the advent of the Internet of Things – Part II

    This is the second part of the two-part blog series covering embedded Linux systems and the challenges brought about by the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In Part I, we surveyed the embedded ecosystem and the role Linux plays within that space. This blog takes you on the next step in the journey, where we explore the most demanding challenges facing manufacturers of tightly embedded IoT devices.

  • CyberDog: a four legged robot revolution with Ubuntu

    Late this year, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi unveiled CyberDog: a quadrupedal, experimental, open-source robot that the firm claims will improve the robot development environment and promote the development of the robot industry. Today, Canonical dives into the specifications of this four legged robot and discover how Ubuntu is helping the device become an open source technological platform. Xiaomi has a clear vision for its product. As Huang Changjiang, PM at Xiaomi, explains, “CyberDog is developers’ technological partner from the future. It equips inhouse-made high-performance servo motors, high computing ability, with built-in AI for visual detection system and voice interaction system, supporting a variety of bionic motion gestures.”

  • ZeroDown® Software Targets Open Source with New Canonical Partnership

    As businesses around the world and in every major industry define and accelerate their cloud strategies, the lack of open, flexible and complete high availability has become a major concern. The ZeroDown platform, built upon Canonical’s industry-leading operating system, Ubuntu, aims at integrating into Canonical’s broader Charmed OpenStack platform with its ZeroDown Ultra High-Availability TM Software, eliminating downtime and data loss for its customers, running seamlessly through planned or unplanned downtime events.

  • Data centre networking: what is OVS? | Ubuntu

    In one of our preceding blogs, we spoke about Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and the key drivers behind it. Virtualisation is one of the fundamental aspects that characterises SDN, and has influenced the architecture of network switching in the data centre. OVS (Open vSwitch) is a fundamental component of modern and open data centre SDNs, where it aggregates all the virtual machines at the server hypervisor layer. It represents the ingress point for all the traffic exiting VMs, and can be used to forward traffic between multiple virtual network functions in the form of service chains. Let’s take a closer look in order to understand what OVS is.

Compact edge AI boxes offer choice of Jetson Nano, TX2 NX, and Xavier NX

All three systems ship with the Ubuntu 18.04 with Nvidia JetPack 4.5.1. They also support Advantech’s Edge AI Suite and FaceView applications, which are available on its earlier AIR systems. Read more