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The Best Linux Distributions for Old Machines

Filed under
Linux

Do you have an old laptop that has gathered layers of dust over time and you don’t exactly what to do with it? A good place to start would be to install a Linux distribution that will perfectly support its low-end hardware specifications without much of a hassle. You could still enjoy performing basic tasks such as web browsing, word processing, and watching videos, listening to your favourite music to mention a few.

In this guide, we feature some of the best Linux distributions that you can install on your old PC and breathe some life into it.

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5 reasons to run Kubernetes on your Raspberry Pi homelab

Filed under
Linux
OSS

There's a saying about the cloud, and it goes something like this: The cloud is just somebody else's computer. While the cloud is actually more complex than that (it's a lot of computers), there's a lot of truth to the sentiment. When you move to the cloud, you're moving data and services and computing power to an entity you don't own or fully control. On the one hand, this frees you from having to perform administrative tasks you don't want to do, but, on the other hand, it could mean you no longer control your own computer.

This is why the open source world likes to talk about an open hybrid cloud, a model that allows you to choose your own infrastructure, select your own OS, and orchestrate your workloads as you see fit. However, if you don't happen to have an open hybrid cloud available to you, you can create your own—either to help you learn how the cloud works or to serve your local network.

Read more

Linux Plumbers Conference and Kernel Developments in METRICFS, FS-Cache, HWMON

Filed under
Linux
  • Application Ecosystem Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the Application Ecosystem Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

    The Linux kernel is the foundation of the Linux systems, but it is not much use without applications that run on top of it. The application experience relies on the kernel for performance, stability and responsiveness. Plumbers is the perfect venue to have the kernel and app ecosystems under one roof to discuss and learn together and make a better application experience on the Linux platform.

  • Google Opens Patches For "METRICFS" That They Have Used Since 2012 For Telemetry Data

    The METRICFS file-system has been in use internally at Google since 2012 for exporting system statistics to their telemetry systems with around 200 statistics being exported per machine. They are now posting the METRICFS patches as open-source for review and possible upstreaming.

    A "request for comments" on METRICFS was sent out today on the Linux kernel mailing list. Their motives for now finally publishing these patches is as a result of the recent Statsfs proposal by a Red Hat engineer for a RAM-based file-system for exposing kernel statistics to user-space. METRICFS has a similar aim to Statsfs.

  • FS-Cache Rewritten But Even Its Developers Are Hesitant About Landing It For Linux 5.9

    FS-Cache provides the Linux kernel with a general purpose cache for network file-systems like NFS and AFS but also other special use-cases like ISO9660 file-systems. FS-Cache has been rewritten for better performance and reliability, among other benefits, and while it has been sent in as a pull request for Linux 5.9 even its own developers provide some caution over landing it this cycle.

    FS-Cache has seen work to "massively overhaul" it with a variety of improvements. The new and improved FS-Cache will now use async direct I/O in place of snooping for updated pages that in turn means less virtual memory overhead. The new FS-Cache implementation has simpler object management, changes to object invalidation, and a variety of other work.

  • Corsair Commander Pro Driver Sent In To Linux 5.9

    The hardware monitoring (HWMON) subsystem has a new driver that is likely to excite some enthusiasts wanting greater control over thermal monitoring and fan control for their systems.

    The previously covered Corsair Commander Pro Linux driver is now coming with Linux 5.9. The Commander Pro offers six 4-pin fan ports with PWM controls, two RGB LED channels, and four thermal sensors. An interested user/developer created this Linux driver without the support from Corsair. The thermal and fan control support is in place with this new HWMON driver while the RGB lighting controls are available from OpenRGB.

Audiocasts/Shows: Destination Linux, FLOSS Weekly, CrowPi and Linux Headlines

Filed under
GNU
Linux

           

  • Destination Linux 185: Let’s Fix Linux Tech Support

    On this week’s episode of Destination Linux, we’re transitioning from the topic of Bug Reporting last week to Tech Support in Linux this week. We’re going to check in on Wayland’s progress with Plasma’s new release, we have an sandbox MMO for gaming, and our popular tips/tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more, coming up right now on Destination Linux.

