A week ago we reported on the open-source GPU drivers causing headaches for KDE users when attempting to use the KWin compositing manager under certain conditions. Version 4.5 of the KDE Software Compilation has a few improvements to KWin and while the compositing manager does check for optional OpenGL extensions, the open-source Mesa drivers don't always do things right and it's resulted in some bugs and other issues inflicting KDE users.
Cairo, the 2D drawing API that's used extensively within GTK+, Mono, Mozilla's Gecko engine, WebKit, and many other open-source projects, is out with a new major release. Cairo 1.10 is this major release to succeed the Cairo 1.8 stable series, which was introduced back in September of 2008.
The staff behind the Free Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) have just announced that the 2011 conference will take place on the 5th and 6th of February. This is the first weekend of February, which is right around the time that the other FOSDEMs have taken place. Like always, this event will be taking place in Brussels, Belgium.
Marking the end of two years of development is the release of Vim (Vi Improved) version 7.3. While this is considered a minor release of Vim, there are a handful of new features along with many bug-fixes.
The Linux Foundation's LinuxCon is taking place this week in Boston and they have used this conference for making a few announcements, such as Qualcomm joining the foundation as a platinum member (even though they are not really open-source friendly) and rolling-out the Open Compliance Program. The Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Program is designed to be "a comprehensive initiative that includes tools, training, a standard format to report software licensing information, consulting and a self-assessment checklist that will help companies comply with open source licenses, increasing adoption of open source and decreasing legal FUD present in the marketplace."
We're just days away from the release of KDE SC 4.5, but details are now surfacing from Martin Graesslin about his planned KWin compositing changes in the KDE SC 4.6 and 4.7 releases. Compositing in KDE SC 4.6 should be much faster, support mobile rendering using OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0, and potentially offer a stable ABI. With KDE SC 4.7 is where we're looking at the KDE world to potentially begin tapping OpenGL 3.0 for a better compositing experience.
The Khronos Group came out in mid-March to release the OpenGL 4.0 specification along with OpenGL 3.3 (to bring as many OGL4 features back to OGL3 as possible for older hardware that doesn't support OpenGL 4.0), but today from SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles they have rolled out OpenGL 4.1. The Khronos Group has now put out six ratified versions of OpenGL in less than two years and the 4.1 release adds more graphical goodies to this industry standard. OpenGL 4.1 is also joined by version 4.10 of GLSL, the GL Shading Language.
Banshee, the open-source media player that's built with Mono and Gtk#, is working towards their 1.8 milestone but today they have put out a new development snapshot. What's special about this new development release, Banshee 1.7.3, is that it adds support for Amazon's MP3 store and brings other enhancements too.
Spotify, a proprietary peer-to-peer music streaming service created by some Swedish developers, is now available for Linux. The developers from Stockholm characterize this initial Linux release as being a preview build, which goes unsupported by the company and currently lacks support for decoding local music on Linux.
Last month we reported on the initial work being done to the Gallium3D state tracker to accelerate Cairo as part of this year's X.Org Google Summer of Code project. Since then there's been more progress by Igor Trindade Oliveira, the GSoC student developer working on this state tracker.
As the second development release leading up to the stable release of GIMP 2.8, the 2.7.1 snapshot has now been officially released.
Last November we found out Skype was working on some sort of open-source client and then two months back we reported an open-source update was expected soon. Today we have an announcement from Skype and that's the launch of the SkypeKit SDK, which will allow applications and consumer devices to more openly tap into the Skype platform.
If you are looking for some lively forum threads to end out your weekend or some reading material as you enter the office on Monday, there's two particularly active forum threads this weekend. One thread begs that Linux is not ready for Steam (not the other way around) and the second thread is making claims that Linux drivers are rubbish.
Clang, the C/Objective-C/C++ compiler front-end for the Low-Level Virtual Machine, and LLVM itself have a lot to be proud of lately. LLVM 2.7 was recently released with many new features, LLVM now has its own libstdc++ replacement, and LLVM is finding itself used in many places from a JIT engine in a Flash player to providing software acceleration in Gallium3D. The latest accomplishment for Clang is that the C++ library can now build the Boost libraries.
There will be LinuxTag 2010 coverage on Phoronix. LinuxTag is Germany's premiere Linux event that takes place in Berlin and this year will be from the 9th to 12th of June. Various free software projects will be there and among the speakers are Mark Shuttleworth, Matt Asay, and Larry Augustin.
