Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 09:27 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ubuntu, sputnik, software, programming, linux, dell, computing
Dell recently announced that it is turning to an open source Linux OS to craft a developer focused operating system. Enabled by Dell’s incubation program (and accompanying monetary funding), the pilot program – named Project Sputnik – is based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS OS.
The Project Sputnik program will run for six months. Its goal is to create the ideal hardware and software platform for software developers. Currently, that means using Dell’s XPS13 laptop and a customized version of the Ubuntu 12.04 Linux OS. The team behind the initiative are working closely with Canonical (Ubuntu developers) to put together a custom Ubuntu image with stripped down software, custom drivers, and only the software packages that developers want.
The team wants to make it easy for software programmers to get a hold of the programing languages and environments that they need to do their jobs. It will have integration with GitHub for coding projects as well.
In the video below Barton George, Director of Marketing for Dell, talks about the Project Sputnik program and how they hope to craft a laptop aimed directly at developers.
It is an interesting program, and I hope that it does well. You can find more information about Project Sputnik and how you can get involved at the Dell website.
Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 01:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rant, optimus, open source, nvidia, linux, linus, drivers
Last week, the founder of Linux – Linus Torvalds – gave a speech at the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship. The aspect that most people picked up on was a certain disparaging statement towards NVIDIA. Since then, the video has spread rapidly around the Internet with critics for and against the statement. Linus does not believe that NVIDIA is easy to work with regarding Linux support, in short. NVIDIA PR recently responded to his statement in stating that the company is in fact heavily involved with Linux development, albeit mobile kernels.
NVIDIA stated in its PR release that supporting Linux is important to the company and they understand how important a positive Linux experience using NVIDIA hardware is. I don’t think anyone is surprised by that statement, but that was not all they said. The company stated that they are big supporters of the ARM Linux kernel with a claimed second most total lines changed and fourth highest number of changesets in the kernel.
The company uses proprietary drivers, but it does support GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla graphics cards under the Linux operating system. By using a common, proprietary driver, NVIDIA claims same-day support for new graphics cards and OpenGL versions for both Windows and Linux operating systems.
Linus’ rant started when an audience member asked about Optimus support under Linux. On that front, NVIDIA did not have a direct answer – only that when it launched laptops with Optimus, it was only supported on Windows 7. Allegedly, the company is working to make interaction between its drivers and the Bumblebee Open Source Project. The Bumblebee project is working to make Optimus-powered laptops work with Linux operating systems.
What do you think of the two statements by Linus and NVIDIA? Should NVIDIA be held accountable for Optimus support under Linux? Is the company doing enough to support the OS? Or is Linus wrong? Let us know in the comments below!
Personally, as much as I like Linux, I don’t think NVIDIA should have to go out of its way to support Optimus on Linux. At least, not until the Linux OS is the operating system that comes pre-installed on an Optimus notebook. At that point, it would be on NVIDIA to provide support. Until then, they don’t have to support it on aftermarket / third part operating systems. With that said, better Linux support couldn't hurt PR-wise. As far as Linux and NVIDIA working together in a more general sense, I think that the company could certainly do more for Linux on the desktop, especially being a Linux Foundation member, but I don't think they will until it is more financially viable to do so.
The full PR statement is available after the break.
Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2012 - 02:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, linux, source engine, steam
If you have ever bemoaned the fact that your gaming habit is the only thing preventing you from dumping Windows and moving to Linux then your excuse might just be about to expire. As Phoronix informed us a few short weeks ago, Steam is taking gaming on Linux seriously and the project to get the Source Engine up and running on Linux moves ever forward. Their team has recently grown with the addition of the designer of Battle for Wesnoth, David White and they are still looking for more Linux developers. If you are interested in playing Portal on a Linux box, or if you are a Linux Guru who'd like to work for Steam, you should check out this post on Phoronix.
"Things appear to be moving along nicely in the Linux cabal at Valve Software as they work to enable Steam and the Source Engine on the Linux desktop. Here's another one of the new tenured Linux developers that will be starting soon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Founding: Pay For Mechwarrior Online Now, If You Want? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Perspective Does That Clever Dimension Shifting Thing @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Gods & Kings is an essential Civilization expansion @ Ars Technica
- HOWTO: Multi-Display Online Gaming @ HardwareHeaven
- Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition Review @ eTeknix
- Jig’s Up: Secret World’s Last Beta Weekend Open To All @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (XBOX 360 Kinect) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Ghost Recon: Future Soldier PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
- Dragons Dogma PS3 @ eTeknix
- Dragon’s Dogma (PS3) @ Guru of 3D
Subject: Processors | June 8, 2012 - 03:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ubuntu, linux, Intel, Ivy Bridge, compiler, virtualization
Phoronix have been very busy lately, getting their heads around the functionality of Ivy Bridge on Linux and as these processor are much more compatible than their predecessors it has resulted in a lot of testing. The majority of the testing focused on the performance of GCC, LLVM/Clang, DragonEgg, PathScale EKOPath, and Open64 on an i7-3770K using a wide variety of programs and benchmarks. Their initial findings favoured GCC over all other compilers as in general it took top spot, with LLVM having issues with some of their tests. They then started to play around with the instruction sets the processor was allowed to use, by disabling some of the new features they could emulate how the Ivy Bridge processor would perform if it was from a previous generation of chips, good to judge the improvement of raw processing power. They finished up by testing its virtualization performance, with BareMetal, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine virtualization and Oracle VM VirtualBox. You can see how they compared right here.