  •                 

  • FLOSS Weekly 590: Rensselaer Center for Open Software - A Community of Open Source Developers

    RCOS is a group of RPI students who work on open-source projects. The goal of RCOS is to empower students to develop open-source solutions to real-world problems. They have created 300+ open source projects over the years. Doc Searls and Simon Phipps talk with Wes Turner, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the Director of the Rensselaer Center for Open Source. They discuss teaching open source and the hardships that come along with that, especially with e-learning. They also discuss what the future could look like if we could have more open-source programs like RCOS in other universities.

  •        

  • The Best Raspberry Pi Laptop Kit | CrowPi 2 Review

    The Best Raspberry Pi Laptop Kit | CrowPi 2 Review of the kit, usage, and examples. 

  •        

  • 2020-08-05 | Linux Headlines

    LibreOffice 7 dodges its rebranding controversy, the Pinta bitmap editor sees its first new version in 5 years, Red Hat accommodates certification seekers with new pandemic-friendly rules, and ownCloud 10.5 brings background sync changes to the platform.

Forget Windows, I just installed Elementary OS on my Chromebook and it’s awesome

Filed under
GNU
Linux

In my path to Chrome OS enlightenment, I’ve explored many method with which users can run non-native applications and even alternative operating systems. My most recent endeavor involved installing a full-blown version of Windows 10 inside the Linux container on Chrome OS. While I have absolutely no use for such a monstrosity, the path that brought me there was fun and I believe a lot of users were excited about the premise of running Windows alongside Chrome OS. All of this was made possible thanks to an update to the Linux kernel that is available to some users inside the Chrome OS Linux container. My first theory was that this was being tested exclusively on ‘Hatch’ devices that are equipped with the Comet Lake family of processors. After some input from some colleagues, it appears that the ability to run qemu/kvm in a nested environment is more widely available than I presumed. I have seen reports that users have successfully installed Windows on devices ranging from a Core i5 Pixel Slate to the aging Dell Chromebook 13 that has a Broadwell CPU. Perhaps it is the Core i CPU that is the key. Who knows?

[...]

Elementary OS is an Ubuntu-based OS but make no mistake, it stands out as its own operating system. Many have called the the macOS of Linux but as you can read in a blog post from the Elementary CEO, the OS design and function are very intentional and quite unique in its own right. All of that is neither here nor there. Elementary OS caught my eye as a distinct and very different distro that I had never used and I wanted to give it a try and see how it ran on Chrome OS. My Windows experiment was a success, for the most part, but Windows is chunky and often times I found the OS struggling to work well inside the VM. Elementary OS is a “pay what’s fair” platform which means exactly what you’d think. While you can technically download the .iso image for free, a donation of your choosing is recommended and I’m sure, well appreciated as it is open-source software.

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AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC – Gaming – Week 5

Filed under
Linux
Gaming

This is a weekly blog chronicling my experiences of running the AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC on Linux.

I’ve already touched on the graphics capabilities of the AWOW AK41. To recap, this Mini PC uses the Intel UHD Graphics 605, an integrated processor graphics unit from the Gemini Lake generation. Performance of the graphics unit is widely reported as in the low-end segment and rarely sufficient for modern games.

It’s often touted that integrated graphics are not meant for gaming. But what does that really mean? There are tons of free games available for Linux. Many of them aren’t that graphically demanding.

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Stable Kernels: 5.7.13, 5.4.56, 4.19.137, and 4.14.192

Filed under
Linux
  • Linux 5.7.13

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.7.13 kernel.

    All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...