After being in public beta for less than a month, Oracle has come out today with the VirtualBox 3.2 release of their virtualization software that came from their acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
The Wine project isn't the only free software project with official releases being few and far between, but the Haiku Project is in a similar boat. Development on Haiku, the open-source reincarnation of BeOS, started back in 2001 but the first alpha release was only released last year. This month, however, the second alpha release of the Haiku OS has arrived.
While Ubuntu, Fedora, and other distributions have switched to using GNOME's Empathy as their default instant messaging application, Pidgin continues to be a popular choice among Linux users and also those on other operating systems. Seeing Pidgin swapped out for Empathy hasn't let down the Pidgin developers, but in fact they just put out Pidgin 2.7 that packs a fair amount of changes.
Our friends at the French-based Splitted Desktop Systems that developed the NVIDIA VDPAU back-end for VA-API and similarly provide an AMD XvBA back-end for VA-API -- that is the only method right now for utilizing XvBA right now -- have furthered their Linux video contributions today. Splitted Desktop Systems has released an experimental set of open-source GStreamer plug-ins that support VA-API.
While over the past year the FFmpeg project has been working on Blu-ray support, last November MPlayer gained codec support for most Blu-rays and HD-DVDs, Xine-lib gained better Blu-ray disc support, today the first working free software Blu-ray encoder has arrived.
Over on the GCC mailing list is a rather lively discussion (especially for being a Friday evening) that only started earlier today. No, it's not about the recent GCC 4.5 release or even our GCC vs. Clang/LLVM benchmarks, but it's about development participation. A developer is asking why you don't participate in contributing to GCC?
While this year we have already delivered a number of notable articles and benchmarks, right now we are on the heels of delivering our most extensive set of benchmarks yet. We are in the process of comparing the performance of Windows 7 x64, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and Mac OS X 10.6.3 (likely FreeBSD 8.0 and OpenSolaris 2010.03 too) across multiple systems. By early May the first of these numbers will be published.
IcedTea6, the free software Java project that's backed by Red Hat and derived from OpenJDK 6.x, has reached version 1.8. IcedTea6 1.8 is updated against OpenJDK6 b18, which brings a number of fixes and other improvements.
While there have been video editors on Linux like Cinelerra and Kino for some length of time, and more recently there have been new open-source projects that aim to better non-linear video editing on Linux like OpenShot and PiTiVi, up to this point it's been an area just like gaming: the Linux solutions haven't been great compared to other platforms. However, there's a lot more potential for that to change now that a professional video editor for Linux is being open-sourced.
WebKit, the layout engine designed by Apple that was originally derived from KDE's KHTML and since then has picked up support by Google within their Chrome/Chromium web browser, is used in parts of GNOME, and has been adopted elsewhere, just got a new Apple upgrade today. Apple has published what they are calling "WebKit2", which is a new WebKit framework they have been working on for their Safari web-browser.
Songbird, the open-source multimedia player that's built upon GStreamer and Mozilla Firefox's XULRunner, is no longer chirping a Linux-friendly tune. We have covered Songbird a few times at Phoronix since its initial release back in 2006, but now four years later they will stop officially maintaining the Linux version as they focus just on the Mac OS X and Windows clients.
For those from the Mandriva camp, you'll want to head on over to your favorite mirror to check out the freshly released beta of Mandriva Linux 2010.1. Mandriva 2010.1 Beta 1 is running with GNOME 2.30 that was released just this past week, provides a preview of GNOME Shell for a glimpse of what is coming with GNOME 3.0 later this year, and there is a wealth of other package updates too.
The first release of MeeGo, the operating system that's a joint effort by Intel and Nokia to marry the Linux-based Moblin and Maemo platforms, is now available. MeeGo is still far from being a readied product, but this first release is the bridging of the Moblin and Maemo repositories and spinning the first bootable ISO from that code-base, which will work with Intel Atom and Nokia N900 hardware.
Back in November there was an official announcement from Skype concerning an open-source Linux client. Details since then have been scarce on what exactly Skype plans to provide as open-source software, with some speculating just the user-interface/front-end side will be opened up. Skype though has continued in recent months of providing new Linux betas of their closed-source Linux client that still has yet to reach a feature parity with the Skype Windows client. No open-source Skype news updates have come since their original blog-style announcement.
Fluendo, the company that sponsors the development of G-Streamer and also offers legal codecs at a nominal fee for different proprietary audio/video formats on Linux and other operating systems, has announced the release of a new codec pack. Codec Pack Release 11 from Fluendo offers a variety of improvements to existing codecs, a AC3 Dolby Digital audio decoder, and new hardware acceleration support.
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