"From an Intel Core i7 3770K "Ivy Bridge" system here is an 11-way compiler comparison to look at the performance of these popular code compilers on the latest-generation Intel hardware. Among the compilers being compared on Intel's Ivy Bridge platform are multiple releases of GCC, LLVM/Clang, DragonEgg, PathScale EKOPath, and Open64."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel's ultrabook-bound Core i5-3427U processor @ The Tech Report
- Intel Core i5 3470 Review: HD 2500 Graphics Tested @ AnandTech
- Comparing Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge @ TechReviewSource
- EE Bookshelf: ARM Cortex M Architecture Overview @ Adafruit
- The Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- The Bulldozer Aftermath: Delving Even Deeper @ AnandTech
- AMD E-Series APU “Brazo 2.0″ @ Bjorn3D
- AMD A8-3870K Black Edition & Hybrid Crossfire @ OC3D
- AMD A4 3400 APU @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | May 29, 2012 - 03:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Red Hat, linux, Fedora, Beefy Miracle
Ubuntu certainly steals the show for end users but on the enterprise side it is Red Hat's that is the star, with Fedora being its flavour more suited to personal use. A brand new release has arrived today, which will give home sysadmins a bit of work to test for compatibility with their current systems. Thankfully the base kernel has not changed much, this release deals with patches that have been fully tested over the past six months along with updates to the software which comes with Fedora. The Inquirer makes mention of Ovirt, a virtual machine management program, JBoss Application Server 7 and enhancements in Openstack, all of which should be well received by professionals. They will also be happy to know that Red Hat's Beefy Miracle has stuck with the Gnome interface instead of switching to Unity.
"The Red Hat sponsored Fedora project serves as the proving ground for new features that eventually end up in the firm's Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system. Now Red Hat has announced that it has released Fedora 17 including updates to Gnome, Eclipse, GIMP and Openstack along with numerous patches."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Globalfoundries looks to Mentor Graphics for 20nm fill techniques @ The Inquirer
- Building your own eye in the sky @ Hack a Day
- Rumblings of tight Intel Pineview supply in IPC supply chain @ DigiTimes
- Icron USB Ranger 2211 Range Extender @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sitecom N750 X6 WLR-6000 Wireless Gigabit Router Review @ Madshrimps
- The TR Podcast 112: By Kepler's beard, it's Trinity!
Subject: General Tech | May 28, 2012 - 01:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, Intel, amd, Ivy Bridge, llano, opencl
Two different stories today focus on how both major CPU vendors have allowed their support for the new features present in their architectures to fall behind for Linux OSes. From The Inquirer we hear about the how poor OpenCL support from AMD is leaving APU accelerated computing for Linux to lag behind Windows development. This goes far beyond purely graphical tasks and the complaints we have heard from gamers as OpenCL is a computing language that can handle far more than just pushing pixels. The two most common OpenCL applications that people are familiar with are the GPU clients for BOINC and Folding@Home, which enable you to chug work units on your graphics card or the graphics cores on your CPU. AMD's Neal Robinson who is the current senior director of Consumer Developer Support has taken up the challenge of promoting Linux OpenCL support from within AMD, so keep your eyes peeled for news from his team.
Intel's Ivy Bridge is no better according to Phoronix, as testing shows very little improvement on the default Ubuntu Unity desktop with Compiz. That is what allows Ubuntu users to show the iconic Desktop Cube on the Gnome desktop environment and using it shows negative effects on the general performance of the system. Switching to KDE and OpenGL generally resulted in better performance as did Xfce. Phoronix does not hold out much hope for the improvement of Compiz on Ivy Bridge processors or Intel's open source drivers for the near future, either for graphics or GPU accelerated computation.
"For AMD flaky Linux support isn't just a matter of gamers complaining, but now with its APUs, standard applications are simply not making use of the compute power that AMD needs to compete with Intel."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Crazy Texans dunk servers in DEEP FRYERS @ The Register
- Reading RFID cards from afar easily @ Hack a Day
- 450mbps routers reviewed: 14 of the fastest models @ Hardware.Info
- The New x264 HD Benchmark 5.0 Is Here @ TechARP
- Weekly Gaming Giveaway #3: Waveform @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2012 - 03:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, linux, steam
It seems the Gabe Newell doesn't like hearing that you can't game on Linux and is planning on releasing a Linux version of both Steam and the Source Engine. The implementation is planned to be natively supported by Linux with no need for Wine, Phoronix has seen it running with an install of Ubuntu and a Catalyst driver for the Radeon that was providing graphics. The Linux community has been waiting a long time for this day and now that Gabe is focusing his attention on this project there is hopes that it will soon come to fruition. Phoronix could not be happier.
