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Purism: Supplying the Demand

Filed under
Linux

Thank you all for the continued support and remarkable demand for the Librem 5.

As we’ve shared earlier, we are iterating through shipping batches. The purpose of doing so is to increment and improve with each batch toward mass production and share that story publicly. As a result, these earlier batches are limited in quantity as we move toward mass production. Publicly releasing iterated hardware at this level of transparency is extremely uncommon, but in nearly everything we do we try to lead by example. Forming as a Social Purpose Corporation, open sourcing all our software, having PureOS be FSF endorsed, securing the lower layers of computing, or manufacturing a revolutionary mobile phone from scratch… all have required sacrifice but are well worth it to provide people with a values-driven alternative to Big Tech.

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Also: Purism Provides Update On Librem 5 Shipping, Known Issues

Arm unveils two lightweight NPUs for edge AI

Filed under
Linux

Arm renamed its 4-TOP Arm ML NPU as the Ethos-N77 and launched small-footprint, low-power Ethos-N57 (2-TOP) and Ethos-N37 (1-TOP) models for edge AI supported with the Linux-based Arm NN SDK. Arm also unveiled a Mali-G57 GPU and a tiny Mali-D37 VPU.

Tiny, stripped-down AI co-processors for the edge seem to be a thing these days. Arm’s new power-efficient Ethos-N57 (2-TOP) and Ethos-N37 (1 TOP) neural processing units (NPUs) may not be as minimalist as Kneron’s KL520 AI SoC, available on Aaeon’s AI Edge Computing Modules, which delivers 0.3 TOP NPU performance on only half a Watt. Yet they offer lower-power embedded and mobile alternatives to Arm’s newly renamed, 4-TOP Ethos-N77, formerly known as the Arm Machine Learning (ML). The NPUs are supported via the Linux-based Arm NN SDK (see farther below).

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AMD: CPU Microcode, RADV, Blender Foundation and AMDVLK

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Updated AMD Zen CPU Microcode Lands In Linux-Firmware Tree

    But as is often the case with new additions to linux-firmware.git, the changes to said microcode/firmware binaries aren't usually described in any level of detail. Though with this Zen CPU microcode update it ultimately shouldn't mean too much assuming you are punctual with your motherboard firmware updates that generally ship with the new AMD CPU microcode revisions, in which case the older (in-tree) firmware isn't loaded.

  • RADV Lands More Fixes + Performance Improvements Into Mesa 19.3

    It's always great waking up and to find RADV improvements in Mesa Git for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver that is particularly popular with Linux gamers.

    Hitting Mesa 19.3 overnight was re-enabling fast depth/stencil clears with separate aspects for GFX10/Navi. This was disabled before for causing "weird issues" on GFX10 but no longer appears to be the case. This path also works fine when tested with Feral's new Shadow of Mordor Vulkan beta.

  • AMD Joins The Blender Foundation With An Emphasis On Vulkan

    Just earlier this month NVIDIA announced their funding of the Blender Foundation at the flagship "patron" level and now AMD has followed them in backing this foundation for assisting the development of this leading 3D creation software.

    AMD now joins NVIDIA and Epic Games at the patron level, which means contributing at least €120k per year to the foundation.

  • AMDVLK 2019.Q4.1 Vulkan Driver Brings Performance Tuning, Reworked Pipeline Cache

    AMD has been off their weekly release regiment for their open-source AMDVLK Vulkan driver but this morning they issued their first new release in just about one month.

    AMDVLK 2019.Q4.1 is this first AMDVLK source drop for the fourth quarter. Given the four weeks since the last Linux Vulkan driver source update, there have been many changes/improvements. Some of the large work items include supporting host mapped foreign memory (VKI_EXT_HOST_MAPPED_FOREIGN_MEMORY), reworking of its Vulkan pipeline cache and other cache improvements, and tuning the shader performance for F1 2017 and The Talos Principle.

A Raspberry Pi-Like Board and Running a Web Site on Raspberry Pi

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Google's Raspberry Pi-like Coral: AI board with TPU is ready for business

    Google unveiled its Coral edge kit in March, offering developers a Raspberry Pi-like board with an attachable Google Edge TPU machine-learning accelerator. The kit is aimed at engineers and researchers who want to run TensorFlow models at the edge of a network, outside the data center.

    The Coral Dev Board itself costs $149, which includes a detachable Coral system-on-module (SoM) that can now be bought as a standalone product for $114. The SoM includes Google's Edge TPU with the NXP IMX8M SoC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, memory, and storage.

