OpenMoko, one of the original projects aimed to create open-source mobile phones, is rarely heard about these days with Google's Android and Apple's iOS dominating the markets. While they had the Neo 1973 as a true Linux phone it didn't sell too much nor its successor, the OpenMoko FreeRunner, which is still available for purchase. Aside from phones, OpenMoko had developed the WikiReader as a mobile device that's capable of reading Wikipedia articles without a persistent Internet connection. Today they've also announced their latest project: Shiftd.
Pidgin, the popular open-source instant messaging program formerly known as GAIM, has just reached version 2.8. The main web-site has not yet been updated to reflect Pidgin 2.8, but this is an exciting release with a number of new features.
Yesterday we reported on a freelance researcher reverse-engineering the Skype protocol and beginning to write open-source code that would work with this popular VoIP network. A representative of Skype has now contacted Phoronix to inform us they will be taking "all necessary steps" to stop this effort.
News of Oracle handing over OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation isn't the only open-source office news this week; The Document Foundation has just announced the official release of LibreOffice 3.4.
While many Linux users are upset that Microsoft's buying out Skype and that the Free Software Foundation's GNU Free Call hasn't matured much in being a reliable replacement to Skype (not all of the FSF projects move along), there is some interesting news this morning: an independent researcher has reverse-engineered the Skype protocol.
While many users and developers are already looking forward to Qt 5, which will be released in the next calendar year, as a stepping stone towards that milestone is Qt 4.8.
There's been a lot of references this week at UDS Budapest to OpenGL ES support since this version of OpenGL is what's predominantly supported on ARM/embedded devices. There's already been talk of OpenGL ES support in QEMU, among other projects. OpenGL ES 2.0 support is also coming to the Compiz and KWin compositing window managers. An OpenGL ES 2.0 back-end for Cairo was also brought up separately.
Microsoft is buying out Skype, it's been confirmed, at a price of over $8 billion USD.
José Fonseca and Zack Rusin have spent the last several months writing ApiTrace, which formerly was known as GLretrace. This is meant to be a powerful utility to debug OpenGL and Direct3D graphics applications and drivers. It allows you to easily capture the graphics API calls, analyze them in a step-by-step manner, and to playback traces at a later point. ApiTrace also allows for real-time editing of shaders and other OpenGL/Direct3D calls to see their impact on the rendering and drivers.
While there's many Linux users looking forward towards the release of Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" tomorrow, having been released yesterday to the BSD world is DragonflyBSD 2.10.1.. This update to the DragonflyBSD operating system contains greater hardware support, including for multi-processor systems, among other enhancements.
Part of the beauty of open-source software is that anyone is free to work on whatever code they wish. For some developers this means working on open-source graphics drivers for old GPUs, for some it may be working on a game or desktop application, and for others it may mean bringing Microsoft DXVA support to open-source multi-media software. There's now a branch of MPlayer that supports Microsoft's DirectX Video Acceleration API.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced Tesseract to the GNOME community. Tesseract is a new tool they have developed at this American university to "explore project archives and their underlying dependencies such as file dependencies, developer communications, and bugs visually and interactively." In developing Tesseract, which will eventually be open-sourced, they used the GNOME project's Rhythmbox as a guinea pig for testing.
GIMP 2.7.2 was released last week as a development stop in the road to GIMP 2.8, which itself was supposed to be released last December. But with the single-window user-interface lagging behind along with other work, GIMP 2.8 development dragged along with its limited number of core developers. It looked like it would just be a few more months until 2.8 was released, but with v2.7.2 just arriving, that's not likely to happen. Based upon a new tool developed by one of the GIMP developers, the 2.8 release isn't estimated to occur until the end of November.
It's just not open-source graphics programs dropping new releases this week like GIMP and Blender, but in the open-source audio editing scene there's also work taking place. The Audacity team just released version 1.3.3 of their popular audio editing application.
Blender isn't the only free software graphics application moving along (they just released their first stable 2.5 build), but work towards GIMP 2.8 is also moving along. Though in GIMP's case, the work has been moving along rather slowly. GIMP 2.8 was supposed to come last December and that deadline was clearly missed. At that point it looked like it was perhaps just a few months away, but only now is GIMP 2.7.2 even being released.
