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 (188.8.131.52 Beta) of the Linux Skype client, which adds several new features and also brings a number of fixes and other improvements.
On the same day as the release of the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system, which contains many printing improvements among its new feature set, the Apple-owned CUPS project has come out with version 1.4.0. CUPS 1.4 offers improvements to its web interface (including a brand new look), CUPS DDK tools, Bonjour printing support, many scheduler improvements, and over 67 other changes.
As we mentioned earlier this week, we will be providing Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks on launch day (well, potentially the morning after, depending upon timing). This week has been very busy in preparations for this article along with last minute work on the Phoronix Test Suite to add in a few more Mac-compatible test profiles and other work for Snow Leopard.
Earlier this month we shared that we would be doing a big operating system benchmark comparison consisting of Linux (perhaps a few different distributions), OpenSolaris, some BSDs, and Mac OS X. With the news today from Apple that Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" will be shipping this Friday, the 28th of August, we are now one step closer to carrying out this large OS comparison. This large OS benchmarking extravaganza will not take place until September, but later this week we will go ahead and put out some performance numbers for Mac OS X 10.6.0.
The Pidgin instant messaging program has been losing some ground recently to GNOME's Empathy program as more Linux distributions switch to using this newer instant messaging application. Pidgin 2.5 was released just under one year ago, but arriving today is Pidgin 2.6, which may help in winning over more users. Most notably, Pidgin 2.6 finally introduces support for voice and video communication.
The developers behind the popular GIMP graphics application have announced the first development release in the road towards GIMP 2.8.0. GIMP 2.7.0 is this first development release and it brings a horde of changes and improvements. GIMP 2.8 is set to introduce many user-interface improvements, new plug-ins, the projection code ported to GEGL, and many other new features.
Zack Rusin, the well-known X.Org and KDE hacker, has written a new blog post concerning the Qt tool-kit and the different options that are available when it comes to rendering graphics. Qt currently can target a pure CPU raster engine, using X11 with the X Render extension for providing some GPU-assisted acceleration, or using an OpenGL engine. The renderer that is used by Qt depends upon the platform, what portions of the Qt API are being used by a given program, and whether the graphics system was overrode when starting the program.
Remember the Tux3 file-system? The Tux3 file-system was shown off at the Southern California Linux Expo earlier this year and showed real promise with its features and slated performance. The developers behind Tux3 had a host of items on their to-do list, including atomic commit support, which to them was a requirement for getting this general purpose file-system into the Linux kernel.
This week there were several interesting stories at Phoronix, if you happened to miss any of them. We started off by sharing that proper multi-seat support for Linux / X.Org is on the way with the new VGA arbitration code coming about. With this new implementation, multiple X Servers can be run side-by-side without needing to use Xephyr or any ugly hacks.
We knew it was coming, but this morning Intel has announced the release of Clutter 1.0.0. This toolkit provides a library/API for creating rich user interfaces in a relatively easy to use way that conceals much of the challenges of programming your application to directly use OpenGL or OpenGL ES. Clutter is already being used within Moblin V2 and its user interface is very impressive (the best that we have seen for netbooks) and it is also gaining speed within the GNOME development community for GNOME Games and other areas.
Clutter, the free software tool-kit that makes it easier to develop compelling user-interfaces that use OpenGL / OpenGL ES, is now nearing its version 1.0 release. Emmanuele Bassi with the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has announced the release of Clutter 1.0 Release Candidate 3.
For those of you that use VLC as your media player of choice or those looking for a new media player, head on over to VideoLAN.org as version 1.0.0 of this growingly popular free software application has been released. VLC 1.0.0 has support for live recording, new HD codecs (including Blu-ray and AES3), new formats, new encoders, and many other new features. The (short) announcement officially announcing VLC 1.0.0 can be read on the project's news page.
For those of you not out celebrating the Independence Day / 4th of July in America, there is a new release candidate for the Linux 2.6.31 kernel that is now ready for testing. In this second release candidate there is a new DRM pull bringing various fixes and improvements, including Intel DisplayPort support for hardware with such new connectors.
Fluendo, the company that's largely behind G-Streamer and produces legal audio/video codecs for Linux, has now launched its own DVD player solution for Linux. Fluendo's new DVD player software is, of course, built upon the G-Streamer framework. This Fluendo DVD player software costs about $28 USD and is fully certified and is considered a legal piece of software free of any audio/video patent issues in the US. This software also supports DVD menus, multiple angles, CSS encryption, subtitles, etc.
For those of you using PHP in the development of web-sites or even on the desktop (like what we do with the Phoronix Test Suite), PHP 5.3.0 has finally been released! This major update to PHP5 brings support for namespaces, late static bindings, closures, new PHP extensions, plenty of bug fixes, and much more.
For managing network and Internet connections from the Linux desktop, used by most distribution vendors is NetworkManager, which is a well rounded network connection manager from Red Hat for controlling wired, wireless, and mobile broadband devices. The ModemManager project was even spun off recently for furthering the mobile broadband support on Linux. However, rather than going with NetworkManager in Moblin, Intel created its own software: ConnMan. The ConnMan software is designed to enhance the process of managing Internet connections from Linux-based devices, such as those in the mobile space.
Clutter, the open-source toolkit designed to develop rich user interfaces with OpenGL and OpenGL ES but without the complexity of programming to such APIs, is nearing version 1.0. This toolkit, which was used to create the very impressive Moblin V2 interface, is backed by Intel and continues to gain steam. Version 0.9.4 was released just this morning, which is serving as the Clutter 1.0.0 Release Candidate 1 build.
Gustavo Sverzut Barbieri, a member of the E17 development team, has written in to share that a new development snapshot of this lightweight desktop environment is now available. Gustavo also shares that they hope to have E17 released by the end of this year. Available from the Enlightenment blog is a 2009-06-14 snapshot of E17 along with a new (stable) Eet library.
Mohamed-Ikbel Boulabiar has written in to report that he and his team at the Interactive Computing Lab in ENAC, Toulouse have been successful in bringing native multi-touch support to Linux. While there is Multi-Pointer X in the mainlinue X.Org server (to be released with X.Org 7.5 / X Server 1.7), there is now multi-touch support to be able to handle gestures and other actions.
While Enlightenment E17 is still undergoing development, the Enlightenment E16 window manager has finally reached version 1.0.0. As Kim Woelders points out in the 1.0.0 release announcement, there are not any fundamental changes since version 0.16.8.15, but it just felt like it was time this X window manager reached the 1.0 status.
A new release of Blender, the immensely popular open-source 3D modeling software, is now available. This is not the much-anticipated Blender 2.5 release, but instead version 2.49, which brings forth several prominent changes and improvements while the developers continue work on the next major release. As part of the 2.49 release, the Blender Game Engine (BGE) has also received improvements too.
A relatively new product to hit the hardware scene is Pogoplug, which is a little device that can connect to a USB 2.0 hard drive and an Ethernet connection, and then instantly makes the drive an Internet-accessible storage device.
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