"For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices. A meeting topped off the day with Gabe Newell regarding Linux where he sounded more like a Linux saint than an ex-Microsoft employee. Valve does have some great plans for Linux beyond just shipping the client versions of Steam and their popular games on the Source Engine."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Play Diablo III for free this weekend @ HEXUS
- Tribes: Ascend GPU & CPU Performance Test @ TechSpot
- Avernum: Escape from the Pit @ Kitguru
- DiRT Showdown Preview (PC) @ HardwareHeaven
- Waveform PC Review @ eTeknix
- New Call of Duty game to be revealed next week? @ HEXUS
- Stalker 2 Dead (Again), But Now There’s Survarium @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Crytek On Fusing Crysis 1, Crysis 2, And District 9 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Pandora's Tower (Nintendo Wii) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Nintendo 3DS @ Tweaktown
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2012 - 06:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hd 7950, ubuntu 12.04, opengl, linux, amd
Phoronix revisited the performance the HD 7950 on the new Catalyst driver for Linux as it is no longer labelled as unsupported hardware. That means that not only are the default clocks correct, you can use aticonfig/amdconfig to overclock the cards if you so desire. The scaling of the card now matches the clock speed nicely and shows an improvement from the HD 6950 in the benchmarks. You might not be able to find a Linux game which will take advantage of the full feature set and power of the HD 7950 but the card is capable of far more than providing you with pixels to slaughter.
"Here are some updated benchmarks of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 "Southern Islands" graphics card under Linux with the proprietary Catalyst driver."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and HD 7850 @ X-bit Labs
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 IceQ Turbo @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 Overclocked Edition Review @ Neoseeker
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Video Cards in CrossFire Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD7870 Overclock Edition @ Kitguru
- XFX Radeon HD 7870 Black Edition 2GB @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI R7970 Lightning Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- MSI HD 7870 Twin Frozr III 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte HD 7770 OC with CrossFire @ Bjorn3D
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning @ Guru of 3D
- AMD Catalyst 12.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- Graphics card buying guide @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Surround Gaming Tested @ Legit Reviews
- ZOTAC GTX 680s Extreme Overclock in SLI @ Bjorn3D
- Zotac GTX680 SLI @ OC3D
- A closer look at some GeForce GTX 680 features @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 04:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Red Hat, linux
Red Hat becomes the first Linux company to be worth over a billion dollars (edit for clarity: I meant take in over a billion dollars in revenue) with $1.13 billion in revenue last year.
Red Hat, Inc. is an open source software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company’s identity is primarily with their current flagship product, Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- and a Cornell University lacrosse hat. The company also sponsors and holds liability over the Fedora Project which counterbalances Enterprise Linux by providing a free and community-supported operating system.
Just for clarification, that’s a rich penguin, not a rich drake.
Red Hat reported earnings of $1.13 billion dollars in revenue with $146.6 million in earnings. Subscriptions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux were declared responsible for $965.6 million dollars of their total revenue.
ZDNet has also reported that Linux is progressively eating market share from UNIX and Windows for servers shipped with preinstalled operating systems. Red Hat and other Linux vendors are progressively getting more of the same treatment as Microsoft has enjoyed in the past.
The future is bright for Linux, which is unfortunate due to the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Maybe the rest of the $1.13 billion is sales of sunscreen?
Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: OS, linux kernel 3.3, linux, kernel, Android
Linux kernel 3.3 has recently been released for public consumption, and it features quite a few new features and improvements. The kernel is the code that developers than build upon to create all the various Linux distributions such as Fedora, Mint, and Arch Linux (among others).
This latest release, version 3.3 includes various improvements to the file system, btrfs, networking, architecture, and EFI BIOS support. In regards to the file system, the Linux 3.3 kernel supports improved balancing and the ability to re-stripe between different RAID (redundant array of independent disks) levels. Further, the kernel will now allow an x86 boot image to be processed by EFI firmware in addition to the traditional BIOS microcode boot that is present in the majority of today's machines. Also, Kernel 3.3 improves the networking aspects by improving the ability to bond multiple NICs to improve networking throughput and/or to provide redundant connections. Support for a new architecture has also emerged such that Linux kernel will work with Texas Instruments C6X based chips. These chips include the "family of C64x single and multicore DSPs."
The above improvements are just the tip of the iceberg, however. The most talked about new feature is likely going to be the inclusion of Android code from Google's Android OS project. According to the Kernel Newbies website, the disagreements between Linux kernel developers and Google have been "ironed out," and code from the Android project will now start to be rolled back into the Linux kernel. They expect that Android coming home to traditional Linux will make developing code and end user software easier for everyone, and they expect further Android and Linux integration in the future.
More information on the latest Linux kernel release is available here.