Blender 2.57 has been released and while its version number may seem nonchalant, this is actually an important milestone. Blender 2.57 is the first stable Blender 2.5 release that incorporates their re-designed user-interface and is nearly feature complete.
NGINX, the open-source BSD-licensed web-server designed to be lightweight and high-performance compared to Apache, has finally reached version 1.0.
The NTFS-3G project, which provides a file-system driver with read/write support for Microsoft's NTFS file-system on Linux, has merged with ntfsprogs. The ntfsprogs package provides various utilities for the Linux NTFS file-system like mkntfs, ntfsclone, ntfsundelete, and ntfsdefrag. Merging NTFS-3G and ntfsprogs was the logical move and now there's a stable release of the merged software: ntfs-3g_ntfsprogs.
Two weeks ago I shared with my Twitter followers that a Skype Linux announcement would be coming soon. Today, one of the Skype Linux announcements has happened: a new beta with new features.
The Linux Foundation has made a number of announcements today from the first day of the 2011 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit taking place this week in San Francisco.
Development on the Portable C Compiler (PCC) began back in the 1970's, but this week version 1.0 of this BSD-licensed compiler was finally released.
Forget about the fun being had today on April Fools' Day with openSUSE / Gentoo / Arch / Debian supposedly merging to form the Centerbury Linux distribution, GNOME 3.0 being delayed until September, or hypothetical Linux disasters as there is actually some serious and important news: Marek Olšák has published his patch-set he wishes to push into Mesa master for OpenGL 3.0 floating-point textures and render-buffers support. He's pushing for this legally-iffy code to go into the mainline Mesa code-base but to block it by an opt-in --enable-texture-float build flag.
Rather than doing any April Fools' Jokes around here (the GNOME project is claiming GNOME 3.0 has been delayed to September), yesterday and today we're looking at a few different headlines that would cause great impact for Linux. Yesterday was looking at what announcements would greatly benefit Linux along with the community's response, but today we're looking at what would cause great harm and be disastrous to Linux and open-source software.
As a follow-up to What Would Be Crazy For Linux Right Now, here are some of the interesting responses by the Phoronix community for what announcements would be pivotal for Linux and open-source.
There's already been some to think that Postal III being pushed back and its unknown Linux fate being some early April Fools' Day joke, but unfortunately that's not the case. You won't find any April Fools' news items on Phoronix, but if there were some "crazy" Linux announcements, what would they be?
While the Mesa / Gallium3D graphics drivers on Linux leave a lot to be desired, in terms of features, supporting the latest OpenGL specifications, and performance compared to the multi-platform proprietary Linux and Windows drivers from NVIDIA and AMD, the Mac drivers aren't too much better.
Miguel de Icaza, David Reveman, and their Novell team working on Mono/Moonlight began working on GPU acceleration support. This initial GPU acceleration support was largely focused on accelerating 3D transforms of objects -- just not videos, but all of the Silverlight content -- and other surfaces. They also landed a new rendering pipeline and other work. Pushed into Moonlight's Git repository today is more GPU acceleration work, but this time focusing upon optimizing Moonlight's engine for video rendering operations.
In November of last year we talked about an HTML5 back-end to GTK+ that allowed any GTK application to be then run from the web-browser. This work was not merged into GTK+ 3.0, but other work was, such as for supporting multiple GTK+ back-ends. Now though this HTML5 work is in a position to land with GTK+ 3.2.
Following the announcement less than a month ago that Nokia and Microsoft were hooking up over Windows Phone 7 and that Qt and MeeGo would take a back-seat at Nokia, it's being announced this morning that the Qt commercial licensing business has been sold. The purchaser of the Qt commercial side is Digia.
BSD users can be excited this week not only for the release of FreeBSD 8.2, but their open-source graphics stack is finally beginning to catch-up with Linux too. Kernel mode-setting is finally becoming a reality with the FreeBSD kernel and with that support for the Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) memory management under BSD and updating the Intel DRI graphics driver.
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