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.
While the FreeBSD 8.2 images have been on the mirrors for a few days now, the FreeBSD release engineering team has last night announced the official release of FreeBSD 8.2.
A major update to Python is now available. With Python 3.2 there are improvements spanning from the Python Debugger to its SSL module and behavior fixes for numeric operations.
Fluxbox, the X window manager derived from Blackbox, has reached version 1.3.
While Nokia has effectively abandoned the MeeGo Linux operating system, Intel is still supporting MeeGo along with AMD and other vendors, including SplashTop. SplashTop has today announced the release of their MeeGo-based operating system.
Yesterday's announcement of Microsoft and Nokia hooking up over Windows Phone 7 on Nokia's smart-phone has rattled the free software / Linux communities. There's more than 100 comments in our forums about this announcement and this isn't the only tech community where there are outraged customers and other parties disappointed in Nokia's decision. In particular, many are upset because with Nokia's decision it basically pushes the MeeGo Linux operating system and the Qt tool-kit to the back-seat.
As many were expecting, Nokia and Microsoft this morning announced a strategic partnership under which Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will become Nokia's primary smart-phone platform. With this move, it really darkens the outlook for the MeeGo Linux platform. Additionally, on Nokia's Windows Phone 7 implementation, their Qt tool-kit will not be available.
ALSA 1.0.23 was released in April 2010 as a major update to the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, but it's finally been outdone by ALSA 1.0.24. The ALSA 1.0.24 update is also very significant and delivers on quite a number of sound card / audio processor driver improvements.
Jos Poortvliet has written more information about the Bretzn project, the effort to provide a multi-distribution application framework and effectively a "app store" for Linux.
Along the same lines as the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries hitting the v1.0 milestone and MPlayer slowly nearing version 1.0, the Portable C Compiler is also preparing for its 1.0 release. PCC is also now able to build the current 64-bit FreeBSD stack with minimal modifications.
If you missed it this Friday night, version 1.0 of the core Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) have been released.
Recently in Germany there was a cross-distribution meeting among the major vendors (Red Hat, Canonical, Novell, Debian, Mandriva, etc) to discuss a common application installer for Linux and one unified application store / market-place. The goal would be to have a common user-interface for application installation, how/what meta-data to use, determine a defined protocol for non-static meta-data, and decide what meta-data to share across distributions. Fortunately, this was a very successful meeting.
For those interested in using The Document Foundation's LibreOffice rather than Oracle's OpenOffice or OpenOffice.org, the inaugural stable release is now available. LibreOffice 3.3 can be downloaded for all major platforms and represents a development pool of now more than 100 developers since the project was formed last year.
Embedded Linux GPU driver support is a great big mess. There's no doubt about it. There's some partial open-source driver code, but nothing that's been quite popular or welcomed for integration into the mainline Linux kernel. There might be an open-source PowerVR SGX driver later in the year, but that's still months out. However, with more mobile Linux devices emerging that utilize these closed-up ARM GPUs, clean-room reverse engineering to write open-source drivers is going to be inevitable unless the vendors step up their Linux support game.
Since a few hours ago when talking about how a company is ripping off open-source projects on Amazon, more information has come in. Sure, what the company is doing might be technically legal under the GPL (though in at least the case of Dangers of the Deep, not complying with the artwork's license too), but arguably unethical with the company in question. Butterfly Media is even taking screenshots from the free software projects' pages and then voiding them of their titles, but on at least one account is distributing a non-free software program in likely violation of its license.
It's been brought to my attention today by a Phoronix reader that several major open-source projects are being ripped off and sold for-profit on Amazon by a small company out of the United Kingdom. FlightGear, InkScape, and Scribus are among the free software projects being affected right now and Amazon apparently has yet to catch onto this or act.
Luc Verhaegen, the former Novell employee who previously worked on the RadeonHD driver and is known for butting heads with other X developers and making ambitious proposals like modularizing DRI and Mesa drivers, has out a new blog post. In something not too far off from where he said the Linux desktop will be dead if Keith Packard got his way in merging graphics drivers back into the X Server, his new blog post is entitled "This way, the free software desktop is never going to make it."
While Oracle has out Open Office 3.3, The Document Foundation is currently finishing up work on their fork of OpenOffice.org known as LibreOffice. LibreOffice 3.3 is soon going to be released.
At the end of December we talked about GIMP 2.8 struggling to make it out the door and now there's official commentary from the GIMP project.
One of the points that Linux users commonly say in lobbying hardware vendors to provide open-source drivers and/or documentation -- particularly for GPU drivers -- is that the open-source community will take the released code or documents and from there develop it into a reliable, working open-source Linux driver. However, that isn't exactly true.
GIMP 2.8 has been talked about for more than a year and back in January there was a GIMP 2.8 release schedule by Martin Nordholts that had set the final release for the 27th of December. That date has now passed and, sadly, this major update to this leading open-source graphics program is still not close to being released.
There's lots of new software being released this week prior to the holidays and year's end, including the release of the Opera 11.0 web-browser. The Norwegians have been hard at work on Opera 11 and it's now officially available.
Oracle is evidently trying to end out the year with an open-source bang as it releases frequent VirtualBox 4.0 betas, they just pushed out the long-awaited MySQL 5.5, and they have now released Oracle Open Office 3.3. At the same time, they have also introduced Oracle Cloud Office.
One of the open-source projects that Oracle is keeping around from Sun Microsystems is MySQL and just in time for the holidays they have put out the MySQL 5.5 release. The general availability release of MySQL 5.5 brings many new features to this popular database server.
Heroes of Newerth, the multi-platform game where we gave away thousands of beta keys last year (more than any other web-site), has now reached version 2.0.
A month after making some small progress towards "hybrid graphics switching" on Linux to allow notebooks with dual GPUs (usually a low-power integrated graphics processor and a performance-oriented but high-powered discrete GPU), Red Hat's David Airlie is beginning to get things working for Intel and NVIDIA GPU combos on notebooks such as the Lenovo ThinkPad T410. Hybrid graphics on Linux still sucks, but at least it's getting better.
There's long been a desire by KDE users to have a Phonon back-end for the VLC media player (there's 4 year old bug reports on the matter) and just now there is finally a Phonon-VLC release that is considered "stable enough for day to day use." Phonon-VLC is a version of VLC that uses the Phonon back-end from KDE4 as it's back-end. This multimedia API was originally provided by KDE libraries and then integrated into Qt is abstracted and can then target a particular multimedia back-end like GStreamer or Xine.
It was precisely one month ago I was wondering what happened to SplashTop and found the company that we jump-started by our first-in-the-world coverage was still pushing out their instant-on Linux OS to various OEM vendors but they have lost their roots of using the Linux environment embedded on a motherboard's flash chip to instead being nestled away on the user's hard drive, which defeats much of its uniqueness and benefits (not to mention it was hacked by Phoronix readers). SplashTop, which was formerly named DeviceVM before the company took up the same name as their premiere product, also started pushing out Apple iPad applications in recent months. Today the company is announcing another set of peculiar changes to their instant-on Linux OS.
Here's another interesting bit of news that just arrived into the Phoronix inbox this Thanksgiving: it's now possible to do TrueHD, DTS-HD, and E-AC3 over HDMI on Linux via FFmpeg. The TrueHD/DTS-HD/E-AC3 support is added to one of FFmpeg muxers to allow HDMI pass-through for these formats. DTS-HD/DTS-HD MA audio up to this point hasn't been supported under Linux and it's used by a sizable portion of the Blu-ray media currently on the market.
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