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.
While Apple provides support for the iPod and iPhones on Mac OS X (of course) and even Windows, complete with iTunes support, they provide no such love for those wishing to use their gadgets on Linux. This has led the Linux community to reverse-engineering Apple's USB protocol for the iPod/iPhone devices, developing different hacks, and in some cases even needing to "jail break" the product in order to use it fully under Linux. There's a few different projects around that seek to implement iPhone/iPod support on Linux, but one of them that takes an entirely free software approach and does not depend upon any DRM or proprietary libraries is libimobiledevice. This week the libimobiledeviceproject is celebrating their version 1.0 release after being in development for nearly three years.
Haiku OS, the nine year old project to develop an open-source BeOS-compatible operating system, is hoping it will receive a new OpenGL stack this year. The Haiku project, like X.Org, will be participating in this year's Google Summer of Code project where the search engine giant pays many student developers to work on code for various open-source projects. There's a long list of ideas for where Haiku OS could use some help, and one of them includes a hardware 3D acceleration stack.
OpenShot and PiTiVi have been capturing a lot of interest lately among those Linux users wishing for a reliable non-linear video editing application that is open-source and comparable in terms of features to those multi-media applications on other platforms. Yesterday the OpenShot crew announced their release of OpenShot 1.1, which moves this free software project one step forward.
Following a number of 1.1 development releases, Clutter 1.2.0 has been officially released as a stable update to this Intel-sponsored toolkit. Clutter 1.2 brings COGL enhancements, animator class improvements, layout managers, better documentation, and performance improvements.
If you are not attending our Phoronix Test Suite talk tomorrow or have some extra time this weekend, you can check out the ten minute informational video embedded below of the Linux-based Reside@HOME desktop. Reside@HOME is a product under development by Blue Heron Network is "an innovative communication device that allows families to stay in contact with their aging loved ones and to assist them in staying independent for as long as possible. Reside@HOME can be extremely beneficial in keeping those with early stages of Alzheimer's and other neuro-degenerative conditions at home for as long as possible while maintaining their traditional lifestyle and enhancing the quality of their lives." And it all runs on Linux.
Remember XGI Technology? The company that was spun out of SiS and Trident back in 2003 and for a while had some interesting low-end GPU hopes along with a few graphics cards that actually made it out to the market. There really hasn't been much talk about XGI in years and ATI had bought up one of their alliance companies in 2006 that further diminished this company. Their Linux drivers were not the best back in 2005 and things really never changed for the company that had hoped to compete with ATI and NVIDIA on some level.
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For those interested in the next major update to the GIMP graphics editing application (GIMP 2.8), it now has a tentative release date. GIMP's Martin Nordholts has announced on his blog that GIMP 2.8 is scheduled for release on the 27th of December of this year. Among many improvements, GIMP 2.8 will offer a single-window mode that is sure to excite many users as it's been a long-standing complaint by many for this free software graphics program. One of the fundamental changes for GIMP 2.8 is that it will now be licensed under the GNU GPLv3+ license and more of the code is being ported over to use GEGL. Additional details can be found in Development Work Towards GIMP 2.8 Solidifies.
The Swedes from Gothenberg that run Craft Animations have announced the first-ever Linux release of their Craft Director Studio software. Craft Director Studio, which is an advanced real-time 3D animations tool, is now officially supported under Fedora Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. While proprietary, this tool is used for pre-visualization, game development, architectural visualization, and even accident reconstruction and forensics. Licenses for these tools cost up to $1200 USD.
Back in August we covered the Skype 2.1 beta that was released and brought new features like SILK audio codec support, PulseAudio compatibility, SMS sending support, chat messaging editing/removing capabilities, contact groups support, typing notification in chat, chat picture support, and mood messages. Skype 2.1 Beta 2 has finally been released and it brings even more features. To be found in beta 2 is Linux screen-sharing support, report abuse, support for UI styles, support for quoting a message, and localized time formats.
Roderick Colenbrander, or better known by his Internet name of Thunderbird (not to be confused with the Mozilla mail client), will soon be announcing a new software project that is supposed to be rather interesting, according to him. Roderick is known for starting the NVClock project years prior to the existence of CoolBits support for Linux to enable NVIDIA graphics card overclocking (and other tweaking) with Linux. Roderick has also been involved with the Nouveau project for a brief while and also with Wine to improve its graphics support. He has also been a contributor to our forums.
For those that prefer wicd to NetworkManager or other programs for managing network connections under Linux, a new release of the Wireless Interface Connection Daemon is now available. Wicd 1.7.0 is arriving just about six months after the release of wicd 1.6.0, but this 2010 release does bring some new features.
Work on version 1.2 of the Clutter Toolkit has been underway for a few months now and today there is finally a new development snapshot available. Clutter 1.1.4 is this new snapshot and it brings improved support for the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X builds, the OpenGL version requirement has been dropped to just OpenGL 1.2, documentation updates, and improvements to the toolkit functionality itself.
Besides my sabbatical announcement for the Phoronix Test Suite's benefit, there is some other Windows-Linux news this afternoon. The developers behind the Unix/Linux-like environment for Microsoft Windows have announced the release of version 1.7.