  • The little Raspberry Pi that could (serve a web site)

    Yesterday, I asked folks following me on my Mastodon, if they’d help me blow up my Raspberry Pi Zero W...

Septor 2019.6

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Debian

Tor Browser is fully installed (9.0)
System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of October 22, 2019
Update Thunderbird to 60.9.0.1
Update Onionshare to 2.2
Update firmwares to 20190114-2
Update openjdk-11-jre to 11.0.5
Update youtube-dl to 2019.10.16

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These Xfce Versus KDE Numbers Reveal A Shocking Surprise About Linux Desktop Environments

Filed under
KDE
Linux

When I say “Xfce,” it’s a good bet you think about a lean, responsive Linux desktop environment that’s particularly light on system memory usage. And you’d be absolutely right. Does that same description dance through your head when I say “KDE?” If not, one can hardly blame you. KDE seems to be perceived as a “bloated” but beautiful desktop environment. If you hold that belief, I’m here to tell you it’s time to change your opinion.

I’m as surprised about writing this article as you are at reading that headline. But yes, folks, in much of my initial testing the latest version of KDE (5.17) is using less RAM than Xfce 4.14.

After seeing a couple stray comments on Twitter making this very claim, I felt compelled to see if there was any substance to it. So I set up a couple test environments and recruited my podcasting colleague Zebedee Boss (of Destination Linux) to run independent tests of his own.

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Audiocasts/Shows: LINUX Unplugged, Linux Headlines, This Week in Linux, mintCast and Nathan Wolf's Noodlings

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • RAMburgulars | LINUX Unplugged 324

    Is the ZFS tax too high? We pit ZFS on root against ext4 in our laptop pressure cooker and see how they perform when RAM gets tight.

    Plus we take a look at Pop!_OS 19.10, complete our Ubuntu 19.10 review, cover community news, and lots more.

  • 2019-10-22 | Linux Headlines

    The GNOME Foundation fights back in its patent battle, Firefox 70 is here, and Ghost has its biggest release yet.

  • Episode 85 | This Week in Linux

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a jam packed episode with BIG releases from Ubuntu, KDE Plasma, antiX 19, RPM and more. We’ve also got some really interesting news from a BSD based project that is migrating to Linux. We’ll also cover an interesting security topic regarding SUDO that has been making the rounds recently. Samsung announced the end of Linux on DeX and Google finally is releasing AMP to the community. Later in the show we’ll check out a really cool Linux client for Playstation 4 Remote Play and some new Humble Bundles. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • mintCast 320 – Sudos and Sudon’ts

    First up, in our Wanderings, Leo plays with audio, Moss tries out two new System76 laptops, Josh has been oggcamping, Joe’s been headphoning, And Tony has been updating a laptop for a friend.

    Then, in our news we talk about Ubuntu, Google’s most disappointing pixel yet (the Pixel 4), Linux Mint’s gaming ability, and the releases of Freespire, Tails and Trident.

  • Nathan Wolf: Noodlings | BTRFS, Ultra Widescreens and Floppy Drives

    I have been using BTRFS on all of my openSUSE machines without issue. In my quest to build a new multi-roll system to act as a server, workstation and occasional casual desktop use, I wanted to have a storage solution that was very fault tolerant and would allow me to expand my disk size with minimal effort. That is in both replacing individual drives with larger drives and potentially adding another controller card to have more drives.

    ZFS is in the news as the new “hotness” for a file system and it does indeed have a lot of the really awesome features BTRFS provides, maybe more but support in Linux doesn’t appear to be as robust as BTRFS. Could my mind change in the future? Absolutely, but for now, until I get the stability of BTRFS on root, the snapshot system and the ease of flexibility in altering the array of storage, I will stick with BTRFS.

Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Week 1

Filed under
Linux

This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

The purpose of the blog is two-fold. Primarily, it’s to share my experiences using the RPI4 purely as a desktop replacement machine, to see what works well, and what doesn’t. It’s also to act as an aide-mémoire for myself.

Along the way, I’ll be exploring what I’m looking for from a desktop machine. Smooth running multimedia, office based software, email, networking, and productivity apps are all high on my list of priorities. Rest assured, even though I am a huge advocate of the Pi range of computers, I’ll be brutally honest in my critique of RPI4. For example, the RPI4 is marketed as an energy efficient computer. In a way that’s very true. The Pi consumes a mere 2.8 watts when idle and about 5w when maxing out all 4 cores. But the firmware doesn’t automatically switch off the monitors’ backlight. Instead, it only blanks the screen. While there are plans to fix this issue (part fix with a working vcgencmd), it’s a startling omission. With inadequate power management of the monitors, it’s hard to consider the Pi 4 as an energy efficient desktop solution.

