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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For years MythTV has been regarded as the best media center application for the Linux platform and is extremely popular with HTPC enthusiasts. MythTV is open-source and serves as a digital video recorder with support for reading TV listings and it supports a variety of TV tuners. In addition, through various modules the functionality of MythTV can be extended to be an online photo gallery manager, serve as a music player, RSS newsreader, fetch weather forecasts, and provide quite a bit of other functionality. However, MythTV now has a new competitor and that is Boxee. Boxee is a "social media center" that is based upon the Xbox Media Center (XBMC) with versions for Linux, Windows, and MacOS X. What the Boxee developers have added, however, is a social media aspect to media playback. Whenever you are watching something through Boxee, it will record that information and share it with your friends using Boxee and the user also has the ability to recommend the media they are listening to or watching with their friends. Oh yes, it is also open-source.
Last October we were the first to deliver a full-review of DeviceVM's SplashTop which was an instant-on embedded Linux distribution at the time found on a lone ASUS motherboard. Since then there has been a commitment to SplashTop on all ASUS motherboards and even on ASUS notebooks. While ASUS has been the primary partner with DeviceVM up to this point, other manufacturers are exploring this market. One of our few gripes about SplashTop is that it's limited in the current applications available and doesn't allow for much tweaking with no terminal access. However, members of the Phoronix Forums have hacked SplashTop. They have been able to run SplashTop from a USB stick on non-ASUS motherboards, boot SplashTop within a virtual machine, run custom applications, and launch a terminal within this proprietary Linux environment.
We're in the middle of the development cycle right now for Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 "Malvik", but we expect to wrap up this first major post-1.0 release in September. Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 -- which is licensed under the GNU GPLv3 -- will ship with full support for a module/plug-in architecture, advanced analytical features, enhanced hardware/software detection support, and support for other UNIX operating systems. In this article we will be sharing some of the features for this new release, which has been codenamed Malvik.
Over the weekend the Linux 2.6.26 kernel was released. This quarterly update to the Linux kernel introduced Kernel-based Virtual Machine improvements, new One Laptop Per Child support, a new video web camera driver, updates to the Direct Rendering Manager, and other improvements. In this article we have done some quick benchmarks of this new kernel from within the Phoronix Test Suite.
Since our article yesterday entitled X Server 1.4.1 Is Released, No Joke where we shared that the X.Org server update -- a critical part of the Linux desktop -- was released albeit significantly late and the blocker bug list wasn't even cleared, it's sparked discussions on our forums and other online communities on how the X.Org release management can be improved and how new developers can become involved. One of the most common recommendations has been to get more software (distribution) vendors involved, seeing as they are the ones shipping X.Org to many of the desktop users around the world. However, as there hasn't been a list (or at least not in some time) that looks at each of the commits to the X server in regards to each of the companies and the developers involved, we've provided one in this article that covers all X Server activity going back nine years.
Banshee, the Linux media player backed by Novell that's built upon Mono and uses the GStreamer framework, has today reached the version 1.0 milestone. While there are plenty of people not fond of Mono or even Novell, Banshee has turned into a fairly feature-rich media player with support for synchronizing against the Apple iPod, Creative Zen, and other devices. Through Banshee's plug-in architecture, it also supports Podcasting, DAAP music sharing, and Internet radio support, just to name a few of these extensions.
Today -- just 212 days after the planned November launch date -- X Server 1.4.1 is finally released! Daniel Stone announced its release this morning on the xorg mailing list. X Server 1.4.1 has had 62 changes to it since the 1.4.1 pre-release, and that release had 46 changes, which brings the change total for this release up to 108. Even though X Server 1.4.1 has more than 100 changes, it wasn't enough to clear out the blocker bug, which still has two open bugs.
You have likely already read the Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 press release, but today -- on the fourth anniversary of Phoronix -- we have reached the version 1.0 milestone for this Linux testing platform. It's been a lot of work -- over the past few months especially -- though we've reached our initial goal in formalizing and releasing our internal test tools and at the same time developing a feature-rich platform. Plans are already being made for charting the future of the Phoronix Test Suite and the features we will be rolling out over the coming months, but in this article we'll highlight some of what is already possible with Phoronix Test Suite 1.0.