As Alan Coopersmith pointed out after mentioning the X.Org plans to move away from HAL, the DeviceKit-disks project has renamed itself. DeviceKit-disks is now to be known as udisks. Coming next week, the DeviceKit-power project is also going to rename itself to upower. The dropping of the DeviceKit name is being done to reflect that no daemon is being used in the current implementation but that its reliant upon libudev and libgudev.
The developers behind the Xine multimedia player have announced the release of xine-lib 1.1.17. This isn't the major Xine 1.2 library update that is expected to offer significantly better Blu-ray disc support along with support for NVIDIA's VDPAU interface, but the 1.1.17 release does carry some interesting features.
For those interested in 3D modeling and graphics, you will want to check out the first alpha release of Blender 2.5. Blender 2.5 is bringing major changes to this free software 3D graphics application. With Blender 2.5, the user-interface is being redesigned and bringing rewritten components like a new file browser, customizable tool shelf, support for multiple windows, and customizable keyboard shortcuts.
In early September we featured an article on Jolicloud Linux, which sought to provide innovations atop Ubuntu Netbook Remix by enriching the experience for cloud computing and through their Jolicloud service to have easy access to various web-based applications. At that time we were seeded with an early alpha build of Jolicloud, but this morning (just a day after we published the first Chrome OS benchmarks), their CEO has provided us with a pre-beta copy of Jolicloud (codenamed "Robby").
It has been over seven months since NetworkManager 0.7.1 saw the light of day, but now NetworkManager 0.7.2 has been released. No release announcement or change-log has yet to emerge on this latest Red Hat project release, but the FreeDesktop.org Git log shows a variety of bug-fixes going into the NetworkManager 0.7 release since 0.7.1 was made available in April. There are the addition of new device IDs for various network devices, bug-fixes, documentation updates, translation updates, and other work to improve this easy-to-use networking utility for the Linux desktop.
It was less than two weeks ago that PulseAudio 0.9.20 was released as a bug-fix release, but PulseAudio 0.9.21 was pushed out today to offer up more bug-fixes. Besides carrying eight bug fixes to this software package that is loved by some and hated by others, PulseAudio 0.9.21 also integrates the device-manager module.
Back in June Enlightenment E16 reached version 1.0.0 and then a few weeks later there was an E17 development snapshot released, but there hasn't been a whole lot of news out of the Enlightenment camp over the past year. In fact, most new Linux users have likely never even heard of the Enlightenment. For the uninformed, Enlightenment is a window manager that has been around since 1997 but doesn't receive too much mainstream love. Fortunately though it now has the backing of a major electronics manufacturer who is sponsoring its development.
The Reiser4 file-system has been around since 2004 but has not reached a point of being close to be included in the mainline Linux kernel, especially after the lead developer, Hans Reiser, was convicted of murdering his wife. Development of Reiser4 has continued on, albeit with a very limited number of developers, and not nearly at the brisk pace of Btrfs or with great interest by corporate parties. The last TODO list update on the Reiser4 file-system was posted back in April with just five items un-addressed. In late July it was then shared by Edward Shishkin, a former employee of Hans Reiser's Namesys who has since effectively taken over work on Reiser4, that in the Autumn they would begin exploring the opportunity of getting this file-system in the mainline Linux kernel.
The news just keeps rolling in today... Besides VIA trying again to submit their kernel DRM, learning about KDE 4.4 features, announcing AMD's UVD2-based XvBA finally does something on Linux, the release of the Linux 2.6.32-rc6 kernel, and GNOME 3.0 likely being delayed to next September, we also have news this evening from the well-known Linux game porter Ryan Gordon (a.k.a. Icculus).
The very popular Skype VoIP service has provided a Linux client for some years now, but it's not nearly as full-featured as its Windows counterpart, and right now it's a binary-only application. However, things may be partially changing at this company that's in the process of being spun off from eBay. There's a new blog post on Skype.com entitled Skype open source. It's officially confirmed that "an open source version of [the] Linux client [is] being developed." This open-source client is part of some larger offering that supposedly will be coming down the pipe at Skype. These efforts will also help them get Skype adopted within Linux distributions and seeing Skype on other new platforms.
There hasn't been much to report on with the OpenMoko project lately, but today a new OpenMoko product was launched: the WikiReader. The WikiReader is a small, mobile device without any form of an Internet connection that has archived over three million pages of Wikipedia. This device, which is set to retail for $99 USD, runs OpenMoko Linux while having just a small monochrome screen and three buttons for controls.
Theora, the open and royalty-free format that comes from the same folks that work on the Ogg Vorbis audio formmat, has officially reached version 1.1. Theora 1.1 (codenamed "Thusnelda") is much-improved over version 1.0, which was reached last November.
The Norwegians at Opera Software have announced the final release of the Opera 10.0 web-browser. This closed-source web-browser that is available for Linux brings three key changes with the 10.0 release: Opera Turbo, a new user-interface, and better tabs support. The Opera Turbo charge feature is a new compression technology that will compress web-pages and is designed to speed up the loading process on slow Internet connections by as much as eight times. Opera 10 also presents "a streamlined and elegant new interface." Opera Software has also revised their tabs support by providing thumbnails of all open tabs and other tweaks.
For anyone that extensively uses Skype on Linux, you will probably want to head on over to the Linux Skype Developer page to fetch the latest beta. Skype has just rolled out the first 2.1 beta (22.214.171.124 Beta) of the Linux Skype client, which adds several new features and also brings a number of fixes and other improvements.
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