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MX Linux 19 'Patito Feo' is here!

Filed under
Linux

In the classic story The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, a bird is bullied and tormented by a bunch of mean ducks -- simply because his appearance is different, and he is perceived as ugly. Spoiler alert: he grows up to be a beautiful swan and has the last laugh. Take that, mean ducks! In many ways, Linux users have been like that bullied bird -- made fun of for being different, but as time marches on, it is clear that they are the true swans of the computing world.

And so, how appropriate that MX Linux 19, which is released today, is code-named "Patito Feo," which is Spanish for ugly duckling. Yes, following some beta releases, the increasingly popular Debian 10 Buster-based distribution is finally here. The operating system features kernel 4.19 and uses the lightweight Xfce 4.14 desktop environment. It even features a patched sudo, so you don't need to worry about that nasty security vulnerability that had some folks worried. Of course, there is a bunch of great software installed, such as Firefox 69, Thunderbird 60.9, LibreOffice 6.1.5, VLC 3.0.8, GIMP 2.10.12, and more!

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Canonical Outs New Linux Kernel Security Update for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 LTS

Filed under
Linux
Security
Ubuntu

Affecting both the Linux 4.15 kernel used in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS (Xenial Xerus) systems, the new security patch fixed an improperly implemented Spectre mitigation in the ptrace susbsystem (CVE-2019-15902), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

It also addresses a buffer overread (CVE-2019-15918) discovered that the SMB networking file system implementation, which could allow an attacker to expose sensitive information (kernel memory), two flaws (CVE-2019-15117 and CVE-2019-15118) discovered in the USB audio driver that may allow a physically proximate attacker to crash the system, and a flaw (CVE-2019-14821) in the KVM hypervisor implementation that let a local attacker to crash the system.

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS 7 Get Important Kernel Security Update

Marked as important by Red Hat Product Security, the new Linux kernel security patch is here to fix a use-after-free flaw (CVE-2018-20856) discovered in the __blk_drain_queue() function in block/blk-core.c, as well as a heap overflow issue (CVE-2019-3846) discovered in the mwifiex_update_bss_desc_with_ie function in marvell/mwifiex/scan.c. It also addresses a heap overflow issue (CVE-2019-10126) discovered in the mwifiex_uap_parse_tail_ies function in drivers/net/wireless/marvell/mwifiex/ie.c and a Bluetooth flaw (CVE-2019-9506) that may lead to BR/EDR encryption key negotiation attacks (KNOB). Read more

Purism: Supplying the Demand

Thank you all for the continued support and remarkable demand for the Librem 5. As we’ve shared earlier, we are iterating through shipping batches. The purpose of doing so is to increment and improve with each batch toward mass production and share that story publicly. As a result, these earlier batches are limited in quantity as we move toward mass production. Publicly releasing iterated hardware at this level of transparency is extremely uncommon, but in nearly everything we do we try to lead by example. Forming as a Social Purpose Corporation, open sourcing all our software, having PureOS be FSF endorsed, securing the lower layers of computing, or manufacturing a revolutionary mobile phone from scratch… all have required sacrifice but are well worth it to provide people with a values-driven alternative to Big Tech. Read more Also: Purism Provides Update On Librem 5 Shipping, Known Issues

KDE Plasma 5.17 Desktop Environment Gets First Point Release with 40 Bug Fixes

Released last week on October 15th, the KDE Plasma 5.17 desktop environment introduces Night Color support on X11, fractional scaling on Wayland, HiDPI and multi-screen improvements, as well as the ability to support for managing and configuring Thunderbolt devices in System Settings. It also improves the notification system with a new Do Not Disturb mode that automatically detects presentations, Breeze GTK theme support for the Google Chrome and Chromium web browsers, Nvidia GPU stats in System Settings, and color scheme support for GTK and GNOME apps in the Breeze GTK theme. Read more

Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 Release

Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-11! OTA-11 is immediately available for all supported Ubuntu Touch devices. You can skip to How to get OTA-11 to get it right away if you're impatient, or read on to learn more about this release. We were calling this a "small release" originally. Our plan was to cover the backlog of pull requests that weren't quite ready for OTA-10. It turns out, that made this "small" update not small at all. Read more Also: Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 for Ubuntu Phones Brings Smarter Keyboard, Better Browsing UBports' Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 Released