December 28, 2008 -- The Linux 2.6.28 kernel was released this past week in time for the holidays. This quarterly update to the Linux kernel brought the stabilization of the EXT4 file-system, the Graphics Execution Manager, a host of new drivers, and a variety of other updates. For some weekend benchmarking we had tested the latest Linux 2.6.28 kernel along with other recent kernels using the Phoronix Test Suite.
December 24, 2008 -- Video acceleration APIs for Linux has been a hot topic recently with NVIDIA having introduced VDPAU last month (the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix) that brings PureVideo-like features to Linux with great results while it's already finding its way into MPlayer, FFmpeg, MythTV, Xine, and VLC. AMD has been working hard on XvBA (X-Video Bitstream Acceleration), but that has yet to be officially introduced. In the open-source realm there has been talk of extending XvMC to support video formats besides MPEG-2, but that hasn't yet amounted to anything. Today though another video API is now on scene with VA-API finally being implemented in MPlayer and FFmpeg.
December 18, 2008 -- Have you ever wondered on what operating system Java works the best? While by no means is it a conclusive multi-platform comparison, for this article we ran a number of Java benchmarks on both Windows Vista Premium and Ubuntu Linux to see how the Java Virtual Machine performance differs. In addition, when running Ubuntu we had tested Sun's official Java package as well as the OpenJDK alternative.
December 03, 2008 -- With the EXT4 file-system being marked as stable in the forthcoming Linux 2.6.28 kernel, and some Linux distributions potentially switching to it as an interim step until the btrfs file-system is ready, we decided it was time to benchmark this journaled file-system for ourselves. We ran a number of disk-centric Linux benchmarks along with several of our real-world tests from the Phoronix Test Suite to gauge how well the EXT4 file-system performance will be noticed by desktop users and computer gamers. We have compared these EXT4 results to the EXT3, XFS, and ReiserFS file-systems.
November 26, 2008 -- The KDE development community has banded together and today released an early Christmas present to those using the K Desktop Environment on Linux and other operating systems. The first beta release of KDE 4.2 is now available. KDE 4.2 Beta 1 features a large number of improvements since the release of KDE 4.1 in July.
November 06, 2008 -- The Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card driver for Linux from Creative Labs was awful. That's simply the nicest way to put it. The driver was home to many bugs, initially only supported 64-bit Linux, and it was arriving extremely late. The open-source drivers supporting the Creative X-Fi drivers have also been at a stand still. However, Creative Labs today has finally turned this situation around and they have open-sourced the code to this notorious driver. The source-code for the Creative X-Fi driver is now licensed under the GNU GPLv2.
November 03, 2008 -- It's no secret that much of the code-base that makes up the modern-day X.Org Server is old and in some places bloated. The X.Org Server continues to evolve and has received a number of major additions in recent times, but wouldn't a clean and lighter server that is designed around today's needs be ideal? Red Hat's Kristian Høgsberg has started a new project, which is currently known as Wayland, and is just that: a new lightweight X Server. Wayland isn't just a rewrite of the current X Server, but instead it's a small server that is designed around some of the latest graphics technologies such as kernel mode-setting and the Graphics Execution Manager. Wayland also has its own built-in compositing manager.
November 03, 2008 -- Phoronix Media has announced the immediate availability of its Q4'08 update to the Phoronix Test Suite, its extensible open-source platform for conducting automated testing and benchmarking by ISVs, IHVs, ODMs, OEMs, and end-users. Phoronix Test Suite 1.4 (codenamed "Orkdal") adds support for Apple's Mac OS X operating system, new test profiles, support for Cascading Test Profiles, enhanced software/hardware detection, WINE-based tests, and run-time capabilities for Self-Contained Test Profiles. This quarterly update to the Phoronix Test Suite has more than 200 changes since the Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 "Malvik" release in September.
November 02, 2008 -- Phoronix Test Suite 1.4 "Orkdal" will be released tomorrow, and while this release is coming just two months after the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.2, there are in fact quite a few changes for this Q4'08 release. In two months time we have pushed out five development releases of Orkdal, there are over 220 official changes, and the diff output between the Malvik and Orkdal releases amount to over 20,000 lines of code. The most prominent features in Orkdal are compatibility the Mac OS X operating system, support for Cascading Test Profiles, support for Self-Contained Test Profiles, new modules being added, updates to all in-tree test profiles, WINE test coverage, and improved hardware/software detection.
October 28, 2008 -- Back in July we shared Red Hat's intentions to replace RHGB with Plymouth, a new graphical boot process that is able to benefit from the latest Linux graphics capabilities. Red Hat engineers had primarily designed Plymouth around a forthcoming feature we've talked about quite a bit known as kernel mode-setting, which provides end-users with a cleaner and flicker-free boot experience. In September in The State of Kernel Mode-Setting we then shared more information on Plymouth along with a brief video. Most recently we published another video of Plymouth that shows the tighter integration between the boot process and starting the GNOME Display Manager. Today though we are looking at Plymouth and its different plug-ins along with providing a few more videos.