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.
19 September 2008 - 7 Comments
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.
14 September 2008 - 6 Comments
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.
13 September 2008 - 29 Comments
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.
10 September 2008 - 16 Comments
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.
3 September 2008 - 5 Comments
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.
15 August 2008 - 12 Comments
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.
3 August 2008 - 11 Comments
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.
1 August 2008 - 17 Comments
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.
29 July 2008 - 18 Comments
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.
27 July 2008 - 3 Comments
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