Phoronix Media today released version 1.0 of the Phoronix Test Suite (codenamed "Trondheim"), an extensible open-source platform for conducting Linux-based benchmarking and performance profiling targeted at IHVs, ISVs, and technology hobbyists. The Phoronix Test Suite combines years of Linux testing by Phoronix Media with input from leading technology companies to offer the most comprehensive testing and benchmarking platform available for the Linux Operating System. The Phoronix Test Suite also offers unprecedented capabilities for collaboration via the suite's online component.
Phoronix Test Suite 0.8.0 was released just four days but this afternoon we are announcing the release of Phoronix Test Suite 0.9.0. If all goes well, this will be the last development release prior to the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.0. While just four days have passed, there is quite a bit of churn within the test profiles and test suites. In fact, all test profiles have been updated in this release -- some have just consisted of validating the code and performing a version bump while other test profiles have had significant additions and other improvements. A few new profiles may be added in at the last minute, but the existing test profiles found within Phoronix Test Suite 0.9.0 should be finalized unless any bugs are to be found.
While not as large as last week's release, Phoronix Test Suite 0.8.0 has been released this morning with just over 30 items glazing its change-log. Much of the work done over the past week involved bug fixing, beginning to finalize several tests and suites, and other work in preparation around the forthcoming 1.0 release.
Earlier this month we had shared the progress of X.Org 7.4 with the features slated to be included in this next X release, what features have been postponed, and the repeated delays that always seem to plague the X.Org development community. Since then there still has yet to be any official update on its status, but the Wiki continues to claim a May 2008 release. Fortunately, yesterday Adam Jackson stepped up again and released a number of X package updates, which places us a bit closer to reaching this much-delayed release.
While there aren't many workstation OpenGL benchmarks available for Linux, the leading option is SPECViewPerf, which is developed by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. SPECViewPerf has been around for years and is made up of various production-oriented tests from popular software programs in the real world. Among the programs these tests are based upon include 3DS Max, Maya, SolidWorks, and EnSight. The latest version of SPECViewPerf -- version 10.0 -- first shipped for Windows a year ago, but it wasn't until this morning that the Linux/UNIX code was made available.
With the Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 codename being Trondheim, which is a city in Norway, and today being Constitution Day in Norway, what better way to celebrate than to push out a new release! Phoronix Test Suite 0.7.0 contains over 40 major changes since the previous release just a week ago. Some of the top changes in this release include advanced merging capabilities of test results, several new test profiles, and support for abstract result types.
For those of you interested in trying out new open-source software this weekend, Phoronix Test Suite 0.6.0 has been released with an arsenal of new features for this Linux benchmarking platform. There are new and updated profiles with this release, new test suites, support for backing up downloaded tests, and much more. Since Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 are 48 official changes in the past week, which reinforces our plans on having a 1.0 release ready by early June.
In our article earlier this week looking at the status of X.Org 7.4, one of the features originally planned for integration in this X Server release was MPX, or Multi-Pointer X. While it's been in development for over two years and has been at an experimental state, it's been featured in popular YouTube videos as this is the technology on Linux that allows multiple keyboards and mice to be attached to a single system and MPX allows these input devices to function independently on the same windowing system. For those of you interested in this desktop technology, it's been announced that MPX will finally be merged into the mainline X.Org tree later this month.
If all goes according to plan, X.Org 7.4 will finally be released this month. This release isn't quite as elaborate as X.Org 7.3, which introduced input hot-plugging, EXA enhancements, and RandR 1.2 to just name a few features, but X.Org 7.4 is another update better enhancing this X server. In this article, we are presenting a release overview of the features to be found in X.Org 7.4, what's been delayed, and how this release is panning out.
A week ago Phoronix Test Suite 0.4.0 was released and today Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 has outdone that. This release of the Phoronix Test Suite incorporates more than 40 major changes to this open-source Linux benchmarking platform! Among the changes are new test profiles, various clean up work, sensor monitoring support, and an improved PTS Results Viewer. Development of the Phoronix Test Suite is coming along quite nicely and by early June, the public should have its hands on version 1.0.
Version 0.5 of the Phoronix Test Suite will be released later this week and already it has over 40 changes in this forthcoming release! There are quite a number of new profiles and features with this release, but one interesting feature that has just begun to evolve is the system sensor monitoring support. Now when tests are running within the Phoronix Test Suite, you can opt to have the Phoronix Test Suite keep track of system sensors -- whether it be your CPU/system temperature, one of the voltage rails, or even your battery discharge rate -- and upon the tests being completed the average sensor results are shown as well as a line graph of each sensor while the test(s) were running.
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