  • Linux 5.4.56
  • Linux 4.19.137
  • Linux 4.14.192

Here’s the glaring potential flaw in Windows 10X devices as Chromebook competitors

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Microsoft

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Imagine an operating system that’s focused on using the web browser and you can’t install traditional desktop apps on. No, I’m actually not talking about Chromebooks, and if I was, that would be an outdated thought experiment since you can install full desktop Linux apps on Chrome OS. I’m talking about upcoming devices running Microsoft Windows 10X, a “lite” software platform that is reportedly debuting in roughly 9 months.

You may not recall that Microsoft tried a similar approach in 2012 with Windows RT and the first Surface device.

Read more

Also: Linux Marketshare Dipped in July – But Not By Much! [Ed: No, it is wrong to base one's assessment on a Microsoft partner that pretends Android, ChromeOS etc. don't even exist]

Kernel and Graphics: Another Attack on the GPL, Power Management and Thermal Control Microconference, Intel and AMD

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

  • Wrap it before you tap it? No, say Linux developers: 'GPL condom' for Nvidia driver is laughed out of the kernel

    Linux devs have dismissed a proposed patch to the kernel that would only work with a Nvidia driver, motivating a second patch that will prevent disguised use of proprietary code in GPL modules.

    The Linux Kernel licensing rules make provision for proprietary third-party modules but state that they must be tagged as such.

    This "cannot be used for modules with source code in the kernel tree. Modules tagged that way are tainting the kernel with the 'P' flag when loaded and the kernel module loader refuses to link such modules against symbols which are exported with EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()."

    Facebook developer Jonathan Lemon put forward an RFC (Request for Comments) on a proposal to implement DMA (Direct Memory Access) zero-copy between a network card and a GPU to enhance network performance, while keeping the protocol processing on the CPU. The use case is for "GPUs used for machine learning, which are located near the NICs, and have a high bandwidth PCI connection between the GPU/NIC," states the RFC.

    The code relies on Nvidia's proprietary driver for Linux, noticed by kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman, who observed: "OK, now you are just trolling us. Nice job, I shouldn't have read the previous patches. Please, go get a lawyer to sign-off on this patch, with their corporate email address on it. That's the only way we could possibly consider something like this."

  • Power Management and Thermal Control Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the Power Management and Thermal Control Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

    Power management and thermal control is an important area in the Linux ecosystem to help with the global environment. Optimizing the amount of work that is achieved while having long battery life and keeping the box from overheating is critical in today’s world. This meeting will focus on continuing to have Linux be an efficient operating system while still lowering the cost of running a data center.

    Last year’s meetup at Linux Plumbers resulted in the introduction of thermal pressure support into the CPU scheduler as well as several improvements to the thermal framework, such as a netlink implementation of thermal notification and improvements to CPU cooling. Discussions from last year also helped to improve systems-wide suspend testing tools.

  • Intel Tiger Lake OpenCL Support On Linux Now Considered Production Ready

    With all the recent work on Intel's open-source compute stack around the vector back-end and GPU code generation with their ISPC compiler there was another significant milestone achieved that went unnoticed until spotting the change a few days ago. 

    The open-source Intel Compute Runtime in the past two weeks now has "production" ready OpenCL support for the forthcoming Gen12 Tiger Lake graphics. That's good news with Tiger Lake laptops expected to market soon. 

  • RADV ACO Back-End Begins Tackling Navi 2 / GFX10.3 Support

    With the "Sienna Cichlid" and "Navy Flounder" open-source driver support as what appear to be the first "Navi 2" GPUs and the first of the "GFX10.3" generation on the graphics engine side there is the initial kernel support with Linux 5.9 and the initial Mesa support for 20.2. That Mesa support has been focused on RadeonSI as the official OpenGL driver as well as Mesa's RADV driver as the Radeon Vulkan driver in-tree but not officially supported by AMD. That RADV support is currently un-tested. Both drivers currently depend upon the "AMDGPU" back-end found in the forthcoming LLVM 11.0 with its initial GFX10.3 support. But now on the RADV driver side there is preliminary GFX10.3 bits landing for the popular "ACO" back-end. 

