Do you remember SplashTop? It's the instant-on Linux environment that was originally embedded into select ASUS motherboards three years ago and from there worked its way to other motherboards and then onto notebooks and other devices from a variety of vendors. We effectively launched SplashTop for DeviceVM, the company behind this instant-on Linux distribution, when we got our hands on SplashTop early and were the first in the world to provide a detailed analysis of SplashTop. It was one of our most popular articles that year and of over the past six and a half years that Phoronix has been around. Recently though we haven't heard much about SplashTop at all.
While last month several OpenOffice.org members had left the free software office suite project to form LibreOffice and The Document Foundation, there's no signs that OpenOffice.org is going away anytime soon; Oracle has just announced the first release candidate for the upcoming OpenOffice.org 3.3.0.
The developers behind the GeeXboX multi-media Linux distribution have written in to inform us a new framework they have been developing and just released called OpenBricks. The OpenBricks Embedded Linux Framework is "an enterprise-grade embedded Linux framework that provides easy creation of custom distributions for industrial embedded devices. It features a complete embedded development kit for rapid deployment on x86, ARM, PowerPC and MIPS systems with support for industry leaders."
While OpenShot and PiTiVi are the two currently most talked about open-source non-linear video editing systems for Linux, that's not all there is out there. There's also Kdenlive, Kino, an open-source Lightworks is coming soon, and then perhaps the most advanced open-source video editor of them all: Cinelerra.
While many in the open-source community do not like Mono on their system as a Microsoft .NET implementation for Linux (and other operating systems), for those interested in this C# compiler and run-time library, Mono 2.8 is now available for download. Mono 2.8 offers up a large number of improvements.
Back in July we reported that there would be a 2011 Desktop Summit, a joint conference between the GNOME and KDE developers via combining their GUADEC and Akademy events, respectively, to one location at one time. There was a 2009 Desktop Summit held in the same fashion, but up until now all we knew is that there would be a 2011 Desktop Summit in Berlin during August, but the details were yet to be announced. Now we have the details for this open-source event.
At long last, the EFL (Enlightenment Foundation Libraries) have reached a beta status for their version 1.0 release. Among the libraries hitting this beta status are Eina, Eet, Evas, Ecore, Embryo, Edje, E_Dbus, Efreet, and Eeze. New snapshots are also available for Enlightenment and Elementary.
With the Gallium3D driver architecture there's state trackers for Mesa, OpenVG, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0, and even most recently one for exposing Direct3D 10.0/11.0 on Linux. These state trackers are then what can run on the Gallium3D hardware drivers or even on the CPU in the case of Softpipe and the much more interesting LLVMpipe. There's even now a new Gallium3D state tracker being contemplated by the Lightspark Flash Player project.
OpenShot, one of the popular and promising non-linear open-source video editing projects, is out today with their first major release in nearly a half-year. OpenShot 1.2.2 is this new release and it brings a number of new features and other bug-fixes as it attempts to close the gap between open and closed-source video editors.
While we have yet to see any official release announcement, if you browse the PostgreSQL FTP server you can now find the final packages for PostgreSQL 9.0.0. This major update to PostgreSQL brings easy-to-use replication, mass permission-changing, anonymous code blocks, enhanced stored procedure support, exclusion constraints, deferrable unique constraints, and a variety of other enhancements.
We reported last month that a native ZFS module was coming to Linux and would be released in mid-September. Rather than using ZFS-FUSE that runs the Sun/Oracle ZFS file-system under the FUSE module so that it lives outside the Linux kernel (and runs rather slowly as our benchmarks show), this new ZFS module is native to Linux and open-source but due to the CDDL license it's being distributed as a module and will not be included in the mainline Linux kernel. This module has now entered a closed beta testing process.
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.
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