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The Most Popular Linux Stories Of 2011

Phoronix

Published on 30 December 2011 07:51 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix
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With 2011 quickly coming to an end, having written more than 1,370 news postings at Phoronix this year, what were the most popular stories?

Below are the most popular news articles at Phoronix in the 2011 calendar year in terms of overall traffic. The most popular featured articles at Phoronix will be published soon.

The most popular items of the nearly 1,400 items ranged from the Linux 3.0 kernel to the Doom 3 source-code drop to Skype reverse-engineering and GIMP.

Say Hello To Linux 3.0; Linus Just Tagged 3.0-rc1


For anyone that was doubting Linus Torvalds would finally part ways with the Linux 2.6 kernel series, you lost your bets. On the eve of Memorial Day in the United States and his departure to Japan for LinuxCon, Linus Torvalds just tagged Linux 3.0-rc1 in Git.

Linus Talks Of Linux 2.8 Or Linux 3.0; Ending Linux 2.6


In a message to the Linux Kernel Mailing List today regarding the shortened merge window for the Linux 2.6.40 kernel, Linus Torvalds brings up that there's already been many Linux 2.6 kernel releases and that he could end up tagging this as the Linux 2.8.0 kernel.

Linus issued an e-mail address today entitled (Short?) merge window reminder As mentioned last week when tagging the Linux 2.6.39 kernel, the Linux kernel creator expected the 2.6.40 merge window to be shorter than usual due to his travels concerning LinuxCon Japan at month's end. The merge window is likely just to be shorter by a few days than normal, which is usually about two weeks following the major release of each kernel.

This email was just intended to be a reminder to the driver and subsystem maintainers that this will be a shortened merge window as to not bombard him at the last minute with pull requests.

Doom 3 Source-Code To Be Released This Year


Just as suspected: the source-code to id Software's Doom 3 game will be publicly released this year!

This morning I wrote about What Should Linux Gamers Expect From QuakeCon 2011? In there, I mentioned the id Tech 4 engine source release was likely based upon past QuakeCon traditions and John Carmack previously promising the code's released upon the release of the RAGE game with id Tech 5.

This is indeed the case and just moments ago during John Carmack's QuakeCon 2011 keynote he confirmed the release this year of Doom 3.

The source-code to Doom 3 is definitely to be released this year, Zenimax (the company that acquired id Software) has been supportive of the process, and he has challenged other game developers to release old source-code too. Carmack says that releasing the code really helps the development community.

Rage is set to be released for the PC in October, so the Doom 3 source release will likely be at some point thereafter.

The VirtualBox Kernel Driver Is Tainted Crap


Linux kernel developers have marked Oracle's VirtualBox Linux kernel driver as "tainted crap" due to the overwhelming number of problems this module has caused.

When the "vboxdrv" driver for the Linux kernel is loaded, after a patch by Red Hat's Dave Jones, it will mark the kernel as tainted crap. Even though this VirtualBox driver is open-source (it's under the GPL), the quality of the driver is quite poor and continues to cause issues for many users.

Skype Goes After Reverse-Engineering


While Skype has now expanded their Linux API support to allow other applications to take advantage of Skype video calls and other features, a few months ago the Skype protocol began to be reverse-engineered by an independent researcher. Skype took action several times against this work.

In early June I mentioned the Skype protocol was reverse-engineered by a researcher.

Building The Linux Kernel In 60 Seconds



In less than one minute, it's now possible to build the Linux kernel from source on a desktop.

Besides finishing up the Phoronix Test Suite 3.6-Arendal release this weekend, on Saturday I began running some new Intel CPU benchmarks. In building the Linux 3.1 kernel for x86_64 in a default configuration (make defconfig), I've now managed to trim down the compile time to less than sixty seconds on a single-socket desktop system.

The Linux 3.1 Kernel May Have A New Logo


Back in 2009 the Linux mascot, Tux, was temporarily replaced by Tuz. Tuz was a Tasmanian Devil character and the use of the logo was used to promote this endangered animal that's nearly extinct in Australia.

New GIMP Release Has Working Single-Window Mode


For those that have long sought after a single-window mode for the GIMP graphics application, the wait is over. The GIMP 2.7.3 development snapshot and it finally has a working single-window mode.

The news announcement for GIMP 2.7.3 states, "The most visible changes in 2.7.3 are the fully working single-window mode, including working session management, and the introduction of a new hybrid spinbutton/scale widget which takes less space in dockable dialogs."

The GIMP news file also notes a number of user-interface changes, improvements to GIMP's core and the libgimp library, plus a number of changes to the plug-ins.

These changes in GIMP 2.7.3 are on top of a number of other enhancements already found in the GIMP 2.7 development series, including greater usage of the GEGL library and a new brush engine.

This release doesn't incorporate the OpenCL GEGL support that we previously talked about and was worked on via this year's Google Summer of Code.

This work will eventually be made stable with the GIMP 2.8 release, which was originally set to occur around Christmas of 2010.

It then looked like GIMP 2.8 would end up being released around March of 2011.

The Challenge In Delivering Open-Source GPU Drivers


As illustrated today by the release of Intel's "Sandy Bridge" CPUs there is a new desire by Linux users: open-source drivers "out of the box" at launch. Over the years the expectations of Linux users have gone from simply wanting Linux drivers for their hardware to wanting open-source Linux drivers (read: no binary blobs) to now wanting open-source drivers in the distribution of their choice at the time the hardware first ships.

Intel Sandy Bridge Linux Graphics? It's A Challenge


This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (I'll be there again looking out for Linux), Intel will officially launch their next-generation Sandy Bridge micro-architecture and CPUs. The NDA though expired at midnight on these first CPUs so there is now a stream of reviews coming out.


About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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