October 24, 2008 -- Ubuntu 8.10 is shipping next week with a horde of updated packages including the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, X.Org 7.4, Pidgin 2.5, GIMP 2.6, and many other packages that have experienced significant milestones since the April release of Ubuntu 8.04. On top of these updated packages from the community, Canonical has been working on a few desktop Linux innovations of their own. For instance, arriving late into the Intrepid Ibex release cycle is a USB start-up disk creator. In this article we are providing a quick look at this utility to easily spin your own USB disk images.
October 06, 2008 -- In the Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 "Malvik" release our flagship Linux benchmarking software was brought to OpenSolaris and FreeBSD. With Phoronix Test Suite 1.4 "Orkdal", to be officially released later this year, we are now extending our test support to include Apple's Mac OS X operating system. In Phoronix Test Suite 1.4 Alpha 2 that was released this morning there is full support for Mac OS X within this open-source benchmarking framework and there are about three dozen tests that will run "out of the box" in this environment. We believe this is now the most comprehensive benchmarking platform for Mac OS X and it allows real-world test results to be compared from Linux, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD.
September 23, 2008 -- It's been a hell of a time getting X.Org 7.4 out the door, but this afternoon Adam Jackson has released this long-delayed update to this X system. X.Org 7.4 is arriving after the release of X Server 1.5.1 earlier in the day. Yes, it's finally here! In this article we have information on the features that make up this release along with what it's taken to get X.Org 7.4 primed for release.
September 19, 2008 -- Introduced in Ubuntu 7.10 was a feature known as BulletProofX, which provides a fail-safe mode that is by default used when the X server fails to properly initialize. In this original implementation, it would default back to using the VESA display driver with 256 colors and then proceed to run the displayconfig-gtk utility. While this is nice for the end-user as it keeps them from touching a terminal to debug an X server problem, for experienced users it inhibits them from easily debugging the problem. This Canonical implementation also had frustrated other users. However, with the forthcoming Ubuntu 8.10 release, it has received some much-needed improvements while making BulletProofX more simple.
September 14, 2008 -- The final release of the Xfce 4.6 desktop environment was supposed to come this month, but instead the first alpha release has finally come about. Xfce 4.4 was originally released in January of 2007, so it has been quite a while since this lightweight desktop environment has received a major update. This release though does introduce a fair number of changes, which we have covered in this article.
September 13, 2008 -- Back in August we shared some of what we are doing to drive new graphics benchmarks on Linux through the Phoronix Test Suite. With that, we showcased Lightsmark 2008, which was ported to Linux for integration with the Phoronix Test Suite, and Unigine Sanctuary. Unigine Sanctuary showcased the latest work from Unigine Corp, which is a Russian development studio focused on creating cross-platform middleware for virtual 3D worlds. The Unigine Sanctuary demo was stunning, but introduced with the Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 "Malvik" release last week was their latest technology benchmark. Unigine Tropics is an absolutely stunning test with impressive graphics capabilities and it really sets a new precedence for Linux graphics capabilities through its OpenGL renderer.
September 10, 2008 -- It has been one year and four days since X.Org 7.3 was released and a number of months since X.Org 7.4 was supposed to be released, but today X.Org 7.4 is scheduled to finally make it out the door! This release is shipping quite late and with a slimmed down set of features, but in this article we have more details on what this release holds in store for the Linux desktop community and why it may be a short-lived release.
September 03, 2008 -- Phoronix Media has announced the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 (codenamed "Malvik"), an update to its leading and award-winning benchmarking software, during the 2008 X Developers' Summit. This update incorporates support for new operating systems and features to better aid ISVs, IHVs, ODMs, and OEMs in profiling their hardware and software for optimal performance and compatibility. In total there are more than 250 official changes with many new test profiles and suites since the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 in June of 2008.
August 15, 2008 -- Earlier this year prior to the release of GNOME 2.22 we had shared eight interesting improvements in GNOME 2.22. Some of these improvements included Epiphany with the WebKit back-end (if built with the proper argument), Evince Document Viewing improvements, Cheese web-camera software, Mousetweaks, the Vinagre VNC client, and Totem enhancements. Now with the official GNOME 2.24 release due out next month, this time around we're sharing a few of the interesting highlights for this GNOME update.
August 03, 2008 -- We have been covering the Linux benchmarking scene since 2004, but one area we have never really been satisfied with have been the OpenGL tests that are available. There are now plenty of free software games that are available for benchmarking, but with most of them being based around the open-source Quake 3 engine, they aren't that demanding upon the graphics processor. The ones generally
good with stressing the graphics capabilities of the system are the id Software games (Doom 3, Quake 4, and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) with native Linux clients. Under the workstation umbrella, there is just SPECViewPerf. On the Windows side though there are a number of OpenGL and DirectX games, tech demos, and other benchmarks. Thanks in part to the Phoronix Test Suite, however, we are starting to see a new era of OpenGL benchmarking that are able to stress the graphics card and are visually pleasing.