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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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