    ACO is the back-end worked on by Valve and other stakeholders like open-source graphics driver engineers from Google and Red Hat. But as ACO isn't officially supported by AMD, there hasn't been any patches from them in wiring up the Navi 2 / GFX10.3 support for this AMDGPU LLVM alternative. Rhys Perry as part of Valve's Linux driver efforts though has worked out what should be the initial changes needed for this yet-to-be-released hardware with ACO. 

Audiocasts/Shows: mintCast, This Week in Linux and LINUX Unplugged

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • mintCast 340.5 – Will It Blend?

    1:41 Interview with Jason van Gumster
    1:01:48 Feedback
    1:11:03 Check This Out
    1:15:27 Outro

    In our Innards section, we become blender experts with Jason van Gumster’s help.

    And finally, the feedback and a few suggestions.

  • This Week in Linux 111: Linux 5.8, BootHole & GRUB2 Flaws, Firefox 79, JellyFin, Nitrux, & More

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got some really cool hardware news, we’ve finally got some Linux laptops equipped with an AMD Ryzen 4000H series processor. These laptops are thanks to Tuxedo Computers and KDE Slimbook. Cooler Master has launched a kickstarter campaign to make a pretty slick Case for the Raspberry Pi 4. We’ve also got a LOT of App News this week with the latest release of the most popular open source email client, Thunderbird 78 from Mozilla. KDE has released version 7.0.0 of digiKam. If you’ve been wanting an open source way to control your RGB lights on your devices then OpenRGB may be the tool for you. And finally, PeerTube has announced the 2.3.0 release that comes with the much anticipated Global Search feature! All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • There’s a Hole in my Boot! | LINUX Unplugged 365

    We explain why BootHole is getting so much attention and break down the key issues. Then we review our favorite Linux-compatible headsets.

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More in Tux Machines

5 tips for making documentation a priority in open source projects

Open source software is now mainstream; long gone are the days when open source projects attracted developers alone. Nowadays, users across numerous industries are active consumers of open source software, and you can't expect everyone to know how to use the software just by reading the code. Even for developers (including those with plenty of experience in other open source projects), good documentation serves as a valuable onboarding tool when people join a community. People who are interested in contributing to a project often start by working on documentation to get familiar with the project, the community, and the community workflow. Read more

5 reasons to run Kubernetes on your Raspberry Pi homelab

There's a saying about the cloud, and it goes something like this: The cloud is just somebody else's computer. While the cloud is actually more complex than that (it's a lot of computers), there's a lot of truth to the sentiment. When you move to the cloud, you're moving data and services and computing power to an entity you don't own or fully control. On the one hand, this frees you from having to perform administrative tasks you don't want to do, but, on the other hand, it could mean you no longer control your own computer. This is why the open source world likes to talk about an open hybrid cloud, a model that allows you to choose your own infrastructure, select your own OS, and orchestrate your workloads as you see fit. However, if you don't happen to have an open hybrid cloud available to you, you can create your own—either to help you learn how the cloud works or to serve your local network. Read more

today's howtos and leftovers

  • Linux commands for user management
  • CONSOOM All Your PODCASTS From Your Terminal With Castero
  • Install Blender 3D on Debian 10 (Buster)
  • Things To Do After Installing openSUSE Leap 15.2
  • GSoC Reports: Fuzzing Rumpkernel Syscalls, Part 2

    I have been working on Fuzzing Rumpkernel Syscalls. This blogpost details the work I have done during my second coding period.

  • Holger Levsen: DebConf7

    DebConf7 was also special because it had a very special night venue, which was in an ex-church in a rather normal building, operated as sort of community center or some such, while the old church interior was still very much visible as in everything new was build around the old stuff. And while the night venue was cool, it also ment we (video team) had no access to our machines over night (or for much of the evening), because we had to leave the university over night and the networking situation didn't allow remote access with the bandwidth needed to do anything video. The night venue had some very simple house rules, like don't rearrange stuff, don't break stuff, don't fix stuff and just a few little more and of course we broke them in the best possible way: Toresbe with the help of people I don't remember fixed the organ, which was broken for decades. And so the house sounded in some very nice new old tune and I think everybody was happy we broke that rule.

Programming Leftovers

  • Podcast: COBOL development on the mainframe

    Nic reached out when COBOL hit the news this spring to get some background on what COBOL is good for historically, and where it lives in the modern infrastructure stack. I was able to talk about the basics of COBOL and the COBOL standard, strengths today in concert with the latest mainframes, and how COBOL back-end code is now being integrated into front ends via intermediary databases and data-interchange formats like JSON, which COBOL natively supports.

  • What I learned while teaching C programming on YouTube

    The act of breaking something down in order to teach it to others can be a great way to reacquaint yourself with some old concepts and, in many cases, gain new insights. I have a YouTube channel where I demonstrate FreeDOS programs and show off classic DOS applications and games. The channel has a small following, so I tend to explore the topics directly suggested by my audience. When several subscribers asked if I could do more videos about programming, I decided to launch a new video series to teach C programming. I learned a lot from teaching C, and in the process, I came across some meaningful takeaways I think others will appreciate. Make a plan For my day job, I lead training and workshops to help new and emerging IT leaders develop new skills. Outside of regular work, I also enjoy teaching as an adjunct professor. So I'm very comfortable constructing a course outline and designing a curriculum. That's where I started. If you want to teach a subject effectively, you can't just wing it. Start by writing an outline of what topics you want to cover and figure out how each new topic will build on the previous ones. The "building block" method of adding new knowledge is key to an effective training program.

  • Google's Flutter 1.20 framework is out: VS Code extension and mobile autofill support
  • Google Engineers Propose "Machine Function Splitter" For Faster Performance

    Google engineers have been working on the Machine Function Splitter as their means of making binaries up to a few percent faster thanks to this compiler-based approach. They are now seeking to upstream the Machine Function Splitter into LLVM. The Machine Function Splitter is a code generation optimization pass for splitting code functions into hot and cold parts. They are doing this stemming from research that in roughly half of code functions that more than 50% of the code bytes are never executed but generally loaded into the CPU's data cache.

  • Modernize network function development with this Rust-based framework

    The world of networking has undergone monumental shifts over the past decade, particularly in the ongoing move from specialized hardware into software defined network functions (NFV) for data plane1 and packet processing. While the transition to software has fashioned the rise of SDN (Software-defined networking) and programmable networks, new challenges have arisen in making these functions flexible, efficient, easier to use, and fast (i.e. little to no performance overhead). Our team at Comcast wanted to both leverage what the network does best, especially with regards to its transport capacity and routing mechanisms, while also being able to develop network programs through a modern software lens—stressing testing, swift iteration, and deployment. So, with these goals in mind, we developed Capsule, a new framework for network function development, written in Rust, inspired by Berkeley's NetBricks research, and built-on Intel's Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).

  • This Week in Rust 350
  • Firefox extended tracking protection

    This Mozilla Security Blog entry describes the new redirect-tracking protections soon to be provided by the Firefox browser.

  • Karl Dubost: Browser developer tools timeline

    I was reading In a Land Before Dev Tools by Amber, and I thought, Oh here missing in the history the beautifully chiseled Opera Dragonfly and F12 for Internet Explorer. So let's see what are all the things I myself didn't know.

  • Daniel Stenberg: Upcoming Webinar: curl: How to Make Your First Code Contribution

    Abstract: curl is a wildly popular and well-used open source tool and library, and is the result of more than 2,200 named contributors helping out. Over 800 individuals wrote at least one commit so far. In this presentation, curl’s lead developer Daniel Stenberg talks about how any developer can proceed in order to get their first code contribution submitted and ultimately landed in the curl git repository. Approach to code and commits, style, editing, pull-requests, using github etc. After you’ve seen this, you’ll know how to easily submit your improvement to curl and potentially end up running in ten billion installations world-wide.